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A Victory for All of Us

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Posted on May 18, 2012
AP/Mary Altaffer

Iraq War veteran Sgt. Shamar Thomas leads a demonstration in New York’s Grand Central Station to call attention to a law signed by President Barack Obama that granted extraordinary powers to the military.

By Chris Hedges

In January, attorneys Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran asked me to be the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that challenged the harsh provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We filed the lawsuit, worked for hours on the affidavits, carried out the tedious depositions, prepared the case and went to trial because we did not want to be passive in the face of another egregious assault on basic civil liberties, because resistance is a moral imperative, and because, at the very least, we hoped we could draw attention to the injustice of the law. None of us thought we would win. But every once in a while the gods smile on the damned.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, in a 68-page opinion, ruled Wednesday that Section 1021 of the NDAA was unconstitutional. It was a stunning and monumental victory. With her ruling she returned us to a country where—as it was before Obama signed this act into law Dec. 31—the government cannot strip a U.S. citizen of due process or use the military to arrest him or her and then hold him or her in military prison indefinitely. She categorically rejected the government’s claims that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to bring the case to trial because none of us had been indefinitely detained, that lack of imminent enforcement against us meant there was no need for an injunction and that the NDAA simply codified what had previously been set down in the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act. The ruling was a huge victory for the protection of free speech. Judge Forrest struck down language in the law that she said gave the government the ability to incarcerate people based on what they said or wrote. Maybe the ruling won’t last. Maybe it will be overturned. But we and other Americans are freer today than we were a week ago. And there is something in this.

The government lawyers, despite being asked five times by the judge to guarantee that we plaintiffs would not be charged under the law for our activities, refused to give any assurances. They did not provide assurances because under the law there were none. We could, even they tacitly admitted, be subject to these coercive measures. We too could be swept away into a black hole. And this, I think, decided the case.

“At the hearing on this motion, the government was unwilling or unable to state that these plaintiffs would not be subject to indefinite detention under [Section] 1021,” Judge Forrest noted. “Plaintiffs are therefore at risk of detention, of losing their liberty, potentially for many years.”

The government has 60 days to appeal. It can also, as Mayer and Afran have urged, accept the injunction that nullifies the law. If the government appeals, the case will go to a federal appellate court. The ruling, even if an appellate court upholds it, could be vanquished in the Supreme Court, especially given the composition of that court.

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We had none of the resources of the government. Mayer and Afran worked for weeks on the case without compensation. All of us paid for our own expenses. And few people, including constitutional lawyers of Glenn Greenwald’s caliber, thought we had a chance. But we pushed forward. We pushed forward because all effort to impede the corporate state, however quixotic, is essential. Even if we ultimately fail we will be able to say we tried.

This law was, after all, not about foreign terrorism. It was about domestic dissent. If the state could link Occupy and other legitimate protest movements with terrorist groups (US Day of Rage suffered such an attempt), then the provisions in the NDAA could, in a period of instability, be used to “disappear” U.S. citizens into military gulags, including the government’s offshore penal colonies. And once there, stripped of due process, detainees could be held until, in the language of the law, “the end of hostilities.” In an age of permanent war that would be a lifetime.

Human existence, as I witnessed in war, is precarious and often very short. The battles that must be fought may never be won in our lifetime. And there will always be new battles to define our struggle. Resistance to tyranny and evil is never ending. It is a way, rather, of defining our brief sojourn on the planet. Revolt, as Albert Camus reminded us, is the only acceptable definition of the moral life. Revolt, he wrote, is “a constant confrontation between man and his obscurity. … It is not aspiration, for it is devoid of hope. That revolt is the certainty of a crushing fate, without the resignation that ought to accompany it.”

“A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object,” Camus warned. “But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.”


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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, May 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

Here are some of the alternatives to capitalist imperialism:

The Rise of the New Economy Movement

Activists, theorists, organizations and ordinary citizens are rebuilding the American political-economic system from the ground up

by Gar Alperovitz

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/22-2

These alternatives are humane, non-exploitive, and sustainable. Rather than capital owning industry and profiting from labor, the workers are the owners and the profits go to the workers and to the community.

Capitalism has failed and the imperialism necessary to sustain capitalism is failing. Alternatives to capitalist imperialism are, of necessity, growing and flourishing.

Where capitalists provide jobs in India and China, alternative economies provide productive occupations right here. Worker-owners don’t outsource their own jobs. Worker-owners are members of their communities, so they don’t harm their communities to increase profits for absentee owners.

Some countries that call themselves capitalist have placed limits on capitalism, and the US calls such countries socialist, not capitalist. By providing for human needs rather than just for corporate greed, they have infringed on the property rights of capitalists, the right to own and exploit without limit. You may think that those countries are capitalist, but you’ll never convince the US government that countries which place limits on capitalism and force capitalists to be responsible citizens, aren’t socialist.

Now that capitalist imperialism is operating here at home rather than just in foreign countries, as in fracking and other ways that capitalism is taking away the property rights of the people so as to enhance the property rights of the wealthy capitalists, there is beginning to be an awakening, and people are beginning to understand that capitalist imperialism is the enemy. While the US government and the capitalists who control it will never and can never join the global struggle against capitalist imperialism, because they themselves are the problem, the US people are starting to understand the problem, to oppose it, to resist it, and to create alternatives.

Where the Constitution established a plutocracy, a government of, by, and for the rich, we may yet, in spite of those 450 million hollow point bullets, establish a government of, by and for the people. Don’t count on the military and law enforcement to remain loyal to the government once the government starts ordering their co-workers to shoot their families and neighbors. As mercenary and capitalist as they may be, some will draw the line at shooting their own mothers and will start fragging their officers instead.

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, May 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

Justin Case writes, “There’s no such thing - Imperialists are 100% ANTI-capitalist and CAPITALISTS are 100% ANTI-IMPERIALIST.”

So the big defense contractors that make billions of dollars from no-bid, cost-plus government defense contracts for wars of aggression based on lies, are not capitalists? They seem to think that they’re capitalists. How do you propose to go about convincing them that they’re not capitalists?

Justin Case: “Just so you know, a capitalist must by definition respect private property and all the rights that go with it to any person - consent, trade, equality, freedom from fraud, theft, violence and of course freedom from Imperial Overlords.”

Defense contractors consider themselves capitalists and they don’t respect the private property or lives of the families of the innocent children their drones and bombs kill every day.

Justin Case, “Once the Imperial Overlords are here, all Capitalism is GONE.”

The imperial overlords and the capitalists, in the case of defense contractors, big corporations making huge profits by outsourcing US jobs and destroying the economy of entire countries, banks that issue worthless derivatives and subprime mortgages, destroying the lives of many hard-working taxpayers, are one and the same people. Bankers, corporate executives, and defense contractors all consider themselves capitalists and they are all at the service of imperialist aggression.

The US government operates on behalf of what it considers to be US interests, which are, in reality, the interests of big business. When government and business have one and the same objectives, it is the precise merger of government and business that Mussolini called fascism.

Fascist, people who care more about profits than about people, are both capitalists and imperialists. There is no way to distinguish one from the other because they are the same people.

Whenever the US military overthrows a democratically elected government and installs a dictator more friendly to private business interests like big oil, it is capitalist imperialism, and the US government does this all the time.

Your imaginary definition of capitalism has nothing to do with the reality of capitalism, a reality that is based on and cannot exist without imperialism. For capitalism to have the raw materials, cheap labor, and obedient foreign governments it needs to exist, it must continue to be imperialist, because people do not give up their precious resources and live in dire poverty unless they are forced to.

Capitalism is a system designed to funnel wealth from the poor to the rich, and imperialism is the way in which that system is imposed against the will of the majority, who are always the poor, never the rich. That’s why Occupy talks about the 1% exploiting the 99% by means of governments that use violence to protect the rich and to exploit and suppress the poor.

Those who are not part of obscenely wealthy 1%, but consider themselves capitalists, or support capitalism, don’t understand the tyranny of class and that freedom can only exist when that tyranny is abolished. The “freedom” for a very few to become or stay obscenely wealthy at the expense of the many, is the freedom of property, not the freedom of people. If you can’t distinguish between property and people, can you still consider yourself to be a person rather than a thing?

The global struggle is the struggle of the 99% against the 1%, a struggle of people against capitalist imperialism. Capitalism cannot exist without imperialism, and imperialism exists solely to supply and support capitalism.

Attempts to qualify capitalism, and to imagine that there is a “pure” or “ethical” capitalism, apart from crony capitalism, predatory capitalism, and corrupt capitalism, are strategies that only the perpetrators of capitalist imperialism, never the victims, would resort to. To profit from another’s labor is theft.

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Justin Case's avatar

By Justin Case, May 23, 2012 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

much agreed, Mark Smith. Reform is possible but difficult. I doubt the USA will copy Iceland’s example but it’s a good example even so.

CanDoJack, DHS just bought 450,000,000 rounds of hollow-point ammunition. That’s to kill you. Specifically you.
It’s illegal for war. It will be used only no civilians.
USA population: not more than 340,000,000. So that’s enough bullets to kill every US citizen, right down to newborn babies, with lots of ammo to spare.
Doesn’t that make you ever so curious?

Sure makes me wonder just what the specific plans of the terrorist DHS is. it isn’t counter-terrorism.

“We will yet make
planters out of tanks, turn swords to ploughshares,
and our descendants will flourish on the graves of
the mightiest capitalist imperialists. “

There’s no such thing - Imperialists are 100% ANTI-capitalist and CAPITALISTS are 100% ANTI-IMPERIALIST.
Just so you know, a capitalist must by definition respect private property and all the rights that go with it to any person - consent, trade, equality, freedom from fraud, theft, violence and of course freedom from Imperial Overlords.
Once the Imperial Overlords are here, all Capitalism is GONE.

americanme : yes, so it seems. John Best event went so far as to suggest my entire family be tortured to convince me there’s no such thing as good and evil. Fucking insane.

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By whitedog, May 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

So, he won, good. Wondering what the Supreme Court will say. I expect this will get there eventually.

Chris is often sardonic, but like the high school wrestler he was, he is dogged, holds on like a pit bull, won’t let go. I’m not sure if he’s being direct or using some back handed insult based kick in the pants style encouragement when he says what he does about liberals/progressives/activists.

This is Kaliyuga, folks, the worst of the four. Only one leg of 4 on the ground in the ancient imagery of the bull; so, very rough and physical, no trust in leadership, heavy duty, but negotiable, obviously. How to keep things in line…effortful, very effortful, but essential. While I’m stranded here in purgatory, I’m very grateful to Chris and his team.

Just in passing, one of the greatest defenses against tyranny is simple personal happiness…and abject caring

and, I guess, the odd legal triumph might make you smile, warm the heart, awaken some sane, steady moxy

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americanme's avatar

By americanme, May 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Justin:

Romano and Best are racist trolls and provocateurs who have nothing better to do than spend the day in internet insulting others.

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, May 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette writes: “Because we, the sheeple, still
have the right to vote and (by doing so) reform
America. But what do we do with that right, which is
also a Civic Duty?”

What good is the right to vote without the right to
have your vote counted? Do you really believe that
uncounted votes can reform anything?

What good is the right to have your vote counted, if
it is counted in such a way that you can never be
sure if it was counted accurately or not? What good
is your vote for candidate X if the central
tabulators change it to a vote for candidate Y and
you never know what happened?

What good is the right to vote for representatives
who aren’t bound to represent you and often break
their campaign promises, betray their constituents,
and represent only their biggest donors?

Why do you consider it your civic duty to cast
ballots that don’t have to be counted and aren’t
verifiable, for representatives who don’t have to
represent you?

You may be voting out of some obligation you feel
towards the banks, corporations, and defense
contractors who fund the election campaigns of puppet
politicians so that they can get trillions in
taxpayer dollars in return, but they are not the
community or citizenry whose tax money is being
stolen by the corporate-funded politicians, the
civicus towards whom any civic-minded person would
feel a civic duty.

CanDoJack, everything you say is correct, and is
illustrated by people like Lafayette, but you and I
and others are here also. We may be nothing but tiny
blades of grass poking up through a cracked sidewalk,
but we were paved over, we were supposed to die, and
yet we live. Don’t count us out. We will yet make
planters out of tanks, turn swords to ploughshares,
and our descendants will flourish on the graves of
the mightiest capitalist imperialists.

Yes, there are many who have been brainwashed into
believing that it is their duty to elevate some fools
over other fools, or that reforms can be accomplished
that way, but it has indeed proved impossible to fool
all of the people all of the time.

Venceremos!

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By Sharloch, May 22, 2012 at 7:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

THANK YOU CHRIS HEDGES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, May 22, 2012 at 5:11 am Link to this comment

DEMOCRACY NOW – USE IT OR LOSE IT

CDJ: That makes Orwell’s Newspeak and Doublethink look juvenile by comparison.

And so we live in an Orwellian “1984”? The context of 1984 is one of a pseudo-autocracy run by BigBrother - who is, in fact, a euphemism for a plutocracy that actually controls government.  Yes, there is a parallel with the way the process of democracy has become dysfunctional in America. But a parallel is not a destiny.

Comparing 1984 with the US in 2102 is a bit tricky. In fact, our problem is NOT Doublethink. It is rather, MisThink. Misthinking is tantamount to mistaking one set of truths for another. For instance, when a Prez like George Bush wraps himself in the American flag with a bible in one hand. Meaning, God and righteousness are on the side of Number One (meaning “me”, the Prez).

Let’s not distract ourselves from this very sad fact: Most Americans have no idea whatsoever about either foreign or national politics and could care less as well. All that we, the sheeple, want is decent job with which to get on with our lives.

GAMING THE POLITICAL SYSTEM

We have become politically ambivalent and thus manipulable - our pitiful voter turnout record demonstrates that fact. During the mid-terms a minority of we, the sheeple, turned out to vote A miscreant T-Party (T for Troglodyte) into control of the HofR. (And now we are as mad as hell that there’s been no Stimulus Spending to get us out of the Deep Economic Doodoo? Puh-leeze ...)

Income Disparity – which exists since the origins of our nation - had not become a well-known notion until the One Percenters of the OWS took up their cudgel of indignation with the Plutocrat Class that has been gaming our political system.

Yes, we have good reason to be indignant at the monies spent by the two parties to maintain their hold on power (see the info-graphic here).

It seems that all politics can be summed to the see-sawing back and forth of two encrusted political parties. Both having been seduced by the Almighty Buck to favor a “Bigger Is Better” market consolidation trend that has installed Income Disparity in our society.

And yet, one cannot conceive of this outcome to have become an Orwellian 1984. Because we, the sheeple, still have the right to vote and (by doing so) reform America. But what do we do with that right, which is also a Civic Duty?

We trash it out of laziness and disgust, sitting back and spectating – upset with the democratic process and, finally, indignant when the first recession comes along that threatens our financial existence.

That’s when it begins to hurt personally – but not before. It’s a bit too late.

MY POINT?

Democracy Now! – Use It Or Lose It.

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By CanDoJack, May 22, 2012 at 1:58 am Link to this comment

@Mark Smith
who said:
“Many countries have had revolutions and drafted new
Constitutions—Iceland is even doing it without a
revolution. It can be done. It is possible to replace
a Constitution that vests power in the rich, with one
that vests power in the people.”

That’s true, Mark. In many countries. But, maybe not
in a country that spends more on military than the
rest of the world combined (without China).

Maybe not in a country that did its best to reduce a
people to slaves of The American Fruit Company. A
people who created the most proficient language the
planet has known and calculated the movement of
everything in this solar system thousands of years
into the future.

Maybe not in a country whose engineering of a
populace with the most concentrated, penetrating,
corporate propaganda machine imaginable. That would
make Orwell blush. That makes Orwell’s Newspeak and
Doublethink look juvenile by comparison.

Maybe not in a country whose corporate advertising is
soooo quick to focus its guiles in a way that makes
poor look sooo criminal and Calvinistic religion look
so proper that one is afraid to step outside one’s
house, should one have a house, without a suit on
with an arm band with a cross on it, singing hymns of
praise for a freedom to believe in religions of human
sacrifice.

Maybe not in a country whose politicians vote
themselves the right to insider trading.

Maybe not in a country whose ways up are increasingly
roadblocked and means of increase are available only
to those with means of increase.

Maybe not in a country whose bully wars are testing
grounds for ever higher tech drones that are being
budgeted so every window can have one hovering
outside it.

Maybe not in a country whose people cannot even spell
the word constitution who are foddered and slopped
with ever sillier TV fare guaranteed not to require
an IQ greater than Bush level and guaranteed to make
the conditioned feel real hip.

No, you can write new constitutions until the
environment declares war on humanity for crimes
against nature. To what end? To what end?

Enjoy simple and real pleasures. Write a poem. Play
an instrument. Eat good and simple food. Gravitate to
areas where the climate is comfortable and the
population is sparse for as long as possible. Learn a
foreign language, preferably and old one and good one
that is fun to marvel at but useless to those around
you. But perhaps keep your sleeping pills close just
in case Judge Forrest is arrested tomorrow and
everyone who speaks plain English as a primary
language is arrested for exercising freedom of speech
and jailed with no trial.

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, May 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

CanDoJack, I’m one of those who wouldn’t last five minutes on the street, and I know that because I was a street person for over twenty years. But I was younger, stronger, and healthier then. Much younger, much stronger, and much healthier.

You say that none of us wants to throw away the Constitution. But I do. And I exist.

Many countries have had revolutions and drafted new Constitutions—Iceland is even doing it without a revolution. It can be done. It is possible to replace a Constitution that vests power in the rich, with one that vests power in the people.

The reason it’s a jungle out there is because, as Gulam and Justin Case correctly note, the US is a fascist, terrorist government that began with and to this day continues with its main industry being genocide for private profit. It is that way because of a Constitution written by the rich, for the rich, that governs everyone else because people have never questioned it. It is time to question it. More than just question, it is time to recognize that it has not ensured our rights and that it is our duty to replace it with one that does.

gerard, I also believe that it is possible to rebuild, but not on a rotten foundation. If we rebuild on a rotten foundation, whatever we build will quickly rot. We need a new foundation, a foundation that recognizes the humanity of all and respects our inalienable rights. The Constitution never did that. The people who wrote and ratified it never recognized the humanity or respected the rights of women, Native Americans, Blacks, workers, or the poor. We were not consulted because we were not to have power vested in us—we were to be governed as subjects, not allowed to make policy like citizens. As people fought for what they thought were rights, such as the vote, our rulers laughed because they had ensured that our votes would never be the final say—that the ultimate and supreme power rested with government, not with the people.

Is it possible for slaves who have been educated to be slaves rather than to be citizens, to govern themselves wisely? I believe so. And most voters agree with me, telling pollsters they believe that people chosen at random from the phone book, citizens just like themselves, could do a better job than our elected government officials. So the belief is already there—what is lacking is the courage of our convictions.

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By Aridzonan_13, May 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good try. May you and others continue to have similar successes.. But, the rest of the NDAA still exists as well as the NDRP and our beloved Patriot Act.  What is to stop FedGov.Inc from throwing you in jail and tossing the key w/o and due process?  Answer is “Nothing”.  The first sign of a third world nation is the selective “ENFORCEMENT” of it’s laws.  Regulation is nothing w/o it.  Wall St. get’s away with felony fraud on a scale not known to history.  Unless and until we start boycotting FedGov.Inc’s MSM, Big Box Stores, etc. we’re done. A mere 10% boycott of the above entities would cause a 30% drop in their profits. For like Enron, they count their profits thrice.

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Justin Case's avatar

By Justin Case, May 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

Ed, you’re supposed to be a strictly Marxist anti-capitalist which means you can’t go buy a Roku. That would be supporting Capitalism, which you claim to hate.

Unless like all Marxists you want Capitalism for you only and Marxism for everyone else.

americanme, as a matter of fact, Ed Romano’s favorite target is ME. He’s used at least 20 messages a month to slander and attack me. Look at the Zizek article about capitalism and look at the Hedges article about the “powerlessness of Occupy” being its strength.
It’s literally month after month, page after page, of vicious slanderous lies about me, the world, everyone, everything, from Ed Romano and John Best.

DrBones, “Eric Holder is shockingly corrupt and Obama is worse for not forcing him to resign” - running guns into Mexican drug cartels so they can shoot at American border guards is actually TREASON. Obama and Holder are equally guilty of TREASON.

Gulam - “Hope? What more in the world do the people of the world hope for more than the
crash and burn of the United States and the still colonial Europeans?”

indeed this is true. America and Israel are the most evil terrorist forces in the last 100 years upon this Earth. The citizens may largely be not-guilty but the government itself is supreme evil.

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By Ed Romano, May 21, 2012 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Gerard, My brother told me about this little device called a Roku. I bought one and I can now get Democracy Now on the TV….missed it today however. You say you can scarcely help yourself? If you’re a Christian I’m sure you know that’s the beginning of wisdom….I’ll catch today’s Democracy Now a little later. Thanks

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By CanDoJack, May 21, 2012 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

CanDoJack, did you ratify the Constitution? Did the
people who were there at the time ratify the
Constitution? You know that “the people” did not
include women, Blacks, or landless white males, who
had no seat at the table and whose consent was never
asked.

MOOT POINT, WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE
NEITHER DID I HIRE THOSE SHARE CROPPERS INCLUDING A
BEAUTIFUL YOUNG CHEROKEE WHOM MY FATHER SNATCHED FROM
THE PATCH OF COTTON AND WED. THAT FALKNER COUNTRY
PLANTATION WAS OWNED BY BIG DADDY, MY DADDY’S DADDY.

NEITHER DID I KILL A BLACK EMPLOYEE FOR NOTHING WITH
A LUG WRENCH AND NEVER SPEND A DAY IN JAIL. A
RELATIVE OF MINE DID THAT.

BUT I DID LEAVE THE SOUTH THAT I WAS RAISED IN,
BETTING IT WOULD NEVER CHANGE. BY THE LOOKS OF THINGS
IT NEVER WILL.

AND I DID WRITE SOME GOOD POEMS ABOUT THE IMPERFECT
MLK MARTYRED IN MY HOME TOWN.

AND A GOOD POEM ABOUT THE BLACK NANNY WHOSE MEMORY
IS MY FIRST AND WHO SHOWED ME LOVE.

AND I DID LOSE THE JOB THAT WAS PAYING MY WAY THROUGH
UCLA BECAUSE I SOLD THE FIRST HOUSE OWNED BY A BLACK
FAMILY IN MY TOWN.

AND I DID LEAVE IT WHEN STUPID PEOPLE WERE CRYING
LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT. AND BY LEAVING IT FOUND THAT
THOSE SAME STUPID PEOPLE WERE WRONG, THOSE WHO ALSO
USE SOCIALIST AS A FOUR LETTER WORD WERE WRONG AND I
FOUND THEY WERE STUPID FROM CENTURIES OF FEEDING ON
THE PROPAGANDA OF THE SONS OF THOSE PEOPLE YOU SAY
GAVE US THE CONSTITUTION.

I CANNOT GO BACK AND CHANGE HISTORY. I HAVE TO LIVE
WITH TODAY. I CANNOT GO BACK AND RETIRE THESE WEARY
BONES IN ANY OF THE COUNTRIES WHERE HEALTH CARE WAS A
RIGHT, WHERE SIX WEEKS VACATION WAS EXPECTED, WHERE
THE CHRISTMAS TURKEY WAS AN EXTRA MONTH’S SALARY,
WHERE THE ERGONOMICS OF MY OFFICE SPACE WAS
NEGOTIABLE AND THE INTERFACE WAS A GUARANTEED
GOVERNMENT FUNCTION THAT I WAS AN ELECTED MEMBER OF
AND ON AND ON AND ON.

I CANNOT CHOOSE AGAIN. I CANNOT GO BACK. I CHOSE TO
COME BACK TO A LAND WHERE I STILL HAD THE RIGHT TO
THINK WITH WHAT MENTALITY I HAVE AND THEN SAY WHAT I
THINK WITHOUT BEING INCARCERATED FOR THE REST OF MY
LIFE WITH NO WAY TO DEFEND MYSELF. MAYBE.

I CAN DEFEND WHAT RIGHTS I HAVE AND HOPE SOMEONE
SOMEWHERE HAS ENOUGH STRENGTH AND POWER LEFT TO FIGHT
FOR ME TO FIGHT FOR THAT RIGHT FOR JUST A LITTLE
LONGER.

I CAN SUGGEST THAT YOU AVOID PUTTING WORDS IN THE
MOUTHS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING WHAT LITTLE EACH OF US
CAN DO AND PAY THE PRICE OF DOING THAT.

I APPRECIATE YOUR SHARING YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF HISTORY.
I KNOW THAT HISTORY IS REWRITTEN EVERYDAY. I KNOW BY
WAY OF A GENETIC INTEREST THAT MORE THAN 483 TREATIES
WERE MADE WITH NATIVE AMERICANS AND BROKEN OVER AND
OVER. A FRIEND OF MINE SAID, “I NEVER MISTREATED ANY
INDIANS” AND HE DID NOT. BUT OTHERS DO MISTREAT OR
SOMETHING SIMILAR EVERY DAY. MY RESPONSIBILITY IS TO
SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND DO WHAT I CAN TO CHANGE
IT.

SOME OF US CHOOSE TO VOTE. SOME OF US CHOOSE TO
MARCH. SOME OF US CHOOSE TO OCCUFY. SOME FIND AN
ONLINE PLACE TO SPEAK AND LISTEN. SOME WOULD NOT LAST
FIVE MINUTES ON THE STREET.

BUT NONE WHO OF US WANTS TO TODAY THROW AWAY THAT
IMPERFECT CONSTITUTION THAT MAY HAVE BEEN CRAFTED
WITH A HEAP OF GREED & MALICE BUT DON’T THROW IT
AWAY. NOT YET!

BECAUSE IT IS A JUNGLE OUT THERE, JANE.

Am I a tad harsh with those who think that casting
ballots which don’t have to be counted for
representatives who don’t have to represent them is a
precious right, and with those who have placed their
faith in a document they don’t understand? Perhaps.
But since it is their freedoms at stake was well as
yours and mine, perhaps I haven’t been harsh enough.
Those who place so little value on our freedoms and
their own, that they would entrust them to the whims
of nine unelected buffoons, really might need a
little talking to.

I UNDERSTAND YOUR POINT OF VIEW. I ONLY QUALIFIED
WHAT YOU SAID AS A TAD HARSH. I DID NOT SAY YOU COULD
NOT OR SHOULD NOT SAY IT.
—-

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By gerard, May 21, 2012 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

Ed Romano:  Thanks for your encouragement. And that goes both ways.
  As you can readily see, though, I can scarcely help myself. 
  Today’s “upper”:  Listen to Democracy Now today, broadcasting from Chicago and watch 40 some veterans toss their medals back in the direction of NATO’s blood-sucking entrepreneurs.
  No man is an island—not even Mr. Goldman Sachs and Mr. Bank of America.

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By gerard, May 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith:  You have raised one of the most crucial questions of all.  You asked:  “You didn’t care about us, so why should we care about you?”
  This is the ubiquitous, universal question life asks all of us every day of every year—whether we hear it or not, whether there is a “reason” for asking it or not. Life “doesn’t care about us” so “why should we care about life?”
  Yet no human being who has answered and reanswered that question time and again has proven to himself or to anyone else that to answer it negatively—that is, to say “... so I refuse to care about you” has ever felt that was the “right” answer.
  Sometimes sooner, sometimes later, everyone comes to realize that the answer is: “THEREFORE I choose to care about you.” And why?  “Because by posing the question you indicate that you NEED my caring, and by asking ME, you are telling me that you know I can, and will, care for you.” My caring is the echo of your need, and vice versa.
  To the degree that I cut myself off from you, I decrease my humanity, because in a very real sense we are each “involved in mankind.”
 
    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself.
  Each is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
  If a clod be washed away by the sea,
      Europe is the less.
  As well as if a promontory were.
  As well as if a manor of thine own
    Or of thine friend’s were.
  Each man’s death diminishes me,
  For I am involved in mankind.
    Therefore, send not to know
    For whom the bell tolls,
    It tolls for thee.
            —John Donne

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By Ed Romano, May 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Gerard, I sense the soul of a poet in you…sensitivity and imagination. These are qualities
desperately need in these times. Keep plugging.

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By Ed Romano, May 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

Gerard, I sense the soul of a poet in you….sensitivity and imagination. These are qualities desperately needed in these times. Keep plugging.

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By Ed Romano, May 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Gerard, I sense the soul of a poet in you….sensitivity and imagination. These are qualities desperately needed in these times. Keep plugging.

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By the jack, May 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

gulam, et al:

this country is indeed going to fall, as do all
empires.  that is why many of us are preparing for the
end.  we used to be called “survivalists”, but now we
are called “preppers”.  whatever.

the fall should bring great joy to many who commented
in this article.  enjoy.

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By gerard, May 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Mark Smith:  A while back you asked me who I thought “us” was.  Good question—and tough to answer. A sort of stereotyped “American” majority of individuals who are also aware of, and uphold, the rights of all minorities and is, in fact, when more closely examined, a minority him/herself.  Yet not a “rugged individualist” who shuts out others.
  One mistake we have made is not to have defined in the beginning, and that in very clear terms, what kind of “individualism” is a “public good” and what kind of “individualism” is definitely bad. In that lack of definition we have permitted gross injustices that must be addressed—even though the hour is very late.
  Our nation’s “beginners” naively assumed (falsely) an ideal that has fallen far from expectations. Perhaps that is largely due to capitalism; I tend to think so, though an overdose of “romanticism” is also an active ingredient of our (sometimes called “western”) failure.
  It may be consoling to “blame history” but the essential is to look at the accumulated facts of injustice and suffering worldwide, admit failure, and rebuild from the foundations. This will be hard and take courage and patience, because it requires us all to humble ourselves (when we are very stubborn) and to work together (when we are very fragmented).
  I believe it is possible to rebuild, but that is because to not believe leads to giving up.

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By americanme, May 21, 2012 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Ed Romano stifled himself for once—did not blast into the fray to slander anyone (I am the usual target of his racist rage).

He must not have been awake yet when he posted.

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By ron hansing, May 21, 2012 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

So, does this mean that the opinion is that this a a celebration of the independence of the courts… I hope so.

But I’m afraid that if it is overturned, the mantra will be the politics charge of this independence.

Can one have it both ways… That is our way when it works and not our way when it doesn’t.  ron hansing

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By Justin Case, May 21, 2012 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Much better to quote Camus than Marx.
Much better to champion freedom than to fight internally too amongst various similar dissidents.
Let’s hope the direction does not change too quickly to the reverse.

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By Lumpenproletarier, May 21, 2012 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

I am surprised that the case was not thrown out.
However, they apparently were able to make their case
that the law was injurious to the plaintiffs due to
the fear and uncertainty the wording of the law
caused; a brilliant argument.

I would like to point out, however, that it was Chris
Hedges himself who advised the populace at large to
give up on conventional political activity and
participation; asserting that the only way left for
citizens to effect change was via protest.

This case proves that he was wrong in discouraging
people from becoming politically active. Yet, not
only does he fail to acknowledge his contradictory
actions, at the end of this article, he expounds yet
again on the hopelessness of the future of our
ability as a species to confront and deal with our
problems, and find solutions by working together.

The future is not bleak; rather it is the apathy of
people created by the doom-sayers which poses the
greatest threat to our progress and problem solving
abilities.

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By gerard, May 21, 2012 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

The thing I like the most about blogs like Truthdig is that most of the participants care about their opinions and share their knowledge or misinformation freely in the passing moment. Leaves falling in and riding downstream.  And out on the fringes are unknown “others"dipping in and pullig out bits of God knows what—like hummingbirds.
ALL YOU CN EAT FOR FREE! Some more delicious that others. Some downright unpalatable. Taste. Chew well.
Swallow or spit out. Digest, and ... even defecation is holy! 
  Of course there are tidier metaphors, but the fact remains we are all humans and so, of course, act like humans, each trying to find a way to stay alive and well, trying not to harm others in the process.
Trying to “do good to them that hates you.” Trying to understand what the hell is going on, and where and why. And all the while time passes—silently. No comment. Not authorized to speak. “Beasts Bent on Grace”, as poet Jack Gilbert nailed us in four words.

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By Roman, May 21, 2012 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I grew up in Eastern Europe where Franz Kafka and his, “there’s a hope, but not for us,” stood right next to Albert Camus and his “imagining Sisyphus happy.”

Your sisyphean task makes me proud of you, should you allow me such a feeling, and for the first time I think, perhaps Kafka was wrong.

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By sue trimble, May 21, 2012 at 8:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I like this article.  I’m inspired just for today to go on with the fight no matter what
the cost.  I will stand against tyranny today because I can only do it one day at a
time.  I need to read articles like this to keep me going no matter if I think it’s a
lost cause, no matter if I think my actions will make a difference.  It’s a moral issue
that comes from the deepest part of my soul.  I am compelled to fight for my
homeland.  God Bless America!!

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By Airborne855, May 21, 2012 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

The time is coming when men’s hearts will fail them for fear and the expectation of things coming upon the earth.

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By balkas, May 21, 2012 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

i dare say that there is no TRUTH, RIGHT, WRONG—there is what there
IS!
by “IS”, i mean what HAPPENS: CHANCE AND PLANNED HAPPENINGS!!!

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By GreenForest, May 21, 2012 at 6:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes, a Victory for all of us.  Great article and thanks for your continual work.

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By balkas, May 21, 2012 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

yes, of course, no matter how well or how clear a writ is written, any of its passages,
directives, warnings, caveats, commands, demands, wishes,  can only be known-
understood by a way of concluding what they mean at a point of time.
naturally, as conditions change, interpretation of any utterance also changes.
just two or three changes, say, warmings, world pop growth, fewer resources, may alter
meaning of any passage to the degree that wld seem it landed on earth from mars.
anent interpreting a constitution, as far as i know, only 0001% of americans ever read it;
nor are they exhorted or strongly advised to read, reread, or discuss it.
only a well selected or even elected people read it, but also solely [re]interpret, and
execute it.
as i have noted, conditions change. but the change can be also manufactured.
most of it is manufactured by people who are more or much more econo-miltary-
politico-educationally powerful than vast numbers of people in any given country.
so, cld skip all this talk and just say that the POWERS decide what is to be done.
or as mao tse dong said, all resultants [in daily life] come from the barrel of a gun.
the ONEPERCENT owns the army, city police, fbi, and cia.

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By Ed Romano, May 21, 2012 at 4:25 am Link to this comment

Good Morning Comrades, Very interesting and rigorous discussion about the Contitution and it’s amendements…not often seen in these forums…. and all the more invigorating because it is taking place without the slander, insults and venom so often seen on TruthDig. I won’t jump into the fray for fear of muddying the waters.

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By Mark E. Smith, May 21, 2012 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

CanDoJack, did you ratify the Constitution? Did the people who were there at the time ratify the Constitution? You know that “the people” did not include women, Blacks, or landless white males, who had no seat at the table and whose consent was never asked.

I recommend you read No Treason, the Constitution of No Authority by Lysander Spooner. Can I announce that I and 32 of my neighbors have ratified a contract binding you to purchase a house or a car for a specific price without consulting you? Would you feel bound by such a contract? There were 33 signatories to the Constitution. 33 rich, white male slave-holding signatories.

The Declaration of Independence stated clearly that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. The Constitution, therefore, because it did not seek the consent of the governed, has no just powers. It may have unjust powers because people don’t understand what it is and what it did, but even those who claim to respect it cannot show me where they consented to it. If they didn’t sign the contract, it is not binding upon them.

Once slavery was established and enshrined in the Constitution, by your reasoning it could never be abolished because you can’t put the baby back in the womb. If, however, the people should ever realize that slavery is unjust and unbefitting a free people, it could yet be abolished. So far it has not been, it was established by the 13th Amendment as legal punishment for a crime and crimes were quickly invented that would be enforced more harshly against Blacks than against whites, so that slavery could continue under the pseudonym of prison labor.

As for what a lower judge has ruled, which even the plaintiffs and their attorneys agree is likely to be overturned by the Supreme Court, it in no way is an example of the Constitution securing our rights, it is yet another example of our rights being granted or not at the whim of the Supreme Court, using the supreme powers that the Constitution vested in them. In a democratic form of government, supreme power is vested in the hands of the people, not in the hands of a Supreme Court.

There was once an Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or transport of alcoholic beverages. Then it was repealed by means of another Amendment. Similarly, an Amendment that barred corporate money from elections, could be repealed by another Amendment. What governments giveth, governments can taketh away—rights granted by governments are not inalienable rights, they are, at best, temporary privileges that can be withdrawn at any time.

Am I a tad harsh with those who think that casting ballots which don’t have to be counted for representatives who don’t have to represent them is a precious right, and with those who have placed their faith in a document they don’t understand? Perhaps. But since it is their freedoms at stake was well as yours and mine, perhaps I haven’t been harsh enough. Those who place so little value on our freedoms and their own, that they would entrust them to the whims of nine unelected buffoons, really might need a little talking to.

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By CanDoJack, May 21, 2012 at 2:38 am Link to this comment

@Mark Smith
@gerard

Mark, you said to gerard:

“You don’t care what is going on right now, as long
as you can continue to work within a totally corrupt
system for something that might not happen and which,
even if it happens, is no more likely to ensure our
rights than any other Amendments.”

I say: a tad harsh because she is not in the position
to say ‘Wait one, forget all that and let’s get back
to arguing the merits of the Articles of
Confederation’.

You say:
“Show me how Constitutional Amendments have
successfully ensured our rights, and I’ll be happy to
work towards another Amendment in hopes that it might
do the same.”

I say: OK, consider the article we are commenting on.
Some stalwart gents ante up and say “Excuse me POTUS
Shell Game but you see my mates here backing me?
That’s the lot standing right there in front of
‘WEeTHEPEOPLE’. we SEE your bold, dastardly,
‘sycophant of the rich’ effort to sweep some
amendments onto the floor and maybe they are not
perfect but they are all we have and we CALL that
bluff bet. And POTUS, ole thang, me and my mates here
and WEeTHEPEOPLE are doubling down on the possibility
that in that mass of jurisprudence functionaries you
have there on the Pot-o-mac one plucky (probably
female) judge might have the courage and sang froid
to say “hold on there POTUS Shell Game. I am the pit
boss here. And I order you to toss your broom aside
and get down there on the floor and pick up those two
amendments to a very imperfect constitution, put them
back on that table right in front of the ‘NO HAGGLING
ON THESE’ sign and you had better look ashamed of
yourself”

Id est, I would have said “gerard DOES care” and I
would have said essentially what gerard said re
amendments. Had there been no const. nothing to amend
would have existed. (Conceivably a good thing but
arguable).

I read your zerogov link. Thank you. OK. But, that is
reconstructing the past. I doubt you can unratify the
const. as much as I doubt you can stuff JC back into
the ad hoc immaculate womb.

[interesting word un-rat-ify which sounds up front
like a rodent extermination project until you think
about the root of the ‘rat’ meaning council, advise
as in the title of the Danish government’s beautiful
building called ‘rat[d]huspladsen—rat house
place.]

Our concern of the time is not preventing our
occufying one huge cage, it is the imposition of
solitary confinement and ball and chain attached to
each of the incarcerated.

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By Mark E. Smith, May 20, 2012 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

gerard writes, “I am fully and sadly aware of the plausible truth of what you say, especially of course since the recent House refusal to modify the NDAA. My reasoning is based on this:  It seems there is no strong majority movement united about anything and at the same time almost everything needs revision. This situation follows a long period of failure to abide by the Constitution, which has stood us in good stead until recent decades (the rise of the neo-cons etc.).”

Who are you calling “us,” gerard? The Constitution didn’t stand Native Americans in good stead. The Constitution didn’t stand African-Americans in good stead. Everything may have seemed fine and dandy to white middle-class people until recently, but it was never that way for the rest of us.

It was only because they didn’t care about the fact that their prosperity derived from the genocide and exploitation of people of color, that white middle class people thought the Constitution was standing them in good stead. Now that the economic and physical exploitation and violence are being directed against white middle-class people, they suddenly see a problem. Why isn’t the Constitution protecting you any more? Why should it? It never protected anyone else. You didn’t care about us, so why should we care about you?

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By Mark E. Smith, May 20, 2012 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

@ReadingJones

Some people are hopeful, positive, and happy about the fact that the government is continuing to drone-bomb innocent children, brutalize peaceful protesters, and destroy the economy.

Others are paid political operatives who want people to delegate their power to the puppets of the corporations who rule this country so that the genocidal atrocities, elimination of human and civil rights, and destruction of the economy can continue.

Which are you?

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By Ed Romano, May 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Gerard, I was curious as to where Canyon was on the “left”. We see talking heads on TV who claim to be on the left….progressives most of them refer to themselves as…. spokespeople, for example, on CNBC. I understand the frustration of folks who desire fundamental change in the system, but continue to vote Democratic because the alternative is even grimmer. As the right wing goes further and further to the right it allows the Democratic party to also move in that direction yet continue to claim that it is the party of ordinary Americans. Economically the Democratic party of today would easily have been Republican when I was coming up. So where will it end….I’m pretty sure that if any real change ever happens it will require that all of us stop bickering and agree on what is fundamental….the peripheral issues can be hammered out after we put the monster in the cage.

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By gerard, May 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith: Quoting you:  “Show me how Constitutional Amendments have successfully ensured our rights, and I’ll be happy to work towards another Amendment in hopes that it might do the same.

Due process? The NDAA says we don’t get no steenkin’ due process. Cruel and unusual punishment? Torture is no longer considered cruel or unusual, nor is assassination.”

I am fully and sadly aware of the plausible truth of what you say, especially of course since the recent House refusal to modify the NDAA. My reasoning is based on this:  It seems there is no strong majority movement united about anything and at the same time almost everything needs revision. This situation follows a long period of failure to abide by the Constitution, which has stood us in good stead until recent decades (the rise of the neo-cons etc.).
  Since most people are either not informed enough, or not motivated enough to unite behind any one project,(and highly suspicious and fearful of any action), yet there are smoe projects building that are moving forward and gathering support. So it seems wise to me under these limitations that it may be possible to develop larger and deeper political awareness and action by working with what we already have. I think we need to bridge a few gaps immediately, and that seems to be one possible way to do it.  What is your feeling about that?
  I see plenty of evidence that millions of people are not where you are in awareness, and need some encouragement, not desperation (which, by the way, will not move them toward action but only cause more despair. At least that has been my experience in the past.

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By gerard, May 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Ed Romano: Sorry to have misunderstood your question and in the process sort of defeated its purpose. I take everybody so literlly that I often make mistakes like that. Again, apologies.  And greetings.

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By ReadingJones, May 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

pushed wrong button

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By ReadingJones, May 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

@ Mark Smith

Sometimes people get stuck in a posturing posture of
cynical, hopeless, negativity. Sometimes it is the
posture of a paid troll who wishes to discourage
resistance to the status quo. Which are you?

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By mdhess, May 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

Thanks to You and your co-plaintiffs Chris Hedges.

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By Mark E. Smith, May 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

gerard tells me, “You seem too eager to discourage the Move to Amend successes.  The criticisms you make may or not be valid, and the movement may or may not make a positive difference. Why not give it a chance?”

Perhaps because the 1st Amendment which says that our right to peaceably assemble shall not be abridged, and the 4th Amendment securing our right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, have been in effect for 221 years now and have not protected either our right to peaceably assemble or our right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

Your insistence that it is important to spend a few decades trying to ratify an amendment which might not be ratified, and, if ratified, is not likely to secure our rights for another couple hundred years, is the height of apathy.

You don’t care what is going on right now, as long as you can continue to work within a totally corrupt system for something that might not happen and which, even if it happens, is no more likely to ensure our rights than any other Amendments.

Show me how Constitutional Amendments have successfully ensured our rights, and I’ll be happy to work towards another Amendment in hopes that it might do the same.

Due process? The NDAA says we don’t get no steenkin’ due process. Cruel and unusual punishment? Torture is no longer considered cruel or unusual, nor is assassination.

You’re saying that just because Constitutional Amendments haven’t ensured our rights in the past, doesn’t mean that they might not in the future, and that we should give them a couple hundred more years.

I don’t know of anyone who thinks that our economy, our environment, or our empire is capable of lasting another couple of hundred years. But according to you, there are tens of thousands of people like you who think that we have plenty of time and that this time can be most productively spent by working on things that haven’t worked in the past and aren’t likely to work in the future.

As far as I can tell, you didn’t read the article about the Constitution that I linked: http://zerogov.com/?p=2649 and you’re not going to, because you don’t want to know what the Constitution really is or what it really does. I know, so I’m not going to enter into your delusion.

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By Ed Romano, May 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Gerard, Thanks.  I have known about and been a subsciber to the Catholic Worker for 50 years. I was involved with Dan Berrigan in anti nuclear marches at the U.N. in the seventies and I was an organizer for the Friends Service Committe during the Vietnam War.

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By JH Gordon, May 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

People are putting themselves on the line and heroes great and small are emerging. We owe our liberty to those willing to take a risks with their own.

JH Gordon
Fireclosure
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/98807

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By gerard, May 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

Ed Romano:  Look up the work of the Catholic Worker movement, and of the Berrigan Brothers against the so-called “School of the Americas” as part of the “Christian Left” and non-violent resistance. That will get you started, at least. Also read Thomas Merton. Look up the historical and contemporary work of the American Friends Service Committee since post-World War I, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Also the Mennonite Service Coommittee. Also the Unitarians.

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By Ed Romano, May 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Canyon, Interesting. We don’t see many folks today admitting they belong to the Christian left.I think we may be afraid if we admit to being Christian people will lump us in with the lunatic fringe of the right….. That’s what seems to be the “Christian” mainstream today ....Can I ask what you mean by Christian “left”? I would be classified as a person on the left but I can’t understand how commercing with the Democratic party would fit in with what I believe in any way….

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By Canyon Walker, May 20, 2012 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

What an amazing victory, even if
it is only temporary.  I still
believe that, as a democratic
socialist and - like Chris Hedges -
a member of the Christian Left,
yet an admirer of Camus - that we
should try to be the Left’s Tea
Party and work withing the
Democratic Party, as bad as
it is.  This is simply a
matter of strategy.  It is the
most likely way to move towards
our goals.

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By americanme, May 20, 2012 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

Mark Smith:  I suspect that Lafayette may have been referring to the French Revolution, not the tax rebellion waged by land-theiving slaveholding whites in the British colonies.

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By americanme, May 20, 2012 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Lafayette:  I don’t believe you have ever read anything by Camus.

If you had, you would be aware that the bulk of his work was written from during WWII through the late 50s.  He was only about 45, if I recall, when he died in 1960.

As for how he is regarded in France—which is only taking baby steps out of its most recent period of fascist governance—I couldn’t care less. I started teaching Camus in 1968 in the US and have continued teaching from his works in Latin America and the Middle East.  I last taught “Caligula” in 2007.

He is even more of the moment now than he was in the 50s.

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By gerard, May 20, 2012 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith: You seem too eager to discourage the Move to Amend successes.  The criticisms you make may or not be valid, and the movement may or may not make a positive difference. Why not give it a chance?  It is well underway and many knowledgeable people have been working toward it for some years now—starting when the excesses of corporate domination began.
  I would like to suggest that things are not so simple as win/lose, yes/no. Occupy is far from defeated by overheated methods of control which, to some extent, are self-defeating. Nonviolent resistance is more subtle than Bang!Bang!You’re dead!
  Consider the half-tones, the nuances, the creative abilities of tens of thousands of people. Consider the weaknesses of authoritarian mind-sets. Consider what is sometimes called the “arc of freedom.” Consider “mankind” in the poet Jack Gilbert’s pregnant phrase—“A Beast Bent on Grace” cited in this issue of TD.

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By baliraam, May 20, 2012 at 7:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

in reply to surfboy, indeed damn the torpedoes. well done mr. chris hedges. you are not only doing good service TO the people of america but to the world too, as the united states are routing people’s lives and civilisations worldwide. Yes, Mr. Hedges deserves to be the US president as does Ron Paul too! Thank you again, also to your lawyers and your brave team. Shantih and God speed! God Bless the 99% Americans! The 99% = LOVE,SHARING & HEALING! The 1% = FEAR,GREED & WAR!

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By Jackie Judd, May 20, 2012 at 6:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you, thank you, thank you Chris Hedges and all of the Freedom Seven! You are the leaders we all need to follow.

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By balkas, May 20, 2012 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

evey treaty, pakt, agreement, law, constitution is interpretative. so, u.s
had not violated any treaty with the ‘indians’—it interpreted them.
sorry, folks, but that is a fact.
so, don’t make treaties, agreements, accords, etc., unless u are as strong
or even stronger than the person of a group of people you make deals
with.
every bully; every mafia, religious, ethnic, govt gang knows this truth.

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By MRad60, May 20, 2012 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

This is a rare piece of good news. Congratulations to
Chris Hedges and his co-plaintiffs, and kudos to
attorneys Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer.

Senators Wyden and Udall have warned that the Patriot
Act is being secretly misinterpreted by the Justice
Department:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/27/us/27patriot.html?
_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

Has anyone thought about the possibility of a FOIA
request to obtain the secret rulings and whatever
searches were conducted pursuant to them? Maybe Bruce
and Carl can think of ways around the standing issue.

Let’s keep the faith, and keep fighting.

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By Mark E. Smith, May 20, 2012 at 4:12 am Link to this comment

Lafayette writes, “Our revolution worked and we do have a functioning democracy. Yes, it swerves off course from time to time - but corrects itself generally.”

Of course. We started out as a “functioning democracy,” in the Israeli definition of a people that commit genocide to steal another people’s land to which they claim a Divine Right, as we slaughtered the Native Americans and violated every treaty we ever made with them, and we continued to be a “functioning democracy” by defining slaves as 3/5 persons and killing millions of African-Americans so that the survivors could work the plantations of the rich for the sole profit of the rich, and then we continued as a “functioning democracy” by conquering Central and South America for the private profits of United Fruit and Standard Oil, and then we continued as a “functioning democracy” by waging wars of aggression, overthrowing or assassinating democratically elected leaders and installing brutal dictators friendly to private US business interests in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. As long as a “functioning democracy” is defined as a government that commits genocide for the private profits of a few, at the expense of, and without consulting or benefiting the many, we almost never veered off course, and then only for a moment.

In what way did this “functioning democracy” you imagine, Lafayette, ever differ from a fascist tyranny?

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By Lafayette, May 20, 2012 at 3:31 am Link to this comment

THAT’S LIFE!

Camus: “But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.”

Camus was a Frenchman and the French flopped at executing their own revolution. Napoleon walked in to pick up the pieces and crowned himself Emperor.

Democracy in France has not come into its fullest until after WW1 and barely survived through WW2. This inter-war period is when Camus grew up and was writing at his best.

My point is that the condition that Camus relates above is French and not American historically. Our revolution worked and we do have a functioning democracy. Yes, it swerves off course from time to time - but corrects itself generally.

Where we, the sheeple, have failed is to develop a political class that worthy of consideration, that is, of having our faith that they represent our interests and not their own.

This is largely due to the advent of the Ayn Randian notion of Individualism and its primacy that the Reaganites brought to the fore in the 1980s. The result is that an entire generation has grown up since then thinking that Might Is Right and Trickle-up Economics that assure Income Disparity is (in some bizarre fashion) the only proper way of life for Americans. I.e., the rich get richer and the poor get poorer – and That’s Life! End of story.

We’ve no compass any longer that points to the True North, which is a collective spirit – one that tells us that what matters most is our Common Destiny. That is, a sense of egalitarianism that would assure a fair share all around of the enormous wealth our economy generates. We’ve come to genuflect automatically at the altar of the God of Mammon.

MY POINT?

Money has become far too integrally a cornerstone of our lifestyle. Success means money and money means success.

The more, the better? Since when did money ever bring happiness? So how can more of it bring even more happiness?

POST SCRIPTUM

CH, even in France, Camus is looked upon as somewhat of an eccentric romantic. He’s from a time that is long since passed - a period of inter-war Fascism when there was indeed a well-founded fear for individual freedoms.

Congratulations on your “win”. It was indeed worth the effort. One that we should never give up either.

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By m., May 20, 2012 at 12:56 am Link to this comment

Deepest of Respect to the enterprise…and getting away with it.  We are all(the citizens of the world) players.  No individual can assume standing on the sidelines.  US impacts the world..should apply no differing standards to the rest of the world population.  That should be addressed next.

The scope on the issue is by all means relevant, the emotional limit on concern for US citizens must be extended.

m.

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By Mark E. Smith, May 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

gerard writes, “If enough of their constituents from
all over the country come together and push for this,
Congress cannot resist taking it on because of
popular demand.”

If numbers would do it, there would have been no Iraq
war and no bailouts. The US government does not allow
public opinion to influence policy decisions.

If there are legislators supporting a Constitutional
amendment, that amendment will not reduce the
corporation funding those legislators and their
political parties require in order to exist. There is
no reason for legislators not to support something
which would leave them in power and free to pass new
legislation negating any legislation they support
now. And of course any Constitutional amendment would
be only as effective as Supreme Court interpretation
and enforcement allowed it to be.

Try reading this:

The Constitution: The God That Failed (To Liberate Us
From Big Government) by Bill Buppert

http://zerogov.com/?p=2649

Improving the terms and conditions of enslavement is
not the same thing as abolishing slavery.

Those who look to an Amendment to the Constitution,
or to adherence to the Constitution, to ensure our
rights, have never understood the Constitution. In
fact, most have never even read it.

We already have Amendments to the Constitution that
ensure our right to peaceably assemble, and to be
free from unreasonable search and seizure. Current
laws, however, allowed the Department of Homeland
Security to coordinate violent raids to break up
every single Occupy encampment in the country, no
matter how peaceable it was, and require that anyone
arrested for any reason, no matter how petty and even
in cases of false arrest, must submit to a full body
and cavity search. Why do you think that your
proposed amendment would be more effective than the
amendments we already have?

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By gerard, May 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

Postscript:  Information in my previous post was regarding the progress of people organizing (Move to Amend and many others) for a Constitutional Amendment to stop the “corporations as people” unlimited campaign contributions. See Move to Amend.org.

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By Tex, May 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From a Ron Paul Republican - Thank you Chris Hedges for standing up against this terrible wrong. Both of the Establishment Democratic and Republican parties are working equally hard to strip us of our civil liberties. We all need to put aside partisan differences and take a stand for liberty!

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By gerard, May 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

One last encouraging post of information that just arrived in the mail from citizen.org:
  1.  U.S. Senators who have endorsed: Oregon—2, Montana—2, North Dakota—1, South Dakota—1, Minnesota—2, Iowa—1, Illinois—1, Ohio—1,NewYork—2,Vermont—1,NewHampshire—1,RhodeIsland—2,Connecticut—1,Maryland—1,Colorado—1,California—1,New Mexico—1,Alaska—1,Hawaii—1,
  2.State Legislatures endorsements: NewMexico,Hawaii
and Vermont.
  A total of 24 Senators have co-sponsored and President Obama has endorsed a constitutional amendment. Over one million citizens have signed Amendment petitions.
  Just thought you’d want to know.
**Information from Nader’s organization Public Citizen

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By KVan, May 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s time for every American to memorize and analyze exactly what our Declaration of Independence says:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Thank goodness for Chris Hedges et al - Wake Up America!

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By gerard, May 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

Regarding the possibilities of a Constitutional Amendment to negate the “corporations are persons” laws:
  If those who doubt the possibility will please do the research you will find that tens of thousands of citizens are actively working on this in over 270 cooperating local organizations.  A number of City Councils have it under consideration and Los Angeles, New York, Madison, Wisc., and Portland, Ore.have already passed resolutions of support with many others holding it underconsideration currently.
  If enough of their constituents from all over the country come together and push for this, Congress cannot resist taking it on because of popular demand.
Media will likely not give it big support until the trend becomes nonreversible, and it is building.
  This is a movement that already has a good start and deserves support.

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By racetoinfinity, May 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

Great news - of course it will prob. be appealed to the Roberts SCOTUS, but let’s think positively.  Of course, the corporate media is not covering this, as far as I’ve seen.

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By zole, May 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Translation >

“Hop until you drop…

shake it ‘til you break it…

move it ‘til you lose it…

doowop doowop…”

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By Night-Gaunt, May 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

By Big B, May 19 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

The damage is already done. And I fear that, without revolution, it is quite irreversible.

The neo-cons took quick action after 911 to pass the Patriot Act, and the idea of American democracy died “to thundering applause”. They knew that if they could gut the 4th amendment the rest would fall like dominoes. For the fourth amendment WAS the linchpin that held the constitution and the bill of rights together. Without it, none of the other amendments are possible. We have found out with the passage of the NDAA and the creation of a surveillance state that would make Orwell blush, that power in the USA in now clearly in the hands of the plutocrats and the other representatives of the big business oligarchs.

I agree except in one area. Orwell would have blanched at the kinds of surveillance power that can be accessed. So many types in production and new more intrusive ones on the drawing boards of DARPA and corporate NGO’s involved in it.

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By Fearless, May 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks, Chris!

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By Randal Marlin, May 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges,
So many people are so very fearful of being singled out as a challenger to basic wrong-doing by the powerful that your action is a model and inspiration.
This is the kind of encouragement other people need. So praise to you and the brave judge.
Now let us wait to see whether the mainstream media do their job and take up the hue and cry. They are said to be under the thumb of the one percent. Let us see if in fact they are, by how strongly and firmly they stand behind you and the judge. This is an acid test for such media. I hope someone is taking careful note. There should be a watch on Fox News, WaPo, the NYT, WSJ and the rest, with someone posting the results.

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By Mark E. Smith, May 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

trog, while “Tea Party-inspired legislators
have voiced support for the imprisonment of gays,” both Democrats and Republicans have already enacted legislation allowing for the imprisonment of any US citizen, including gays. Why are you worried about what the Tea Party might do, instead of about the much more far-sweeping and devastating things that the Democrats and Republicans have actually already done?

gerard, “Since the Supremes are so lop-sidedly conservative,” why do you think anything could be accomplished by passing a Constitutional amendment that only the Supremes could interpret and enforce?

Gary Mont, thank you.

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By ForeignAffairs, May 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Many thanks to Mr. Hedges and the rest of the team, including Truthdig for covering this story.

Dr. Jill Stein is one presidential candidate who also opposes the Patriot Act and those aspects of NDAA which violate our civil liberties.

http://www.jillstein.org

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By oddsox, May 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

Even the TeaParty site is calling this a victory.
(of course, it’s doubtful they know who Chris Hedges is)

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By Kachtice, May 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

@ Chris Hedges: 

Keep up the good work, let’s hope it wasn’t in vain.

@ Mark E. Smith: 

Well said.  I am one of those 150,000,000 who refuses to vote for the same reasons.  I refuse to except the lesser of two evils as an excuse any more.  After a couple of decades of contemplation and self-educating on the subject, I have come to the conclusion that our only hope is another Revolution.  Our Political Representatives are beyond redemption, they have become corrupted by self-interest and monetary gain to the point where nothing short of starting from scratch will suffice.

@ Gerard:

A Constitutional Amendment to reverse legalized unlimited corporate contributions would not even reach the floor.  Too many Politicians making too much money from these corporate “donations”.

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By ElkoJohn, May 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

I too think it’s a long shot, but I hope it holds.

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By S. Wolf Britain, May 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

So profoundly and poetically right on the money! Or,
should I say, right on the mark calling the money
interests, the corporate-fascists, to account!

No fight for civil liberties
(human rights by any other name) ever stays won.”—
Roger Baldwin, founder of the ACLU

Amazing, right-on words of Vaclav Havel that you
quoted, Chris Hedges! Since Mr. Havel never received
the Nobel Peace Prize as he should have, and due to
the fact that he passed away on 11 December 2011, he
should receive it posthumously. We xenophobic, self-
superior “Americans” tend to think that people of
other countries are somehow inferior; but absolutely
no American could have said it better than Vaclav
Havel said what he said; not even Roger Baldwin or
any of his True American, more-than-well-deserving-
of-praise ilk.

The True Heroes, none of which seek to be heroes,
stand for and do all of the things this article so
brilliantly espouses, defends, promulgates and
promotes; and they don’t seek any praise(s) for it.
They just want to save, restore, uphold, defend
and/or protect personal and individual liberty,
freedom, independence, sovereignty and self-
governance; all of which the corporate-fascist money
interests seek to destroy and subjugate.

As Mariah Carey so aptly, correctly and succinctly
puts it in her song, Hero:

<center>

<center>”...(A) hero
lies in you…”!
</center>

</center>

<center>youtube dot com/watch?v=0IA3ZvCkRkQ</center>

<center><object width=“420” height=“315”><param
name=“movie”
value=“http://www.youtube.com/v/0IA3ZvCkRkQ?
version=3&hl=en_US”></param></param></param>
<embed src=“http://www.youtube.com/v/0IA3ZvCkRkQ?
version=3&hl=en_US” type=“application/x-
shockwave-flash” width=“420” height=“315”
allowscriptaccess=“always” allowfullscreen=“true”>
</embed></object></center>

Therefore, to ceaselessly cry out, “WE WILL NOT BE
ENSLAVED; AND WE WILL NOT HAVE OUR FREEDOM(S) AND
LIBERTY(IES) TYRANNIZED BY, CONQUERED BY, AND
REPLACED WITH TREASON AGAINST ALL THAT IS GOOD,
RIGHT, TRUE *AND FREE*;
*BY ANYONE*!”, is one of the
most Truly Courageous, Heroic, Patriotic, Human,
American and Sacred fulfillments of a higher calling.
An outpouring of the Highest Love for our fellow-
humankind, and putting them first and foremost, far
ahead of ourselves.

It is much too often failed to be recognized, even by
professed-“Christendom”, that we ARE our fellow-
humankind’s keepers; but most-definitely not in the
way(s) that the mass-murderous corporate-fascist
globalists believe and design for most of us; and
that there is no higher calling or fulfillment of
putting our fellow-humankind first and foremost, than
putting our own skin, our liberty and our very lives
on the line for the preservation of their True
Liberty and Freedom:

”...No (person/people)
has/have any greater love than… to lay down (their)
life/lives for (their fellow-humankind)...”! [John
15:13; etc.; emphasis and/or clarification(s) made by
me.]

<center>And it will NEVER be in vain!</center>

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By Old Man Turtle, May 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some here are welcoming this “decision” for giving them a little temporary relief from the relentless degradation of the wasting disease so many are trained to idolize as “civilization.”  No wonder (and certainly “no-blame”), since the overwhelming weight of reportage here and everywhere, these Days, is freighted with complaints about the pandemic of ever-worsening symptoms incident to its terminal stage.

What remains lacking in virtually all these “treatments,” though, is any recognition of the natural fact that the domesticated contingent of Humanity (‘numerically’ the vast majority at-present) is suffering this way entirely and only because of the grave insufficiency of its own organic functional integrity.  Having been co-opted and corrupted as part of the process of the disease, our tame Sisters and Brothers are captive to the degenerative “individual self” that has displaced the Natural Person Human Beings are by-nature. 

So instead of functioning as a healthy component of our Mother Earth’s natural immune system, these domesticated captives serve as dysfunctional rogue agents of the retro-viral “SELF” which has ‘presented’ here as the “civilization” disease.  The rampant sociopathic “cannibalism” so much remarked-upon these days is only another feature of its terminal phase.

There is no remedy for any of this within the confines of the disease process itself.  “Politics,” “economics,” “religion,” and all such conceits of their ilk, are only what Derek Jensen has called “toxic mimics” of (and lethal cheap imitation plastic substitutes-for) aspects of our Human Nature essential to the adequate fulfillment of our given organic function as a vital component of Her immune system, within Earth’s Whole Living Arrangement.

So while the disease has its victims/carriers desperately (and stupidly) asking their doctors if they’re sexy enough for healthful activity (Invariably they’re not, most of ‘em.), The Medicine would have them simply (though admittedly not easily) get-over their sickening “self.”  What’s it gonna be, Sisters and Brothers?

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By gerard, May 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith:  Of course any form of noncooperation might help some, though concentration on one issue might lend it strength in numbers.  I was addressing a follow-up challenging the justice (injustice) system, which has become so skewed in favor of the rich and so punishing to the other 99% because I think holding onto the law is basic if we are to stop this slide downhill.
  There are probably tens of thousands of people involved with getting rid of this corporate take-over problem.  Sniff around in your local area and you can probably find people.
Since the Supremes are so lop-sidedly conservative,
and have succeeded in influencing ALL elections with this corporate-money decision, it is responsible for spreading a basic sickness throughout government.

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By americanme, May 19, 2012 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Thanks to Hedges for this reminder:

“Revolt, as Albert Camus reminded us, is the only acceptable definition of the moral life.”

Considering the unacceptable situation of the world

we are living in—for which most

of the responsibility can be placed squarely

on the doorstep of The West,

anyone who does not revolt

is revolting.

The revolting koolade guzzlers and addicts to voting dominate this site.

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By MouseyTongue, May 19, 2012 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Many bad laws get on the books simply because they are
NOT voted in by the people, but by career politicians -
and then the people, where justice is at stake, are
left scrambling to play ‘catch up’ with the damages and
put the slap down on the BS.
Someday we will have to find a way to in fact get in
front of the ‘black text bs’ and apply the slap down
much sooner with penalties attached.

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By balkas, May 19, 2012 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

ed romano,
fact is we do not know what jesus said or taught. we only know what judeans [or jews] wrote down. btw,
let us not confuse these jews with nonshemitic jews of europe.
jesus said or s’mone said it for him to forgive one’s enemies. so, if some christians abhor other christians
or christian right then they are disobeying that teaching.
in other words, such haters do no believe that the bible is the word of god.
===
for me, christianity is just an ideology or science or some kind of knowing.
i see no need whatever to accept infallibility of any science. that includes jesus’.
but i do welcome in my life people who only believe in a deity and go no further than that.
the fact is they go much, too much, beyond that and that’s why there had been so much hatred between
orthodoxy and catholicism since 1056 or between catholicism and protestants sects or cults since ca 500
yrs ago.
and the discord, hatred between ‘believers’ may last for an eternity. surely, jesus had no hint of that
happening. had he, and if he had any honesty and care for people, he wld have never taught a damn
thing.

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By Big B, May 19, 2012 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

The damage is already done. And I fear that, without revolution, it is quite irreversable.

The neo-cons took quick action after 911 to pass the Patriot Act, and the idea of american democracy died “to thundering applause”. They knew that if they could gut the 4th amendment the rest would fall like dominoes. For the fourth amendment WAS the linchpin that held the constitution and the bill of rights together. Without it, none of the other amendments are possible. We have found out with the passage of the NDAA and the creation of a surveillence state that would make Orwell blush, that power in the USA in now clearly in the hands of the plutocrats and the other representatives of the big business oligarchs.

Go ahead, try to fnd a serious candidate on this falls ballot that is not supported by the two major parties, that are, of course, controlled by the oligarchs.

The commentator below that noted that this is not a reversal or elimination of the law, it is mearly a speedbump (I would like to point out that just recently, the FBI entrapped 6 more ambivilent morons with some fake C4 and talked them into blowing up a bridge in nearby Ohio. How would you like to come home tomorrow and check your e-mail only to find a message from your ghost partner in a plot to blow up a post office. Or god forbid, a link to kiddie porn? And as you scratch your head wondering where on earth this crap came from, the FBI kicks in your door and hauls you off to a “safe site” where you are presented with your confession to sign) This shit has been happening for over 10 years now, and no temporoary injunction is going to stop it.

Every president since Nixon has consolidated and expanded the power of the oval office. They witnessed the 1960’s and the potential for the power of the people to usurp the power of the oligarch class, and they have all made damn sure it will never happen again.

There will be bad craziness down the road, but not for a while yet. Americans have become passive meatheads in the last two generations. Only at the brink of disaster will we stand up and demand change. And since many of us are armed to the teeth, I don’t see this being a bloodless coup.

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By rb, May 19, 2012 at 8:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Victor Lazlo: I try my best.

Rick Blaine: We all try. You succeed.

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By balkas, May 19, 2012 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

s’mone said that those who control symbols will control you and no amount of revolution will change that.
symbolic values of being rich, u.s constitution, or the flag—just to list a few such symbols/meanings—are controlled by clero-plutocratic
‘elite’.
what does it mean to almost all or really all of us when a person has lot of more money than others?
i think it means to us that that person is abler, wiser, worthier; if elected to an office s/he’ll make money for you just like s/he made money
for self. we also believe that such person or such people will find solutions, keep us safe, make the country more prosperous, etc.
altho much evidence [too much to enumerate even all salient facts] points that it may not be so.
however, we cannot ever prove that richer-abler-worthier people do or do not generate all the wealth, work, security, good governance,
laws, etc.
unless, of course, we’d make an experiment in which no one wld be allowed to make more than twice or trice the money than anyone else.
such an experiment, in order to be well tested, must take time [perhaps just a few years, but most likely decades] must be welcomed or let
in peace by the ‘elite’ and plutocrats.
===
i am of the opinion that we once, tho long ago, had a society in which people lived interdependently and no one was twice or more times
richer than another. and i conclude that was the sole reason why people survived and why we are here today, but on brink on
unprecedented catastrophies.

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By Ed Romano, May 19, 2012 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

Trog69, Appreciate your thoughtful post…..I might disagree with some of it but it is a logical approach to our massive problem. I have to take exception , however, to your equating the Christian right with Christianity as though it was representative of the teachings of Jesus. There are Christians who abhor the so called Christian right and believe, as I do, that it is bogus movement that has nothing….I mean nothing .... to do with the teachings of Jesus. To lump us all together under the blanket of “Christianity ” is not only unfair it is also misleading. Onward

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By Muddy Road, May 19, 2012 at 6:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well done Mr. Hedges and all those who stood up to TYRANNY!

That a President who is also an alleged Constitutional scholar let this happen to us is disgraceful, and a sign of the times.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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By Gerry Lykins, May 19, 2012 at 5:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

from the bottom of my heart:  thank you, Mr. Hedges,
for your dedication to our country, and your work
toward fostering truth and justice!!!
It takes a huge amount of courage to do the right
thing..and I’m sure not without a price to pay..So, Mr.
Hedges and everyone who stood up for us, thank you,
thank you.

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By Rabble, May 19, 2012 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

“Accordingly, this Court preliminarily enjoins enforcement of § 1021 pending
further proceedings in this Court or remedial action by Congress mooting the need
for such further proceedings.”

Hedges v. Obama, 12 CIV. 331 KBF, 2012 WL 1721124 (S.D.N.Y. May 16, 2012).

This is not a “striking down” of the statute, it is a temporary injunction until further
proceedings. I wish media wouldn’t make stuff up and make things sound all
sensational when the facts are still interesting.

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By Rabble, May 19, 2012 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

“U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, in a 68-page opinion, ruled Wednesday that
Section 1021 of the NDAA was unconstitutional.”

Really? From what I heard she simply granted a preliminary injunction, which is not
a finding that the law was unconstitutional.  All a prelim injunction does is sut the
enforcement of the law on hold until there is a decision on the merits.

Nothing has been determined yet except that there is enough risk of harm to put
the law on hold UNTIL the courts can determine whether the law is unconstitutional.

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By balkas, May 19, 2012 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

looking at the structure of governance in u.s, i dare say that voting is one of the its least important structural member.
one can, of course, change the structure of any governance and not just the one in u.s; and make voting more or much more
important in governing [managing] a country than is the case in present structure and its strictures.
however, changing the structure of a governance, such as the one in u.s; which permits or even commands gitmo, other centers of
torture, endless aggressions [with excuses], people possessing $billions, homelessness, a fine healthcare/education for some,
little or none for others; private ownership of media, mines, transportation, forests, hospitals, clinics; much freedoms for some,
none for others, etc—depends on how well people are educated and possibly just merely on how well they are informed by other
structural members of governance such a schools, churches, media, generals, cia/fbi/police, bankers, politicos, pundits,
actors/singers, et al.
it is obvious that management of money, cia, army echelons, schooling, judiciary, just to list some of the structural members of
u.s governance, are by far more important in running the country than voting.
===
to conclude: u.s ship is not gonna even yaw for a second because CH won a small victory. in fact, i expect—and not just in
economy—worsening for most americans as long as the structure remains the same.
since the structure demands lebensraum and fewer people, slaughtering ‘aliens’, evocation of great perils, false flagging,
disinformation, spreading hatred-fears will also continue.
the structure must be fed the usual diet and it cannot ever have enough of it. it can be sated only after the final ‘solution’ is
obtained.

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By Bill Costley, May 19, 2012 at 5:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You’re daring & brave, Chris. We need you & your kind.

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By RAE, May 19, 2012 at 4:00 am Link to this comment

Congratulations on your “victory.” Hope it holds.

What is far more disconcerting than even that law is that the ATTITUDE of authority indicates they somehow think that to disrespect an American citizen in any way they see fit is their God given RIGHT.

Isn’t there something in the Constitution that allows legal action to be brought against elected officials, either individually or as a group, for even attempting to pass laws intended to restrict such fundamental rights of citizenship without even asking the citizens for permission? I mean, whose country is this anyway?

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By trog69, May 19, 2012 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

Good morning, Mark E. Smith.

You assert that declining to vote will have results that are
“Simple, easy, and guaranteed to succeed.”

Are you really not familiar with the voting pattern
of a huge percentage of the public, especially the white voters in your age-bracket in our US?
Since you’re quite sure that no legislator will be
any different than another, then I guess the results
will be simple and easy.

But we’re facing a crisis of idiocy at the moment, if
you haven’t heard. Tea Party-inspired legislators
have voiced support for the imprisonment of gays.
School prayer is becoming the lament of the Christian
right, and evolution is no longer taught in a
majority of our HS science classes, due to the
outsized voice of theocrats and the violence they’ll
very willingly inflict on anyone with the audacity to
oppose explicit school endorsement of Christianity.

Yes, most of the pols on either side are evolving (
pause while I bow for the applause for that brilliant
segue.) towards grubbing for the big bucks and lip-
service for the rest of us. But we can alter that
scenario if we did more than whine and stamp our
feet. The reason why Republicans are not being
marginalized for their hateful and divisive attempts
to further erase the middle-class is because their
constituents do not just sit there and hold their
breath, thinking that will surely let those in power
know what’s what; no, they’re funding those Tea Party
imbeciles with large portions of their SS checks, and
guaranteeing that ballots will be checked off.

I’m 20 years younger than you and your pen-pal on this
thread, and I have enough cynicism for 10 people,
though we all were given a head’s up by Obama when
he reneged on his FISA/Telecom Immunity vote, well before the election. I would
gladly vote for someone who walked Obama’s ‘08 talk,
but I will vote for Obama because we don’t have that option, and really, as it
stands, just about anyone running for office should
be viewed as possibly sociopathic, just due to the
gauntlet they face amongst the wealthy and powerful.
But if we give up, then we’ll see less and less
chances of changing anything. Taking to the streets
now is still a less-formidable route to change than
it will become if the authoritarian right is given
free-rein to impose it’s will. So, research your local pols for those who are working toward positive agenda, and get out there and fight them.

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By CanDoJack, May 19, 2012 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

@Mark E. Smith
Dear Sept, you type fast for a young guy.

Hey, If there had been no FDR, would there still have
been a wolfowitz?  (FDR - Pearl Harbor, Wolfi - 911)

I was out of the country for most of my career but,
the last time I voted was for Reagan for Governor of
CA. A guy who cannot make any better decisions than
that should not vote.

money: party to party: My senator, Diane Feinstein
has more than $47,000,000.

Employers: [One party - two party]
Until you said that, Mark, I thought the funniest
thing in reality was two opposing football teams both
praying for god to let them win the game.

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, May 19, 2012 at 1:17 am Link to this comment

There is one protest that every American can make without having to occupy a park, drive to a location or even leave his livingroom to accomplish.

That protest is to simply not vote for Goldman Sachs, which as stated below, is the inevitable result of voting for any politician, regardless of label, in the current corporate controlled election system.

If you really want to send a message to Washington that cannot be ignored, stay home, and withhold your consent.

If you vote at all, for anyone, you actually consent to the destruction of your own country and possibly the arrest and incarceration of yourself or your lovede ones.

Withhold your vote.

Deny your consent.

Its the best protest of all and will tell the world that the American Public does not support the fascists who are destroying America and the World.

And you can do it with your eyes closed and both hands tied behind your back.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, May 19, 2012 at 1:08 am Link to this comment

Yes… you might call me a Pollyanna.

Pete Seeger - Ode To Joy (with a little bastardized Stravinsky in the mix)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HOIyqXIc8Q

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, May 19, 2012 at 12:43 am Link to this comment

CanDoJack, although only 72, I think I qualify as a
young septuagenarian myself.

If you do a little googling, you’ll find that the
corporations that funded the “Gooddamned
Obstructionist Pissartists (GOP)” actually donated
more to Obama in ‘08 than to McCain, and that he
appointed at least a many top Republicans to high-
level policy-making positions in his administration
as Bush did.

As I noted in my comment, the same big corporations
fund both parties in approximately equal amounts
because they own both parties, and both parties, if
they wish to continue to get the corporate funding
without which they cannot exist, serve the interests
of their big corporate donors, not the interests of
their constituents.

Any vote at all, even a blank or protest vote, is a
vote for continued corporate rule, the consent of the
governed to be governed by the puppets of the 1%.

It would be nice if we had honest elections, but we
don’t. It would be nice if our votes had to be
counted, but they don’t. It would be nice if one of
the parties in our two-party system was an opposition
party, but that doesn’t happen to be the case.

A lot of die-hard Democrats think that if Al Gore had
become President in 2000, things might have been
different. But think about it. Whether he personally
selected his dear colleague Joe Lieberman as his
running mate, without bothering to learn his dear
colleague’s political positions, or whether forces
beyond his control coerced him into accepting a
Republican running mate, he would still have been
either voluntarily or involuntarily obligated to
pursue a Republican agenda, just as Bill Clinton did
when he teamed up with Bob Dole to push through GATT,
and as Obama did when he issued his joint statement
with McCain supporting bailouts during the ‘08
election campaign.

Some people believe that there was once a Democrat,
namely FDR. But his New Deal was not a new deal at
all, just temporary reforms that were soon done away
with because the 1% remained in power. If there are
any good Democrats in government, they have not been
able to stop or even slow the government’s constantly
increasing fascism. But most never wanted to.
Remember the Democrats giving Bush standing ovations
and voting for everything he wanted?

You’re old enough to know that we don’t have two
parties—we have one party with two names. Two
parties that have the same corporate funders aren’t
two parties at all, they’re one corporate party. No
matter how people vote, that party will remain in
power. A vote for Obama or for Romney is still a vote
for Goldman Sachs. No President would dare defy
Goldman Sachs, so whoever is in power, Goldman Sachs
people will occupy top level policy positions and
control the government’s agenda. The only way to take
away that power is to stop voting.

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, May 19, 2012 at 12:40 am Link to this comment

DVECLWD wrote:To Gary Mont:—Just noticed your post, and although I was just recently awakened to Obama’s duplicity, mainly thru Chris Hedges writings, I will say you are right on in your post, absolutely correct.  Obama is no different than Romney in any fundamental way.  They are both beholden to the corporatists and care little to nothing about the common citizen.

They are both just millioniares who want nothing more than to be bilioniares and who care nothing at all for any eggs that might get broken in the process.

Once they have the nation’s wealth safely tucked away in offshore accounts, its off to their chalets in Spain, Germany, Russia and Saudi Arabia, where they and their cronies will begin the destruction of their new nation home in the same manner and for the same purpose.

These are men who can watch a thousand people die a day and feel nothing more than momentary annoyance at the mess left behind.

I suspect there has been an epidemic of a new birth defect over the last half century that has gone unnoticed by medical science because there is no obvious physical sign.

As some of you may know, humans have a large mammal brain surrounding a tiny reptile brain. This birth defect allows the reptile brain to gain control of the mammal brain, creating a humanoid that feels no remorse or regret, experiences passion without compassion, and that cares only for self preservation and self aggrandizement and is willing to destroy anything that gets between it and what it wants.

I like to think of it as the Dick Cheney Syndrome.

Either that, or money truly is the root of all evil.

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By Elina, May 19, 2012 at 12:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is big!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For the whole world, thanks for your courage.

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By wildjoy, May 19, 2012 at 12:14 am Link to this comment

I’m really confused. I was so excited about Truthdig’s
story of the Federal Judge finding NDAA
unconstitutional because it violates the 1st & 5th
Amendments, so raved about this to everyone, posting it
on facebook. Then I see also posted on facebook stories
by Amnesty International and CommonDreams that Congress
voted overwhelmingly today to override objections and
pass the Act anyway. Does Congress supersede the
decision of a Federal Judge? Wouldn’t the next step be
an appeal to the Supreme Court?

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