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Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction

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Posted on Jan 24, 2010

By Chris Hedges

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.

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.

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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 gerardz3, January 25, 2010 at 11:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the police state, military machine,and security industry are waiting in the wings. certainly not to help the the sheeple,(Except to make us shake in our boots) The rich live where and how they want and get away with anyting. They care not about about the masses.
Only Revolution will stop them. I’s Time to bitch.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, January 25, 2010 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The best weapon the public now has is the general
strike.  That’s what they do in Europe and it works.

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By elwoodpdowd, January 25, 2010 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges is as always brilliant and correct, but some films of the past 30 years have said it more dramtically, viscerally and sometimes with humor:  The Running Man, Missing, They Live, Total Recall, Robocop, V for Vendetta and last but by no means the best of them all- Brazil.

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By Night-Gaunt, January 25, 2010 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

Commune115, January 25 at 4:46 am #

Obama’s a joke, we need a Robespierre!

Commune115 you are an ass & a dumb one. Don’t you know that history? The French Revolution failed, in the end Robespierre was the last one to meet Madam Guillotine wasn’t he? What is so good about that? It gave us a little guy by the name of Napoleon who caused hell in Europe. Does any of this ring a bell to you? If not hit the books or the internet—-it’s easy.

Chris Hedges is correct in my estimation and we may become an obvert totalitarian state yet. One where the Leviticus Laws will be in force but Corporate Capitalism will have free reign here as it does abroad. Our hybrid of Republic and Empire cannot last. One will win or both will fall leaving us a broken nation. We don’t have long. They will give us a last choice when the gov’t falls. For you see they need it to fall in order to rebuild it as a shining empire on a hill of skulls washed in the blood of any who are foolish enough to get in their way. What they do in other countries, they want to do here. After the few rebellions are obliterated on wide screen TV everyone else will quit. Especially if you are holding on to what you own as the Depression deepens to the level not felt since 1873.

We are in transition but to what? Nothing we are use to even if it will be a caricature of the America we are familiar with. It could be triggered by any number of things from war with Iran to an outbreak of disease to a presidential assassination. All and many more could set things, preplanned into motion.

This is the top 10% that own 75% of the wealth in the USA (alone) and after failing in 1934 they are poised to get it right this time.

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By samosamo, January 25, 2010 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

1984

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By thebeerdoctor, January 25, 2010 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges assessment is quite accurate. But the Supreme Court putting its thumb on the scale seems quite minor when you read Nick Turse’s reporting of U.S. development of robot assassination drones, increasingly being deployed by the Obama administration. As part of his campaign promise to increase the “lethality” of the U.S. military, the United States now engages in robotic assassinations, anytime it wants to. Our technological terrorism is second to none.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, January 25, 2010 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

3quarksdaily.com has an essay on this subject today
entitled Post-Shame, without the hopelessness
engendered by Hedge’s writing.  Worth reading.

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By omop, January 25, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

No AIPACS?..... NO FEDERAL RESEVE SYSTEM?...NO NRA?...NO INVISIBLE REAL
RULERS IN DC?  As Felix Frabkfurter claimed in his quote:-


  “The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise power from behibd the
scenes”.  FF. US Supreme Court Justice.

  Is it not time then to do away with the comic book Republican and Democratic
so called political parties?

  Would not that be “a justifiable peoples” request for a US Supreme court ruling?

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By the worm, January 25, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Why has the transfer of wealth accelerated under Obama? These are the key
questions to ask and the factual answers.

Who are Obama’s ‘constituencies’? Follow the decisions , find Obama’s
constituencies, see where the money has gone and how voters and middle
class were left holding the deficit bag.

1. Decision - Ignore previous Republican crimes, misdemeanors and profligacy
– tax cuts for the wealthy: Constituencies - Republican voters and Republican
Senators and Representatives he hoped would become ‘bi-partisan’.
2. Decision - Support a stingy stimulus that was half of what was needed and
included one-thirds tax breaks, increasing the deficit and further reducing the
stimulus to one-third of what was needed: Constituencies – Wealthy investors,
special interests.
?3. Decision - Kill the only option that would have slowed the cost of health
care & led to universal coverage – $ 753 Billions : Constituencies - Health
insurance and pharmacy industries.
?4. Decision - Accelerate the Bush bailout, $ 4.3 Trillions in bailouts,
guarantees and purchasing assets from the private sector at well above market
value: Constituency - Financial industry and banks.
?5. Decision - Escalate a meaningless and fruitless war, $600 Billions:
Constituencies - military and corporate mercenaries.
?6. Decision - Gut real financial reform and substitute finger wagging and silly
taxes and fees, while banking fees continue up, lending freezes and credit
tightens - $UNK Billions: Constituencies - financial industry and the wealthy.
?7. Decision - Not help people with bankruptcy and mortgages remediation –
accelerating middle class decline: Constituencies - financial industry, banks
and wealthy.
and ?
8. Decision - Fiddle around and not pass a jobs bill – accelerating middle class
decline (Already spent to much money, cut taxes and increased the deficit – so,
sorry, no money for the middle class and American voters): Constituencies:
Wealthy and Republicans.

Obama’s constituencies are the health insurance and pharmacy industry,
military-mercenary complex, the financial industry and banks, and the
wealthy.

Obama’s policies have continued to transfer America’s wealth from middle
class families to corporations and the wealthy. Obama is simply another
corporate shill. American people, fooled again.

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By Alan MacDonald, January 25, 2010 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Excellent. Excellent. Excellent analysis, and real ‘teaching moment’ as Obama might say.

Hedges, Bacevich, Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson, and many others are bring the serious discussion and action against this corporatist EMPIRE to the forefront of public discourse.

Now we can test (and perhaps shame) our president to come out of hiding and attack this hidden corporatist Empire:

Until Thursday, confrontation with this corporatist Empire was opaque, disguised, and not likely to come to a head soon——but then the supreme court’s overreach for the moneyed elitist Empire crossed a ‘bridge too far’, and much like the catalyst of monopoly ‘tea prices’ in Boston Harbor by the British EMPIRE this disguised and occupying Empire in our own land today became an easy target for a Second American Revolution.

The “anger and frustration” will not die down. The crimes of the Empire will not disappear. The storm of populist rage and revolutionary spirits will only grow higher and wider in a general conflagration of the people vs, the Empire, and so, Obama can either let his “arc of history bend” him, or he can get in front of it—- if he is really going to do as he what said dozens of times in one speech and “fight for the people” (against this corporatist Empire).

Here’s the deal. We can give Obama a little test of his bona fides (some might say, of his guts). Since the supreme court has presented us with the accelerated call to arms by allowing the economically and politically oppressive Empire to totally dominate all spheres of our lives with its unlimited bribery of all corrupt politicians (of both the existing corporate Parties/Party), Obama can prove his real metal by announcing, in his ‘State of the Union’ that he is changing his party affiliation to Green Independent, since that party will not allow any candidate to accept the new unlimited corrupting bribery of the corporatist Empire—- and that he expects all honest Senators and Congressmen to do the same if they are to truly represent the people rather than the corporatist Empire.

Obama can essentially call everyone’s bluff (on the angry right and left) and “call-out’ the corporatist Empire’s supreme court enabled money control of our American democracy for the take-over of the country that it is. He can point out to the frustrated average American people viewing on their TV’s (from both the left and right), and to his Congressional audience (of both Republicans and Democrats who are willing to listen) that since there is no legislative or other means to reverse or wipe-out the supreme court’s ‘sell-out’ of our democracy to the corporatist Empire, that he is willing to solve this unsolvable problem——along with solving our health care problem, our economic tyranny problem, our imperialist war problems, and all our other common problems that have been created by the cancer of this moneyed elite corporatist Empire upon our country, by voting for democracy against Empire and moving to essentially a new ‘Peoples Party’ in the form of the Green Independent Party, which does not take money from the Empire which oppresses us. [Cheer, cheer, cheer]

Obama can issue a challenge those in Congress who want to “represent the people instead of the corporatist Empire, to meet me in the new ‘Peoples Party’ in November, which the whole country and all honest citizens now will know is the only sign of non-moneyed, non-corrupt, and non-Empire choice—- and that we will use only their contributions and public funding to overturn any who stay behind in the Empire’s lair of the corrupted Republican and Democratic Party!”

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By E.F., January 25, 2010 at 9:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m glad the cat is finally out of the bag-

America isn’t a country for and by the people, it has truly been usurped by money in the pocket of the highest bidder…

When are the heads on a stick going to be seen in D.C.?

One sure-fire way of dealing with these overinflated sons of unloved mothers is to NOT purchase their products, NOT use their services, NOT park your money with them… To “ex” them out completely…. and make sure your friend, neighbor and relative does the same.

Thing is, so much of the populous is “inactive” because of the social conditioning via media… they need to “unplug” themselves much like the movie Matrix… so many parallels in that movie it is SCARY.

The people who work for the big corporations, military and police need to be shown, with patience and clarity, not just mumbo jumbo conspiracy talk ( although this is a conspiracy at the highest levels ), but need to be taught how history has been riddled with coup, fraud and manipulation by the money powers… and it is blatantly clear today, if one knows how to recognize it.

Folks need to take their eyes off of money ( the carrot in front of the donkey ) and look to something that is real ( God, Truth, Conscience, historical facts, anything BUT money )... they need to BREAK the illusion of money.

Military personnel and police will enforce the corrupt policy because their income depends on it, and without that income ( that fiat and phony paper money ), they and their family doesn’t eat, pay the mortgage, etc..

So, the carrot HAS been sown-in to great extremes, but what it will take is to break that illusion…

..and that will take personal discipline and effort, and unfortunately, as so many folks are conditioned to go to work, come home and be with family and veg out watching the boob tube and continuously swallow lie after propaganda lie… well, you’ll see what an uphill battle we face.

Educate yourself in regards to money and conspiracy facts: http://SmartPeopleSmartMoney.com

And help your fellow man, NOW!

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By usheroff, January 25, 2010 at 9:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges -you rock!thank goodness for the moral outrage of righteous men and woman.

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By Jack, January 25, 2010 at 8:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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By greenuprising, January 25, 2010 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

The posture of liberals described may or may not represent the real thinking of those who play the Washington game.  But the fear of real change that Hedges points to is palpable and deeply grounded.

The problem is not just corporate ascendance.  The corporations have been in ascendance since the political allies of Jefferson embraced the Federalist program and promoted the corporation as uniquely endowed to lead the nation to economic greatness.  Justice George Marshall was the first of a long line of justices to glorify, and build up, the corporation’s peculiar power.

And the problem is deeper, in our “republican”, decidedly not democratic, Constitution.  It is a document designed to shield government from popular rule as much as to shield the populace from tyranny.  It has been rather better at the former than the latter.  The solution?  Replace the damned thing!

Ah, but liberals and conservatives reply, the Constitution is a Sacred Document, responsible for the success of American democracy.  If this is success, give me failure.  We need a political movement to build democracy in this country, from abolishing the corrupt city and county council system, to making Senate and House rules democratic, to constitutional conventions to democratize the whole mess.  If the Bolivians and Ecuadoran can do it, we can do it.

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By eir, January 25, 2010 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”—The Guy on the Quaker Oats Box (Quaker Oats, a subsidiary of PepsiCo.  NYSE: OAT)

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By bozh, January 25, 2010 at 7:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In view that 98% of american voters voted for one party system and a rule by the rich,do we expect any significant change in the next presidential election?

I am not of the opinion that US structure of governance has changed in its basics.
For how else is one to explain away extirpation of indigenes, A-bombing japan, slavery, wars, etc.
All of these events were of one structure;i.e., of the system.
In add’n, isn’t now killing of new indians in asia also of the system?
And thus chris is saying that the system is getting ‘better’ and as per its intent? Which by now has been honed to perfection? Or will it even get ‘better’?
Ok, not ‘better’, but ‘better’ functioning, while the structure stays ab the same. tnx

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By Maxim, January 25, 2010 at 6:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Maxim January 25 at 14.12 hrs
“Inverted totalitarianism” is just an elegant translation of the old-age “Plutocracy”, from Ancient Greek “Plutos=wealth” and “Kratein=rule"which means the system holds the levers of power i.e. police and army,consequently controlling the populace but for an uncertain time only.When you have too outrageous discrepancies between “just” salaries and huge bonuses reaped by deceit and speculations but at the same time, that you have some 12% of unemployed people and fourty million others without healthcare rights, you slowly drift toward a socially unstable situation. The profiteers of this system are generally fascinated by quick profits bordering illicit earnings: see the recent financial collapse and the astounding rebirth of the Wall Street sphinx, thanks to the State i.e.public, collective money.
But in the background the seed of another world-problem , our growing debt to China as main moneylender, which puts the United States in an uncomfortable situation of virtual dependence if not addiction.
The Clinton abolition of the Glass-Steagall Act and now the latest Supreme Court decision are milliary columns but tombstones marking the slow death of a democratic America whilst the ongoing wars might be the beginning of the end of this cycle ?
Maxim

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By jonathonk99, January 25, 2010 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

This affects everything.  I don’t have a T.V. but from what I’ve heard this has had
no coverage.  The only thing I saw on You Tube was Keith Olberman’s usual rant.
Oh, and I think Obama may have had a word or two, or a finger to wave.  On
January 21, 2010 we found out what the Real Green Revolution is.  Say goodbye to
the planet as you know it.  That is unless we can convince rich people and
politicians that global warming affects them too.  But with all that new campaign
money coming out of their ears they won’t hear our screams.

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By johannes, January 25, 2010 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

Well we hope the American citizen will show us the way out, we have the same problems in Europe, its the “Happy Few ” who are cleaning us out, money wise but also mentaly, they wisper all the time in your ear freedom, but in the same moment you are a slave of their system.

We have seen some very revolutionair groups in Europe they are put very fast in the criminal corner, and than geth slaughterd.

They are so powerfull and absolutely inhuman,


Salutation

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By photoshock, January 25, 2010 at 5:10 am Link to this comment

The problem is not that the corporatocracy owns the U.S. but that the people have not awakened to this fact.
We are no longer the government, we are no longer the masters of our own fate, we cannot dictate policy and the effects of all the legislation that is passed that stands against the common person.
Barack Obama, was supposed to be the best hope, the ‘can do’ person who would change how the system worked.
Yet here we are, one year later and things have only gotten worse, not better, no legislation has been passed that even remotely resembles the campaign promises he made and this with a majority of Democrats in both houses of Congress. Some blame the ‘blue dog’ democrats, for the lack of comprehensive legislation to lighten the load on the common person,
no, this is not the reason. The reason is that Barack
Obama, has sold out to the special interests of lobbyists and corporate America.
Not only that, but now the Supreme Court has again made it legal for the ‘special interest’ lobbying groups to pour money into campaigns without comprehensive oversight.
This along with the pending legislation in the Senate, ‘The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention and Radicalization Act,’ will finally do away with the right to dissent and seeking redress from the government and against the government for perceived and real wrongs. Not only will it silence dissent but change the way Americans communicate with each other. For the ‘thought police’ are part and parcel of this pending legislation. In the House this bill was known under the title H.R. 1955. I have yet to find the corresponding Senate resolution. The powers that be are keeping this extremely quiet. You have not seen one word reported on this devastating bill. It will strip the citizenry of their rights as we know them under the Bill of Rights.
No more will dissent be allowed, no more will you be able to use logic and reason to change the minds of people, common people not even the Representatives and Senators will here your voice for it will be illegal to cause them to think about changing their minds based upon ‘force’ of logic and reason.
If you think that I am kidding, look at the bill under H.R. 1955 and be prepared to be shocked that this bill was introduced let alone voted upon, and passed by a vote of 406 for and 6 against with 22 abstaining. For your information, only 6 Representatives voted against this bill, most if not all did not read this bill which was voted upon illegally without debate and without a chance for the Reps. to characterize this bill as a bellwether of the defeat of American ideals.
The person who introduced this bill was not a Repuglican but a Democrat, Jane Harman, D. California
who successfully crafted a bill that will do away with dissent and protest of government policies.
Should this bill pass the Senate, and it surely will,
under the handlers of Barack Obama, namely the Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, this bill, doing away with our rights will become law and swiftly I might add.
One does not have to be prescient to see where this country is headed, for we are already proto-fascist, but now with the advent of this bill we will become legally the fascist state that we are already behind closed doors.

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By no mans land, January 25, 2010 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

Hedges did give what he believes the solution to be. Resistence. I fear if
any of this is to change we must relive the bloody labor disputes of the
18th century. the story of the. Molly Maguiers stands as living methaphor
of the era. They were forced to form secret organixations and to exact of
form of vigilante justice. They too were caught in the cogs of debt and
imdentured servitude. They too were evicted from homes that the
company-monopoly owned but failed to pay enough to actually afford.
Zero regulation of the mines they worked in led to frequent accidents and
death. The police. Who were literally called “the iron and coal police”
because were in the direct employ of the mining company, were scantly an
option.  after several of the mines bosses and sympathizers were murdered
by a handful of the mollies, the iron and coal police rounded up anyone
associated with the group, tried and convicted them with jury that spoke
mostly german, and then summarily executed all of them regardless of
guilt or innocence.  So grotesque was their railroading that the group
received a posthumous pardon by the governor of PA in 1979.

Those were the types of movements that ultimately led to reforms such as
the Tillman Act which banned the financing of federal campaigns by
corporations and national banks. Reforms that on the 21st of January,
2010, were codified out of American law. All that remains now is to remove
any remaining regulatory laws and structures and our regression back to
the era robber baron monopolies will be complete.

For my part, I’ve witnessed enough bloodshed in my life which has seen its
share of time in the wars taking place on the periphery of our empire. I
choose a nonviolent path though I fear even that will not protect me from
the wrath of this system one day for having lended tangible or rhetorical
support.

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By Druthers, January 25, 2010 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

Salome just dropped her veils. She may be an old hag but here is no more mystery now.  All that “contributing” is now legal.
Our world is now officially ruled by deep pockets blessed by five choir boys.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, January 25, 2010 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

America had its 15 minutes of fame and now it is time to step aside while someone else takes center stage.  I was fortunate to live through the best days ... the 50s thru 70s when we had a functioning middle class and wealth was shared by the many.  But the power elite resented that we were able to share some of the goodies and found ways to destroy us.  Now they are once again in control and I doubt very seriously that there is anything we can do to change that short of destroying the entire system and starting over.  Every part of our democracy has been compromised.  The military will soon be fully mercenary so that is no longer an option for change.  The police have similarly sold their allegiance to the powerful.  And we have seen how the courts can be co-oped.  So there is little left for us to do other than to destroy this sham.  I think Chris is hinting at this but he fears a direct declaration of revolution ... and rightly so.  But Chris, if you read these posts, you have my e-mail so contact me and we can discuss how revolution can be accomplished.  I’m listening and waiting your contact.

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By NorCalKid, January 25, 2010 at 2:53 am Link to this comment

Nice summary, Chris. I wish I could say I had hope that this might change, but I
think Obama has squeezed all the hope out of me and left me dry.

What can we do, in the next decade, to solve this crisis in our democracy?
Ordinary legislation doesn’t work, it will only be ruled unconstitutional. Clearly,
nothing will work, short of an explicit constitutional amendment, barring
interference by any person or organization (financially or otherwise) in elections.
Elections must be publicly funded and moderated, as done in a handful of other
countries. The gov’t-lobbyist revolving door would also need to stop, and only
an explicit amendment would do in that case as well.

This would be a huge step forward, but only a step. And it would be very very
hard. Not just the high bar of super-majorities in congress, but also 3/4 of
states have to ratify it, which is an enormous hurdle. Only pure white-hot public
rage and wrath at the polls could ever put this through; it has to become a
litmus issue, where just about everyone (regardless of other political beliefs)
would be willing to take a stand and vote out anyone who won’t support the
amendment (regardless of party). This would be, in a sense, a quasi-revolution
by itself.

Unfortunately, the public isn’t furious enough to make this change happen, yet.
We are manipulated into apathy and inaction by the system itself. And I don’t
know if this will change before it is too late. “Too late” is when the economy
really collapses under our feet, plunging 300 million Americans into serious 3rd
world variety poverty, at which point the wealthy move into compounds and hire
Blackwater (or Xe, or whatever they’ll call themselves) as their own private army
(the military is already more than half privatized…it would be so easy for this to
occur). This army will operate with impunity in the impoverished countryside,
massacring any who dissent, and killing off any who try to take their share of
food or other resources, ostensibly for “looting.” It will be a return to dark age
economic structures, with enormously wealthy masters over-seeing
impoverished servants who have no rights whatsoever.

I’m not going to stick around for that, if that is what is going to happen.

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By writeon, January 25, 2010 at 2:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Inverted totalitariansm is not exactly a catchy phrase, or a particularly easy concept for most “ordinary” people to get their heads around, is it?

I wondered, after having read Wolin’s excellent book a year ago, if it all was too subtle for mass consumption, but then I suppose that wasn’t the market Wolin was aiming at? Or was he? Clearly his concern about the “death” of demcracy, in it’s modern form in the United States, was his main motivation; but how on earth does one get such a message across in this day and age?

Even my phrase, “Corporate Totalitarianism” isn’t much better, and “fascism” in it’s corporate state version seems inadequate too. Fascism sounds so old fashioned doesn’t it, like something from the distant past; one thinks of Hitler and Mussolini, not our friendly leaders in their nice, neat, suits?
Today, “fascism” has been given a total brand makeover, so recognising it is much more difficult. Strip the militeristic garb and style, from old-school fascism and what does one have?

We have a new type of state. A state where the market is at the centre. A state where the market and the state have become close to one, total, entity. And this state is powerful. It’s a state with the military at its centre controlling a vast empire.

Are their any solutions to the challenges we face, can this process be rolled backwards? The short answer is negative. The “democratic process” will not succeed. We are on a historical tragectory and vast forces are under way, moving. Things will, unfortunately, have to run their course. The current, corporate totalitarian state, is simply way to powerful, successful, strong, and unchallenged. There is, after all, no real political opposition, not in the country and certainly not in Congress. The overwhelming, vast, crushing, majority of Congressmen are, in reality, members of the same party or club. Change won’t come from that direction.

Most empires, or autocratic ruling elites, seem to rot from within and fall in on themselves, they don’t reform themselves before it’s too late and the revolution becomes inevitable, unfortunately there is an awful lot of suffering and pain waiting down that particular road. It’s a shame that ordinary people are so reasonable for so long, before they are forced by circumstances to react to gross misrule, and tear the old system down. It’s a shame there isn’t a short cut to real and substantive, structural change in society. What’s also sad is that even when the old system collapses on itself, under its own rotten weight, there is no law that says that things will automatically end for the better, there is often decades of instability to look forward to.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, January 25, 2010 at 1:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

VLADIMIR: Suppose we repented.

ESTRAGON: Repented what?

VLADMIR: Oh… (he reflects) We wouldn’t have to go
      into the details.

ESTRAGON: Our being born? (Vladimir breaks into a
      hearty laugh which he immediately stifles.)

VLADIMIR: One daren’t even laugh anymore.

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By Commune115, January 25, 2010 at 12:46 am Link to this comment

Obama’s a joke, we need a Robespierre!

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, January 25, 2010 at 12:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ESTRAGON: Why don’t we hang ourselves?

VLADIMIR: With what?

ESTRAGON: You haven’t got a bit of rope?

VLADIMIR: No

ESTRAGON: Then we can’t.

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By christian96, January 24, 2010 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges—-You have describe extant conditions
rather well.  Do you have any solutions? Please
don’t give me the need to communicate solution.
Do you have a vehicle for communicating?  Truth-dig!
How many average “Joe the Plummers” read truth-dig?

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