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Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction

Posted on Aug 23, 2016

By Chris Hedges

  America has been transformed into a corporatocracy. (Original photo montage via Charles Dharapak / AP)

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Chris Hedges is on vacation and will return to writing his weekly Truthdig column on Sept. 5. While he is on break, we will republish some of his Truthdig columns. This one originally appeared on Jan. 24, 2010.

Corporate forces, long before the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, carried out a coup d’état in slow motion. The coup is over. We lost. The ruling is one more judicial effort to streamline mechanisms for corporate control. It exposes the myth of a functioning democracy and the triumph of corporate power. But it does not significantly alter the political landscape. The corporate state is firmly cemented in place.

The fiction of democracy remains useful, not only for corporations, but for our bankrupt liberal class. If the fiction is seriously challenged, liberals will be forced to consider actual resistance, which will be neither pleasant nor easy. As long as a democratic facade exists, liberals can engage in an empty moral posturing that requires little sacrifice or commitment. They can be the self-appointed scolds of the Democratic Party, acting as if they are part of the debate and feel vindicated by their cries of protest.


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Much of the outrage expressed about the court’s ruling is the outrage of those who prefer this choreographed charade. As long as the charade is played, they do not have to consider how to combat what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of “inverted totalitarianism.”

Inverted totalitarianism represents “the political coming of age of corporate power and the political demobilization of the citizenry,” Wolin writes in “Democracy Incorporated.” Inverted totalitarianism differs from classical forms of totalitarianism, which revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader, and finds its expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. The corporate forces behind inverted totalitarianism do not, as classical totalitarian movements do, boast of replacing decaying structures with a new, revolutionary structure. They purport to honor electoral politics, freedom and the Constitution. But they so corrupt and manipulate the levers of power as to make democracy impossible.

Inverted totalitarianism is not conceptualized as an ideology or objectified in public policy. It is furthered by “power-holders and citizens who often seem unaware of the deeper consequences of their actions or inactions,” Wolin writes. But it is as dangerous as classical forms of totalitarianism. In a system of inverted totalitarianism, as this court ruling illustrates, it is not necessary to rewrite the Constitution, as fascist and communist regimes do. It is enough to exploit legitimate power by means of judicial and legislative interpretation. This exploitation ensures that huge corporate campaign contributions are protected speech under the First Amendment. It ensures that heavily financed and organized lobbying by large corporations is interpreted as an application of the people’s right to petition the government. The court again ratified the concept that corporations are persons, except in those cases where the “persons” agree to a “settlement.” Those within corporations who commit crimes can avoid going to prison by paying large sums of money to the government while, according to this twisted judicial reasoning, not “admitting any wrongdoing.” There is a word for this. It is called corruption.

Corporations have 35,000 lobbyists in Washington and thousands more in state capitals that dole out corporate money to shape and write legislation. They use their political action committees to solicit employees and shareholders for donations to fund pliable candidates. The financial sector, for example, spent more than $5 billion on political campaigns, influence peddling and lobbying during the past decade, which resulted in sweeping deregulation, the gouging of consumers, our global financial meltdown and the subsequent looting of the U.S. Treasury. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent $26 million last year and drug companies such as Pfizer, Amgen and Eli Lilly kicked in tens of millions more to buy off the two parties. These corporations have made sure our so-called health reform bill will force us to buy their predatory and defective products. The oil and gas industry, the coal industry, defense contractors and telecommunications companies have thwarted the drive for sustainable energy and orchestrated the steady erosion of civil liberties. Politicians do corporate bidding and stage hollow acts of political theater to keep the fiction of the democratic state alive.

There is no national institution left that can accurately be described as democratic. Citizens, rather than participate in power, are allowed to have virtual opinions to preordained questions, a kind of participatory fascism as meaningless as voting on “American Idol.” Mass emotions are directed toward the raging culture wars. This allows us to take emotional stands on issues that are inconsequential to the power elite.

Our transformation into an empire, as happened in ancient Athens and Rome, has seen the tyranny we practice abroad become the tyranny we practice at home. We, like all empires, have been eviscerated by our own expansionism. We utilize weapons of horrific destructive power, subsidize their development with billions in taxpayer dollars, and are the world’s largest arms dealer. And the Constitution, as Wolin notes, is “conscripted to serve as power’s apprentice rather than its conscience.”


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By garth, December 2, 2010 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment


Thanks for your commentary of today’s televison society. 

I quote you,

“Take for example the so called reality shows, which are not reality at all, but unscripted, produced, and edited entertainment programs, which bear little relationship to reality, and always come with large cash prizes. “


I remember a Johnny Carson show in the 60s. Arnold Palmer appeared after winning a major and Johnny Carson asked him if his wife kissed his balls before the tournament.  Arnie blushed appropriately, Nonplussed.

Gales of laughter.

It was all pre-rehearsed. 

To make it seem real, the show was pre-hearsed in a manner that is similar to pseudo code in programming.  In otra mots, this is what I say and then you take it from there.

TV now is a science.  Mainly aimed at selling.  What I find most interesting about these shows is who sponsors them.  What audience are they aiming at?

How long are the commercial breaks?  One minute (bad) five minutes (good hype). 

It’s all aimed at getting someone to buy some worthless piece of crap at some exhorbitant price and it will only last for a few months.

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By al loomis, December 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

all true, but:

the cure is simple, a campaign of organized voting to force the democrat party to establish citizen initiative.

this would require about 100,000 people to not-vote, and tell the world about it monthly. there are in america not more than 1000 people willing to enter a long term campaign for democracy, so no cure.

sometimes species become extinct, so too nations.

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By christian96, February 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

JDMysticDJ & Renzo—-You both are in touch with
reality to use a pun.  I haven’t watched any of
the Reality Programs but I get a good idea from
the commericals about them of the nature of the
programs.  Renzo you made reference to the Roman
Empire.  I am sure you are probably aware that one
condition of the falling Roman Empire was it’s
tendency to put more emphasis on spectacle rather
than substance.  America to a tea!  It’s sad to
see our nation with the capacity to do so much good
decay into a cesspool of selfish materialism.  However we can’t really blame the masses.  We’ve
ignorantly been conditioned by our corporate and
political leaders.  A very small miniority see what
is happening.  The masses don’t.  They daily go about
their obsession with money, movies, soap operas and
sports.  Speaking of sports the Roman Empire had a
coliseum.  We have sports coliseums in each major
city as the fans cheer and boo to baseball, basketball, football, etc.  In my opinion all violent
sports should be banned from public schools.  If I
suggested such the masses would cry “crucify him.”
Especcially Los Vegas who makes big bucks off beting
on the activites in the coliseums.  The ruling class laughs all the way to the bank as the attention
of the masses is diverted into activites such as
soap operas, movies, sports, etc.  What is going
to happen in the future?  The party is going to come
to a screeching stop when the mark of the beast is
introduced.  The rich and poor are going to be forced to choose between accepting or not accepting
the mark to buy and sell.  Those who accept will be
cast into a lake of fire.  Those who don’t will be
killed.  Not much of a choice.  At that time the
wealthy ruling class will cast their gold and silver into the streets.  I hear the train whistle blowing
in the distance.  It’s almost upon us.  Woe unto those who can’t hear the train coming down the tracks.  Decision time!

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By RenZo, February 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

In response to JDmysticDJ & others

I agree that there is likely no conspiracy behind this *reality* TV, just that the public watch it, and sponsors buy time on it. The popularity is obscene, mostly because as mystic says it is NOT reality. I think it serves to illustrate what the “American Dream” really has become. Once it was thought to be raising a family, feeding, clothing, educating them, supporting your loved ones: give and take and love. These shows, as mystic points out, are take take take, shove shove shove, take take take, with the losers crying and the “winners” laughing and talking trash on the losers afterwards. This then, is the American Dream, that the world once envied: shove, take and mock.

This is what we have become. It is no wonder the religious moslems see us as decadent; the ancient Romans, no doubt, would have loved us though, at least for the wars we wage continuously with broadcasts in our living rooms of death and destruction daily.

This is what we have become.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 22, 2010 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

The excessive coverage of Tiger Woods’ betrayals is also annoying to me, but this phenomenon is, in effect, social commentary that serves to point out a seemingly rampant moral decadence in our society.

There are shows that deal exclusively with the excesses, and foibles of the rich and famous. Apparently, misery loves company.

The popularity of shows dealing with excesses and foibles, along with the popularity of materialistic game shows seems to indicate that our priorities are wrong. Take for example the so called reality shows, which are not reality at all, but unscripted, produced, and edited entertainment programs, which bear little relationship to reality, and always come with large cash prizes. These shows seem to me to be studies of human greed and treachery. I don’t watch them, so my assessment could be wrong, but that’s the impression I get.

Some, who have an inclination towards conspiracy theories, will assert that these shows are intended to distract us from the real issues that confront us, such as failing democracy, but this type of programming has that effect, whether it is a conspiracy or not.

I’ll suggest that the fault for the success of this programming lies with the elitist programmers who design this programming, to appeal to their perception of the viewing public, and also the viewing public who watch this drool, but the real villain is moral decadence, a moral decadence that is only multiplied by this programming. I have no objection to occasional vicarious living, as long as that vicarious example has socially redeeming qualities.

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By RenZo, February 19, 2010 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

dear christian96

I watch no television, read no newspapers and listen only to “progressive” radio part of each day. I must agree with you. It is extremely IRRITATING to hear his name on everyone’s lips, to hear how he apolgized, whether this woman believes him or that man believes him.

I can’t imagine anything that reminds me more of pornography than public discussion of someone’s sex life. I really really really don’t care about him, AT ALL. I don’t care about TIGER.

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By christian96, February 19, 2010 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

I have hit the boiling point.  They interrupted
The Price Is Right this morning with Tiger Woods.
I fired off the following e-mail to CBS.  I don’t
expect a response.

Mimi—-Hope things are going well.  I am the retired university professor who contacted you last June concerning why DISH did not
carry CBS in High Definition.  I am pleased to see they are now doing so.  I was hoping to watch Price Is Right today but it was
interrupted for coverage of Tiger Woods statements.  Times are bad for many people in America.  Many choose to watch The Price
Is Right as a temporary escape from their problems.  I am curious why CBS would cover Mr. Woods statements.  They would seem
more appropriate for The Golf Channel and/or ESPN.  Do you know why CBS chose to do so?  Thanks for any assistance.  I am
a Psychologist and interested in rationales people use for certain behaviors.

P. S.——Tiger could have saved a lot of time and energy by simply saying, “I’m sorry I got caught.”

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By RenZo, February 17, 2010 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment

“Destruction as Creation Theory.”

You are very well read, dood. Hats off to you. I take your improvements to my rant with grace and good sense. Thank you.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 17, 2010 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment


Thanks for including the “…small handful” In your assessment. To me, that amounts to a less than absolute, complete, and total condemnation of the Democratic Party. I would agree with your statement that, “There is NO significant difference between today’s Democrats and yesterday’s RepubeCons.” with one exception. I would reduce the upper case “NO” to a lower case no. I think the upper case “NO” is a little too strident. There have been a few, much too few, minor differences that have some minor significance. I won’t list them because they are considered minor, and I’m sure you will be able to identify them yourself, if you think about it for a few seconds.

The “…small handful” nearly got covered up by the broad swath of your brush. I’ll suggest that the “…small handful” is deserving of our support, their smallness is discouraging in the extreme, but they appear to be our only hope, unless we put our hope in Bukkanin’s “Destruction as Creation Theory.” No State, no government, no law, no order, Anarchy; fertile soil for the worst form of fascism.

Sorry, I know my assessment is extreme at the present time, but all this factionalism reminds me of a failed state, where the most ideologically committed, dogmatic, unified, and well financed political group would be guaranteed success. That would be the “RepubeCons,” and that would mean gridlock or acquiescence; a repeat of the Clinton, or Carter Administrations, and a triumph for the right, and their corporate masters. This scenario would be of little concern to the pseudo left (Republidems, whatever,) they would carry on, serving their corporate masters.

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By RenZo, February 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

By RenZo, February 11 at 8:22 pm #

I always thought Nader was a little ‘tetched’ in spite of his many years of serving us without getting filthy rich himself.

He was right all along.

There is NO significant difference between today’s Democrats and yesterday’s RepubeCons. Everyone is on the take (except a small handful). They all do it for money (remember what that is called, and that it is only legal in Nevada) and they worry only about themselves.

Our illustrious president is every bit the NeoCon that Clinton (he) was or (she) is. This may be a post racial state of events momentarily, because if his being a minority gives him any special awareness or sense of duty, he is not letting it affect his job performance. He missed a VERY important milestone when he failed to fire ALL the US Attorneys on the day he was sworn in (twice). The whole lot of them were (arguably) circumstantially complicit in political prosecutions, and were at the very least guilty societally of being supporters of the RepubeCon war criminals now hiding successfully behind our President’s wide robes of office.

CLEARLY WE SHALL HAVE NO ATONEMENT for killing our brothers, children, cousins, friends, fathers and mothers along with hundreds of times more innocent peasants, farmers and townspeople throughout the mid East, for CORPORATE PROFIT. There was no terrorist threat in Iraq, and but a tiny group of barely literate fanatics in Afghanistan. They are not really a threat to America, are they? In any case, the opium growers are not targeted, are they? Their friends and brothers are the government of friendly Afghanistan.

CLEARLY WE SHALL HAVE NO ATONEMENT for lying us into illegal wars, for war crimes in our name, for supporting opium growers in our name, for torturing in our name, for rendition in our name, for stealing in our name and from our own pockets, for imprisonment without trial in our name, for wire tapping US IN OUR OWN name. All of it IN OUR NAME. In your name, too.

CLEARLY WE SHALL HAVE NO ATONEMENT, but even worse, this administration, this golden throated “Democrat(ic)” president, is providing de facto protection for our former White House employees. This is complicity in war crimes. Beyond the unimaginable stupidity of rewarding bankers for stealing from Americans (among other stupidities), this government is actively avoiding the investigation of obvious war crimes.

CLEARLY WE SHALL HAVE NO ATONEMENT, but worse, we shall apparently have NO END to the commission of crimes, by this very adminstration, in OUR NAME.
Has the domestic spying stopped?
Have the political prosecutions stopped on our soil?
Has the rendition stopped?
Have all the Gitmo “detainees” been presented in court?
Have thieving bankers been penalized?
Have the bombing runs against wedding parties stopped in Iraq?
Have the unmanned drones been grounded?
Have the opium growers been caught, or even threatened?
Has the torture IN OUR NAME stopped?
Who do you want to speak for you?
Democrats, Republicans, Bankers, Industrialists, Investors, Aristocrats, another Bushbaby, Obamatwin, WHO?

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By christian96, February 11, 2010 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

JDMysticDJ——I am saying we need to start at the
bottom to educate people how the riffraff at the
top is manipulating them through the media, etc.
However, I do recognize that it is entirely possible
to educate people and that education turn out to be
somewhat futile when it comes to voting in an election.  People can be very educated but they are
still only offered two candidates to vote for and
those two candidates represent the riffraff.  Educating the masses will not help voting in our
extant democracy but it may help other variables,
i.e. reduce obesity, divorce, child abuse, spouse
abuse, etc.

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By firefly, February 10, 2010 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

The US justice system has gone down the drain. Like ancient kingdoms of bygone eras, laws are written now to protect the wealthy alone (after all, kings, emperors, tsars etc were nothing but extremely rich men, although many of them thought they were ordained by God).

Money has always, always, always corrupted people and the capitalist system has meant that principles like equality and justice for all, no longer exist… until a new Karl Marx comes along.

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By garth, February 10, 2010 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

The Progressive Americans have forgotten the radio.  I just heard the owner of very local station in Cambridge, MA decry the Supreme Court ruling on allowing Corporate “bribes” to the hapless pols.

It was powerful.  Listen to Ed Schulz.  He knows the power of radio.

I suggest that some radio stations air some of posts of RenZo and JDMysticDJ. They make good reading on the net, but broadcast over the air in a minute or so they could bring some of the confused issues into better focus.

I remember Eric Severied who gave editorials on CBS News in the 60s.  They were damning to the Nixon Administration.  The next day these editorial would appear in the papers.  They were short reads and the power in the printed word, for some reason, had been lessened.
My point is that a lot of the posts could be read on a radio show and their effect would by much greater than on just blog readers or commenters.
It could be called the One-Minute American Rant.

You guys have such cogent arguments and clear writing styles.

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By garth, February 10, 2010 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

Forget the Social studies courses and what’s on the menu, it’s time to batten down the hatches.

According to Dennis Blair, one of Obama’s security advisers, the U.S. Government, that’s us, now has the right to assassinate Americans if they’re deemed to be “doing” something counter to U.S. interests.
He went on to say that this does not, however, include free speech, which seemed to take on the childhood rhyme, “Call me this and call me that, ....”

They’re pinning their confidence on technology and drones.  They might use the drones on us.

Now, a President can decree that Joe Schmoe, a U.S. citizen visiting anywhere in the world had better watch his step, or else!

What’s that poem, When they came for my neighbor, I said I am not interested in his problems, so I shrugged my shoulders..”
Well, it’s now clear.  They’re coming for us.

Look up the history of Dennis Blair and you’ll take his words very seriously.

Thanks to DemocracyNow! for bringing this up.  Blair, after all, did appear before the Senate in Governmental capacity.  It wasn’t like one of those mouthpieces on the media blurting it out.  This is real shit.

A man was stopped at Police checkpoint in MA.  According to news sources, he was smoking a joint and tried to run.  For that crime of all crimes he was beaten to death by the local and state police that manned the checkpoint.

C-SPAN had a tv civics lesson.  That should tell us how mealy-mouthed we’ve all become.  A lesson, a pat on the back, now go about your business.

I wish my Great grandparents never left Sweden.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment


Social Engineering?

Are you suggesting that we need to improve the social awareness of the riff raff, in order to improve Democracy?

My belief is that the riff raff are currently at the top of our socioeconomic hierarchy, and that our social problems are caused from top down corruption and not vice a versa. Those who have quested for wealth and power, are superior, according to their false value systems, and they are condescending and elitist at best, unconcerned and disdainful at worst.

Liberation theology teaches people that they are not inferior to their self ordained masters, and that they need to take political action in order to insure social justice. Democracy is the only method where-by the people have the ability to participate in their own governance, but they lose that ability to participate when they don’t participate. Obstacles to that ability to participate have been created by an elitist class, and these obstacles can only be removed, if we the people take action and demand that these obstacles be removed.

Social justice is very important, but the issues that confront this nation go beyond the issue of social justice. I believe immoral acts committed by individuals make those individuals immoral, but individuals who commit immoral acts seek to rationalize those immoral acts, in order to suppress feelings of guilt and as an attempt to avoid the psychic anxiety that is a result of their immoral acts. I also believe that the more successful a person is at rationalizing their immoral acts, the more immoral that person becomes. I believe that this pathology is the process known as moral decadence and that it leads to self destruction, and in some cases perversion or murder.  I’ll argue that this phenomenon is not exclusive to individuals, and that it is evident in nations as well. If a nation does commit immoral acts, it becomes imperative that the people of that nation take action to end those immoral acts, because they are immoral, but also because they are self-destructive. Again, Democracy is the governmental system that best allows people to have a voice in their government’s actions, to restrain their leaders from committing immoral acts, and to hold their leaders accountable for committing immoral acts. Democracy comes with an innate responsibility, and the people of a functioning Democracy are responsible for the acts of their leaders, and if their Democracy is not functioning correctly, they have a responsibility to make it function correctly.

Who defines what is moral? This is not the forum for defining what is moral, but it is the forum for assigning responsibility for morality. It is the responsibility of the people in a Democracy to define what is moral, and to demand that their leaders follow their moral precepts. Defining morality is controversial and is subject for debate by: Social Darwinists, Humanists, Religionists, Philosophers etc. etc.  But certainly there are universally recognized moral concepts, and it is the responsibility of the people of a Democracy to put an end to morally indefensible acts perpetrated by powerful elites from within their Democracy, and if morally indefensible acts are obfuscated, it becomes necessary that individuals take action to make these morally indefensible acts subject to debate.

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By ofersince72, February 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

our elections have been useful fiction

you would think that after all the questionable
counting of votes in the last several federal elections,  one of the dimwits on capitolhill would
sponser some legislation that would make uniform
all federal elections.  they must like the confusion
of ohio , florida, minasota and just about everywhere

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By christian96, February 8, 2010 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

I think it was 1990 when I went to Columbus, Ohio
to speak before the State Board of Education about
mandating two courses, Child Development and Family
Relations in public schools in Ohio.  The Pres. of
the Board of Ed. interrupted me and ask for a summary
of my ideas because it was time for the Board to go
to lunch.  Obviously my ideas were not adopted.  Yet,
if we are going to see true change in America it
will come through the children and the true education
they receive.  Wonder how much unemployment, obesity,
divorces, suicides, etc. could have been prevented
in Ohio if my ideas had been adopted?  Sadly, I’ll
never know.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment


It won’t be easy will it?

What other option do we have; surrender to the inevitable? We have a tendency to condemn those who have surrendered to the inevitable in the past, and we’ve seen the consequences of that surrender.

Of course I’m not talking about a military surrender, but instead, a political and moral surrender.

I won’t be around to see a total victory either, but I want to fight towards that possible victory. I’m hoping that it will make life worthwhile.

It’s more than a question of continued existance; there’s also the issue of quality of existance.

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By RenZo, February 8, 2010 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

dear mystic,

I do not disagree with your apparent gestalt of the current situation. I do think you are not cynical enough. Yes it is theoretically possible to retake the government, but where is the groundswell of outrage: perhaps not enough people see it, because of the corporate noise.
The corporate noise is constant, twenty four seven, on all channels, stations and frequencies. I think only five companies now control almost 100% of broadcast media. Major newspapers are going bust with unparalleled frequency and certainty; even if they were not beacons of neutrality, they at least had the potential of resorting to ‘fair and unbiased’ analysis in the future and they were, theoretically at least, based in our local communities.
The actual situation is much worse than you seem to paint it, although I hesitate to contradict anything you said, for certainty of mispeaking against your reason. Americans by and large DO NOT UNDERSTAND that it is possible to broadcast propaganda. This is above their heads, because they have been getting reality fixes and hollywooden hero snacks for their whole lives. They have no perspective. Their education is disastrously, ridiculously, insanely inadequate to understand how countries work, how economies fail, how candidates LIE, how TV news anchors LIE. On and on and on…..
Corporations have been training their minds for their whole lives. How much tv do children watch now? Even one hour is too much. NOTHING of whatever democracy EXISTED before can EVER be regained if it depends on Americans’ UNDERSTANDING because they DON’T CAN’T and WON’T.
For any democracy to exist here in the future we must agitate to regain a modicum of control over children’s education: civics, socialization, co-operation, compassion, government, history. On and on and on and on. This will take the rest of our lives (provided you are near my age). But starting at ground zero now may even be too late.
The bigger picture is that fossil fuels are running out, their owners are ransoming the First World, who are descending into bounding, crushing, marching corporatism (also known in educated societies as FASCISM)while the glaciers melt. Disaster is coming: political, climatic, energetic, nuclear, and on and on and on…..
Terrorism is just a new reality show. 9/11 was horrifying but NOTHING compared to the Fascist HOLOCAUST. We are being BATAAN marched into the manacles of fascism in order to prevent a few hundred partially educated non-english (non-french, non-rusian, non-italian, non-chinese) speaking religious zealots from the darkest middle ages of humanity’s history from taking over the world?????????
Who really believes that? It is worse than it seems, or so I believe. I think our destiny is signed sealed and being delivered really soon. But that’s just my opinion. Please excuse me for shouting.
I am going away for a while: otherwise I will just go on and on and on and on…...........

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By JDmysticDJ, February 8, 2010 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment


Your Post,

“there are really only two ways:

1) ruthlessly elect officials who will shrink government
2) violent revolution

I’m not really ready for #2 yet.”

Is overly simplistic, and based on a false premise. There are in fact, more “ways” than the 2 you offer.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 8, 2010 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Reactionary Libertarian theories are counter productive. The oversimplifications of Libertarian theory will only deliver absolute power to the corporations. Any attempt to regulate corporations would be anathema to Libertarian philosophy.

Christian96’s comment that, “…the media uses psychological principles to influence buying habits.” is obvious to all, even as their “Buying habits” are being influenced. These “Psychological principles” are best understood by those who are the disseminators of propaganda, but the beneficiaries of propaganda are those who commission the propaganda, and the commissioners of propaganda are those who best understand the value of propaganda.

Dissemination of propaganda is expensive and therefore most available to those who have the economic resources to finance the dissemination of propaganda. Its all about mind control, and the goal is to influence/control public opinion.

Take for example the Sunday morning news programs, which are broadcast by the major networks. The pundits who appear on these programs have the intention of influencing public opinion, while the networks will say that these programs are intended to educate and increase understanding in an unbiased way. The attempts by these pundits to disseminate their propaganda are overshadowed by the propaganda that is disseminated by the Multi-National Corporations that advertise on these programs. The attempts at disseminating propaganda by liberal pundits, is neutralized by the contrary attempts at disseminating propaganda by conservative pundits, while the propaganda disseminated by Multi-National Corporate advertisers on these programs is unopposed.

Are these network news programs truly unbiased? Clearly they are not. First consider the fact that these networks are owned by Multi-National Corporations, secondly consider the nature of bureaucratic organizations, where-in the individuals, who most support the goals and philosophies of the bureaucracy, are the individuals who rise in the hierarchy of the bureaucracy. Thirdly, and most importantly, consider the philosophies and actions of those who produce these programs.

Who are those who are responsible for our current financial difficulties? Common sense dictates that those who were the architects, and perpetrators, of the destructive policies are responsible.

In a rational, unbiased milieu, these architects/perpetrators would be discredited, but the network news programs continue to present these architects/perpetrators as being credible experts on economic policies, in spite of the fact that they continue to advocate for their failed policies. Could it be that the goals and philosophies of these failed economic leaders are the same as the goals and philosophies of those who produce these network programs?

Greenspan’s Libertarian economic policies enabled the Wall Street mavens to pursue policies that nearly caused the collapse of global economies, and Paulson is a long time leader of these Wall Street mavens, and a long time endorser of Greenspan’s failed Libertarian economic theories. And yet, the networks continue to present these individuals as being credible authorities on economic policy, and give them the forum for advocating for the continuance of these failed policies. Greenspan continues to assert that supply side economics creates healthy markets, while history, as well as common sense, shows that demand creates healthy markets. Those nations that most adopted the Greenspan/Freidman policies are currently bankrupt.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 8, 2010 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

Back to the issue at hand; currently, it’s not a strong government by we the people that threatens Democracy; it’s the inordinate power of a corporate minority that threatens Democracy in America. If the interests of corporations have usurped the interests of the citizens within a Democracy, because of financial advantage, it becomes necessary that the citizens of that Democracy resort to other methods, in order to preserve Democracy, and to influence public opinion and government policies.

Doing so may be more “pleasant” than we expect, but it won’t be “easy.”

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By garth, February 8, 2010 at 10:54 am Link to this comment


You seem to be another great 18th century American.

We’re well past that stage. 

We can change America by being real Americans. Our fathers, goddammit, our fathers, voted for a Government that played its role.  They experienced what we are going through, in spades.

Before you jump on a bandwagon, I, first, suggest that you read Nick Gillespie on and tell me that his ideas are nothing more than self-serving for the rich child of a wealthy family.

Tell us, what do you make a year?  Do you have a trust fund?  Are you related to anyone in the Forbes 400?

If you can’t move with history, then as Bob Dylan warned, “Get out of the way.”

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By drek, February 7, 2010 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

there are really only two ways:

1) ruthlessly elect officials who will shrink government
2) violent revolution

I’m not really ready for #2 yet.

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By christian96, February 7, 2010 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

Drek—-Do you have any ideas for shrinking the
government?  Surely you don’t propose to do it
through the voting process.  Excuse me.  I must go
back to evaluating the Super Bowl commericals.

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By RenZo, February 7, 2010 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

Alan Greenspan, (By the way, was he weaned on a pickle?)

Garth, do you write for the Letterman Show?

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By RenZo, February 7, 2010 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

bin·dle·stiff =>
n.A hobo, especially one who carries a bedroll.

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By drek, February 7, 2010 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

has anyone stopped to think that, if we really want to stop this country from becoming a corporatist state, we should just make government less powerful? the big companies that you sound afraid of (with good reason) can only do evil if they partner with the government (which they do in large numbers, already).  so let’s fix the problem.  let individuals run their own lives. shrink government down so that it no longer has the power to control the citizens.

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By garth, February 7, 2010 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

I watched Sarah Palin’s speech last night.  (Later, I realized that if I want to know what these well-dressed bindlestiffs are saying, I have to hear it all myself.  The news reporting and analysis afterwards was atrocious.)
I think the big investors in the health insurance companies, the drug companies, oil, coal and nuclear energy are now drooling.
In my view, the problem with her speech and her expansion in the Q&A, from my standpoint, is that the speech will eventually fall appart from its own inconsistencies.  The Big Money’s got to be banking on one strategy: The dumbing down of the voters to the point where they are so confused and scared and angry that they’ll go for anything. 
I think, though, that they, the Master Class, both political and business, still fear the people, but it’s a matter of pride with them, though.  They need to feel superior by fooling us.  In other words, they’re smart and everyone is stupid.  It’s as if they want millions of Americans to rise up and, to rephrase a line from an old Mickey Rooney movie, “I’ve got an idea. Let’s all be slaves.”

Alan Greenspan, (By the way, was he weaned on a pickle?) says, “Put money in the pockets of consumers.”  Then finishes off with, “We have to cut Social Security benefits.”  These are the people who already spend 100 percent of what they take in. 
Cut the payroll tax, that’s the 6 percent the employer pays to Social Security, so that “Big Jim” down at the Krispy Kreme donut shop can take on a few more helpers. 
Will someone, anyone, give us a break?  The nonsense is starting to hurt my ears.

When they throw about 30 million into the soup kitchens, then there’ll be a receptive crowd that’s ready for a big change.

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By christian96, February 5, 2010 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment

Garth—-Most people don’t really know what curriculm
is being taught in public schools.  They just remember the boring and irrelevant courses they had
to endure to graduate.  Courses need to reflect
what the students are experiencing in everyday life.
The Child Development and Family Relations courses
could be design to do just that.  What’s sad is that
many of the resources needed to teach the courses
already exist in public schools.  Home Economic
teachers are required by each state to take Child
Development and Family Relations courses to be
certified to teach in public schools.  Therefore,
the courses could be taught by Home Economic teachers. I taught Child Development in the Family Resources Department(fancy terminology for Home
Economics) at Washington State University in the
early 1970’s.  The Home Ec. teachers would know
sound Child Dev. & Family Rel. principles but they
probably wouldn’t know significant areas which
would need to be taught in the courses, such as how
the media uses psychological principles to influence buying habits.  For example, watch sporting events.  Since mostly men watch them the
advertising will be mostly be beer products.  Watch the
Super Bowl this weekend and see how the commericals
are designed.  I just got the idea to tape the
commericals this weekend and play them back slowly
to evaluate how the commericals have been designed
sociologically and psychologically to influence the
buying habits of the viewers.  Perhaps there is a
possible book in the making.  Getting back to the
courses community resources(counelors, psychologists,
sociologist, ect.) could be used to help design and
supplement the courses(guest speakers). Because so
many resources are available it wouldn’t require a
lot of financial support to initiate and maintain
the courses.  I just got the idea of taping the
Super Bowl commericals and using them in the courses
as an example how they(the students) are manipulated
to buy certain products.  The potential for the
courses is unlimited.

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By garth, February 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Bill Moyers had an interesting debate on his show about the Supreme Court ruling of corporate personhood.  Lawrence Lessig the liberal of Harvard Law took on Nick Gillespie the libertarian of

Gillsepie seemed to be saying that all the furor about this ruling was much ado about nothing, that corporations are in reality, just people.
He went on to say that 26 states already allow corporations to donate directly to political campaigns and singled out Utah as an example of a state that has not been corrupted.

Kevin Phillips points out in his book, “Bad Money” that Salt Lake City Utah, the smallest, large city with and SEC office, handles about 9000 cases of fraud each year.  I don’t think Utah was good example to cite.
Nick, with mussed hair and black leather jacket, is stuck on Ayn Rand somewhere between the 50s and the 60s.

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By garth, February 5, 2010 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment


I appreciate your explanation, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. Your criticisms and examples were particularly poignant.
The problem, however, as it seems to me is that your plan would be just a part of what is actually needed to right this foundering country. 
Courses in civics, debate, and journalism among a few should be added to the curriculum.  I knew a high school teacher who taught a segment in his class that took a critical look at marketing.  Students became aware of how ads might seem to say one thing but can mean something completely different, or, as in the case of the campaign of Scott Brown, Senator of MA, say nothing at all.  (He promised to wear a barn coat and drive a pickup truck.  In his campaign he said his mother divorced twice and his family had to go on welfare.  He used that as springboard to say that that is why he became a Republican.  Now, I thought that it was good for him that welfare was available to his family when it was going through a rough time.  Like most Republicans, however, he’s an ingrate.  He married a well, however, girl named Gail Huff from a well-to-do family.  I heard he wants to parallel Obama’s meteoric rise to power so he’s going to write a book entitled, “The Audacity of Huff.” )

To the matter at hand, though, I think progressive Democrats should take the shotgun approach instead of stumbling forward as an unorganized group of would-be sharpshooters.  So many targets, so little time. 
The Republicans, on the other hand, wage war against this democracy in what seems to be a Hydra-headed, well prepared plan.  If it’s not one thing, then it’s another, from all angles and from what seems like innumerable sources.  Think tanks, the Main Stream Media (which seems to serve as a just a propaganda arm), astro turf Tea Baggers, right-wing pundits, and they’re gathering momentum.
What is needed is a concerted effort.  Honest journalists, politicians, action groups ought to meet to develop a multi-pronged strategy.  Get them off-balance, take them by surprise, hit them where it hurts with everything we’ve got, and don’t give in to despair in the face of what has become abundantly clear what they have in mind. 
When Reagan came to power he had forty years of New Deal progress to cushion his body-blow to the economic under-belly of the lower- and middle-classes of this country.  George W. took it right to the edge.  Any more Republican or Faux Democratic policies might tip the whole thing over.  As Chalmers Johnson said, “Bankruptcy will end America as we know it.”

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By JDmysticDJ, February 5, 2010 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment


Cliché’s and common “truisms” aren’t always useful, but we frequently hear that “All politics is local.” I’ll suggest that this truism is especially true of political activism. We have the example of the 60’s, where-in the mass national protests of the civil rights movement began from grass roots activism that began within local churches, and mass national anti-war protests were coordinated, to a great extent , by grass roots movements that began in local institutions of higher learning. Although the initial acts of protest were limited to minority sub-groups, the goals of these sub-groups had a mass appeal, and people from all walks of life soon became participants in these protests.

Although repressive elites from local governments and the Federal Government require licenses, and demand the ability to regulate civil protest, no license, admission ticket, or identification is required of the participants in civil protest. The only requirements are that the individual give credence to the goals of the protest, and be willing to make the necessary sacrifice to advance those goals.

I’m not naïve, nor do I fail to recognize that grass roots organizations are not always constructive or positive. Grass roots organizations have the potential for being, and have been, reactionary and harmful in the ultimate extreme. Discernment by individuals within a society is of the utmost importance regarding these issues, and that is why I consider societal moral decadence as being an issue of the utmost importance.  It can be argued, depending on ones moral perspective; that the Main Stream Media is contributing to this supposed moral decadence, and that examples of this contribution are glaringly obvious and commonplace.

Perhaps, by narrowly focusing on mutually agreed upon specific goals, grass roots movements can avoid counter productive debate which will diminish the effectiveness, and reduce participation by the masses in achieving these necessary goals. Factionalism, and infiltration by reactionary elements, destroy unity, and diminish the effectiveness of popular movements.
Popular movements within Democracies are only constructive, when they enhance Democratic principles. I find it interesting - to put it bluntly - that racists, war mongers, and other supporters of the status quo, accused the popular movements of the 60’s as being manipulated and financed by sinister, non-democratic, un-American minorities, while there is documented evidence that the Tea Partiers are being manipulated and financed by minorities whose objectives are questionable, and appear to be contrary to Democratic principles, and thus, un-American.

Nazi like propaganda, based on outright lies, fabrications, misrepresentations, revisionist history, and the psychopathic paranoid babblings of certain individuals, is being disseminated by the right wing news media and right wing politicians, while pseudo left wing politicians stress the need for bi-partisanship, and the Corporate Main Stream News Media sacrifice truth, in favor of a false objectivity. This false objectivity seems to be effectively dictated to the bureaucrats within the Main Stream News media by their corporate masters.

Corporate minority organizations are in fact financing the Tea Partiers, and the recent decision by the right wing appointed Supreme Court has only enhanced the ability of corporations to promote right wing candidates and further influence an uninformed, overwhelmed electorate. Noami Klein’s “Shock Doctrine,” may or may not be orchestrated by the right, but it remains as a useful tool for the right to obfuscate, and effectively influence the perceptions of the electorate.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Renzo (Cont.)

Current events, and historical events, illustrate the dangers of current political realities, and that is why it seems imperative to me that the politically aware move beyond being critics, to becoming activists, and that they use the means necessary to ensure that the primary issues will be openly and broadly debated, that these primary issues will not be subverted by factionalism, and that focusing on factionalism will not provide elite minorities, who control and define political debate, the subterfuge necessary to ignore the primary goals of popular movements.

The Tea Partiers are now again accusing Obama of being a socialist.  Those who are advocates of Social Democracy know that these allegations are absurd, but the Main Stream News Media reports these allegations without qualification, thereby diverting debate away from the real issues, to these absurd issues.

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By RenZo, February 5, 2010 at 8:09 am Link to this comment


I don’t agree with your religion, but I agree with you. The essential skills that make life better and easier for this and the next generations SHOULD be taught in school, maybe not just once, but over and over again. I also agree that the bell curve that obtains in population statistics with regards to individual personality traits would smooth out the influences of any one, biased psychologis. You have a very good point there, but I am not sure it belongs in this blog.

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By christian96, February 4, 2010 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment

Garth—-School Psychologists are nothing more than
a specific group of people.  Anytime you study a
group of people you will find wide diversity within
the group as far as cognitions, values, and behaviors.  I’m not sure about School Psychologist
but I do know some Psychologists have used their
knowledge to further the careers of politicians,
bankers, and business persons.  Most Psychologists
do not share my Christian beliefs.  Since learning
a little about humans they set themselves up as God
and decided the way humans should think and behave.
The Child Development and Family Relations courses
need to be required of all high school students just
as math and science.  If offered as electives the
students who need them the most will not elect to
take them.  The Child Development courses would
teach parents the importance of diet while carrying
the child and immediately after the child is born.
It would alert parents of the tactics of corporations
related to diet, i.e. use of sugar, salt, and chemicals to make the food look and taste good.
The course would introduce basic principles of Child
Development to better understand themselves and their
children.  For example, all children want to be noticed and feel as though they belong.  When I was
serving as School Psychologist I wasn’t as concerned
with the “acting out” child in the classroom as I
was with the child sitting in the back of the class
being quiet but not participating in class discussions.  On the playground they didn’t have
any friends but played by themself.  Teachers aren’t
as concerned with that type of student because they
aren’t interruping the class.  Teachers as well as
parents need to know more about Child Development.
While in college teachers are usually required to
take a course in Human, Growth, and Development.
However the course just covers vague generalities
and not enough specifics about understanding children.  Because of space I’ll move on to the
Family Relations courses.  High school students need
to understand the characteristics to look for when
considering a mate.  Characteristics associated with
successful marriages.  Too many children are suffering today because they come from broken families.  The course would also teach how the media
influences values and behaviors within the family.
This is very important.  A little more than a 100
years ago if you were born in a certain location
you didn’t travel more than a 35 mile radius in your
entire lifetime, on the average.  That meant your
role models came from within that 35 mile radius.
Today you turn on a television set and your role
models can come from any where on the planet.  Families need to understand the importance of role
models on the attitudes and behaviors of children.
Considering the range of intelligence and large number students in the average classroom our public
schools do a decent job of teaching reading, writing,
and arithmetic but they do a poor job teaching
potential parents about the mental and social skills
needed for raising children and being successful
within a family environment.  In conclusion, I would
ask politicians to pass a law limiting the number
of students from kindergarten through third grade
to a maximum of 15 students.  This would allow
teachers more time to give individual attention to

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By garth, February 4, 2010 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Christian96 says about Jesus:

“That also explains the strict penalty for people
breaking the moral laws.  For example, prior to the
coming of the Messiah, breaking of a moral law such
as adultery carried the death penalty.  After the
Messiah came to earth he relaxed the penalty for

Whatta guy!

I’d like to know what is it exactly that you mean by the following:
(1) Child Development and
(2) Family Relations

School Psychologists, from my experience have come from the rank and file that produced the current system.  Like military psychologists who are not interested in the well-being of the soldier nor the marine nor the morality of war, but merely on getting the “client” back to battle. 
School psychologists approach the situation, from my first hand experience, with the question to the student, “What’s wrong with you?”
An old friend toured the world after graduating from Harvard Business School with a specialty in organizational behavior, and he lived for a while with a psychologist in Switzerland who ran a Montessori School.  My friend noticed that one student, the son of a prominent physician, was wrecking the furniture.  When he brought it up to his host, the Swiss psychologist took my friend to a room and opened a cabinet to display drawers filled with IBM stock.  (Keep in mind that this was in the 50s.)
The Catholic nuns used to maintain control in class, but if you looked at the orthodoxy of the families and how they were “good” Catholics, and then compared that with a students’ mental health tests, I’m sure you would have gotten get a different picture.

My response to your example of Jesus in the following:
“How many times am I to forgive my brother who sins against me in one day?  Seven times?”  Jesus responded, “Seventy times seven.”  If Jesus would
ask us to forgive someone 490 times in one day,
he will do the same.

I think Jesus was a bookie, and these were simply code words.  He paid better than the Roman Lottery and they were pissed.

Also, I appreciate your excerpts from the bible, whatever version you are using, but they are easily accessible on the internet.

Please excuse the abruptness.  It’s a style of writing:  directness.  I am trying to take into account the limited space and lack of carrying interest.

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By christian96, February 4, 2010 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Ofersince72—-I can tell by your comments that you
haven’t been chosen by God.  Sorry.

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By ofersince72, February 4, 2010 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

Christian,,, you mean your God really does have
chosen ones…

This is on the right blog,

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By RenZo, February 4, 2010 at 2:56 am Link to this comment

I don’t agree with your belief in the Bible, but I VERY MUCH agree with your suggestions to the Board of Education about classes for all in:
(1) Child Development and
(2) Family Relations.
I believe these are critical functions of competent adults in society and as such we should make all teens understand the process and the importance of those subjects. I am sorry they didn’t listen to you. Crying out loud we teach driving in high school, why not raising children and supporting a family?

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By christian96, February 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment

JDMysticDJ——I have been studying the Bible for
32 years.  At one point I struggled with the God
that created the universe telling one group of people
to kill all the men, women, and children of another
group of people.  The Jews were chosen by God to be
the race through which the Messiah would come to
earth.  God wanted their blood, thoughts, and behaviors to be as pure as possible for humans to be
because the Messiah would come through them and he
would be a lamb without blemish.  God did not want
them mixing with other peoples where they might
inter-marry and learn the ways of the heathen.
That also explains the strict penalty for people
breaking the moral laws.  For example, prior to the
coming of the Messiah, breaking of a moral law such
as adultery carried the death penalty.  After the
Messiah came to earth he relaxed the penalty for
adultery.  Remember the woman taken in the act of
adultery?  The religious leaders brought her before
Jesus and ask what should be done to her.  Jesus
replied, “Let the one without sin cast the first
stone.”  They all left because no one could cast a
stone because they had sinned.  Jesus ask the woman,
“Who is left to accuse you?”  She replied, “No one
Lord.”  Jesus said, “Neither do I accuse you.  Go
and sin no more.”  Jesus introduced the great idea
of forgiveness which today is still very difficult
for many people to learn.  You might comment, “Surely
she sinned again.”  Yes, because she is human.  However, one day one of the disciples ask Jesus, “How
many times am I to forgive my brother who sins against me in one day?  Seven times?”  Jesus responded, “Seventy times seven.”  If Jesus would
ask us to forgive someone 490 times in one day,
he will do the same.  However, we have to be sincere
in asking forgiveness.  We can’t abuse the forgiveness of sin just as a reason to keep willingly
sinning.  After our life on earth is complete we will
be judged according to what we thought and did on
earth.  The Bible says Jesus will be our advocate
at the great judgment.  He knows our minds and behaviors.  He knows when we sincerely ask for forgiveness.  Even if the supreme court(a joke) states we can’t teach Jesus in public schools there
has never been a ruling which says we can’t teach
the principles taught by Jesus, i.e. love, kindness,
gentleness, forgiveness, etc.  It would be a much
better world if we taught those principles to our
children.  Years ago, when working as a School Psychologist in Ohio, I drove to Columbus and presented a curriculum to the Ohio Board of Education
asking they mandate two classes for all high school
students: (1) Child Development and (2) Family Relations.  I was the last to speak before lunch.
As I was giving my presentation the President of the
Board of Education interrupted me and said, “It is
time for us to go to lunch would you summarize your
ideas.”  He put his stomach before the children and
families of Ohio.  My ideas were not adopted.  I’ve
often wondered what the situation in Ohio might be
like had they been adolpted.  I’ll never know. God
knows I tried.

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By garth, February 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

By RenZo, February 3 at 5:34 pm #

No one here is my enemy; not even the people I would most disagree with. I don’t even ‘dislike’ anyone I met here. Indeed I respect anyone who dares to share opinions in this open forum. I respect both their bravery and their intellect.

Am I in a reality show here?  I am pleased to see group cohesion forming around the public realignment of garth and mystic (but there wasn’t that much difference anyway).  When there is enough trust I would like to continue, off this blog, to communicate with any of you who know how to organize and contact other groups, to share ideas and strategies, to shape some (if only a sliver of) real activism, instead of talking in public (not that there is ANY real privacy anymore in this country).

Just to be clear, I am not religious, at all. My personal philosophical interest in Buddha is more phenomenological. His most basic observations (not those “found” or “revealed” four hundred years later) of our mortality, our denial of it, and one way to deal with it, are what interest me. 

Let’s concretize the cohesion!


Now that Alexi Giannoulias has won the primary for the Senate race in Illinois, the Democrats can contend the idea of losing another seat.  Giannoulias is a political friend of Obama and the son of a Chicago banker who is a real crook.  He’s basketball pick-up game pal of Obama and Arneson.  He is good for questionable loans, especially in the Chicago real estate and school construction biz.  See why Aneson became Sec of Education.

The last time I told the partial story of our boy Alex Giannoulias , the next unregisted poster used the handle, “TriggerFinger”.

RenZo, I’ll drop the reality show biz baz.  Let’s get to the REALITY.

Elect the Republicans and it’s: Blow Your Brains Out; elect the Democrats and it’s Death by a Thousand Cuts.

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By RenZo, February 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

No one here is my enemy; not even the people I would most disagree with. I don’t even ‘dislike’ anyone I met here. Indeed I respect anyone who dares to share opinions in this open forum. I respect both their bravery and their intellect.

Am I in a reality show here?  I am pleased to see group cohesion forming around the public realignment of garth and mystic (but there wasn’t that much difference anyway).  When there is enough trust I would like to continue, off this blog, to communicate with any of you who know how to organize and contact other groups, to share ideas and strategies, to shape some (if only a sliver of) real activism, instead of talking in public (not that there is ANY real privacy anymore in this country).

Just to be clear, I am not religious, at all. My personal philosophical interest in Buddha is more phenomenological. His most basic observations (not those “found” or “revealed” four hundred years later) of our mortality, our denial of it, and one way to deal with it, are what interest me. 

Let’s concretize the cohesion!

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By JDmysticDJ, February 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment


Are we in sync now?

I really appreciate you comments. All I can say is, right back at ya!

Allow me to use an unfashionable, one time statement of unity. Peace Bro!

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By garth, February 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

I think your writing and ideas are great.

Maybe, I’m envious. 

I thought about your quotation marks on “Their superiority” after I clicked Submit.  And I agree with you.

For writing, I think you rank wih WriterOntheStorm, Sheononymous and TheBeerDoctor.

For ideas, I sense you also bring an educational slant to your posts.  I appreciate it.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment


My comment that no apology was necessary was a little late, I see.

We seem to be drifting back to our previous dissention. It was not my intention to make you or Renzo my enemy. Apparently I have, or at least, you now seem to consider me as being your enemy.

I thought I was negating these concepts of Superiority and Inferiority. Hopefully, we won’t see each other’s bodies go floating by.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 3, 2010 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment


No apology necessary. I think that we would both agree that Democracy must be all inclusive. We may not agree on the details of our beliefs, but I think our goals are the same.

Thank you for the compliment. I have an equal appreciation for your recent posts. We have a history of exchanging posts. If I’m allowed to use this metaphor, the difference between our previous exchanges, and our current exchanges, is like the difference between heaven and hell.

You say,

“We are confronted with the prospects of losing whatever form of democracy we have and the argument revolves around biblical interpretation?”

Your point is well taken. My diversion from the greater issue was an attempt to be constructive, and intended to create unity, rather than the disunity that seems to be an obstacle to what I believe is necessary group action, but I can see that your recent posts are more likely to motivate that group action than mine have been.

The posts on this site are interesting, informative, inspiring, and occasionally enlightening, but they are no substitute for group action. Identifying grievances is the first step; taking action to address those grievances is the next step. We’re back to Hedge’s observation that we need, “…actual resistance, which will be neither pleasant nor easy.”

13 people, who were exercising their 1st Amendment rights, were arrested outside the Whitehouse recently. Good for them, I hope that their experience won’t be too unpleasant, and that dealing with the consequences of exercising their 1st Amendment rights will, instead, be easy, but this is not the 60’s, and our Constitutional Rights have been eroded. I’m guessing that their experience will be made as difficult as possible, and at the very least, their experience will be very inconvenient, somewhat expensive, and the cause for some anxiety, in other words, not “easy.”

I’m hoping that these people will receive some support from the rest of us, and that they won’t get lost in a media blackout.

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By garth, February 3, 2010 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Mr. Mystic:
Tangentially, at least, in not acknowledging my apology in your post, your final paragraph seems, at least, hypocritical.  I quote:
“What this has to do with Democracy seems unclear, unless it points out that the ideals of Democracy must be all inclusive, and not subject to captivation by those who believe in “Their Superiority.”

If you remain in the darkness of the paradigm of “Superiority versus Inferiority’ then you are stuck in, What the Buddhist call it?  Samsara?

As the 6 year old said in a card to her brother as he left for college, “Good Luke”.

One Buddhist statement I heard recently.  If you wait by the mouth of the river you will eventually see the bodies of your enemies flow by.  This has been true for me, and it will, no doubt be true for those who consider me their enemy. 


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By JDmysticDJ, February 3, 2010 at 10:04 am Link to this comment


All of your posts, which I have read, strike me as being well reasoned, rational, and constructive.

Regarding Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha, the enlightened one,) it seems clear to me that any man whose teachings have lasted for over 2000 years has undeniable credibility. I find his teachings to be enlightening and inspirational, but I don’t believe his teachings are truth, I believe his teachings advocate the search for truth. This search for truth has caused a minor schism in Buddhism. The Dali lama’s views on what constitutes “Sexual misconduct,” differ greatly from the views of what has been referred to as “Western Buddhism.” This seems contrary to the Buddha’s teachings that truth can only be ascertained by the individual. And yet, the Buddha’s teachings seem to have an authoritarian aspect to them.
“It is nature’s law that rivers wind, trees grow wood, and, given the opportunity, women work iniquity.” – Buddha

Call me naïve, but I’d like to believe that this “truth” from Buddha is not “truth,” and not “Nature’s law.” Perhaps Buddha was being frivolous with this truth. Did I mention that I’m something of a skeptic?

However, I believe that skepticism is healthy, and not the same thing as being closed minded. People who have an aversion to Buddha’s beliefs and teachings have a commonality with those who have an aversion to theist beliefs and teachings.

What this has to do with Democracy seems unclear, unless it points out that the ideals of Democracy must be all inclusive, and not subject to captivation by those who believe in “Their Superiority.”

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By garth, February 3, 2010 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

I think it might be more challenging and more accurate if the Bible thumpers said, “As best we can tell, Jesus said some thing like this, “.......”

We are confronted with the prospects of losing whatever form of democracy we have and the argument revolves around biblical interpretation?

Well, I’ll tell you a news story that happened yesterday.  A father shot and killed his daughter and himself in a very nice suburb of Boston. 
I am sure he did not start out in high school some years ago dreaming that he’d one day marry, have a daughter live in the suburbs and then shoot his wife and then his daughter and then himself.  It’s when the “Me!” becomes the “Not me!”

This has happened many times and the number if instances I am sure will grow.

Maybe, that is what Jesus, and Gautama were talking about?

If you are a business and thriving and revelling in your turn at more welfare for you and less democracy for the rest of us, then you should repeat daily the axiom of an old general store philosopher, “It ain’t trouble till it’s trouble for you.”  It’s coming.

A Russian emigre told me after seeing the Abu Graib photos, “A spiritual law has been broken.  You don’t do that!”

DJMystic, (if you got this far)

I appreciated reading you your last two post. 
Love your writing, too.

I apologize, if one is necessary.

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By RenZo, February 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

Morality, beliefs, and action need not be borrowed from an old book. The clearest, highest and most universally true aphorism attributed to Gautama Buddha (five hundred years before Christ, and not alone in his time) is “Satyan nasti paro dharmah” (there is no religion higher than truth). By which he meant, at least, that we could all figure out our own morality by using our own heads. Buddhism is non-theist, yet totally dedicated to good acts and righteous beliefs. Morality is not the purview of Christians alone. Morality is not the purview of theists alone. Morality is instead a totally human value that our societies should help us to learn and live by: it is the highest goal of humankind, according to me and, I think, Buddha. That there are so many christians in the USA who believe in their own superiority, in the righteousness of conquest in god’s name, and that christians are inherently better than non christians is simply an extension of, or a parallel track to, American exceptionalism. It always has been propaganda, not truth: there is, after all, no religion higher than truth.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 2, 2010 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment


Discussions about religion always make me uncomfortable. I sometimes feel that by stating my beliefs, I will cause others to doubt theirs, to some degree, or that stating my beliefs will alienate me from those who, with justification, believe that beliefs relating to the divine are superstitious and unverifiable.

To put this post in context, I’ll suggest that history has shown that “Righteous” peoples have prospered while decadent societies have fallen. I’ll also suggest history shows that, all inclusive, tolerant governments have been more just, than those based on dogmatic, intolerant, religious or political beliefs.

Personally, I believe that there is much wisdom in the Bible, and that your post is constructive and worthy of contemplation. Like most people, this question of belief has been one I’ve given much thought to. The difficulty is that this question of religious belief is a metaphysical one, a simple question of faith that can not be empirically proven. Many, when asked to believe in a loving omnipotent God point to things like natural disasters, or the death of an innocent child, and the human suffering that accompanies those events, and is present in other aspects of human life, as proof that a loving omnipotent God does not exist. Those who do believe in a loving omnipotent God can only use the metaphysical as an answer to this age old question.

Scientists tell us that if we were able to attain a speed fast enough to travel around the earth 7 times in one second, it would take over two years, at that speed, to reach the nearest star in our galaxy, and that there are billions of stars in our galaxy, and billions of galaxies beyond. I’m something of a skeptic, and I have a tendency to doubt the authority of science, but clearly the Universe is a very big and mysterious place. Oddly, this mystery is what gives me faith. When I examine man’s relationship to the Universe, I find it impossible to believe that there is no authority higher than mankind.

My study of the New Testament leads me to believe that Jesus Christ was the quintessential progressive, and perhaps the founder of non-violent protest. The teachings of Jesus Christ were instructive to intellectuals like Leo Tolstoy, Erasmus Desiderius, and many others, and the teachings of Jesus Christ, as practiced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, have been successful in advancing the cause of social justice.

I read the New Testament in its entirety, including the book of Revelations, which I found to be nothing more than the psychotic ravings of a lunatic. I know that many people believe the book of Revelations is full of symbolism and should not be taken literally, but who is to interpret this symbolism; David Koresh, Jim Jones, Loyola, Jerry Falwell, you, me? This is embarrassing, but I even went so far as to read it after asking for divine inspiration, but I quickly discovered that my interpretation would be influenced by my own bias.’ “Let he who hath an ear…” etc. etc. blah, blah.  I can only conclude that the Book of Revelations is gibberish, and not at all useful, to me at least.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

Christian96 (Cont.)

I began reading the Old Testament, but I had to quit reading when I came to the part where God commanded the Israelites to conquer the land of the Philistines (Palestinians,) and to kill: “Every man woman and child, every beast in the field, and every foul in the air.” I do believe there is wisdom in the Bible, but it’s clear to me, that much of the Bible was written by an ignorant, barbaric, bigoted, psychopathic, xenophobic and Jingoistic people. I would add further disparagements, but my vocabulary is deficient at the moment. (This is not at all meant to be an indictment of Jewish people, but an indictment of irrational belief and ignorance.)

I could relate the historical realities of the crusades, the inquisition, the conquistadors, and the horrific practices of the Christian colonialists, and on, and on… but perhaps relating an incident from my own experience could be instructive. As a youth, a “friend” invited me to attend a revival. My mother’s parents were upright, upstanding, successful Southern Baptists, while my father came from a dysfunctional family of atheists, so I had a proclivity for accepting the message of this revival, and I agreed to be “saved.” On our way home from this revival, my “friend” attacked and kicked a girl from our school, because she had a “bad reputation.” She cried. He later received an appointment to West Point and went off to kill the Indochinese.

Many of us who have a faith, of sorts, recognize the wisdom of Christ’s teachings, and seek to do what’s moral, and promote ideas that are based on a universally accepted morality, but we don’t use the Bible as justification for immoral acts, or as a reason to ignore humanist concepts of morality.

My favorite Old Testament book is Ecclesiastes, and I like Proverbs, but I find the teachings of the I Ching and Daoism to be more sophisticated and pertinent than the book of Proverbs.

I believe Democracy practiced by an upright people, not obsessed with their own superiority, and guided by universally accepted ideas of morality, is the best method of assuring a just society, and for promoting world peace. This society I envision, it seems to me, is far removed from the society in which we live today, and that any hope for a positive future must be accompanied by a concerted effort to correct our immoral institutions and policies.

Has this post been “… moral posturing”? I hope not. I hope it has been moral advocacy.

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By RenZo, February 2, 2010 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

I recognize that the purest form of “democracy” never existed here. I also see that we ourselves allowed ourselves, from the very beginning, to be possessed by the invented ethic of American exceptionalism. Slavery, genocide, usury, poverty, and many other ‘ies’, ‘uries’ and ‘isms’ have been our way of life. We still do not even admit it. There were a few good moments along the way, but this, as Hedges points out, is vastly different. They no longer feel the need to lie to us, to hide, to cover up. We are finally so dumb, so powerless, and so puny that we are putting our own hands in manacles.
I want suggestions, not just to vent.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

It will have to be a homo ex machina for there is nothing else. And if we fail so goes the Republic. Then they get their Empire they want so badly. So many people including Gore Vidal are jumping the gun. The Republic, it was never a democracy, except in a very limited way, only white land owners could vote for their representative for the Electoral College, and local stuff. The kind of place the likes of Glenn Beck want to bring us back to. To them the Constitution is inflexible, rigid, & frozen in 1787. Not to me. Blame Wilson for first misnaming the USA as a “democracy.”

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By RenZo, February 2, 2010 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

Dear Christian96,
I hope you feel better now that you have shared your plan with us. Perhaps Jesus will help us. Personally I doubt it very very much, but I can’t be sure.

Dear Everyone Else,
Meanwhile, I would like to hear from those not focused on deus-ex-machina salvation, specifically, as to what sites, organizations and or groups would most likely facilitate the kind of changes ‘we’ need to accomplish.

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By garth, February 2, 2010 at 9:11 am Link to this comment


I’ll indulge.  In you posts:

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: A blessing if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, and a curse, if you will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way to go after other gods, which you have not known.”

What commandments are you focusing on, specifically?  The UN, in a sense, added to those commandments with rules against invading other countries for peronal gain.

Is this further disinformation, a red herring and, never mind, I think I beginning to get the point.

If I were you, I’d listen to JDMysticDJ and devote your life to change in a way Jesus would’ve done.  Go out an proclaim!

Remember Bernie Sanders’s admonition, “Despair is not an option.”

In other words, as an old high scchool teacher used to say, “Use your head for more than a hat rack.”

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By christian96, February 2, 2010 at 12:48 am Link to this comment

RenZo—-You want a solution.  I’ll give you THE
solution.  I give you and all peoples the word of
God from Deuteronomy 11:26:  “Behold, I set before
you this day a blessing and a curse: A blessing if
you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, and
a curse, if you will not obey the commandments of
the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way to
go after other gods, which you have not known.”
There is THE solution.  Put the Ten Commandments
back into public schools thereby educating the potential “Joe the Plummers” and so-called intellectuals of the world.  Teach them the blessings
which come from moral behavior and the curses that
come with rejecting moral behavior.  I think God
knew what he was doing when he gave commandments for
people to follow.  Try imagining what our world could
be like if people followed those commandments.  Can
you imagine politicians in Washington worshiping God
and keeping his commandments rather than worshiping
money and themselves?  What has happened to America
is exactly what Moses warned his nation about in
Deuteronomy 8:11-14,19,20: “Beware that you do not
forget the Lord your God, in not keeping his commandments, judgments, and statues.  LEST WHEN YOU
YOU FORGET THE LORD YOUR GOD…..If you forget the
Lord your God , and walk after other gods, and serve
them, and worship them, I testify against you this
day that you shall surely perish. As the nations
which the Lord destroyed before your face, SO SHALL
YOU PERISH; because you would not be obedient to the
Lord your God.”  That’s THE solution.  Return unto
the Lord your God.  Follow his ways.  Follow the
teachings of Jesus.  Teach them to your children.
If you do so then peace, love, and prosperity will
return to our nation.  If not, prepare for destruction. For it shall surely come!

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By RenZo, February 1, 2010 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

Christian96, you apparently believe in nothing, have no solutions, no suggestions and believe that criticism, a new pseudo-Socratic form of rhetoric, justifies speaking in all cases. In any case, one’s own enlightenment is like one’s own virile member, always greater in one’s own imagination.

Christian96, you were the first to write in these comments January 25 at 6:59 am, in which Epistle you addressed Mr Hedges with “Please don’t give me the need to communicate solution.” (vide infra)  I would ask you to stop criticizing and start making suggestions, at last.  You also said in your first posting “Do you have a vehicle for communicating?  Truth-dig! How many average “Joe the Plummers” read truth-dig?”

Others have suggested websites, blogs, organizations and I even echoed one suggestion for meeting in person. I also think we should talk to all the ‘Joe the plummers(sic)’ we know. You clearly believe there is a problem; this might be your vehicle for communicating. Tell us how to make the problem smaller, the situation better. We might be interested.

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By christian96, February 1, 2010 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

JDMysticDJ——RenZo states a democracy requires “an
adequately educated electorate making well informed
electoral decisions.”  With that definition I feel
comfortable contending there has never been nor will
be any democracies on earth.  How enlightened is

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By garth, February 1, 2010 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

You say:
“Has this post been an example of moral posturing? No, it has been moral positioning. This post hasn’t been “pleasant nor easy,” nor will it make me popular. Has this post been futile? Yes, I think so. Is Democracy in America dead?  I fear that it may be so; I believe it’s in dire need of resuscitation or resurrection.”

I’ve read your posts and they have caused me to pause. If a movement forms, I want to be there.  If a website is created that asks for donations, I’d rather hit the streets.  I think your comments here are helpful.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 1, 2010 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment


Anyone who needs a definition of Democracy is truly un-enlightened.  Unfortunately, as Hedges points out, Democracy has been so successfully co-opted by the rich and powerful that this un-enlightenment is understandable.

The waking hours of most Americans are directly, indirectly or subliminally owned by corporate interests, the minds of most Americans are effectively being conditioned by the corporate owned media, and their financial affairs are blatantly being dictated to them by the corporate interests of Wall Street.

Adam Smith’s divine “Hidden Hand” has been replaced by an iron fist. An iron fist that smashes all opposition, by any means necessary. The bleakest, (And the most enlightened) analysis shows that this iron fist not only holds the U.S. in its grip, but also the economies of the most of the world.

Successful entrepreneurs delude themselves into thinking that their success is a result of Democracy and freedom, when in reality their success comes from their willingness to exploit, and a desire to become a part of the hierarchy. That is not to say that the contributions of entrepreneurs should not be recognized, just as the contributions of hard working and less ambitious (Greedy) Americans should be recognized. The myth put forth by those who lust for money/power is that they are more moral and deserving, than those who lack the sufficient desire for dominance. This myth is echoed by all those who support the status quos, whether they are academics, journalists, politicians, or from any of the other sub-groups that dominate society.

What is Democracy? Democracy is the method whereby the majorities protect themselves from the tyranny of powerful minorities.  Of course the inalienable rights of minorities must be protected, but majorities that throw up their hands, and relinquish their inalienable rights to powerful minorities, will get the Democracy they deserve, and will be responsible for the abuses and atrocities perpetrated by those powerful minorities.

Hedges comments about the, “…actual resistance, which will be neither pleasant nor easy.” There are many extremely important issues that confront us, but I believe the core issue is one of moral decadence. Conservatives are dangerous moral hypocrites, but liberals appear to be impotent reprobates.

Has this post been an example of moral posturing? No, it has been moral positioning. This post hasn’t been “pleasant nor easy,” nor will it make me popular. Has this post been futile? Yes, I think so. Is Democracy in America dead?  I fear that it may be so; I believe it’s in dire need of resuscitation or resurrection.

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By firefly, February 1, 2010 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

President, Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address: 17 January 1961

…………….Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual, is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together……………

And later on…

…………………..Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we - you and I, and our government - must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

During the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield………………..

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By garth, February 1, 2010 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

I can’t remember exactly, but I think it was John Pilger who was talking about some tyrants from the Soviet bloc states who were envious about how the United States could achieve such passivity and singleness of belief in its population.  They noticed that ideas were few and there was very little variation of thought.

On DemocracyNow!, we learned that Obama’s budget tripled its investment in nuclear energy from 18 billion to 54 billion.  If I remember correctly the nuclear energy lobby was asking for 50 billion.  A few years ago the outcry of the safety-first lobby, so to speak, was that nuclear energy is not safe.  More Three Mile Islands?

The Navy is building up in the Persian Gulf to surround Iran.  Israel is itching to go to war with Lebanon.  The US military crowd is instilling more fear in the American people in the news in an “Oh and I tell you this..” manner.

We, the American people, are the slaves, and we are being sold down the river by none other that Barack Obama.  The vindictiveness of these totalitarian plotters is not quite as subtle as Lyndon Johnson’s, but the lesson’s there. 
I saw a few 19 year olds were killed in Afghanistan last week.  How many can remember friends who died in Vietnam or the invasion of Iraq in 1990?

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By ofersince72, January 31, 2010 at 11:13 pm Link to this comment


Well at least most everyone knows what

a SUPER-DELEGATE is now in the Democrat Party.

I have been trying to explain that phenomenon


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By ofersince72, January 31, 2010 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

Christian,,,, we both agree on that one !!!!!

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By christian96, January 31, 2010 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

RenZo——If a democracy requires “an adequately
educated electorate making well informed electoral
decisions” I fell comfortable predicting there will
be no democracies on earth.

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By enobie, January 30, 2010 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Solutions? I know of only one that makes sense: a constitutional amendment. The Founders were not stupid, and Jefferson was explicit about corporations not being people. Sign the petition and join the movement: For more info: or The Huff Post: For an excellent discussion on the subject, download Rikki Ott’s talk from here: It won’t be easy, but for now we have to work the system against them. They only exist by our permission. They’ve crossed the line, but as many of you have pointed out, the MIC is arrayed vs US…“You step out of line, the man come and take you away.” Don’t give them the satisfaction.

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By RenZo, January 30, 2010 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

dear christian96

Getting the deomocracy you deserve means if you cannot conceptualize an adequately educated electorate making well informed electoral decisions in their OWN best interests, then you deserve to live ignorantly without respresentation and without democracy.
It’s is like believing in god, and ending up with a belief in god, instead of ending up with god it(him/her)self.

The message is that writing blogs here, never will be ENOUGH to effect social change or get a responsive government. We need to protest, disobey and shout.

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By RenZo, January 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Dear JDmysticDJ

I agree emphatically with what you state as personal convictions and quote from Hedges’ essay. Americans have been subjected to cultural hegemony (a la Gramsci) for at least two generations. Even the cold war, as predicted by Eisenhower, was a device of the military industrial complex. Exiting from that and Vietnam we found ourselves in tiny little wars, starwars projects, and now two MAJOR death traps for our children. Likely it will continue until the children of our children’s children are dead also. I am thunderstruck at the ability of Eisenhower, Orwell, and others to have predicted this scenario so long ago. With SUCH clarity.  I am also thunderstruck with the paralysis of Americans in the face of this second coup d’état by the corporatist SCOTUS.  [Not to mention the first coup.]

Americans have been raised on cultural hegemonic pap and now believe in American exceptionalism, justice, fairness, equality and righteousness with religious fervor. Even erudite liberals still refer to these values which expired long ago, if they ever truly existed here. This cannot be changed without enormous suffering and long, time-sucking, and consistent efforts.

Activism is new to me, I spent my life so far accomplishing other things (like too many of us). Now I can only think of Marxist study groups, Socialist parties (maybe the Greens?) and other revolutionaries as the hope of the future. Who else has the education, open eyes and organizational knowledge to right this downward spiral into “fascism” (“fascism” IS “corporatism”, according to its inventor Giovanni Gentile, Mussolini’s mentor). Once the corporations have started to populate the legislative bodies (federal, state, and local) with their “OWN” candidates, the ability to reverse course and steer back towards democracy and republic will be lost, completely. The only way back at that point will be armed insurrection (which I am not advocating, please understand dear “readers”).

Reasonable, conciliatory, bipartisan liberalism HAS outlived its usefulness, if INDEED it EVER was really useful to the liberals and (small “d”) democrats. It is clearly still useful to the rightists (fascists, corporatists, ultra-wealthy) who control education, mass media and “culture” increasingly throughout the world. It has served them well as the big FICTION, and many still believe it. Unfortunately, the briefest consultation of history will affirm that things have to get much, much worse than they are now before people, all people (and I mean the masses who are now anesthetized by reality shows and tabloid adventures of hollywooden heroes) wake up, see the truth, feel their pain and react rationally and with determination. Someone will need to survive to teach them how to take it back.

Sadly, for most of us, pressing the ENTER key, zipping a protest note off to a blog site is the modern equivalent of protest, peaceful resistance, and civil disobedience. We need Gandhi, we need MLK, and we need Mao, but they are dead. Who will lead the way?

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By christian96, January 30, 2010 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ—-You have dedicated yourself to REAL,
actual, political activism, and personal sacrifice.
Does an UNREAL political activism and personal sacrifice exist?  What do you mean “we get the
democracy we deserve?”  By the way enlightened one
how about explaining for the rest of less enlightened
ones what it is you mean by “democracy.”

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By JDmysticDJ, January 30, 2010 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

“The fiction of democracy remains useful, not only for corporations, but for our bankrupt liberal class. If the fiction is seriously challenged, liberals will be forced to consider actual resistance, which will be neither pleasant nor easy. As long as a democratic facade exists, liberals can engage in an empty moral posturing that requires little sacrifice or commitment. They can be the self-appointed scolds of the Democratic Party, acting as if they are part of the debate and feel vindicated by their cries of protest”

This paragraph from Hedges is, in my opinion, very astute. Note that the title of Mr. Hedge’s article is “Democracy in a America is a Useful Fiction,” and not, democracy is a fiction.

I think that the above paragraph defines many of the “Liberals” on these truthdig threads, and serves to point out their, “…empty moral posturing that requires little sacrifice or commitment.”  Anyone who thinks that Mr. Hedge’s article is a condemnation of Democracy is guilty of a convenient misinterpretation. This misinterpretation is convenient, because it frees them from the necessity of recognizing that they are “…self-appointed scolds of the Democratic Party,” and that they “…feel vindicated by their cries of protest,” without actually making the required “Sacrifice” and dedicating themselves to the necessary “Commitment.”

As for me, I stopped posting on these threads, for a while, when I recognized the above truths about myself. Anyone who thinks the issues that confront us are faux, and only worthy of being a pastime, are seriously deluded. The way these issues are handled will dictate our future, and are, in actual fact, real, life and death issues. If you think this is melodramatic or an exaggeration; simply look at past and present body counts, and take future body counts into consideration. Madness is reigning supreme, and real human suffering is the result of this madness.

We don’t have much control over natural disasters, but we do have the ability to work towards reducing, if not ending, the madness, doing so will require some “Sacrifice” and “Commitment.”

I have dedicated myself to real, actual, political activism, and personal sacrifice. I may not get the Democracy I deserve, but we, as a people, will most definitely, get the Democracy we deserve.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 30, 2010 at 9:41 am Link to this comment


Your observation “The Genie is out of the bottle” is a good one, but not exactly an insightful one.  As a metaphor, it’s been around for decades. There are others, Oppenheimer’s, “My name is death, destroyer of worlds,” references to “Pandora’s box” and such, but I fail to see any attempt to be constructive in your post, unless you’re advocating Nuclear Holocaust as a potential solution to excessive U.S. military spending.

Your post is not exactly an example of Hedge’s, “…empty moral posturing,” but your post does strike me as being “empty.”

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By christian96, January 29, 2010 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

I keep reading comments like “we need to cut back
on military spending.”  Well, military spending has
been increasing annually since the Manhattan Project
nearly 70 years ago.  Sadly, it’s America’s number
one export.  As long as someone on the planet can
make a buck selling weapons there will be no cut back.  The cutback may come after millions of people
have been killed almostly instantly by military
weapons. The genie is out of the bottle.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 29, 2010 at 10:58 am Link to this comment


I completely agree with your assessment of today’s global realities. “The Project for the New American Century” has outlined its policies for achieving American Empire, and those policies were implemented under Bush/Cheney, but the realities of the consequences of those demented policies have become evident to many, and their progress towards achieving their objectives is currently stalled, and may be reversed, depending on future events.

Future events become very important, and that is why I’m concerned about the Supreme Court’s recent decision which will clearly give a political advantage to conservative politicians. Also it becomes very important that progressives, and others, take action to bring these issues to the forefront of political debate.

I believe that public demonstration is the best way to force the Main Stream Media to give voice to the opponents of these policies, and to provide the forum for discussion of these issues.

I haven’t read Reich’s comments about inflation, but based on past experience, I’m sure that there is nothing in the article that I would disagree with. It’s a shame that Reich has been reduced to the role of being a pundit. His common sense, plain speaking, approach to economics is in great contrast to the convoluted jargon of past economics mavens, who promoted the current failed policies.

In your post, you comment,

“In other words borrowing and *creating* money to cure a depression cannot work. He is qualified to opine, as is Nader, who says the same thing, although months earlier.”

There is an article in the most recent issue of “Mother Jones,” magazine, by John Corn that claims the actual cost of the Wall Street bailout was 42 Trillion, and that most of that money was “created” by the Federal Reserve. I would agree that this “creating” of money is undeniably inflationary, but I think we need to examine history in order to discover successful methods of recovering from depression/recession. We have the examples of both Nazi Germany and Roosevelt’s New Deal that show that government spending resulted in recovery from depression. If I’m not mistaken, both Reich and Krugman advocate government spending on job creation to combat the recession. Working people aren’t a drain on the economy, as the unemployed are; they pay taxes and buy goods and services.

In order to finance this spending on job creation, we need to cut back on military spending, and roll back the tax cuts for the richest Americans. My own opinion is that we need to make huge cuts in our military spending, and roll back the tax cuts all the way to the Eisenhower era. Undeniable realities show that neo-liberal economic theories destroyed our economy.

During the Second World War our manufactures rapidly changed from producing non-military goods to making military goods. I believe we need another rapid change in manufacturing, away from military goods to producing infrastructure, and sustainable energy products.

As to the future inflation, that is a potentially disastrous problem. Without a full and strong recovery before inflation kicks in, we will be in deep, deep, economic trouble. Unless someone comes up with a new method of combating inflation, combating inflation requires suppressing the economy.

It may be that neo-liberal economic policies, and Neocon foreign policies have damaged our economy beyond its ability to recover. It seems clear to me, that we need a mammoth change in foreign policy, economic policy, and philosophy.

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By garth, January 29, 2010 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

The editor of Barrons, appearing on C-SPAN this morning, mentioned that the Government and the Fed have spent 23 Trillion dollars on the Wall Street bailout thus far.  I’ve heard this number before, but this time its meaning came through.
Wall Street with its CDSs is in hock to the tune of 1.04 quadrillion dollars to the counter-parties.  The 23 T was just an initial payment.  I bet they are negotiating right now how the rest of this debt will be paid off.
It reminds me of the ploy that was used by the IMF and the World Bank to corrupt South American countries in the 70s.  John Perkins described it in “Economic Hit Men.”  We, too, have been saddled with a debt too large to pay and now we will be asked to forego some of the benefits of social programs that have taken decades to develop—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. 
The US will be privatized.
I heard a right-wing futurist say about year ago that Capitalism and Free Markets are more important than Democracy.  It’s clear to me now what they are aiming at.
The Heritage Foundation and the Libertarian spokesman are touting a new Economic Freedom Index where de-regulation and property rights are the measures of a nation “Economic Freedom.”  They list Hong Kong (not a nation as far as my last check), Singapore and Australia in the top five.
Thom Hartmann in a discussion with a man from the Ayn Rand group said that from his first-hand experience doing business in various countries around the world and using the same criteria to evaluate Economic Freedom, Haiti should surely be at the top of the list of countries in the Economic Freedom Index.
Another interesting coincidence.  I heard a rebroadcast of a Bishop Fulton J. Sheen lecture, and he was hyping a variation on the same theme, Freedom.

In Massachusetts, the voters elected the Marlboro man (Scott Brown), mainly because he drove a truck and wore a popular style of jacket.  They bought the sizzle not the steak.  In MA counties where there are a lot of these self-employed character types, like Worcester and the Cape, Brown won overwhelmingly.
Democracy has been belittled and weakened to the point where we have to wait to see what those who want to rule (not govern) do next.
Democracy is on the wane.

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By RenZo, January 28, 2010 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment

dear JDmysticDJ
Somehow the analogy to Weimar seems prescient, especially after reading Robert Reich’s blog [N.B. Secretary of Labor in Clinton’s government], in one of which he predicts that the *jobless recovery* planned by this administration will create runaway inflation In other words borrowing and *creating* money to cure a depression cannot work. He is qualified to opine, as is Nader, who says the same thing, although months earlier.

I have read Gramsci, thanks to Strabone’s having introduced me to him, and also another Italian language source from 2007 which states with great certitude that Gramsci’s theory (or prescience) of cultural and political hegemony has served as the almost certain basis for the cultural and legal strategies of the *right* during the last 3-4 decades. In other words they have used the writings of a pre-eminent Marxist theorist to engineer the corporatization of the republic. Used his theories in reverse, that is.

You remind us, by analogy, how serious this is. I answer that although no Jews, gypsies, trisomy21s, or gays are being railroaded into Birkenau, Auschwitz or Treblinka inside our borders, stop and think on what is being done in our name in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq (and who knows where else on the globe amongst our outposts of Empire). Jews and gypsies or Arabs and moslems: what is the moral distinction? What is the sufficient moral justification for this or even for strip searching our grandmothers in airports?

The terrorist enemy is being manufactured on reality tv (albeit News Programs), much like posters of the evil, greedy, stinking *JUDER* in post-Weimar Germany. I think it is happening here. I completely and totally cannot understand how 99.9999999% of this country has fallen into such an abyss of ignorance as to be incapable of seeing what I see and I understate my concern.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 28, 2010 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment


Strabone said this, as you know,

“Last week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission confirms that shamelessness is on the march. The decision was a shameless unleashing of further shamelessness: by a majority of five to four, the justices ruled that there can be no limits on the amount of money that corporations spend trying to influence the outcomes of local and national elections. The majority reached this decision by finding that corporate money is somehow a form of speech protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. I note for the record that no other country in the world treats it as such.”

The most illustrative part of this paragraph is, “I note for the record that no other country in the world treats it as such.”

My understanding is that the Supreme Court invalidated 100 years of precedence making this decision. I’ve heard this from several sources, including from Obama last night. So I guess there is no legal precedence for the Supreme Courts decision other than a clerical error that happened 100 years ago.

Clearly there was more upheaval in the 60’s than there is now. I’ve been ruffed, cuffed and thrown in jail for unlawful assembly, looking at a 2 year sentence in federal prison, so I’m well aware of the 60’s.

I’m a great admirer of Debs, I quote him occasionally, and I am something of a student of the history of the U.S. Labor Movement, I am well aware of the atrocities and miscarriages of justice that occurred during that period of our nation’s history; time prevents me from relating all the gory details, other than to say there were a whole series of massacres, false imprisonments, and executions. The Palmer raids, and glaring front page, red baiting headlines in our nation’s largest newspapers were a part of that period of history. Labor Union members, activists and leaders were denied their constitutional rights by Local and State Governments and by the Federal Government as well. Later on there was the Taft Hartley Act… but I don’t believe the Supreme Court has ever effectively turned our government over to corporations before. We’re all familiar with Mussolini’s definition of Fascism as being “Close Cooperation between Business and Government.” As Glenn Beck and others spout Nazi like falsehoods and propaganda on Basic Cable, it becomes clear to me that this is an unprecedented time in our nation’s history. We’ve never experienced anything like this before, but other nations have. I don’t mean to over state my case, but the Weimar Government and the German left failed to take the Nazis seriously, until it was too late.

I’m not suggesting that the Nazis will come goose stepping down Pennsylvania Avenue, or that there will be another holocaust, what I’m suggesting is that they will take over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the Congress, by corporate funded election, and that they will then set about bringing us the New American Century, along with everything that entails.

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By garth, January 28, 2010 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

I think Hedges has caught the wind in noting Wolin’s description. “Inverted totalitarianism reverses things,”
Did not Alito recuse himslef in one recent ruling owing to his holdings in the shares of some corporation?  Why didn’t they all recuse themselves?

John Roberts was the son of Steel executive.  Lyndon Johnson said that after he met with one of those bastards he’d check to see if he still had his wallet.

Stop pandering to their sadism.  They don’t understand reason.  They don’t get compassion nor empathy.  Don’t rely on the kindness of strangers.  They don’t even understand the gallows.  They think they’ll go on forever, a sort of generational wealth.  And man, do they have a memory.

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By vonbargen, January 28, 2010 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

One merely has to look at the polls showing abysmal approval levels for Congress to realize that most of us in America long for a dictator.  The reason we don’t get one (unless you believe the gop about FDR)is the nature of the dictator each political bloc prefers.
As soon as the Democrats won majorities in Congress, the right wing media began promoting all the polls that showed the low esteem with which the voters hold Congress as a body.  They didn’t mention polls which would have shown the same thing for decades before that change in leadership.
The closest we ever came to electing an absolute monarch was 1952 when, until he announced his gop affiliation, Eishenhower was the choice of both parties.  He actually explored the possibility of running on both tickets.
Thank goodness Ike was a “moderate.”  Imagine if McArthur had succeeded to the White House?

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By ofersince72, January 28, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

to better understand how our democracy works all one
has to do is follow the WAR ON DRUGS. It is well
documented who was peddling drugs during the Viet era
so lets skip right to the invasion of Panama that
was in the pretext of curbing the cocaine traffic
through that country.  Within six months after the
U.S. occupation, our own DEA reported to congress that the drug traffic had doubled and within a year
they reported it had quadrupled. The price of cocaine
also went up.  In response to this, users switched to
Meth. started producing their own drugs. The cocaine
industry fell flat except in the crack form.  It is
hard to produce Meth in the city. H. ammonia not
readily available. Users found they liked the bang
for the buck.  This sent shock to the peddlers. They
set up Drug Task forces under the quise of helping
the public to shut down all home manufacturing, they
were very successful.
Now several years after their success, crystal meth
is just as available as ever, only guess who controls
the manufacturing and distribution.
This is how our democracy works.

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By ofersince72, January 28, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

Mystic DJ..
I also believe it is time for organized public
demos,  in the form of nationwide strikes at least
once a week.
But the Supreme Court decision was not unpresedented.
It , I believe, was just upholding, not handing down
a decision corporations idenity as an individual.

The situation that our country is in ,is not
unpresedented, look at what Debs was imprisoned for.
Look at the brave fights that workers at the turn
of the twentith century fought.  The government
brought in National Guard troops to kill some labor
workers and it didn’t stop them.  This struggle
is the very history of this nation with only a couple
of decades of success, the fifties and sixties.
They flooded the market with money and drugs in the
seventies as they started weening us back to the days
of sweat shops.  The public was oblivious to what
was going on, now forty years later they were successful so they are taking away the money now.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 28, 2010 at 2:13 am Link to this comment


Thanks for the link to Strabone’s excellent article, though I fear that the lack of shame is not exclusive to elites. If ordinary Americans gave more credence to the concept of shame, they would be protesting against: Wall Street’s shamelessness, the Supreme Court’s unprecedented decision - The decision doesn’t just lack U.S. legal precedent, but it also lacks any legal precedent anywhere - War crimes committed by those in high office, no investigation of the apparent kleptocracy associated with the current wars, violations of international law, and on, and on, and so it goes…

The corruptions are so obvious, and the scandals so numerous, that ordinary Americans seem to be immune to them, or is it that they find ignoring them more convenient? Have American citizens become so decadent, that they simply lack the moral rectitude necessary to identify corruption and injustice. When will American citizens be sufficiently motivated to take to the streets and express their righteous indignation?

Strabone calls for civil disobedience. Perhaps simple political protest would be more effective, because civil disobedience is more likely to be divisive, and will offend many, thereby making political discourse even more confrontational. Political protest has been successful in eliciting the necessary fear, in elected officials and shameless elites, that strabone calls for.

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By christian96, January 28, 2010 at 12:56 am Link to this comment

Brutal—-You raise an interesting thought.  How did
the American government and Capitalism get associated?  I would think Capitalism came across
the ocean with the founding fathers but I’m not sure
how it got associated with our government.  You
would think they would be mutually exclusive.

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By ofersince72, January 27, 2010 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

YOUR KIDDING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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By Night-Gaunt, January 27, 2010 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment

Unions are at one of their weakest ebbs right now. The corporations can out spend them 17 to 1. That is why, they really don’t count for much right now.

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By ofersince72, January 27, 2010 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

I am off topic again…

I thought it was comical when Pelosi rebuked

Pete Stark…....I was rooting Pete on…
He certainly didn’t say anything worth rebuking him
for…......JUST THE TRUTH.  ....
REPUBLICANS….thats funny stuff….off topic or not

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By sonic_death_eater, January 27, 2010 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

not that i agree with commieboy, but at least a robespierre would force the problem out into the open and maybe cleanse the overpopulation at the same time. might be more exciting than the flaccid society we have now.

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By Brutal, January 27, 2010 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

Why did the article ignore the fact that the unions have been cut loose from the restrictions too? Or that passing the Employee Free Choice Act has become more important than ever. While we’re at it, when did democracy as a form of government become equated with the economic system of capitalism. The two are inherently in philosophical conflict.

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By Brutal, January 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

I don’t see anything in your article about the unions, who have also been cut loose of the restrictions.  Or how this development makes the passage of the Free Choice Act even more important if they are to grow in number, and counterweight with collective numbers the overwelming influence of corporate dollars. Yes, yes, I know there’s been plenty of corruption on their side, too, but it’s also true that the political influence of unions is primarily responsible for the safety and other labor laws we do have on the books that provide at least some protection to the working and middle classes. Without a doubt, things are bad, but they have been worse and they can get better.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 27, 2010 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment


If we the people want a true egalitarian democracy, we’ll have to work for it.

In a real democracy, (Not one co-opted by powerful minorities,) “most of us” do get the government we vote for.

Each of us may not get the exact government we want, but in a legitimate democracy, we’ll get the government most wanted.

Democracy is a form of collectivism, individuals may not get the government they deserve, but I believe collective peoples do.

I believe democracy in a decadent society would provide that decadent society, with the government that decadent society deserved.

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By teadrinker, January 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment

By and large, folks are respectful on this forum. There are a lot of sincere caring people here who share the same concerns. Throughout all discussion, we have to keep cool heads, as the objectivity is lost. The utmost respect is required here. The posture of observation, and reading carefully with either positive affirmation or respectful disagreement is the watchword. A good rule of thumb is, could we say these things to each other if we were all gathered together face to face?

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By christian96, January 27, 2010 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

Hulk2008——I support that amendment!  Then, we
would be getting back to the truth.

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By ofersince72, January 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

I do agree with you Night Gaunt…not reckless and
stupid but suicide..  However, I believe it is way
past time for all the progressive pundits that
endorsed obama to start calling for Nationwide strikes.

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By garth, January 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment

It’s those never ending, goddamn wars.

“You make yourself ridiculous by thinking you can do anything. The world is divided in two. There are the communists on that side and on this side the free world. The Russians and the Americans, no one else. What are we. Americans. Behind me there is the government, behind the government is NATO, behind NATO is the U.S. You can’t fight us, we are Americans.”—Athens [Greece] inspector Basil Lambrou, 1960s, speaking to prisoners before torturing them, during the US-supported Papadopoulos dictatorship.

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By firefly, January 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

Note where our tax dollars are going:

Top US Defense Contractors: Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Company, Halliburton Company  

Lockheed Martin 2008 Annual Report
Financial Strength

Overall, 2008 was an excellent year for Lockheed Martin as sales reached a record $42.7 billion (that’s $42,700,000,000) and we grew our earning s per share for the seventh consecutive year.

“Our existing U.S. Government contracts are subject to continued appropriations by Congress and may be terminated or delayed if future funding is not made available. Reduced funding for defense procurement and research and development programs could result in terminated or delayed contracts and adversely affect our ability to grow or maintain our sales and profitability.

We rely heavily upon sales to the US. Government including both DoD and non DoD agencies, obtaining 84% of our sales from U.S. Government customers in 2008. Future sales from orders placed under our existing US.S Government contracts are conditioned upon the continuing availability of Congressional appropriations. Congress usually appropriates funds on a fiscal year basis even though contract performance may extend over many years.

We and other U.S. defense contractors have benefited from an upward trend in overall U.S defense spending in the last few years. This trend continued with the former President’s budget request for fiscal year 2009, which reflected the continued commitment to modernize the Armed Forces and sustain current capabilities while prosecuting the war on terrorism. Future defense budgets and appropriations for our programs and contracts may be affected by possibly differing priorities of the new Administration, including budgeting constraints stemming form the economic recovery and stimulus plans.”  (p.18)

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By RenZo, January 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Would anyone here take responsibility for stating a time and place in DC on 20 March for some of us to meet? I used to live there, but haven’t been back in six years.
There is a lot to learn, both from other who wrote here and from writers in other places. For example, those interested might go find Jeff Strabone’s posting on entitled Post-Shame. It has both original thoughts and insights about this mess from leading revolutionaries and socialist strategists:

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By Hulk2008, January 27, 2010 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

The Supreme Court will hereby be renamed as Chamber Of Commerce of the US.  All future sessions will be held in Las Vegas concurrent with the Consumer Electronics Show.  All decisions will be released along with the announcement of the winner of the Miss America pageant.  Black robes will be discarded in favor of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader outfits. The former Capitol Building will take on a corporate sponsor name - ala the Exxon Dome or Microsoft Stadium.

Since politicians believe teaching degrees are unnecessary for “educators”, law degrees will no longer be considered for SCOTUS members.  After all, the electorate believes common sense is all that is needed for all political action.

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By RJClawson, January 27, 2010 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All the decision did was make official what we’ve been for years: The Top Banana Republic.

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By Night-Gaunt, January 27, 2010 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

Commune115 is a dumbass for promoting a very dangerous course. Does that impinge on your consciousness at all? Why do you agree with Commune115 and not me? I don’t usually call others names but Commune115 and any other of hirs ilk that I have seen who call for such and then invoke the bloody and despotic French Revolution and not our own I find dangerous. Don’t you or are you in agreement with hirm? On the internet (and in many books) (s)he can find out all the data they want on it. Shouldn’t such a person actually have a vague idea of what happened? Or are you just pissed that I had the temerity to dress someone down here? It wasn’t directed at you unless you agree with Commune115, ego is irrelevant to this discussion, unless it affects you. I don’t like using such terms but these are dangerous times and using such a hideous model to fight tyranny I find retched and stupid. Don’t you?

If not why not, please explicate for me why?

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