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Do Not Pity the Democrats

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Posted on Sep 12, 2010
AP / Elise Amendola

By Chris Hedges

There are no longer any major institutions in American society, including the press, the educational system, the financial sector, labor unions, the arts, religious institutions and our dysfunctional political parties, which can be considered democratic. The intent, design and function of these institutions, controlled by corporate money, are to bolster the hierarchical and anti-democratic power of the corporate state. These institutions, often mouthing liberal values, abet and perpetuate mounting inequality. They operate increasingly in secrecy. They ignore suffering or sacrifice human lives for profit. They control and manipulate all levers of power and mass communication. They have muzzled the voices and concerns of citizens. They use entertainment, celebrity gossip and emotionally laden public-relations lies to seduce us into believing in a Disneyworld fantasy of democracy.

The menace we face does not come from the insane wing of the Republican Party, which may make huge inroads in the coming elections, but the institutions tasked with protecting democratic participation. Do not fear Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. Do not fear the tea party movement, the birthers, the legions of conspiracy theorists or the militias. Fear the underlying corporate power structure, which no one, from Barack Obama to the right-wing nut cases who pollute the airwaves, can alter. If the hegemony of the corporate state is not soon broken we will descend into a technologically enhanced age of barbarism. 

Investing emotional and intellectual energy in electoral politics is a waste of time. Resistance means a radical break with the formal structures of American society. We must cut as many ties with consumer society and corporations as possible. We must build a new political and economic consciousness centered on the tangible issues of sustainable agriculture, self-sufficiency and radical environmental reform. The democratic system, and the liberal institutions that once made piecemeal reform possible, is dead. It exists only in name. It is no longer a viable mechanism for change. And the longer we play our scripted and absurd role in this charade the worse it will get. Do not pity Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. They will get what they deserve. They sold the citizens out for cash and power. They lied. They manipulated and deceived the public, from the bailouts to the abandonment of universal health care, to serve corporate interests. They refused to halt the wanton corporate destruction of the ecosystem on which all life depends. They betrayed the most basic ideals of democracy.  And they, as much as the Republicans, are the problem.

“It is like being in a pit,” Ralph Nader told me when we spoke on Saturday. “If you are four feet in the pit you have a chance to grab the top and hoist yourself up. If you are 30 feet in the pit you have to start on a different scale.”

All resistance will take place outside the arena of electoral politics. The more we expand community credit unions, community health clinics and food cooperatives and build alternative energy systems, the more empowered we will become. 

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“To the extent that these organizations expand and get into communities where they do not exist, we will weaken the multinational goliath, from the banks to the agribusinesses to the HMO giants and hospital chains,” Nader said. 

The failure of liberals to defend the interests of working men and women as our manufacturing sector was dismantled, labor unions were destroyed and social services were slashed has proved to be a disastrous and fatal misjudgment. Liberals, who betrayed the working class, have no credibility. This is one of the principal reasons the anti-war movement cannot attract the families whose sons and daughters are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. And liberal hypocrisy has opened the door for a virulent right wing. If we are to reconnect with the working class we will have to begin from zero. We will have to rebuild the ties with the poor and the working class which the liberal establishment severed. We will have to condemn the liberal class as vociferously as we condemn the right wing. And we will have to remain true to the moral imperative to foster the common good and the tangible needs of housing, health care, jobs, education and food.

We will, once again, be bombarded in this election cycle with messages of fear from the Democratic Party—designed, in the end, to serve corporate interests. “Better Barack Obama than Sarah Palin,” we will be told. Better the sane technocrats like Larry Summers than half-wits like John Bolton. But this time we must resist. If we express the legitimate rage of the dispossessed working class as our own, if we denounce and refuse to cooperate with the Democratic Party, we can begin to impede the march of the right-wing trolls who seem destined to inherit power. If we again prove compliant we will discredit the socialism we should be offering as an alternative to a perverted Christian and corporate fascism. 

The tea party movement is, as Nader points out, “a conviction revolt.” Most of the participants in the tea party rallies are not poor. They are small-business people and professionals. They feel that something is wrong. They see that the two parties are equally responsible for the subsidies and bailouts, the wars and the deficits. They know these parties must be replaced. The corporate state, whose interests are being championed by tea party leaders such as Palin and Dick Armey, is working hard to make sure the anger of the movement is directed toward government rather than corporations and Wall Street. And if these corporate apologists succeed, a more overt form of corporate fascism will emerge without a socialist counterweight.


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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

lstuler, September 13 at 7:31 pm – Are you a lawyer?

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By RKnox, September 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For what it’s worth - I discovered that almost all the “stimulus” money is going to capital rather than to labor.

During the depression road repairs were made by pick and shovel. All the stimulus was going to labor. I was there, my uncle was one of the workers, I speak from experience.

Yesterday I interviewed the guy who is doing road repair near my home. He drives a $1,250,000 machine that digs up the road. He gets paid about $200 a day but the machine is being amortized at about $1,290 a day - all of which goes to the guy who put up the money for the machine.

You can think this through yourself and form your own conclusions.

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By bluechicory, September 13, 2010 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A few comments here made sense… not the long winded ones that were done mostly to show us all how wonderfully smart they are.
There are a few things we can work on to turn this ship around… first of all go vote…for progessive Democrats. Work for throwing out this latest ruling by the court that corporations are people. Get money out of elections. Get lobbists out of Washington. Make certain our votes are made on machines that count correctly. End the filibuster !!!  The Repubs have used it to thwart almost all of the Obama administration’s progress actions.  What use is a majority when a filibuster can stop bills from even being discussed or voted on???
All of you who suggest not voting for progressives in the mid term election are just tea party trolls.

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By Mcoyote, September 13, 2010 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

Here comes the common refrain:

“If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about the outcome.”

The opposite is true. By playing the game, voters agree to the rules. Only those who don’t play and withhold their consent have a right to complain about the outcome, especially since the winner will have his hand in the non-voter’s pocket.

Voting is not an act of political freedom. It is an act of political conformity. Those who refuse to vote are not expressing silence. They are screaming in the politician’s ear: “You do not represent me. This is not a process in which my voice matters. I do not believe you.”

Non-voting has a rich and long history through which the dissenting electorate has expressed everything from religious convictions to political cynicism.

Who makes the decisions in our society?

Who writes public policy?

Years of social engineering has caused people to be deluded on this matter.

The White House and Congress don’t really make the decisions, Wall Street and the Pentagon do.

Who wins the election makes no difference because all politicians must do what the elite want. Elections are a scam whose function is to neutralize resistance movements and dupe ordinary citizens into thinking they have a say in matters of the state.

Elections do not secure popular control over the state, they do help secure state control over the populace. Voting is a ritual that reinforces obedience to state authority. It creates the illusion that “the people” control the state, thereby masking elite rule. That illusion makes rebellion against the state less likely because it is seen as a legitimate institution and as an instrument of popular rule rather than the oligarchy it really is. This is why even totalitarian states like Russia under Stalin had elections. Embedded within all electoral campaigns is the myth that “the people” control the state through voting.

So, given that a successful State requires legitimacy and that one of the easiest ways to achieve legitimacy is through widespread voter participation, what is the responsibility of the voters for the actions of its government?

Voting in the United States isn’t about “democracy”—it’s about perpetuating the illusion of democracy.

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By LeMoyne, September 13, 2010 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

The point that Hedges makes is that there has been a slow motion coup and it has succeeded - the corporations have won. 
One need only look at PPCA and recognize that it is a pure for-profit ‘solution’ to a health care crisis with weak as water relative cost control and it requires us all to buy from for-profit health insurance companies.  Or the War in Iraq - who has profited besides the oil companies?  Not the Iraqis with 100s of thouands killed, unions outlawed, their basic infrastructure destroyed and a fled, dead or outlawed (as Baathist) middle class…. But Exxon, Shell and other corporations have gained access to billions of barrels of oil which they will sell to people everywhere at a huge profit with no sacrifice required at all. 
On the side issue of 2000: Gore could have requested a total recount in FL + the Republican caging and secret counting was all illegal + the electronic voting+counting systems are a travesty.  When the Dems blame Nader they lose while the corporations win by dividing the opposition.  Besides seen much real significant change in this dynamic of corporate control under President Obama?  Did he not give BP control of the Gulf after they messed it up? 
Recognizing that the corporations have won control of our government, the paradigm must shift from sometime political opposition to full time resistance to the corporate controlled state.  Until corporations are stripped of the rights they have usurped from us by a specific Constitutional Amendment, any legislative solutions will simply be overturned by corporatist judges from Roberts and Scalia on down (Citizens United).  If such an Amendment is too far or impossible, then it is done - we the people have been sold down the river and political opposition is futile. 
A corporation is not a human and it is not an assembly or free association of humans.  Who has not been told on hire that the right of free speech is lost at the door?  Millions have been fired or laid off from corporations - do they have the right to associate in the corporation? .NO. Corporations are for profit business entities - they are legal fictions that have no a priori valid claim to our human rights, and neither can they derive their claim of rights like equal protection, association or privacy from any association or assembly of actual humans.  These fictional corporate rights can not be derived from stockholders who also have no say (no free speech in corp even for stockholders) and stockholders are often just other corporations anyway.

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By Ralph Kramden, September 13, 2010 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hope is the last thing to die and only France and the rest of America: Latin America, offers any hope. In the USA the corruption is so pervasive and it’s not the corruption of the petty functionaries such as the “mordidas” of Latin America, but the big-time corruption of high-level politicians and generals. Then we have a working class who shops at Wal Mart, they are all Donald Trump wanna-bees and celebrate not Chicago May Day 1886 as labor day, but some ghastly day in September dictated by the Chamber of Commerce. If there is to be any hope, repeal Taft-Hartley and rescind the notion that Corporations are people: a fascist notion if there ever was one. Capitalism is anti-democratic in essence and also anti-Christian. It took the mental gymnastics of Calvin to turn wealth from a flaw into a virtue and now Glen Beck is trying to turn social justice from a virtue into a flaw. As Joe Hill said before his execution: “Don’t mourn; organize.” That is our last hope.

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By lstuler, September 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

There is something that we Americans can do now to restore our freedom.
  The Declaration of Independence is the organic law of the land and its main tenet is that “all men are created equal”. The Constitution acknowledges this where in Article I, section 8 it grants the federal government jurisdiction over foreign commerce, interstate commerce, and trade with the Indians. The federal government has no jurisdiction over intrastate commerce since the law is based upon the tenet that “all men are created equal”. The individual American is sovereign, not the federal gov’t. - United States v. Lee, 106 U.S. 196, Hale v. Henkle, 201 U.S. 43, Julliard v. Greenman, 110 U.S. 421, Chisholm v. Georgia, 1 L.Ed. (2 Dall.) 415.
  The FED bankrupted the gov’t in the 1930’s. This is evidenced by the correlation between the United States Code (USC) and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): title 11 USC, “Bankruptcy”, is implemented by title 11 CFR, “Federal Elections”.  Our vote is simply to elect a bankruptcy “administration”.   
  Bankrupting the federal gov’t wasn’t enough to make Americans pay the interest on the FED’s counterfeit money loans to the gov’t. because of individual sovereignty.
  To get around all of the chains that the Constitution imposes on the federal gov’t, Social Security was created to destroy American sovereignty. The “Form SS-5” that an applicant uses to apply for a S.S.# is actually a federal employment form. The federal employee is the “taxpayer”. “Taxpayer” is a legal term defined at 26 CFR 2.1-1(a)(5) as a member of the Merchant Marine - a federal employee.  At 26 CFR 2.1-1(b) it states that this is the definition of the term within the Code and the regulations for all calculation of taxes.
  The gov’t has been given jurisdiction over its possessions by Article IV, section 3 of the Constitution. By checking the box “U.S. citizen” on the “Form SS-5” the applicant has given the gov’t prima facie evidence of U.S. possession citizenship. “U.S. citizen” is also a legal term exemplified at 26 CFR 25.2501-1(c) as a person born in one of the States who then establishes a residence in a U.S. possession and, further, acquires U.S. possession citizenship. The U.S. possessions are treated as foreign countries (see 26 USC sec. 865(i)(3), 872(b)(7), and 2014(g) for example). This makes a “U.S. citizen” a foreigner in relation to America - the 14th Amendment citizen.
  The combination of the legal terms “taxpayer” and “U.S. citizen” is known as the legal term “U.S. resident” at 26 USC sec. 865(g). A “U.S. resident” is a “U.S citizen” living in America - a foreigner.
  The income tax was ruled to be constitutional - Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 240 U.S. 1 (1916), Stanton v. Baltic Mining, 240 US 103 (1916), Peck & Co. v. Lowe, 247 US 165 (1918), Eisner v. Macomber, 252 U.S. 189 (1920). These Supreme Court decisions all stated that the gov’t always had the power to tax income and, further, that no new power of taxation was granted to the federal gov’t by the 16th Amendment.  Therefore, the income being taxed must be within the limited jurisdiction of the federal gov’t to begin with since no new power was granted to the federal gov’t.
  The 3 commerce jurisdictions are cited separately in title 28 USC, “Judiciary and Judicial Procedure”, chapter 85, “District Courts; Jurisdiction”. Section 1336, “Surface Board Transportation Orders”, is the interstate commerce jurisdiction. Section 1362, “Indian Tribes”, is obviously the trade with the Indians commerce jurisdiction. Section 1340, “Internal revenue; customs duties”, is the foreign commerce jurisdiction. 
  The gov’t now has an unending reservoir of money from its “taxpayers” to spend on whatever illogical, uneconomical agenda it wishes.  Abolish Social Security and restore freedom.
  I have evidenced the entire Social Security Scam on my Blog at LLSTULER.wordpress.com.

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By David Lucier, September 13, 2010 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agreed with your premise that institutions are at fault. The history and values of big institutions support war and xenophhobia. Unfortunately, the premises of the solution, mostly related to dismantling, don’t have promise. The structure and function of Unions and non-profits do not really function democratically: they sequester information and create elites who function almost as management in any traditional corporation.

The problem is social intelligence, not individual smartness; potential for structures—open to access and orientation, similar to research games, and expressible as evolving DNA analogous entities——might have a chance for evolutionary change; but, such structures would have to be designed and set loose first; they could have crews to help populations orient to these new social machines and to maneuver them in social space—some designed to crash into existing corporations and destroy them; some designed to out think; and all designed to evolve rapidly over generations of participants, leaving old institutions in the dust.

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By berniem, September 13, 2010 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

All these statements are true and have been heard for millenia. Unfortunately, such situations never resolve themselves peacefully due to the size and power of the dominant element and the lack of sophistication, resources, and organizational structure of the plantiffs. What always transpires is an ever escalating series of stressors on society as a whole followed by sproadic shows of resistance until the ruling class decides to “teach a lesson” or “make examples of…” rsulting in the match igniting the inevitable conflagration of armed revolution! This will happen! Don’t for a second believe that “thems that got” are going to stop and have a serious review of Santayana!

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By Leefeller, September 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, September 13 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

“How does not voting fix ANYTHING??????”

“Meg Whitman hasn’t voted for years and STILL she’s won the GOP nomination to be Governor of the largest state in the Union.”

Okay ITW or was it Night Gaunt?.....George Carlin had not voted for some time before he passed away now that he is deceased, I plan on voting for him or at least will be writing him in,  even deceased, Carlin is eminently smarter then the the brain dead Palin and Beck or any other good old boys the powers that be can conjure up!

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By JSB, September 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

To all, but especially in response to chuckwagoncharlie: 

How would you get Ralph in charge?  By having him run for President?  But he’s been there, done that, and failed. All he succeeded in doing in 2000 was shaving the margin for Gore and making it easier for the coup to succeed.

I know what your position is, what your preference and hope are.  But I don’t see how you envision accomplishing them.

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By chuckwagoncharlie, September 13, 2010 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

Chris is dead on in this article. This isn’t about Republican or Democrat since the power at the top of both parties seem to forget the working class people.
How many of you sit on a planning committee or make policy decisions in either PARTY. Yup I thought so, none! You go vote YOUR Party and change nothing.
Those who control MONEY Control and YOU the worker are doing good now days to have any money. As a WORKER we might as well get a monthly allowance from those who control our lives.It is time to clean house in WASHINGTON and put Ralph in charge!

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Peter Knopfler's avatar

By Peter Knopfler, September 13, 2010 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

Well! Chris! stirred things up once more, vapors spread throughout the NET! Thank You;
to be truthful at all times is most difficult. Not to know is now considered a bliss! Coming from 2nd world war tragedies I can identify with all our members remarks, history repeating becomes most obvious in this information age. I watched two movies this week end, BRAVE NEW WORLD and 1984, Huxley first then Orwell. I ordered the books, I read them in 1966-67, next movie Soyent Green Charlton Heston. For folks who haven`t read them or seen the movies, please don`t hold back, And 1976 Peter Finch, Canadian, NETWORK, “I`m mad as Hell, and I`m not going to take it anymore, G_d dam it, my Life has Value!” I must be getting soft, tears come quickly! Thanks Chris!

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By democratz.org, September 13, 2010 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

You and I can change the corporate structure.

Please see http://hoflink.com/~dbaer/help-me-change-america1.htm

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 13, 2010 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

If Continuity of Government is still in place…

wouldn’t that make Mr. Joe Biden our real leader, or at least his position and office the central orifice of the ‘invisible hand’s’ policy?

So yes, the crowds are attracted to a cult of personality type, and once the ‘popular’ consensus is reached, that person simply designates vice president, the informal seat of power / delegation.

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheRealNews#p/u/6/G0HJdvD6SJk

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By Textynn, September 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Okay Chris, I know your right about our only choice is to resist corporatism. But is there any reason to vote at all. I mean there seems to be no reason. I have no problem with not voting as a protest but come election day what should we do? I know the Dems and Repubs serve the same masters. Is there any benefit to voting third party?  We know they will get zero coverage and if they won the elite owners would probably lie about it.

Besides resistance and not buying corporate products , what do you think we should do. People ask me this all the time when I try to get them to see the Dems are serving in concert with the Repubs but they are right when they say , “Then what??”

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By JenniferBedingfield, September 13, 2010 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

I am thoroughly impressed at this article and after another stressful day at work, I felt like crying all over again after I read this article. Working for a small business and trying to keep it alive and preventing corporate takeovers is never easy. Nader is right about the way the working class citizens who are on the poorer end are unable to find enough time or resources to organize. I have said it before and I will say it again. It doesn’t matter if the Democrats or Republicans win. The ability of this nation to resist “too big to fail” is just not there. Even now, despite the Great Depression slowly but steadily catching up to us, people still scorn at small and local and want everything big and cheap. It is not easy getting the electorate to overcome the addiction of disaster capitalism once it takes hold but I for one am still working on helping others overcome the addiction the best I can.

Yes, I will continue to vote with my heart and mind. However, I also realize that voting alone isn’t enough so I will continue to work for small businesses and never give up finding employment there. I will also continue my efforts in looking out for my company’s small business clients because it takes more small businesses to tackle the corporate giants.

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By Sean01, September 13, 2010 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

“An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy.”
Woodrow Wilson

http://www.leftista.com/index.php/2010/09/the-democracy-revolution/

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By diamond, September 13, 2010 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

What a relief it is, JSB to know that someone else knows what those bastards did and how Nader helped them, by running, to do it. I remember reading about the trucks filled with ballots that were driven around the backblocks of Florida in 2000 so they couldn’t be counted. It was, as you say, a coup, a constitutional coup aided and abetted by the Supreme Court. Do fear Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck: they are Fascists and should be feared by anyone with a functioning brain. All articles like this do is say ‘There’s no political solution, so don’t vote, take to the streets and overthrow the military/industrial complex with your bare hands’ which inevitably gives victory to the Fascist/Republican/Tea Party mob. It’s common knowledge that when progressive voters stay home you don’t get a victory for justice and commonsense, you get Nixon or Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. And can anyone seriously think Nader has a large following? He is merely a person who siphons off left wing votes that would defeat the Republican Party. He is one of their best friends- like that hideous grub Joe Lieberman. I read in a very wise book called ‘The Greening of America’ that going out on the streets to protest is simply an invitation to be beaten, tear gassed and shot and that real change can’t be won that way in the long term because the state will always have superior force and controls the legal system. Only a civil war would accomplish what Hedges advocates (an extra-electoral solution) and that’s what the Republicans are already trying to start with their Islamophobia project in New York.

The truth is, semifrost that Gore won Florida by thousands of votes but the neo cons weren’t having that. They had already tried to toss Clinton out because he wouldn’t invade Iraq only to see him survive and stay in office. And they knew Gore would never invade Iraq and that 9/11 would probably have been impossible under his watchful eye. They had no choice: it was a constitutional coup or another four years of a Democrat who wouldn’t respond to their New Pearl Harbour (if they could even launch it) with war, war, war.

Some other items from 2000 and 2004:

1.CNN’s Ohio exit polls broadcast just after midnight on election day in 2004 gave out these figures: Among women voters, Kerry won 53% of the vote compared with 47% for Bush. Among men voters, Kerry won 51% of the vote while Bush won 49%. So how did Kerry lose Ohio? 

2.In Ohio, 153,237 ballots were thrown away –  more than the Bush ‘victory’ margin of 5,988. In Iowa Bush ‘won’ by 13,498 votes but 36,811 votes were thrown away, described as ‘spoiled’.  In all 3.5 million votes cast in 2004 were never counted. As Joe Stalin said: ‘It’s not the people who vote who count, it’s the people who count the votes.’

3.It’s possible to calculate that Al Gore would have received a vote in Florida that was 77,000 votes higher, had the spoiled votes been counted. Bush won Florida by 537 votes.

4.In Bernalillo County, Albuquerque, Precinct 512, Bush received 206 votes even though only 166 votes were cast.

5.Bush also won Precinct 558 where 178 absentee voters cast 319 votes. All of them for Bush.

6.For Kerry, strangely, the reverse was true. In Precinct 46 the gremlins had been busy. Of 207 ballots cast, 114 had no vote recorded for President. Precinct 46 is a Democrat stronghold.

7.The number of dead people who voted in New Mexico was 2,087. This was half of Bush’s winning margin.

All of this and much more is in Greg Palast’s book ‘Armed Madhouse’. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the full scope of the electoral fraud.

They can only steal the election if it’s close and the best way to make it close is for progressive voters to stay home and not vote. I know Bush and Cheney will never be put on trial but they and their party should at least pay an electoral price for their many crimes.

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By Textynn, September 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“If the hegemony of the corporate state is not soon broken we will descend into a technologically enhanced age of barbarism.”

OH we are totally there already.

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By John Sullivan, September 13, 2010 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges, I greatly enjoy reading your articles, but please use the word “progressive” instead of “socialism.” What the Conservative, corporate, and religious establishment practices and advocates in this country is socialism—serving the “greater good” by accepting sub-par wages, using the state and the church to decide who can marry and whether a feeding tube must stay plugged in, etc. But since doublethink prevails in our national discourse, Americans have been led to believe that these things constitute “freedom.” Your article alludes to that. What you and Ralph Nader and others like the Green Party advocate is simply “progressive” ideals of individual freedom, community-based politics, civil engagement, free access to education, and local and sustainable economies. In short, democracy.

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By VL, September 13, 2010 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

(I posted this before but it did not appear. I hope you are not censoring it since it’s my opinion and should not be offensive to anyone even if they don’t agree with it)

To Druthers:

I have been a fan of Hedges and his defender for many years, and I’ve met him personally a few times and I even set a speaking engagement for him once.

I disagree with your post in general. Whether Hedges sees himself as a leader or not is not the issue. Any great thinker who influences the minds of men has a responsibility and I think Hedges is falling short of fulfilling his when he professes that democracy is dead and that change is not possible within the sphere of elections.

This is a tremendous failing, not just of intellect but of morality. Because if the system of democracy is broken, that means it can be fixed, and we must seek the answer of how to fix it WHICH EXISTS but Hedges does not bother to find it or define it.

And morality because advocating the abandonment of democracy and an embrace of some ill-informed and amorphous socialist revolution will lead to nothing but chaos and carnage in America.

That is my belief, you may disagree, but I think Chris has become disillusioned and bitter to the point of becoming a impediment to real change. There is no reason to believe he doesn’t understand how to really fix this country. I am starting to question whether he even wants to.

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By sophrosyne, September 13, 2010 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Palin is the perfect stooge for corproatism.  She is a master manipulator.  Count on her to drain the last blood of this country as she leads a crusade against Iran and Syria as demanded by israel, Big Oil andf the munition dealers.

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By JSB, September 13, 2010 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

This all sounds so definitive, but it doesn’t really say anything new.  Nader has been mouthing this kind of stuff for more than a decade—there’s no reason to believe these generalities have any more substance than they did when he ran as the Presidential candidate of a party he didn’t even belong to (I’m speaking of the Green Party, of course). 

During his campaign against Gore (and that was what it was), there was never any explanation given for why he didn’t run in the Democratic primaries against Gore.  Nader and his followers always denied the obvious fact that his running in the general election would make the margin for Gore smaller.  We now know that Gore got enough votes to have won, had the votes been counted instead of a coup conducted by 5 members of the Supreme Court, shutting down the vote counting in Florida.  Although NORC counted the votes and the results are available, the fact that Gore won no matter which decision rule is used (re: chads—dimpled, hanging, etc.) has been obscured, but it’s still a fact.  What Bush defenders cling to is that if only the four counties that Gore requested had been counted, Bush would have appeared to have won.  But ALL the votes should have been counted.  Yes, Gore should have insisted that all the votes be counted.  But our electoral system should not depend on what a particular candidate requests in the heat of a campaign of thuggery and subversion of the counting process. 

I am surprised to see Truthdig headline this interview with Nader as if it gives us some helpful direction to take.  I wish it did, but it doesn’t.

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By radson, September 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

Hello TDers

This present article has incited a lot of interesting feedback and I may conclude that the general consensus is in favor with what Chris Hedges wrote.The uncertain future that awaits us all could be briefly
summarized by the continual Corporatist greed which is comfortably in the ‘drivers seat’ or the prospect of change that is being advocated by the seekers of reform.Both options are going to create a certain form of chaos within the existing structure .The Corporatists promote ‘willingly or unwillingly ’ the demise of the Planet through their blatant greed ,whilst the other promotes a drastic change in the known lifestyle of the
masses within our symbiotic relationship with the environment and a balance of sustainability ,which in essence is required for the survival of the future generations,in hindsight many things have no monetary
equivalence.
The electoral choice between a Donkey and an Elephant has become a similar entity ,where the joke is starting to fade ,this is not a novelty ,it has been well documented by Professor Chomsky.The prelude
towards the elections has become a spectacle ;a charade ;a farce ;a Hollywood machination that Charlie Chaplin could place in perspective ,somewhat like his depiction of Hitler .Sarah Palin and the Tea Party
is nothing more than a trick ,it is a ploy by the corporatists to garner the votes and assembly of the disenchanted citizens to vote for -well you guessed it -the elephant and simultaneously weaken the option
and or resistance of a possible third party.Some of the posters are critical of Mr. Nader and that is understandable ,perhaps Dennis Kucinich also ,but before being to hasty in your judgment ,consider that the said gentlemen are in a position of influence and in order for them to promote their thoughts and ideas it would be foolish for them to relinquish their positions .I agree with Mr. Hedges argument that the unsustainable must be vanquished and a comprehensive self-sufficient doctrine must be implemented in order to maintain the future generations.Having said the above ,it begs the question -what is to be done-.
That’s going to depend on what is important and or essential to YOU and what is required to live within a balance of respect ,comfort and happiness with your neighbors -sounds simple -its not.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 13, 2010 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

nemesis2010,We are not living in Zamyatin’s “We” or Orwell’s “1984” or Huxley’s “Brave New World” or London’s America in “The Iron Heel.”

I would add we are not living in Atwood‘s “The Handmaid’s Tale” just yet, but we are getting so close to it.

Thank you Shenonymous for that quote, it summarizes what I see for our future, if they reach their ultimate goal, but in the USA at least, a global hegemony where the world has been made safe for profit and their god to return to earth.

It just covers the economic-political construction, then just add all the other problems and technologies to give us a really interesting world. In the Chinese curse way of course.

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By Shenonymous, September 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

It was A. Jensen in the movie Network:
Here is Jensen’s speech:

“You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I
won’t have it, is that clear?! 

You think you have merely stopped a business deal—that is not the
case!  The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country,
and now they must put it back.  It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity, it is
ecological balance! 

You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples!  There
are no Russians.  There are no Arabs!  There are no third worlds!  There
is no West! 

There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immense,
interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of
dollars!

Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars!, Reichmarks, rubles, rin,
pounds and shekels!  It is the international system of currency that
determines the totality of life on this planet!  That is the natural order
of things today!  That is the atomic, subatomic and galactic structure of
things today! 

And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you will
atone!  Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? 

You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen, and howl about
America and democracy.  There is no America.  There is no democracy. 

There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and Dupont, Dow, Union Carbide
and Exxon.  Those are the nations of the world today. 

What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state—
Karl Marx?  They pull out their linear programming charts, statistical
decision theories and minimax solutions and compute the price-cost
probabilities of their transactions and investments just like we do. 

We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale.  The
world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the
immutable by-laws of business.  The world is a business, Mr. Beale!

It has been since man crawled out of the slime, and our children, Mr.
Beale, will live to see that perfect world in which there is no war and
famine, oppression and brutality—one vast and ecumenical holding
company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in
which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all
anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.”

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By RGO, September 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is right the $7.25 an hour worker will not be the agent of change.  Unless, he or she is that worker who was once comfortably lodged in the middle class and had a home and health insurance.  These are the people Eric Hoffer wrote about in the True Believer.  They had a taste of the “good life” and now they have been screwed by institutions once trusted.  There are some bitter people out there.  Yes they are in a deep pit, but the social media available will possibly be the springboard to help them climb out.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 13, 2010 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

As always, I’m ignored due to the NOISE of argument within fixed paradigmatic minds… why do I even try?

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By Shenonymous, September 13, 2010 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

“socially responsible corporations”  Oh excuse my second post
here, but isn’t that an oxymoron? 

In what black hole does one find these candidates?

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By nemesis2010, September 13, 2010 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Only the republicans can make Americans wish for a return to the days of democrat rule. Once in power, only the democrats can make Americans wish to return to republican rule. That’s because democrats and republicans are conjoined twins. They’re mirror images of each other.

We are not living in Zamyatin’s “We” or Orwell’s “1984” or Huxley’s “Brave New World” or London’s America in “The Iron Heel.”

We are living in H. Jensen’s Corporate Cosmology.

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By Nancy Bordier, September 13, 2010 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, September 13 at 2:45 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. I have built a prototype of a website showing how the Interactive Voter Choice System works. You can access it here.

I have also posted on the website the following document explaining how the system works: 2012: How U.S. Voters Can Wrest Control of Congress from Special Interests

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By prole, September 13, 2010 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

“People have institutionalized oppressive power in the form of surrender,” Nader said. “It is not that they like it. But what are you going to do about it? “…good question – the jackpot question that no one can ever seem to answer. What indeed ‘r ya gonna do ‘bout it?
  The late economist Daniel Fusfeld - whose excellent book ‘The Rise & Repression of Radical Labor 1877-1918’ is a must-read - once observed, “As long as an economic system provides an acceptable degree of security, growing material wealth and opportunity for further increase for the next generation, the average American does not ask who is running things or what goals are being pursued.” The time to be asking these vital questions is during periods of ostensible prosperity when the seeds of future disaster are being sown. By the time the inevitable crash comes round, it’s too late.
  “‘The corporate state is the ultimate maturation of American-type fascism,’ Nader said.” Interestingly enough, at about the same time the valiant Nader was born, Mussolini made much the same point, asserting, “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.”
  “The failure by the Obama administration to use the bailout and stimulus money to build public works such as schools, libraries, roads, clinics, highways, public transit and reclaiming dams, as well as create green jobs, has snuffed out any hope of serious economic, political or environmental reform coming from the centralized bureaucracy of the corporate state”…as personified in the most repellant member of oligarchic Obama’s inner circle, the thuggish Rahm Emanuel. Venture vulture Steven Rattner in his new book Overhaul reports hearing Emanuel say during the auto industry bailout, “f**k the UAW”. Substitute ‘Obama administration’ or ‘corporate state’ for UAW (which is part of the corporate-state apparatus itself) in Emanuel’s foul-mouthed fillip and it would be a more apropos political program for change.
    One grassroots group which is doing exactly this is the IMF Resistance Network. The organization mission statement is quite explicit:
“The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have a well-deserved reputation for being the loan sharks of global capitalism. Both institutions are infamous for forcing poor countries in the global south to ruin their own economies in order to further enrich Western corporations. Nations who decline to borrow money at exorbitant interest rates and then beggar their populations to pay it back (or worse, default on their existing debt), are subjected to trade sanctions that have been described as ‘the economic equivalent of nuclear war’. The neoliberal regime represented by the IMF has generated intense, and largely successful, resistance across the world.
  ….Here in the US, ground zero for neoliberalism, reaction to the financial collapse has been comparatively muted. Recent protests have not approached the size and intensity of those of the antiglobalization era. The IMF Resistance Network exists to help change that. We are an East coast-based antiauthoritarian group dedicated to organizing demonstrations against IMF and World Bank summit meetings in Washington, DC. The next one is on October 7 – 10 of this year. You’re all invited.”

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By Shenonymous, September 13, 2010 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

”So how do we fight this minority that has such a majority of
media, products and money, Shenonymous?”

I laughed Night-Gaunt when you asked me my own question.  But
let’s think this through, at least a bit (for I probably cannot think
it through to any deep depth on my own).  How do we fight the
corporate stranglehold on the media that we all have to watch to
some degree if only to see prima facie what is going on?  After which,
I guess, one goes to their favorite news editorial programs.  First of
all there is what I call The Surf Mode (not original I know).  Surf the
channels for various reports and the special spin each channel puts
on all the current stories.  Key action: do not linger on any channel
when just looking to see what has happened that day.  Next:  the
Predominantly Off Mode.  Keep the TV or radio off until the dinner
hour, by that time most of what is happening for the day will have
happened.  And because of the time factor, only a synopsis will be
given (which is good, since editorializing is kept at a minimum).  You
want to be able to make up your own mind as to the significance of
a story.  If you are living next door to a few houses that have been
wiped out by a natural gas explosion, you might want to hang out for
a bit to see what is happening rather than getting smoke and dust in
your lungs leaning out of your window.  Okay, let’s see. 

What other ways can we fight the All-Mighty But Small Minority?  You
can spend your time writing letters, emails to those who will never read
them and if they have hired someone to at least open them, you can
believe they are circular filed immediately.  As I mentioned in my Sept.
13, 12:21pm post, the names of the corporate powerhouses needs to
be exposed so that protests can be launched at real entities not simply
things with indistinct shape.  It is hard to fight megaliths, but even
harder when the megalith is not named.  Ironically enough, if a
movement can capture the attention of the media, well that can be
a big step.  Maybe a poster campaign (takes a bit of money and time),
or a physical protest march to force the attention of the media?

”They have a big head start on us too.”  Yes, they do indeed, and
they have unsurpassed amount of money.  So there are two advantages
that have to be nullified.  I would be happy to hear if anyone else has
any reasonable ideas (reasonable meaning realistically able to be
successful).

Now I’ve been waiting for a particular someone to show up on these
latest threads dealing with the state of the politicoeconomic situation to
talk about socialized capitalism that was discussed at length on the last
Jollimore Markets and Morality forum.  But he has not.  So I will desist
because I don’t think there is more than one or two others who have
any idea of what is being talked about.  And it is the case that those
who do may not agree with the concept.  But generally I think it is the
salvation of this American society.  A synthesis of the good parts of
capitalism and socialism, it needs more elaboration and specification to
give it any possible workability.  But if it has any veritable traction, it
could be implemented at once were there enough minds with presence
of mind to get it going.  It could also be the impetus for a lively third-
party that could have broad appeal at least in the liberal sector.  A
catchy name would have to be invented, you know how the American
Public is.

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By Downing, September 13, 2010 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

I guess, since only money votes now, we need a real underground. I propose a network for socially responsible corporations, so we can vote with our wallets.

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By Fat Freddy, September 13, 2010 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, September 13 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

  Nancy Bordier, September 13 at 2:08 pm:

  Populist Tool versus Capitalist Tool
  ... etc. ...

Why don’t you just set up a web site and demonstrate its operation?

Wasn’t there a Blake Edwards movie with John Ritter where there was fight scene in the dark where the only thing the two were wearing were glow in the dark condoms?

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By Fat Freddy, September 13, 2010 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt

Stossel is more of a small business advocate. His views are not really neo-classical, they are more Austrian School. He does a very good job showing how many “regulations” are enacted to protect the large businesses by placing unfair burdens on small businesses. While we can all agree that we need reasonable regulations with real enforcement, many local governments specifically set certain zoning and permit rules to discourage new businesses. Many of those local politicians are businesses owners themselves who do not wish to have any new competition. That is a clear abuse of power, but it goes on everyday, and it is very costly to challenge these rules in court. Stossel has exposed many of these “politicians” and their rules.

Like this:

http://reason.tv/video/show/new-hampshire-nannies

Pay particular attention at 3:56. The people who “regulate” the industry are independent owners within the industry. Conflict of interest?

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By dukesman2000, September 13, 2010 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

As usual, Chris, a brilliant article!

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By VL, September 13, 2010 at 11:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Druthers:

I have been a fan of Hedges and his defender for many years, and I’ve met him personally a few times and I even set a speaking engagement for him once.

I disagree with your post in general. Whether Hedges sees himself as a leader or not is not the issue. Any great thinker who influences the minds of men has a responsibility and I think Hedges is falling short of fulfilling his when he professes that democracy is dead and that change is not possible within the sphere of elections.

This is a tremendous failing, not just of intellect but of morality. Because if the system of democracy is broken, that means it can be fixed, and we must seek the answer of how to fix it WHICH EXISTS but Hedges does not bother to find it or define it.

And morality because advocating the abandonment of democracy and an embrace of some ill-informed and amorphous socialist revolution will lead to nothing but chaos and carnage in America.

That is my belief, you may disagree, but I think Chris has become disillusioned and bitter to the point of becoming a impediment to real change. There is no reason to believe he doesn’t understand how to really fix this country. I am starting to question whether he even wants to.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 13, 2010 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

How does not voting fix ANYTHING??????

Meg Whitman hasn’t voted for years and STILL she’s won the GOP nomination to be Governor of the largest state in the Union.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 13, 2010 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

People visiting TruthDig seek the truth obviously, yet some here further pollute the waters of objectivity and clear response.

Are they hired or ignorant?  Both.

Our enemy?  No.

Our kin, simply where we were just moments before we decided to know more, to look further, to see ‘all sides.’

When is this generations real Napoleon ( some thought it was the Obaminator, but yet, another elected disappointment, but great symbol nonetheless ) going to take the bull by the horns?

Is it Chris Hedges?  Does he fear humiliation by the inbred pedigreeds?

Is it Inherit the Wind?  Whoever that is.

Is it Palin and Beck? 

Cagney & Lacey? 

Paul and Schiff? 

Hedges and Scheer? 

Ren and Stimpy? 

Yoda and the ‘Secret?’

You and Me? 

Us and Everyone else NOT pedigreed?

God and Country?

Us and Them?

Them and Them?  ( which is now )

Us and Us?

How about that, finally a reporter who really steps up his britches does what his conscience, his vocation and his experience has told him to do… run as the Independent American Candidate ( or whatever would define pure Constitution, pure money ( no FED or interest charged ) and pure governance OR ELSE! that we’ve been waiting for and needing so long?!?!?!!?

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By Druthers, September 13, 2010 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

To VL
Hedges is not a politicien, he is a writer, a journalist.  He does not pretend to be a “leader;” he observes, and since he has a fine tuned writing talent deliveres the results of his observation and reflection.  Those who write about great changes are rarely the instigators of political movements.  In radio, Edward R. Murrow didn’t run for office but delivered pin point descriptions of the world at that time.
Many seem to be asking for a saviour, be satisfied that we have an honest man with a fine mind sharing his thoughts.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 13, 2010 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Folks, the law and paper it is written on is not the matter.

The issue is men and their hearts, deceitful ways deceiving themselves and others with them for the worse, and the idears these men have in communion with each other to subdue the populous via the media, the stranglehold of the mass conscience.

We here must realize any man’s plan, whether written on a napkin, sheepskin or filed away in some office somewhere with a fancy seal meaning whatever these same ridiculous men invoked it to be ( we ALL make it up as we go along my friends ).

Try not to stop the process nor means, but stop the fear which provokes already wealthy men to further fear and further exploit the poor and hungry masses he has selfishly led astray.

Promote the Peace found in Love.  Found in the truth.  Found in honesty of oneself and one’s desires, whether funny or ugly or pure…

Some of us here understand this fully and simply read along… some others ignore our their true place in life for their momentary appetite has the better of them.  But all will be brought down by their arrogance and pride, any half-wit sees and experiences this quite often.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 13, 2010 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Hope is about fighting against the real forces of destruction, not chanting “Yes We Can!” in rallies orchestrated by marketing experts, television crews, pollsters and propagandists or begging Obama to be Obama. Hope, in the hands of realists, spreads fear into the black heart of the corporate elite. But hope, real hope, remains thwarted by our collective self-delusion.

A self-delusion fostered and continually nurtured by the same corporate owned and operated media we have today. Hope? A false hope cynically nurtured like a fake carrot at the end of a stick to keep us moving in their direction always with a thwarted hope, of getting our just reward—-and carrot. The 10% or less freely non-corporate owned is heard or watched by a considerably smaller number of people.

Cognitive dissonance and a-literacy abound in this country. Lack of depth of thought, deep analysis, careful observation tend to fall by the way side due to fatigue, busy, need for recreation, don’t want to hear anything “negative” all positive or nothing, works for them and against us.

SemiFrost, September 13 at 6:39 am Link to this

Nader… That’s the well-meaning gent who gave us Bush II, right?

No, but you sure believe that lie spread about just that, when it was the Supreme court and Al Gore‘s timidity, let Bush II. But you follow the lie instead that they fed you. Feel good about that do you? The best kind of propaganda is the one that is believed as the truth. And you fell for it.  (Why don’t you believe that Pat Buchanan did that too? Because it hasn’t been promoted that way, that’s why.) [The number I heard was 150,000 votes found but not counted.]

“If the hegemony of the corporate state is not soon broken we will
descend into a technologically enhanced age of barbarism.”

I came to the same conclusion. But if the corporations were totally powerful they wouldn’t need to wreck our Republic if their owners just wanted unlimited profit. But they want more. To get it they need more power and certain benefits of a gov’t facade. So how do we fight this minority that has such a majority of media, products and money, Shenonymous? They have a big head start on us too.

By Fat Freddy, September 13 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

I generally do not watch Fox News or Fox Business News, but there are two programs I watch on FBN.

Who does,Fat Freddy? Its a premium channel for most of us and not worth it. Sorry I missed that pairing. Ahh yes, Stossel and his ravings about the “magical” free market (neo-libralism mostly) talk. I do like it when he does speak against the Drug War. Very good.

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By VL, September 13, 2010 at 11:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I’m on the fence about whether to vote or not.  I’m leaning towards not.  I’d rather see the whole system collapse, then maybe we can start over.”


This is a common position I hear a lot. Yet I think if we really examine it for any length of time, we see that a total collapse would be hell on earth, and also that “starting over” is a meaningless statement for most people who use it.

If we don’t understand what this country is about—what in America is worth fighting for—we are useless here. Hedges does not seem to understand it, amazingly.

No one will save us, and there is no “starting over.” We have one choice—to learn how democracy works and to take back the levers of power intelligently through dedicated activism with specific goals:

End corporate control of candidates through real campaign finance reform.

Institute honest and accountable elections through hand-counted paper ballots.

Create a system of instant run-off voting, to make it possible to break the hold of the two party system.

Do you think this is not revolutionary? I promise you that these are the most revolutionary and effective things we could ever fight for, and if we began to organize seriously around this, we would find the full power of the police state against us—we would see what a true threat We the People had suddenly become.

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By Stencil, September 13, 2010 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Extraordinary essay, best message I’ve read today Mr. Hedges!

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By Fat Freddy, September 13, 2010 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Nancy Bordier

...the state charters corporations and can set the terms and conditions of their operations to ensure they work in the public interest.

NO! That is wrong. The state does not charter corporations anymore. It is merely a designation. Here is an article that explians the difference between a corporation, and a limited partnership:

But charters enacted by state legislatures literally ceased to exist in the mid-nineteenth century. The actual procedure for creating a corporation consists of filing a registration document with a state official (like recording the use of a fictitious business name), and the state’s role is purely formal and automatic.

As long as the proper filing information is correct, the state can not refuse to certify a corporation.

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Corporations.html

I would suggest reading this

The problem is not with the corporations themselves. The problem is the relationship between the big corporations and financial institutions, and the government. There are several different business designations from DBA (doing business as) to LLC, Partnership, Limited Partnership, REIT, S-Corp, and C-Corp, to name a few. There are many more different types of designations today than there were 50 years ago. Most of the “big corporations” people talk about are C-Corps.

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By Anarcissie, September 13, 2010 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Nancy Bordier, September 13 at 2:08 pm:

Populist Tool versus Capitalist Tool
... etc. ...

Why don’t you just set up a web site and demonstrate its operation?

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By Bobadi, September 13, 2010 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Really liked Mark E. Smith’s comment.

On Nader: I voted for him as I am in California and that made it easy, however if I lived in Florida I doubt I could have made myself to pull that lever and help usher in that first 4 years of near complete ignorant arrogance. I remember being in tears to hear of the Bush win.

Even then, there was a growing tsunami of ecological and corporate based disaster looming; the question is “has the world has now passed the tipping point?”

I agree with Chris, what is needed is a completely new paradigm, utterly void of corporate driven world ending consumerism which does not address survivability concerns.

The thing is we did not then, and have not now, any time left to waste on making real needed change happen, even as we continue to argue if voting for Nader: produced Bush.

Perhaps in the end we needed Bush, to show ourselves and the world how absolutely wrong we are, how thoughtless, how arrogant, self serving and careless we are as a consumer nation and abuser of world resources.

Gore would not have invaded Iraq, but he would also not end Corporatism, that was not on his agenda, and so he would have produced us all as in his famous, -more slowly warming pot… that lulls we frogs to death.

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By VL, September 13, 2010 at 10:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is a problem here, and it’s the same problem that Michael Moore and other left thinkers have. They can point out the problems beautifully, but for bizarre reasons they cannot offer any specific and therefore meaningful answers.

Saying democracy is dead makes no sense unless you are advocating for a system OTHER THAN democracy. If so, what? Be specific. Because there are only so many options, and most of them don’t work.

If democracy is dead, there are specific reasons why. It’s VERY EASY to discover those reasons, and to do something about them.

Hedges mentions corporate lobbying. Obviously this is one of the main cancers on our system. Instead of calling for an amorphous socialist revolution, why not call for a very focused movement to END CORPORATE LOBBYING.

That is something we could all get behind, along with true campaign finance reform, to end the control of our politicians by corporate money.

This is simple, direct, effective organizing to take back the democratic process. Why is Hedges not seeing it? Does he not want democracy?

We can take back our democratic process- the actual machine of democracy that controls power in the USA.

We need to get the money out of politics, and we need to institute totally accountable and transparent vote counting—NO COMPUTERIZED VOTE COUNTING—so that we KNOW our votes are actually counted accurately.

If we do this, and take on the corrupt media—Fox News—that is brainwashing our country, we can win.

We have to understand the levers of power. We have to become chess players, not pawns in a game we’re too lazy to examine.

Hedges says the sky is falling and really doesn’t offer any solutions. I’ve been a fan of his for years but I must challenge him to be a real leader and offer reasonable solutions or step down from the soap box where he is only spreading panic.

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By cokids, September 13, 2010 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

WWIII will bring the end of us AlL…if not in the initial blast, in nuclear winter….or should I spell that nucular? Nucular war is suicide!

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By LeMoyne, September 13, 2010 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

The metaphor of the deep pit is apt as is the point that there is no quick fix for the endemic corporate control of our government.  Nader is still right: trying to get solutions that increase life and liberty from D or R is like flipping a coin and hoping for “edge”. 
Hedges has spent time on the ground in Saddam’s Iraq and Bosnia after Yugoslavia fell apart.  Hedges always expresses great caution about violence making the point in vioent times criminals end up running the show. 
People need to withdraw from corporate controlled spheres and create local communities.  People need to withdraw from corporate controlled spheres except the political sphere.  Actions like One Nation http://www.onenationworkingtogether.org/
and groups like Fair America http://fairamerica.us/ are needed to begin to make it clear that the corps(es) like the banksters and insurance companies continue to get richer while >50% get less and less.

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By blueworld, September 13, 2010 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

This is an important article & my thanks for outlining the situation so clearly.  I would disagree with Mr. Nader, however, in that I don’t believe we have real personal freedom, but an illusion allowed us by the corporations. 

I rarely get a response from MSM when I email comments, however I did when I emailed these thoughts in to a show several years ago.  First, I’m a geezer:)  But since the Reagan years I’ve noticed that corporations effectively determine where we live (where the work is), much of our health situation (dependent on benefits available, OSHA compliance, substances we work with), and frequently how we die (same issues).  The freedom is the illusion of choosing among things they allow.

Even the selection of items we can afford to purchase in stores is severely restricted.  They’re all from China & the same several patterns for linens, for example.  Montgomery Ward offers an identical catalog to Sears…

You are spot on.  We peasants have to become more revolting:)  It’s the only real hope of change we have.  Thanks again.

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By Nancy Bordier, September 13, 2010 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

Populist Tool versus Capitalist Tool

While I endorse the thrust of the argument Chris is presenting, it is also important to bear in mind the fact that the U.S. electorate has the legal power and the motivation to get the corporate power structure under popular control because, as Ralph Nader points out, the state charters corporations and can set the terms and conditions of their operations to ensure they work in the public interest.

As you point out, Chris, the corporate structure has gotten control of government by subverting the electoral process. Ever since the New Deal, it has been duping undiscerning voters into voting for special interest-backed candidates who enact special interest agendas once they are elected. Corporate interests have developed incredibly effective mechanisms for using gullible, aggrieved voters as capitalist tools.

But the large majority of voters are now so infuriated by the harm inflicted on them by the government that special interests have captured that they now want to oust most members of Congress. They can do so by using a “populist tool” I have invented, the Interactive Voter Choice System, to launch populist takeovers of every Congressional district in the country, and, I believe, elect in 2012 a majority of representatives who are untainted by special interest money and influence. Once they show that they can use my “populist tool” to oust and elect any Congressional representatives they choose, it will be only a short time before they dismantle the legal underpinnings of the corporate state.

Joe Firestone is publishing on FireDogLake a five part series showing how voters can use my invention and the website being built around it to get control of U.S. electoral and legislative processes. On a personal note, I am a political scientist (Ph.D., M.A., Columbia University) who was fairly mainstream politically until I realized how special interests were methodically dismantling our democracy. I have spent the last five years honing my invention, filing a patent application to protect it, and building a prototype website to show how it works. I hope you, Chris, will take the time to read what I have written about it and share with me your thoughts. I know you are displeased with the Internet but I also know you have an open mind (you and I met at a protest rally in front of the White House last fall where you and Ralph spoke against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan). The series can be read here. The document can be read in its entirety here.

I believe that voters can elect a majority of untainted Congressional representatives in 2012 if public-spirited citizens, political activists and web technologists join forces to weave together breakthrough democracy-building technologies like my Interactive Voter Choice System into user-friendly seamless applications by mid-2011. This is entirely feasible from a technical standpoint. Anyone who is interested in participating in such efforts is invited to email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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By Anarcissie, September 13, 2010 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—I don’t think an anarchistic approach precludes significant numbers (eventually).  The problem with democracy is that it is necessary to achieve majorities, usually over a large community.  If the labor movement, Civil Rights or feminism had had to get a majority before doing anything none of them would ever have succeeded.  With democracy, you’re fighting both the natural conservatism of the average person, plus the money and influence of whoever’s got the power and money.  It’s a pretty hard go.  With an anarchistic approach, for example the Greensboro sit-ins, one has the chance to show people something they might be interested in if they could only see it.  Imaginations sometimes need a little help.

By ‘anarchistic’ (in this case) I don’t mean just ‘promoting the abolition of the state’ but any kind of decentralized, non-governmental action.

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By Sodium-Na, September 13, 2010 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

As long as there is NO chance,whatsoever,for a third or fourth party to develop to the level of the two major parties,in numbers,finance and debate participation,there will be NO drastic change. Business as usual will hold.

Who is to blame? Everyone of us: Democrats,Republicans,Idependents and Indifferents.

When members of the same party labeled “Blue Dogs” and “Reagan Democrats” vote against the agenda or programs their party adopted to serve the common good,like healthcare,for instant,there is something fundamentally wrong in that party. Please tell me: How Reagan-Democrats(really Reaganites) can be a true and well disciplined members of the Democratic Party? As Far as honesty is concerned,they should all leave the Democratic Party and join the Republican Party and take their marbles along with them!!

That is for the Democratic Party,and I meant well in pointing out the defficiencies while overlooking the finance and its sources. 

Well,how about the Republican Party?

When moderate Republicans like Susan Eisenhower,
the grand daughter of President Eisenhower and the President of Eisenhower Institute in Washington DC,and when well known other moderate Republican like former Congressman,James Leach, of Iowa and former Congressman,Paul Findley,of Illinois and many others whose name I cannot recall at the moment-when all those decent and moderate Republicans publiclly declared that they would vote for Candidate Barack Obama,there must be something fundamentally wrong within the structure of the Republican Party.

That is for the Republican Party,overlooking their horrible voting records on issues that would have helped the middle class and the poor and their obvious impediments against President Obama’s proposals. The intent of such impediments is the destruction of Obama’s Presidency.Period.

What is the solution? I simply do not know.

Perhaps,just perhaps,the answer may be in starting grassroot peacefull activities in every order or disorder of America’s SOCIAL structure.

Please notice,I have said SOCIAL not POLITICAL structure.

Signed: Sincerely,
Sodium-Na
An Independent Voter

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By Libgalohio, September 13, 2010 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Could not agree more with this article. The two party
system is broken, Obama has been the last straw for
me.

He talked a good game trying to get elected, he’s
back talking a good game to try to limit the damage
in the mid terms. Damage that is largely a result of
turning sharply right and corporate minded once in
office. Hiring foxes to guard the henhouse
financially, hiring a chief of staff who could not
contain his contempt for the progressive base.

In the end about all the vast majority of democrats
are is just a bit better than the republicans. Vote
for us because while we’re close, we’re not them,
that is their mantra. So we have a choice between not
so good and even worse, way worse actually.

My thought is that so many people are 1) misinformed
Faux News watchers and 2) almost oblivious to any
details about anything, way more interested in
reality TV shows or whatever and their day to day
grind - and because of that things are going to have
to get horrifically worse for a lot more middle class
folks, forcing them out of their comfort zone, for
people to wake them up.

The good/bad news is that is very likely to happen.
We are headed to an almost certain big reckoning at
some point. We still have a ways to go, America, to
be around as long as the Romans and the way things
are going I’m not sure we make it.

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By entropy2, September 13, 2010 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

To the corporations, we are cattle to be used up and disposed of.

The State will not save us.

The fusion of State coercive might and corporate economic hegemony is crushing us!

There is a way out!

Do some reading:

http://homebrewindustrialrevolution.wordpress.com/
http://c4ss.org/
http://all-left.net/

There is growing number of people, ranging (in traditional terms) from left to right who see through the illusion of government.

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By kerryrose, September 13, 2010 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

The problem as I see it is that the majority of Americans believe our government is the problem because they are led by the corporate right (Fox News) to think that way.  Their anger should be at the corporate control of government, no matter which party is in office, but as usual, the right is absolutely brilliant at steering Americans to the money men alone and directing their anger at liberals, poor, and unions.

The majority of Americans HATE unions.  I hear it all the time.  They haven’t a clue about the effects of NAFTA, or how the destruction of unions has lowered wages for ALL jobs in the last 30 years.  They honestly resent a worker making a decent day’s pay.  WHY?  They adopt the language of their bosses.  WHY?

I read an interesting article stating that Naomi Klein’s ‘the shock doctrine’ is being applied in this country now, with Obama’s knowledge.  School’s are being privatized, Social Security actually gaining ground in being dismantled, massive unemployment, massive homelessnes, and gashes to social programs,

The only thing that will redirect the current process is when it either gets so bad that there is an uprising, or education for the misinformed before we hit bottom.

Hedges’ solution is just preparing us for the fallout, because he doesn’t believe we can change course, and sorry but people may JUST WANT A FIX, but the reality is that a fix is impossible.

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By NABNYC, September 13, 2010 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

One of the tricks of the propaganda machine run by the politicians is that they choose a word, then demonize it by repeating it over and over again in an extremely hysterical and negative connotation.  I saw this yesterday when I looked at You Tube to see if there was a short video about Saul Alinsky, noted and highly respected community organizer.  I was stunned to see video after video by extreme right-wingers associating Alinsky with Hitler, the Devil, and Barack Obama.  It turns out that during the election Obama mentioned he was reading (or had been influenced by) one of Alinsky’s books.  So the right wing attacked Alinsky, removed him from the Obama arsenal so Obama could not say Alinsky was a good decent man who tried to improve the country, or better still, Obama could not even mention Alinsky without being attacked as Hitler and the Devil.  Of course he’s been attacked anyway, because he’s black.

But it got me thinking about the terms or phrases we no longer use because if we do, we are attacked by the hoards of fans of the right-wing media.  “Liberal” is a bad word.  Don’t ever say Tax The Rich, because for some reason that’s bad.  Job creation is the equivalent of protectionism, which is bad, although I think protectionism is good.  Why shouldn’t we protect our own people?  Remember how quickly single-payor became a bad term, and was replaced by corporate democrats with the term public option, which itself was buried in some back-room deal with the medical industry.  But why didn’t we just consistently stick with “national healthcare program,” which is clear, and refuse to back down.  Nobody ever knew what the corporate Democrats meant by “public option,” except that they were clear it was not “single payor.”  And ... what is it? 

On the WTO and corporate trade deals, why don’t we just say rescind them all.  Stop corporations from running the world (into the ground) and taking jobs to other countries.  It’s not all that shocking.  Anybody wants to sell cars in the U.S. will have to manufacture the cars in the U.S.  Give us jobs or we won’t allow you to sell your products.  Why is that a bad thing again?  Oh yeah—it’s protectionist, it protects the right of American workers to have a job.

I’m already tired of hearing Democrats scream that if I don’t vote for them, bush-cheney will take over again, or Palin, or the other crazies.  Yes, the Republicans are fascists, without doubt.  But the Democrats are the Weimar Republic.  They they do nothing.  They have used their position to solicit corporate bribes for themselves, thinking they could buy future elections with all that money.  Now they come out and proclaim that they really do plan to create jobs, but I don’t understand why they’ve haven’t done that already.

Democrats don’t want to get rid of the tax cuts for the wealthy, won’t stop the wars, refuse to do anything to help Americans with healthcare.  50,000 people will die this year just like last from a lack of healthcare.  My own premiums just went up by $1,000/year.  Thanks for nothing, Democrats.

I’m on the fence about whether to vote or not.  I’m leaning towards not.  I’d rather see the whole system collapse, then maybe we can start over.

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By jphinton, September 13, 2010 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Thank you Chris Hedges!

We have long since abdicated our democracy to the corporate oligarchy (provided that we were ever a democracy). We are just a colony under corporate rule. The kings and queens of money and power lord over their fiefdom of serfs. Feudal futility.

The corporate tail is not just wagging the democratic dog, the dog was killed, sent to the tax-i-dermist, stuffed, and placed on the trophy walls in the American Inc. Legal, Executive, and Congressional boardrooms. The wagging tail is a result of corporate animatronics – wagging tongues and wagging tails, talking out their corporate rectums.

Resultantly, justice has been re-defined by the corporate oligarchy as just-us. Wherein the people are an irritant and inconvenience to corporate profiteering.  Democratic and Republican pundits are just hired guns to eliminate and obfuscate any vestige of human propriety and social justice. The Democratic and Republican parties in turn, are just figments of corporate imaginations and machinations.

The US is a Frankenstein’s Monster of dead reanimated corp(ses) that only resemble a government of the people, by the people and for the people from afar, by massive surgical propagandizing and mal-intent.

In fact, it is a farce to call any being virtuous whose virtues do not result from the exercise of its own reason.
Mary Wollstonecraft http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/farce.html

“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” Karl Marx http://thinkexist.com/quotation/history_repeats_itself-first_as_tragedy-second_as/251432.html

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By Fat Freddy, September 13, 2010 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

I generally do not watch Fox News or Fox Business News, but there are two programs I watch on FBN. One, is John Stossel, the other is Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano. I like the Judge because of his stance on civil liberties and his opposition to the Patriot Act (Anyone here remember that?). Last night I was watching the Judge and he had on the two most principled members of Congress: Ron Paul (R) and Dennis Kucinich (D). Both of these members of Congress are treated like ugly stepchildren by their respective parties. Yet, together they have worked on legislation to end the wars, and audit the Federal Reserve. You don’t hear much about their efforts on any of the MSM outlets. Yet, these two, very simple things are probably the most important issues facing us right now, not to mention the issues of civil liberties. If you prefer “social democrats”, then look no further than Bernie “Backstabber” Sanders. He worked with Paul and Kucinich on an Audit the Fed amendment, only to change his mind at the last minute and offer a watered down version, instead, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t trust social democrats, either.

The corporations control the government, and the government controls the corporations. To be against one, you must be against both. It is a symbiotic relationship, however, unnatural. The only way to break the relationship is to break the ties that bind them. That would be the Federal Reserve.

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By MeHere, September 13, 2010 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

Regarding what Nader says about the confusion between civic and personal freedom:  How good is it to keep following and discussing the activities and internal feuds of the two parties as if they were the only part of our civic freedom?  These politicians automatically get free endorsements every time their names are mentioned to the exclusion of any alternative candidates however minor they are considered. The political careers of Dems and Reps are built on how many people know who they are—it doesn’t matter too much whether it is in a positive or negative way. Most voters only know names, faces, and slogans. That gives them the idea that those are _the_ candidates, and that they are exercising their freedom to choose by paying attention only to them. Is there any other way for political reporters and writers to their job, once they have concluded that there is no difference between the two parties?  It is interesting to note how much of the alternative media only focuses on the two parties, just like the popular media does.

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By Shenonymous, September 13, 2010 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

Yup…Anarcissie, I think you might have something there.  But in
this country they are pissing into the wind. By my account, where I
believe in egalitarian democracy, that is not a a bad thing.  The
anarchists will always need an umbrella.

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By Anarcissie, September 13, 2010 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—it seems to me Hedges’s ideal of the moment is anarchistic rather than democratic.

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By Shenonymous, September 13, 2010 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

” If we want something better than what we have and where
it’s going, we have to change our lives. “
 

Only if a significant number do, which is the chronic problem.
Singing the song of sixpence is fun for a while.

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By Devon Noll, MPA, September 13, 2010 at 8:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First, I would like to correct something in this article:  stimulus money has been allocated to (a) projects that were already in the works, like a road building project in Spokane, WA; (b) projects ready to break ground; and (c) projects that will be started over the next two years, which is why a good bit of the money has yet to be spent.  These various projects are under the control of the states, and it is their policies that have delayed the effects of the stimulus bill from being put into effect, not Mr. Obama or Congressional Democrats, which is responsible for watering down the bill to appease the GOP.

Now, understand clearly, I wholeheartedly agree that we as a people must take action to change this nation and break the strangle hold that the corporations have on this nation.  I believe that transition communities hold the key to doing this, but any community that is willing to make itself energy, food, and economically independent and resilient will make a difference.  However, what Mr. Hedges does not see, as so many who think they have all the answers, is that we have a large segment of this population who (a) refuse to see that their apathy and complacency brought this on, and so they have a responsibility to work with others to create change, and (b) we have two generations of Americans who are so hopeless uneducated on how to do what needs to be done, that they are incapable of creating the change that is necessary.  These are the people who vote against their own best interests, if they even vote, and who expect someone to do the work for them so that they have instant results.  President Obama gets the blame for a great many things over which he as President has Constitutionally no control - Congress passes the laws, funds the agencies and military, approves department heads, and fails to investigate wrong-doing except as a petty exercise for the media.  The President does not set policy - he suggests it and Congress acts as it sees fit - just as Pelosi and Reid promised in January 2009 when they stood on the White House lawn and said they would not be dictated to by this White House.  They had no problem with being dictated to before, but now NOW!?!  Of course, they are protected by the DNC and the Clinton faction of industrial and banking interests that control the DNC.  The DNC wants Obama to fail, and they do not care if the nation fails right along with him, anymore than the GOP cares.

I would offer a radical piece of advice: do not vote in November for either or any party at the federal level.  Vote in progressives at the state levels, and make the changes we need in this nation at the state levels.  Forget DC and the parties - make your stand, draw your line this November, and take back this nation by creating a new nation of states that do not cower before corporations, but before their citizens.  Send the message to DC, and corporate America, we will do this without you.  Imagine no House for Boehner, no Senate for McConnell - the senate would only be 66 strong - and a President who got the message loud and clear:  If you abandon the American people, they will abandon you.  Now act to protect us - we have streamlined your government for you - and we will act at the state level to care for ourselves!  Imagine 66 men and women in the Senate knowing that they will be voted out every two years until they are all gone - do you think that they would act to protect the American people then?

Yes, I know that is a fantasy idea - but what if…?  Mr. Hedges, you are right, we must change at the local level; we must create our independence from ground zero in every community - devoid of corporations and depending on each other again.  But, while it sounds wonderful, it is the same kind of fantasy as I just described, because it is not the failure of our government or the rise of the corporation - it is the failure of our People.  We brought this on ourselves through apathy and willful ignorance.

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By Anarcissie, September 13, 2010 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, September 13 at 11:58 am:

Back to Over-The-Hedges, as usual.  CH returns to his 60’s radical thinking that the best thing for America is for “The People” to rise up and throw off the shackles of Capitalism and Imperialism and create an harmonious Socialist Green nation. ...

That would certainly be the best thing but ‘overthrow’ might be a bit too exciting.  Hedges this time seems to have calmed down to the point of advocating a peaceful transition of cooperativism.  The problem, of course, is how to bring that about.  It is certainly not going to happen because of an election.

It is probably true that most Americans just want things ‘fixed’, by which most of them would mean some sort of return to a (usually imagined) sunny or even glorious past.  People, especially those of limited intellect or means, tend to be rather conservative.  Unfortunately for them, there is no way back.  We are stuck with what we have: a dying, nearly bankrupt empire with a deteriorating economy and a plutocratic government.  Our great leaders don’t know how to fix the problems because all they are familiar with is the exploitive authoritarianism of the corporate and military varieties.  They can’t create or produce or maintain.  Nastier great leaders are waiting in the wings to try their hands; they’re already poking the monsters of racial and religious war to see if they’ll wake up.  So Hedges is right, even if hysterical as usual:  If we want something better than what we have and where it’s going, we have to change our lives.  If we don’t, the outlook is pretty grim.

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By ElkoJohn, September 13, 2010 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

Our government is the instrument of the Corporate Power, Wall St Banksters, and
the War Machine.

Perhaps another Great Economic Depression will give rise to a Democratic Socialist
Party that will displace the Democratic & Republican Corporatist Parties.

Boy, wouldn’t that be peachy-keen grin

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By Leefeller, September 13, 2010 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

ITW,..... People want things fixed,.... I thought they were already fixed?

It seems to me Hedges should be leading the Tea Bag rallies, at least Hedges provides a slight focus instead of the blind flaying we are seeing from Beck and clowns. Any moron who believes the Tea Baggers stand for unity are people shy of some mental capabilities, leaning toward stupidity.

Nander, voiced ideas which I support, but his Madonna act basically sucked and turned off many people, well….. I know at least one.

Whats going on with this site, attempting to log in and post here seemed like trying to acquire a key to fort Knox to use the bathroom!

George Carlin made so much more sense to me then all the Kings Men and all the kings horses, though if he ran for president, not sure I would vote for him either, well….. before he passed on,...... now on the other hand?

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By G.Anderson, September 13, 2010 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Bravo…..! Bravo! Bravo!.....

you F’ing nailed it… Thanks so much for having the guts to speak the truth…..

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By Shenonymous, September 13, 2010 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

There are no longer any major institutions in American society,
including the press, the educational system, the financial sector,
labor unions, the arts, religious institutions and our dysfunctional
political parties, which can be considered democratic. The intent,
design and function of these institutions, controlled by corporate
money, are to bolster the hierarchical and anti-democratic power
of the corporate state.”

On the surface, or first accusation that is, it would seem Hedges
is saying something truthful.  Problem is that while we have been
conditioned to suspect every aspect of our lives to be controlled by
corporate power, he does not cite one instance of a corporation as
being all powerful from one of these major domains of at least
American life, and one for each is requisite for credibility.  I want to
believe him, but who is he really accusing?  How on earth can any
action be taken against such hegemony if the target is amorphous?  It
is the same old same old rhetorical accusation that is so prevalent from
soothsayers like Hedges.

With the same kind of evidence he provides, it is not corporate power
that drives all of these empires of authority, but that absolute power
under any closed system is the culprit, it just so happens that the
monolith of corporations becomes one large vulture of power, but I
insist it is not the only feeder on the live carcasses of humanity.  I
would submit that even though corporations have a grip on part of the
religious sector, religion has its own voracious need for power.  Islam
and Christianity both desire to convert the entire world to their way of
thinking, and anyone who denies that are fools.  They promote the
power of an extra-worldly God to justify their actions. 

“If the hegemony of the corporate state is not soon broken we will
descend into a technologically enhanced age of barbarism.”

That is the first statement in years I’ve agreed with Hedges about, and
I’m floored I can admit it.  And his thesis about the impotence of the
major realms of human life under the thumb of corporate
determination rings true.

He does offer a few prescriptions for his diagnosis, ” We must cut as
many ties with consumer society and corporations as possible. We must
build a new political and economic consciousness centered on the
tangible issues of sustainable agriculture, self-sufficiency and radical
environmental reform.”
  However, when he next says, ” The
democratic system, and the liberal institutions that once made
piecemeal reform possible, is dead,”
his call for the weezers to act
as he just stated belies a contradiction that the democractic system is
dead.  He needs to make clear if he calling for armed revolution? Some
neo-serfdom or baronial system or socialistic central power system?  Or
is he calling for egalitarian collective action?  Egalitarian action is
democratic.  Of course the democratic spirit is still alive.  It is perhaps
the only thing that is alive, it is the passive observers and users and
usurpers of society who are dead, in their minds at least, that prevents
healthful action. In any case, Hedges’ recommendation for the
Kraft&Kultur; approach to electric energy is another sound one.  Clean
energy is the imperative for the future health of the planet. 

Even if we are in Nader’s Snake Pit, we are still alive.  Otherwise the
snakes have eaten us body and mind.  And if that is the way it is, then
the dead have nothing to worry about.  Who does Nader recommend to
lead this unarmed third-party revolution?  Himself?  Then the project is
sunk at its start.  A new and attractive voice that iterates his insights is
what is needed.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 13, 2010 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

Again, Dems vs. Reps is simply the hook, the ploy, the ‘gameboard’ of the U.S.A., Inc. behemoth which has swallowed media, pharma, military, most house members and most senators if not ALL.

Remember, the house represents the field slaves / blue collar, labor… and the senate represents the ‘house’ slaves or white collars, pedigreed.

I think the people of America and the world would simply appreciate NOT being LIED to anymore..

Simply call things as they are-

The ownership and will of the chattel is being directed by henchman behind business, capital and a fat check-writing lobbying mob.

The citizen HASN’T A CHANCE… unless they be educated on money, real history and how the shysters have chipped away at our identity and the very reason why anyone would surrender themselves to cesar / this system.

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By Druthers, September 13, 2010 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

To Inherit the Wind
“The VAST majority of Americans want things FIXED, not changed.  They want to live in a house with a yard, not a community domicile.  They want to know it’s in THEIR power to make sure their kids are well-fed, well-educated, and safe.”

Since it looks as though things are no longer “fixable” people are going to have to do more than vote for a Democrat or a Republican. It is evident it is no longer in THEIR power to make sure these things they want are in their power.  Reality must be acknowledged before any real change can be accomplished.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 13, 2010 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

Back to Over-The-Hedges, as usual.  CH returns to his 60’s radical thinking that the best thing for America is for “The People” to rise up and throw off the shackles of Capitalism and Imperialism and create an harmonious Socialist Green nation.  Since that’s his basic premise it’s easy to assert that both parties are the same and that we shouldn’t worry about the Becks, Palins and Gingrichs out there.

I don’t buy it.  Maybe Chris doesn’t care that these bozos will institute a dictatorship and may well bring about summary executions—but that will bring “The Revolution” and, Hey!, you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.  Of course, that is an easy pattern of thinking when the “eggs” are the lives of distant strangers and not your neighbors, friends and children.  But all can be sacrificed in the Glorious Name of “The Revolution”.

As if.

The VAST majority of Americans want things FIXED, not changed.  They want to live in a house with a yard, not a community domicile.  They want to know it’s in THEIR power to make sure their kids are well-fed, well-educated, and safe.

Chris Hedges’ Marxism no longer seems threatening.  Instead it is the silly rantings of a man who is out of touch with who his fellow Americans are, from Left to Right.

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By Druthers, September 13, 2010 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

Photoshock:
Considering Chris Hedges as a conscience of our time in no way belittles the stance taken by philosophers or other writers.  Hedges is a journalist who has seen the results of our politics in the grit and grim of war,misery and poverty and expresses in his writing the cold hard facts of our present situation while denouncing those who are stripping us down to the bone. Journalistic integrity is such a rare thing that it has become a precious metal, like gold.

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By wfalco, September 13, 2010 at 7:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges offers a nice analysis of our oligarchical situation. But now what? My only solution was to join an activist group (Rainforest Action Network) that actually confronts the corporations with enough gusto to sometimes cause some change. RAN has had some success fighting the battle against companies like Home Depot, Bank of America, and Cargill.
That is just one small suggestion. But is it enough to put your money and voice behind such activist groups?
Unfortunately (accept for the radical few)there is not an underlying pulse of activism in our youth which can create mass action like the anti-war movement of the 60’s. In the 60’s the culture and music had some affect against the popular/conservative culture of the time. Progressive change was enacted with the pulse of a strong youth movement that was not going to take it anymore.
What is the pulse of today’s youth? Or is there “pulse” all corporatist? Who are the new Beatles or Bob Dylan? Simon and Garfunkel wrote “where have you gone Joe Dimaggio” which was actually stating good riddance. But “where have you gone John Lennon” is more relevent to what’s going on today.

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By skulz fontaine, September 13, 2010 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

Do not pity Democraps indeed. Loath them, despise them, punish them, for
they are liars and deceivers. Whores and charlatans. Republicons are worse than
the Democraps. After all, it was a ‘Republicon’ controlled Congress that brought
us to where America is at today. And then, the Democlowns took over and were
too freaking stupid (corrupt?) to fix one massively festering national wound.
‘We the people’ are now at that hopeless junction. There is no hope for it died
with the lying of Barack Obama. The war machine is run amok and controls the
hearts and minds of seemingly decent people. Appearance is everything in
Amerika.
There is only one real political party left in America and that would be the War
Party. This hideous hellish thing has two faces though. Democrap and
Republicon. The “Tea Party” is merely a wart on it’s ugly face.
Possibly the only “hope” left for America would be that when the next
generation’s children come to adult life, they ‘hopefully’ do not punish us for
being short sighted.
Break out a guillotine on the National Mall and let’s have a ‘hats off’ party.

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By willymack, September 13, 2010 at 7:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The corporate monster has engulfed every facet of our lives and every power structure from the press, to the Pentagon, to our governing bodies.
Everybody has a price, and the corporate plutocracy paid it.
The problem here is a MORAL one. We allowed a doddering old fool to be manipulated by Poppie Bush’s thugs, and called the old fool the Great Communicator. Ha!
We allowed two fraudulent “elections” to go unchallenged.
We allowed the ensuing eight-year crime spree to decimate our enviornment, our liberties, and our futures.
We allowed tens of thousands of our military personnel to be needlessly killed and maimed in two phony wars, based on dirty lies, and finally
We allowed the criminals responsible for these multiple atrocities to go SCOT-FREE.
Under these circumstances, it’s not unreasonable to ask if we deserve to have a country at all.

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By CharlesBivona, September 13, 2010 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

And all the SUV drivers scream, “SHUT UP! Sure, everything on the planet is
owned by corporations, but they don’t run the world! Obama, Bush, Clinton,
Bush, Reagan—none of them were/are owned by the conglomerates who paid
for their campaigns! Eisenhower? Military Industrial Complex?. Pfft. Whatever!
Rock the vote! Tea Party! I obviously deserve to consume way way WAY more
than my share on this planet! Because, clearly, I rock! Yeah! Let’s have a parade!
A rally! Wave flags! Think in slogans. Rewrite history, or, better yet, just ignore
it! Forget it! Go shopping! There’s a sale! Yeah! Woo Hoo!”

Every 4-8 years the rhetoric is recycled as the landfills grow, the ice caps melt,
and Americans pretend that a two party, either/or political system of exclusion
can encapsulate the complexity of life on Earth.

It really is heartbreaking to watch.

Thank you, Chris, for adding your voice to the conversation of the rational.

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By balkas, September 13, 2010 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

Greatest criminal minds never change their minds—-they only change tactics and degree or nature of imprisonment of their respective servant class.

This is going on for at least 10 k yrs. US ruling clas only seems worse in-thought—in reality, it is the technology, wrested from knowledge [honesty-justice-truth, etc.] that had enabled the criminals or gangsters to slay more people with greater and greater ease or to control their respective domestics.

Some european lands appear to be in mid-socialist state. Hopefully, they are headed towards ever greater equality; which then may awaken americans, 98% of whom just voted for continuation of own servitute and murdering aliens.
Btw, piece by hedge and nader’s sayings were music to my ears! tnx

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, September 13, 2010 at 7:03 am Link to this comment

Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was
sponsored by corporations because it didn’t take on
corporations or the military industrial complex, who,
combined, produce more than half this country’s
carbon footprint. In other words if every citizen had
a zero carbon footprint, we could reduce our energy
consumption by less than half.

Gore didn’t make a mistake in having Joe Lieberman as
his running mate. Gore is the consummate Washington
DC insider. His father was a Senator, he was a
Senator, he was Veep for 8 years, he’s a high level
member of the oligarchy, he belongs to their clubs,
knows them by name, and is loyal to them, not to us.
He didn’t ask that all votes be counted in Florida
because he doesn’t believe that the popular vote
should be counted. He smirked when he told the CBC
that they needed a Senator’s signature for their
petition to block Bush from becoming President,
because he had personally ordered all Democratic
Senators not to sign it.

Gore and Bush were colleagues, not opponents, just as
Kerry and Bush were colleagues, not opponents, and
just as Obama and McCain, who stopped campaigning
long enough to issue a joint statement in support of
bailouts, were colleagues, not opponents.

Hedges is correct, that when the oligarchy offers
voters a choice between third party candidates who
have no chance of winning, and two pro-war, pro-
bailout, pro-corporate candidates with virtually
identical voting records and the same agenda, even if
the votes were counted, there’s no point in voting
because the outcome, more wars, more bailouts, and
more corporate rule, is predetermined.

Do you really want a say in which oligarchs whom you
cannot hold accountable, will rule you? If you’re not
homeless yet, go outside and look at the homeless and
then look at the oligarchs on TV with their expensive
clothes and their happy faces and see if you don’t
vomit when you recognize them for what they are.

They’re the ones who kill a million innocent people
in your name and tell you that they care about you.
The Democrats in power now are the same Democrats who
supported Bush for 8 years, voted for everything he
wanted, took impeachment off the table, expanded on
his agenda once they took power, and are still
protecting Bush and Cheney from prosecution.

Nader was the guy responsible for every regulation
that the Democrats and Republicans have done away
with in their rush to deregulate. Any environmental,
worker safety, or consumer protections we used to
have, we owed to Nader. After a lifetime of consumer
advocacy, the stupid consumers condemned him and
flocked to the corporate advocates in the Democratic
Party. They knew they were voting for more wars, more
bailouts, more mining accidents, and more oil spills,
but voters are so apathetic that they don’t care
about anything except what’s for dinner and what’s on
TV.

Voters will sell their birthrights for a mess of
pottage like health care, reproductive rights,
marriage equality, or legal pot, and vote to grant
the oligarchy their consent of the governed, even
while knowing that the day after the election the
Supreme Court could take away anything they’d gained.

I’m glad to see that Hedges and Nader are waking up.
This plutocracy cannot be reformed from within—it
must be opposed. I’m also glad to see that the people
posting comments are hip to the political party hacks
who dominate the internet, the “my party right or
wrong,” trolls, and the corporate bullies and
terrorists who keep encouraging voters to think that
an uncounted vote is a voice in government.

Your vote is your consent. Only 21% of voters think
this government deserves their consent, but 100% of
voters vote. Either they don’t understand that their
vote is their consent, or they simply don’t care.

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By AS, September 13, 2010 at 6:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

BRAVO Mr. Hedges!!!

When in 2008, while I was reading the book “The Limits of Power-The End of American Exceptionalism-” (written by Andrew J. Bachevich, a professor of history at Boston University), I wrote a note to myself that this was “an incredible book!” I also added that “unfortunately, if Mr. Bachewich were to be proven right, America, its people and perhaps the world at large, are in big trouble, for (according to Mr. Bachevich) Americans appear determined to affirm Reinhold Neibuhr’s axiom of willful self-destruction.”

On page 82 Mr. Bachewich wrote: “To say that POWER ELITE directs the affairs of state is not to suggest the existence of some dark conspiracy. It is simply to acknowledge the way WASHINGTON actually works…(IT) has become oligarchic rather than democratic. The policy making process is not open but closed, with the voices of privileged insiders carrying unimaginably greater weight than those of the unwashed masses.”

Despite this educational book, I voted for Mr. Obama. Needless to say, over the past 18 months, Obama went out of his way to prove Mr. Bachevich right: “Regardless of which PARTY is in POWER, the people in charge don’t know what they are doing…”

  As a physician, during Mr. Obama’s prolonged work on the so called “reform” of our health care, I made my final decision never to vote again!

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By Peter Everts, September 13, 2010 at 6:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sadly Hedges is right, Johnnie-come-lately or not.  Many of us have been saying these things for many years, but the reality shows, brain-dead celebrity worship and sports junk along with the right-wing natterer such as Limpdick and Glenn Dreck pump mindless hate into brain numbed sheeple who drift off to sleep with Lunesta or booze.  America is fucked until enough people get pissed off sufficiently to start wacking the oligarchs and destroying the functional infrastructure of the corporatists.  At 65, I may not see it because the diversity of America and its problems make the process slow indeed.

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Peacedragon's avatar

By Peacedragon, September 13, 2010 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

“When it comes to justifying the erection of even more lavish, self-referntial
postpresidential libraries, this reliance on the presidency as a as a vehicle for
organizing U.S. history has proven eminently useful. Yet when it comes to
assesing reality, slicing the past into neat four- or eight- year long intervals
conceals and distorts at least as much as it illuminates.”

Andrew J. Becevitch
Washington Rules

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photoshock's avatar

By photoshock, September 13, 2010 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

Druthers: I am sorry to tell you that Chris Hedges is
a Johnny Come Lately to the cause of liberalism and
the voice of the people. Many others out there and I
include among them, Noam Chomsky and Norman
Finkelstein, have for decades spoke wrote and taught
about the coming fascism of the United States.
This happened during a time, Eisenhower and later
John F. Kennedy’s administrations. No one can say
that these men have not fought the fight for the
people for many years with resulting estrangement and
denial of their rights.
As for this piece of Chris Hedges’, he is spot on yet
still he leaves room for doubt about the reasoning
behind his denial that he is a child of privilege.
We need more people to stand up and be counted in the
fight against corporatism and fascism in this
country. For if we do not speak out against the
bastards who are controlling America right now and
work for the change that is necessary to bring our
country back on its track of government of, by and
for the people we will have nothing more than
government of, by and for the corporations.
Read Max Barry’s book, Jennifer Government, and you
will see the future of America without the revolution
that must take place. We in America are already
sheeple and not people, for Madison Avenue along with
the corporatocracy are running this country for the
benefit of the few and not the many.

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By Sylvia Barksdale, September 13, 2010 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OMG!  Chris Hedges has articulated here what I’ve been thinking for years.  A great article telling us like it is and offering the beginnings of a solution.

He is right, however, in that Americans are running scared.  Most of us do not possess the resources to fight this war with open arms tho we know it must be done if there is to be survival.

I am a disabled person but I would happily join a group who’re willing to fight and to pool resources.  Most people I know are in the same canoe rowing against this strong tide of govermental ploy and deceit and most of them would also join.

Some great philosopher said that the further we look back the clearer the future becomes.  I believe most of us know the history of WW11 and its aftermath.  The crux of Hedges article, in my opinion, is that if we fail to act on our own behalf, this is the kind of life that will be facing us in the not so distant future.

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By cokids, September 13, 2010 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

If we agreed with Hedges, we should be voting Repub or Tea Party in order to ‘wake’ people up faster! Don’t despair if THEY win! If THEY win; WE win?

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By Andres Slack, September 13, 2010 at 6:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If corporations are so powerful, and run everything, and have so much control over government, please explain how Obama was able to pass healthcare reform legislation.  This legislation subjugates the entire healthcare industry.  Already, the gov’t is warning health insurance companies that they are not allowed to raise premiums or will be blackballed from the upcoming insurance exchanges where the great majority of business will take place.

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By BobRal, September 13, 2010 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

What Chris Hedges says is so obvious, yet you will never see this stated in the corerately controlled mainstream media. I am proud to say I voted for Ralph Nader for President in the last two elections.

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Tesla's avatar

By Tesla, September 13, 2010 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

Great job Chris! Ignore the DLC trolls and whiny
“re-start with nothing?” weak-willed, witless can’t
imagine anything beyond this morning’s breakfast
crowd. These are simply the people who slavishly
follow fashion trends, own and display the sports paraphernalia from their local high school, college
or pro team. These are the people who spend their
time sitting on the sidelines while harvesting the
fruits from the efforts that others perform to
help better conditions in the world.

You are spot on and need to continue with these
cogent pieces and hopefully we all can begin the
process of building a co-America right along side the
big box version of the two political parties.

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By Big B, September 13, 2010 at 5:32 am Link to this comment

It will get (much) worse before it gets better, if it ever gets better again at all.

The america we all dreamed could happen when we were children is going to prove to be as seeded in reality as our other fairy tales.

The course of america can only now be changed by the chopping off of heads. We have deluded ourselves into thinking that we the people can illicit change with a ballot in our hands. George Carlin was right about voting, you should just stay home and jerk off, for you will accomplice about the same thing. The corporations and the uuber wealthy have seen to it that the only choice you shall have is a choice between their two candidates, one dimmo, one repug, both serving the same master.

And it ain’t you.

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democratz.org's avatar

By democratz.org, September 13, 2010 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

I can alter the corporate structure.

Please see http://www.hoflink.com/~dbaer/help-me-change-america.htm

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Gloria Picchetti's avatar

By Gloria Picchetti, September 13, 2010 at 5:01 am Link to this comment

About that corporate thing; do we have to wear brand costumes to vote now? If I wear a giant Kraft Macaroni box can I ride a pony to the polling place?

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By FiftyGigs, September 13, 2010 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

“we will have to remain true to the moral imperative to foster the common good”

You mean, as you see it. You mean, tear everything down to zero.

Then what?

This article represents the worst of liberalism, so much so that I’m not sure it’s liberal at all anymore.

“Don’t hope. Buy GM. Liberals are hypocrites. Disney is offering 10% off. Exercise your right to vote by not exercising it. Oh, FYI, if Republicans win, they’ll usher in the worst form of fascism, but, hey, fight the corporate power and follow me on Twitter so I can command a higher rate.”

Chris, like it or not, the problem you have with America is the problem you have with conservatism. That’s the reason for all the “rot on top”.

You’ve been suckered by the Koch Brothers millions of dollars in controlling the message this political season.

There is a difference between Republican and Democrat.

PUNISH REPUBLICANS. Do yourself a favor.

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oldog's avatar

By oldog, September 13, 2010 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

Relax, Chris. Don’t get stirred up over things you
can’t control. With your credentials, they would be
happy to give you a sweet seven-figure position at one
of the corporate mainstream shops like CNN, CNBC or
Fox. You wouldn’t have to hustle your own facts, they
have spin-doctors to make them up. There is always room
at the trough for the 10% born to privilege or gifted
with exceptional talent. The others can starve so long
as I get mine. mememememememememememe Hopefully, we’ll
die of old age before this economy and our natural
resources are completely sucked dry.

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By Handle, September 13, 2010 at 4:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, you come across as an anarchist. Leaving the two major parties is not identical with leaving the political arena, which you seem to be advocating. Isn’t it time to think about a third party? It could help with organizing the initiatives you are talking about, as well as running candidates. Do we really want to leave electoral politics as a monopoly for the liberals and reactionaries?

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3rd party voter's avatar

By 3rd party voter, September 13, 2010 at 4:31 am Link to this comment

This shameful talk of Nader shows that the 2 major parties (Perot and the Repubs anyone?) believe that they are somehow owed votes and even though they do things like sell out our manufacturing base with NAFTA type agreements, the dumb serfs need to just grease up a little better.

But hey it’s not a treaty if it says it’s an agreement, so it doesn’t need to go through congress!- and that was shoved down the collective by a (D)emo in name only…

Only Clinton could have sold NAFTA and only Obama could have convinced more than 5 “democrats” that mandatory purchase of health insurance (with no public option) was progressive.

It’s a circus! Next up in the big top: An Elephant mounts a Donkey!

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By Pam, September 13, 2010 at 4:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I question whether it makes no difference which party resides over the decades it will take to build this real democracy.  Will my daily life consist of being sold out to corporations while trying to appear somewhat responsive to a fairness test or will it consist of being blatantly sold out and threatened on a daily basis by radical “patriots”.  Will I quietly lose a few more important rights to privacy or lose all rights to privacy and be the subject of investigations, threats, and ‘loyalty pledges’.

While I’m working for a real democracy I think I would prefer not to have to be subject to the whims of radical conservatives.

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By Anne, September 13, 2010 at 4:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, Mr. Hedges what is alternative? Revolution? Nader will never have 50% of votes, peacefully; progressives should be smart enough to understand that.

And you Mr. Hedges, you should know what revolution means… suffering, killings, atrocities, suffering. Instead of weakening LEFT with your endless attacks you should use your smarts and power and help Obama and other Democrats, because this is only passage we have. Help us support Denisovics, Warrens, Spitzers…

Because, after all, whether you are right or wrong it is a question of your personal glory but what good that make to us?

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