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Huffington’s Plunder

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Posted on Feb 21, 2011
AP / Mark Lennihan

By Chris Hedges

I was in New York City on Thursday night at the Brecht Forum to discuss with the photographer Eugene Richards his powerful new book “War Is Personal” when I was approached for an interview by a blogger for The Huffington Post. I had just finished speaking with another blogger who had recently graduated from UC Berkeley.

These encounters, which are frequent at public events, break my heart. I see myself in the older bloggers, many of whom worked for newspapers until they took buyouts or were laid off, as well as in the aspiring reporters. These men and women love the trade. They want to make a difference. They have the integrity not to sell themselves to public relations firms or corporate-funded propaganda outlets. And they keep at it, the way true artists, musicians or actors do, although there are dimmer and dimmer hopes of compensation. They are victims of a dying culture, one that no longer values the talents that would keep it healthy and humane. The corporate state remunerates corporate management and public relations. It lavishes money on the celebrities who provide the fodder for our national mini-dramas. But those who deal with the bedrock virtues of truth, justice and beauty, who seek not to entertain but to transform, are discarded. They must struggle on their own.

The sale of The Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million, and the tidy profit of reportedly at least several million dollars made by principal owner and founder Arianna Huffington, who was already rich, is emblematic of this new paradigm of American journalism. The Huffington Post, as Stephen Colbert pointed out when he stole the entire content of The Huffington Post and rechristened it The Colbuffington Re-post, produces little itself. The highly successful site, like most Internet sites, is largely pirated from other sources, especially traditional news organizations, or is the product of unpaid writers who are rechristened “citizen journalists.” It is driven by the celebrity gossip that dominates cheap tabloids, with one or two stories that come from The New York Times or one of the wire services to give it a veneer of journalistic integrity. Hollywood celebrities, or at least their publicists, write windy and vapid commentaries. And this, I fear, is what news is going to look like in the future. The daily reporting and monitoring of city halls, courts, neighborhoods and government, along with investigations into corporate fraud and abuse, will be replaced by sensational garbage and Web packages that are made to look like news but contain little real news.

The terminal decline of newspapers has destroyed thousands of jobs that once were dedicated to reporting, verifying fact and giving a voice to those who without these news organizations would not be heard. Newspapers, although they were too embedded among the power elite and blunted their effectiveness in the name of a faux objectivity, at least stopped things from getting worse. This last and imperfect bulwark has been removed. It has been replaced by Internet creations that mimic journalism. Good reporters, like good copy editors or good photographers, who must be paid and trained for years while they learn the trade, are becoming as rare as blacksmiths. Stories on popular sites are judged not by the traditional standards of journalism but by how many hits they receive, how much Internet traffic they generate, and how much advertising they can attract. News is irrelevant. Facts mean little. Reporting is largely nonexistent. No one seems to have heard of the common good. Our television screens are filled with these new chattering celebrity journalists. They pop up one day as government spokespeople and appear the next as hosts on morning news shows. They deal in the currency of emotion, not truth. They speak in empty clichés, not ideas. They hyperventilate, with a spin from the left or the right, over every bit of gossip. And their corporate sponsors make these court jesters millionaires. We are entertained by these clowns as corporate predators ruthlessly strip us of our capacity to sustain a living, kill our ecosystem because of greed, gut civil liberties and turn us into serfs.

Any business owner who uses largely unpaid labor, with a handful of underpaid, nonunion employees, to build a company that is sold for a few hundred million dollars, no matter how he or she is introduced to you on the television screen, is not a liberal or a progressive. Those who take advantage of workers, whatever their outward ideological veneer, to make profits of that magnitude are charter members of the exploitative class. Dust off your Karl Marx. They are the enemies of working men and women. And they are also, in this case, sucking the lifeblood out of a trade I care deeply about. It was bad enough that Huffington used her site for flagrant self-promotion, although the cult of the self has reached such dizzying proportions in American society that such behavior is almost expected. But there is an even sadder irony that this was carried out in the name of journalism.

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By Michael J. Jordan, March 23, 2011 at 5:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks for this, Chris. And now, a journo-blogger’s confessional in the Christian Science Monitor: Why I write for free—and hate it ... http://jordanink.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/slave-labor-blogging-isnt/

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By Anarcissie, March 3, 2011 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

I still don’t understand the complaints here about FluffPo.  We are no longer in the bad old world when publication was limited to big capitalists by the scope of expensive industrial methods.  Almost anyone, as an individual or with a group, can put together a web site and write what they wish on it, for all to read.  If, instead, people contribute articles and comments to an existing site, especially one with fluffy celebrity stuff, isn’t that what they want to do?  Was a gun held to anyone’s head?

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By Emojad, March 3, 2011 at 10:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While I was watching a C-span presentation of the current state of journalism a panelist, a writer, described Arianna Huffington’s brand of journalism as
“bull shitty chic” reporting.

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By rjg1971, March 3, 2011 at 12:33 am Link to this comment

A fortunate made off of unpaid labor. So typical. Hey,
Arianna do you think you could toss out of work
journalists a loaf of bread when you’re riding your
limo to work?

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By Vi, March 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While I liked this article and agreed with most of its points, I hesitated to share it.

What was the point of the cheap shot against liberals?

First off, Huffington is about as “liberal” as Joe Lieberman—that is, not very. Whatever she calls herself, her values clearly have not matched the average definition of liberal, and these past few years have only widened that divergence.

Why pin her idiocy and selfishness on her “liberalism”, when it more closely resembles the corporate greed and exploitation of Republicans like her husband?

This AOL sale should make it obvious, not that avarice and hypocrisy are liberal traits, but that “liberal” itself was only a marketing label for Huffington—to be used to build her property’s worth and then abandoned, with no thought to fallout against actual liberals.

Secondly, do you genuinely expect anyone with half a brain to believe that some demonized “liberal class” is responsible for this country’s financial problems? That’s Joe the Plumber talk right there.

However disgusting it is to see self-labeled “progressives” exploiting workers like the conservative CEOs they claim to oppose, it’s completely insane to think that just because both political sides do it, that it must mean blame for the recession is 50-50.

That’s Republican propaganda. It stuck out from this article like a sore thumb.

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By gundersonrogers, March 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

“It’s both wrong and offensive to insist that HuffPost is exploiting journalists.”

The offense is intended.
Why? Because it’s wrong to exploit—anyone, anytime.

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By Leefeller, February 28, 2011 at 10:30 pm Link to this comment

Bruce Boyle,

I recalled Truth Digs article on the incident; http://www.truthdig.com/.../20081007_investigating_john_mccains_tragedy_at_sea /

Must say I applicate Truth Digs ability to take such issues to task, even unpleasant real issues like this one.

My feelings towards Huffington are even lowered a few more knoches.

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By Bruce Boyle, February 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was the “canary” in Arianna Huffington’s coal mine.

In April 2008, I posted a comment about John McCain role in the death of 134 sailors, with 70 others wounded (due to his “prank” back in July 1967) while stationed on the USS Forrestal.

At the time McCain was a candidate for President, I thought the tale of this “Prank, that cause these deaths should be replayed to the American people. This could help citizens with vote selection and tell much about McCain’s ‘lack of character.’  At the time I had the mistaken notion that issue of charter is central, if not vital, to the informed selection of a President.

I derived all of my the facts about McCain’s role from a variety of sources: the official History of the USS Forrest; the investigation of this event by the US Navy; Arlington Cemetery, and the Vietnam Memorial Virtual web pages, along with extensive research using of a number of search engines.

The tale of these deaths touched of a fire storm of response from other commentators—both pro and con McCain- most of it noticeably off topic. All of this suddenly halted when former ship-mate of McCain, and witnesses to the fire on the USS Forrestal, submitted a comment (and added to the details) to my account. This caused the editors to take notice. The editor-censors subordinated my factual account to political expediency. . .

I suddenly found my account along with the supportive comments removed. I was barred from current participation and from all future submission, ”for life” along with no possibility of appeal with the editors. The editors filtered every attempt to contact them (“denied by mail recipient”) and even my phone calls were rejected electronically. I never got through.

Not only was it cowardly, but was blatant censorship aimed at suppression of the facts. The Huffington Post web-site was then in the early stages fashioning its sales pitch to the corporations, to the banks, and advertiser’s wishes.

Thus the recent sale of this web site to AOL for 315 million dollars (a service provider with the reputation as the worst e-mail service available) does not come as a surprise.  From experience it is just one more dimension of corporate take- over of the election process . . the beginning of a take over of the web by corporate sponsored censorship [CSC].

>>Chris Hedges [below] talks about this danger in this sale to journalistic independence. He writes:

If Huffington has a conscience, she will sit down when the AOL check arrives and make sure every cent of it is paid out to those who worked free or at minimal wages for her over the last six years, starting with Mayhill Fowler, the blogger who broke the “clinging to guns and religion” story about Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and spent two years writing and reporting without a salary…It exposes the callousness of our oligarchic class and their belief that they have a right to use anyone who can contribute to the monuments they spend their lives erecting to themselves.

Control the narrative: it fits with the recent Supreme Court’s decision and with the Corporate Elite’s and with Wall Street’s Class War against the American People.

I add my speculative warning: it is also the first step in the complete take-over of cyberspace –beginning with the “independent and liberal media” by the corporations, and the beginning of blatant censorship!

I would expect nothing less than this sell-out from Arianna and her censors at the Huffington Post. They did this to themselves in the good name of journalism,

~Bruce Boyle

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By Leefeller, February 27, 2011 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

“What doesn’t follow this nifty scheme is the present ideological disarray of the Right.  Maybe a lot of them are closet lefties.”

Good point Anicissie, I realize this is supposed to be happening, but, this disarray seemsto be more of an adjustment as to how right they want to be.(maybe it is the word “right”}

The lockstep of the right, I speak of is in the clearly right mental consensus of shafting public services, any programs which serves the people, so what the disarrayed right always agrees to label any of these as socialistic ideals, while at the same time ignoring the sacred cow, constant wars and the sacred cow Military complex, Wall Street, big oil and so on.

Otherwise it seems the right will ignore real problems aiming for their pet programed project ideas, instituted by manipulators and benefactors in charge, always attacking and forcing the constant defensive posturer from the masses on the street, A never ending calling of attentions to the whims of special interests.

The conservative pattern seems clear to me, the right chooses to ignore real problems for contrived ones. It is as if they are programed. From what I have read conservatives are born that way,....  like being gay.

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By David J. Cyr, February 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an avatar, being a holy rat):

“It makes sense that people devoted to power and authority—the Right—would cohere ideologically; all they would have to do is agree on which authority to follow, a question which would be settled by a contest of force.”
______________

Yes, the Right in America (the partnership of Republicans and Democrats) regularly routinely demonstrates its corporate state compliant cohesion. Every election cycle is filled with absurd warfare, mostly regarding the fringe issues that liberals and conservatives appear to disagree upon, but despite their heavily advertised differences all those conservatives and liberals keep flocking together to the polls in full support of preservation of the corporate state… the absolute antithesis of democracy.

However, conservatives and liberals do disagree upon how the what they always agree on should be done. The conservatives don’t care how sloppy any evil is done, but the liberals insist that every evil must be well done.

The only polls that matter are the election results: 99% of those participating reliably voting for evil every time… no majority ever voting for any good purpose. No amount of devious rhetoric can paint over the objective reality that American elections provide positive proofs of: America remains the world’s preeminent fascist nation because the American people keep (R) & (D) voting for it to continue to be that.

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By Anarcissie, February 27, 2011 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

It makes sense that people devoted to power and authority—the Right—would cohere ideologically; all they would have to do is agree on which authority to follow, a question which would be settled by a contest of force.  (What kind of force would depend on the context.)  It also makes sense that people devoted to peace, freedom and equality—the Left—would discuss everything, have many different opinions, and bicker constantly.

What doesn’t follow this nifty scheme is the present ideological disarray of the Right.  Maybe a lot of them are closet lefties.

None of the above has much to do with FluffPo, however.  I am surprised that anyone has found the sale of it to AOL worth commenting on.

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By Leefeller, February 27, 2011 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

It may be the simplistic nit picking and constant arguments seen here on these posts are what enables the right to march lock step ahead with their steam roller agenda.  The right has a plan and that is it,..... no comments or questions or nit picking.

This is the way it is or should be, people be damned, actually the right is very much like Omar Qaddafi, in their approach to things.

The real poop seems to be, the left is much more able to think and bicker,  it appears reason requires thought and an ability to use reason for discussions, it may be possible nit picking is some sort of primary practice of development?  Someday it will come to fruit.

Unfortunately, the right does not need to nit pick or discuss anything for reason is absent and they know what is right in their undeveloped minds from birth, I suppose.  indoctrinated beliefs require no nit picking, for it is foretold this is as it should be.

The parables of Walker and Omar Qaddafi are unbelievably alike. Blatant indifference and attacks on the people and their rights. Deceptions and lies are no stranger in the certainty of lies of what I see as criminal minds.

Of course my premise on nit picking may be relative only to Truth Dig, for other places on the web do not allow differing opinions, such as the Daily Kos, Huffingtons postits and others.

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By ardee, February 27, 2011 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, February 27 at 2:49 am

If you think obtuseness is politeness then your statement above is correct. I repeat :

“You believe that sarcastic belittling of those trying to make a difference, however you disagree with methods or motives, is better than an attempt to help bring about change. I wonder which of us is, in the end, a better citizen? “

I am not trying to pick a fight here and ,yes, you do remain “polite”. But I know your posting history to be one of far more perceptiveness than you have shown here. Thus I think you are guilty of sarcasm when none was required. Why not simply state what you object to about my methods?

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By Anarcissie, February 26, 2011 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

ardee—I haven’t made any arguments.  And I’ve remained unfailingly polite and rational, as usual.

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By ardee, February 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, February 25 at 5:18 pm part II

Perhaps I was too obtuse previously, or perhaps I gave you too much credit for perceptive thinking. Maybe you are just having a bad day?
Regardless, I choose to expound upon a subject I think important.

If I choose not to participate, in a purchase from BP gas stations, for example, or add to the numbers at a website, say, Huffington Post, that has sold itself to the status quo, then there may be no noticeable affect, other than a feeling of having done what I consider to be the right thing.

But if my actions are then emulated by others, if many more of us choose to do what we consider the right thing, then perhaps we affect the numbers, or the profit margins enough to cause change. Small steps lead to long journeys if enough are taken.

As I read of the events in Egypt, in Lybia, in Tunisia, I cannot help but compare those folks to our own citizenry, among whom far too many make shallow and unperceptive arguments as yours above. Certainly the actions of one individual are almost unnoticeable, however important they may be to that individual. The fellow who immolated himself recently made a simple choice, horrific though it may have been, yet who knows how many were motivated by his public suicide.

I do not equate my individual boycott of places and products in the same light as that death certainly. But far, far too many Americans, living as we do in the “belly of the beast”, choose inaction instead, waiting, I presume, for some shining light and a pronouncement that will impel them off their couches and into the streets. Some even make sarcastic and , in the end, meaningless and ineffective comments about an attempt to make a difference.

I believe strongly that doing something trumps doing nothing. You believe that sarcastic belittling of those trying to make a difference, however you disagree with methods or motives, is better than an attempt to help bring about change. I wonder which of us is, in the end, a better citizen?

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By ardee, February 26, 2011 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, February 25 at 5:18 pm

Your sarcasm notwithstanding, one does what one must. It matters not how people thing what I do effective. It also matters not how small you make yourself out to be.

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By Anarcissie, February 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

ardee—It’s true I didn’t imagine that you planned to bring HuffPo to its knees by denying them a page hit.

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By ardee, February 25, 2011 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, February 24 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

ardee—It is not all that difficult to follow the link.  Just click on it.  One of the benefits of hypertext, right?  We don’t have to copy everything over and over.

Missed my point by that much.

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By Alan MacDonald, February 24, 2011 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette, you’ve basically got it.

You correctly recommend:

“I maintain firmly that the prevention of the Great Recession from ever recurring (as a result of financial cataclysm) lies more in in neutering its cause” 

Then you go on to almost correctly say this tax fix can be done by:

“Increase greatly taxation of marginal income and capital gains (in almost confiscatory proportions) above a certain level.”

I love your “Increase greatly taxation ... to almost confiscatory proportions”, BUT the point is NOT to do this based on “income above a certain level”—- but rather to do that high taxation on investments in corporations that cause high levels of ‘negative externality costs’ which end up being dumped on society!

You see, Lafayette, the willingness to invest (and make income on investments) is NOT itself the problem.

Rather the deadly problem for our late stage predatory capitalism is making investments that only profit by dumping externality expenses on society.

So the real, fair, equitable, socially responsible, enforceable, and fully justifiable solution is to apply those ‘sky high taxes’ that you mention ONLY on those investments that hurt our society, our environment, and our children/species sustainability.

Now, you might reasonably ask; How could that be done?

To which I would answer; Just like ranking/rating of investment bonds are done today for their ‘risk level’ for individual investors—- except that the risk assessed would be based on the harm (ie. negative externality costs) that could be done to our whole/external/public world.

So, a similar rating/ranking of corporations for public investment would be done by a regulatory body—- let’s call it the EAC (Externality Assessment Commission), which would analyze and assess the negative externality impact of all given corporations (and investments therein). 

Much like bond rating the most important aspects of this process would be unbiased expertise and AVIODING capture by those they rate.  A simple example might be approximately 5 categories of corporations for investment; those with high/terrible negative externality cost dumping risks—- C-, slightly less dangerous to society—- Bb, and on up to corporations that actually create positive externalities for our society—- AA.

The key beauty of this approach, Lafayette, is that the capital gains tax rates would be variable—- lets say from your “almost confiscatory” rate for those which cause the most harm (ie. externalize the highest costs) down to ‘almost no tax’ for those that actually benefit society with positive externalities (like schools).

Surprisingly, this approach is informally done today in the area of SRI (the socially responsible/ethical investment industry)—- although currently the SRI research applies somewhat subjective ‘filters’ for environmental damage, weapons/war industrials, tobacco, etc. instead of a more methodical and objective ‘negative externality cost’ index.

Here’s a brief article, Lafayette, on the subject, which I hope might align with your helpful idea of using taxes to deal with this seminal problem of the 21st century.

http://www.opednews.com/Diary/Externality-Assessment-Com-by-Alan-MacDonald-110110-603.html


Best,
Alan

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By chelseasbeach, February 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Alan McDonald—you’re spot on!

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By Lafayette, February 24, 2011 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

PIFFLE

AA: It remains surprising ... that his Congressional questioners did not follow-up and ask him (Greenspan) to more clearly define why he was so “Shocked, shocked”.

What must one expect of the man - nearly in his dotage, his once sacrosanct reputation now shattered - to say?

In front of a Congressional Committee, he’d waffle. Meaning dismiss the contention in a trivial manner. And if hammered by the Committee, in such a circumstance, his lawyer would advise him to recite the 5th Amendment.

The Congressional Committee has no right to badger a witness in a manner that could possibly implicate him/her in malfeasance. Both malfeasance and conspiracy to defraud must be proven (in a court of law) by material witness.

MY POINT

I maintain firmly that the prevention of the Great Recession from ever recurring (as a result of financial cataclysm) lies more in in neutering its cause than punishing the culpable. That is, let’s address squarely the mindless cupidity that prompted the actors to deceive, manipulate, and commit fraud in order to earn enormous gains. Which means what?

Increase greatly taxation of marginal income and capital gains (in almost confiscatory proportions) above a certain level.

For as long as the Tax System allows hallucinatory gains to be earned then, where it can, immoral but lawful business rapacity will continue unabated.

POST SCRIPTUM

“The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41) Which indicates the difficulty in living up to the high moral standards that one has set oneself

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By Lafayette, February 24, 2011 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

NO WAY, HOSAY

AA: it is not claptrap that this was criminal conspiracy

Conspiracy = a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.

None of what happened was a “secret plan”. Too many different agents were gaming for this to have been a conspiracy.

Some people may WANT it to be a conspiracy so that we can blame people ... and then bitch that “they got away with it!” Cooler heads see it for what it truly was, a concatenation of frenzied events propelled by financial greed.

Take away artificially low interest rates (engineered willfully by the Fed as policy), Americans binging on cheap-credit, subprime real estate loans packaged and sold as Triple-A debt (along with its derivatives) to gullible investors—and you have no Credit Mechanism Seizure (Fall, 2008) and No Economic Recession (2009).

Given all those actors mentioned, it is impossible to prove some conspiracy “orchestrated” by a highly finite number of plutocrats in a dark room somewhere.

Nope, the conspiracy argument just does not play ... No way, José.

The fiction (on this one) is stranger than the truth.

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By Alan MacDonald, February 24, 2011 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Lafayette, I find myself in full agreement with Ptolemy Philopator, February 23 at 11:42 pm, and not with you——and it is not claptrap that this was criminal conspiracy, and not merely ideilogical blindness caused by belief in the so-called and oxymoronic Bush-speak of ‘free-market democracy’ of predatory capitalism.

Although Adam Smith famously characterized capitalism as “unleashing ‘animal spirits’”, Smith was genuinely ignorant of the “Unspeakable” danger of those ‘animal spirits’ leveraging selective human minds’ sociopathy to unleash ‘negative externality’ cost dumping conspiracies in order to make private profit PURELY by actively causing public destruction of ‘the commons’.

Greeenspan famously shouted out in his post FED Congressional testimony, “I’m shocked”, and acknowledged that ‘players’ on Wall Street (ie. within the financial EMPIRE) had not even acted with any fiduciary responsibility for the environment in which they operated, nor for the self-preservation benefit of their own firms.

It remains surprising, except for their ignorance of the existential damage that ‘negative externality’ cost dumping can cause, that his Congressional questioners did not follow-up and ask him to more clearly define why he was so “Shocked, shocked”.

The clear reason that Greenspan claimed to be so “shocked” was either that he, like Smith, did not understand the cancerous potential of unlimited gaming of ‘negative externality’ dumping for faux-profit, OR, far more likely, that Greenspan fully understood that making faux-profits in this manner was a sociopathic crime against humanity, and wanted to distance himself from the conspiratorial crime of the century.

However, there is no doubt that informed economists, of which group Greenspan claimed to be, clearly understand that there is a hidden ‘nuclear option’ to aberrant, abnormal, and criminal economic behavior; which is conspiracy to ‘loot’ society and indeed the whole species and world to the point of existential death of the system—- and that such behavior defines in humans a type of knowing behavior that is even worse or more “shocking” than predatory animals (like wolves) participate in with their ‘animal spirits’, but is rather like the totally unguided parasitic behavior that cancer represents in fully destroying the entire host environment.

While Greenspan would only claim ‘shock’ at such amoral predatory over-reach of ‘animal spirits’, many other economists, including US economics Nobel laureates like George Akerlof and Joseph Stiglitz have more candidly described the sociopathic and conspiratorial disease of “looting” the system to death. 

Akerlof early in the Bush regime of such a predatory hidden global corporate/financial/militarist Empire had already stated clearly, “What we have here is not normal behavior of government policy, but rather a from of looting”.

Likewise Stiglitz in his “FreeFall” continually identifies the sociopathic conspiracy to dump massive ‘negative externality’ costs on the government, the society, average people, and the entire living environment on which we all depend as the penultimate crime.

It can be easily proven in either a small scale case, like land-mines, or in a massive case, like the recent global financial looting or the “Unspeakable” evil of nuclear war, that the public systemic damage from ‘negative externality’ dumping can far outweigh any short-term private faux-profit.

Thus Lafayette the issue is not one of the facade of “democratic governance (being) negligent”, as you contend, but of hidden sociopathic Empire being the causal cancer leading toward extinction.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/-Empire-Elitism-External-by-Alan-MacDonald-090310-224.html

Best,
Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine
“Liberty over violent empire” Party headquarters

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By Anarcissie, February 24, 2011 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

ardee—It is not all that difficult to follow the link.  Just click on it.  One of the benefits of hypertext, right?  We don’t have to copy everything over and over.

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By ardee, February 24, 2011 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Alison Rose Levy, February 24 at 1:13 am

If you believe your comment important, post it here. Why would anyone want to go the HuffingtonPost’s centrist web site?

Or is this merely advertising?

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By Lafayette, February 24, 2011 at 2:57 am Link to this comment

CLAPTRAP

ptolp: He is a criminal who along with the Bush family orchestrat­ed a decade long criminal conspiracy to bankrupt the Federal government and to pass out the loot amoung his Wall Street co-conspir­ators. He knew exactly what he was doing.

Yet more conspiracy bunk Made for Hollywood - good only as pap-for-the-ignorant-masses.

Do you know how hard it would be to “orchestrate” such a manipulation? No, evidently, you don’t. What happened was more like an army marching to a single drummer. It was complicit but not orchestrated.

You were right in your first remark, however. Greenspan was a fan of Ayn Rand and probably gorged on Atlas Shrugged.

He did let his beliefs interfere with his governance of the Fed. (But who doesn’t. We are what we believe ourselves to be.) And during a time of impressive expansion of the American economy, it was thought he was some sort of Finance God who walked on water.

Which is why, only with the prism of time, have we seen that his governance was negligent due to a trite, simplistic belief that (somehow, miraculously) the denizens of Wall Street were (1) super-intelligent (and would certainly avoid any market catastrophy) and (2) that markets were self-regulatory like a water boiling on a hot stove unwatched.

It was all childish bunk and we, the people, have paid the price of this folly. The real shame is that Bernanke, a truly intelligent man, did not see through the fog of misplaced belief. Too much time spent in the fogginess of academic circles, one must presume.

MY POINT

Conspiracy theory posters fail to see that, in a democracy, we, the people, are responsible for those we elect who put in office their subalterns. The Right is rotten with those who believe in Market Supremacy, the cornerstone of Free Enterprise.

Which is bollocks – merely a notion that corresponds to their simplistic supremacy of individualist beliefs. (A belief-system akin to a religion.)

Ayn Rand did a great disservice to her adopted country with the claptrap she wrote. Worse yet are those who gobbled it hook, line and sinker.

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By Alison Rose Levy, February 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

I’m the Huffington Post blogger who met Chris Hedges at the Brecht event and I have posted a response to this post on Huffington at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alison-rose-levy/chris-hedges-huffington-a_b_827025.html

@alisonroselevy
http://www.facebook.com/alisonroselevy
http://www.healthjournalistblog.com

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By Ptolemy Philopator, February 23, 2011 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

I tried to post this comment on an article by Dean Baker on Alan Greenspan on the Huffington Post. Despite several attempts it was never posted. The article itself was quickly withdrawn. Censorship? You decide:

“Greenspan was one of those ideologues who let his political belief system override his good sense ...”

Greenspan is not a mistaken ideologue. He has no moral vision. He is a criminal who along with the Bush family orchestrat­ed a decade long criminal conspiracy to bankrupt the Federal government and to pass out the loot amoung his Wall Street co-conspir­ators. He knew exactly what he was doing. The financial crisis was manufactured and Bush, Bernacke and George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson used it to railroad a complicit Congress into “bailing out” their co-conspirators on Wall Street. If Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson did not see the housing bubble coming, how is it that he made billions shorting (betting against) the toxic mortgage backed securities. These men are criminals and should all be in the dock for criminal conspiracy and once convicted their ill gotten gains confiscated under the RICO laws. They looted the world economy of at least $23 trillion. The fact that there have been no indictments shows that President “Barry” Obama is a co-conspirator. If this were not such a corrupt Congress there would already have been articles of impeachment drawn up against the President and his Attorney General, Erich Holder, for obstruction of justice. This is a scandal of enormous proportions with a bought and paid for government doing nothing about it. It is up to the people to take to the streets to administer Justice.

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By PatRM2, February 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

I can see the impetus for this article.  Many progressives/liberals felt betrayed by the sellout.  I never felt AOL had much to do with news and more to do with social networking.  But this article seems to go over the top in trashing the HP.  Many good people have contributed and are contributing to HP, and the inclusion of entertainment and such doesn’t negate the seriousness of the HP in any way.  I don’t believe in the lockstep right sticking together regardless of right or wrong, but the left needs to see the futility in bashing it’s own for being human.  It isn’t as if A. Huffington is publicly endorsing Palin or anything of that nature.  She has contributed much to the cause.  We should acknowledge that.  In short, if it isn’t too late for that, I think the article is miles too long and covers too much nit.  I don’t think it deserves a place on a site that has so many really good talented people contributing articles of substance.

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By Alan MacDonald, February 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

Chris the biggest problem with HP was that it was generally bland and gutless.

I posted there a bit and only feel cheated in that they censored and blocked made of my serious posting on the global corporate/financial/militarist Empire that IS America.

The content of HP will fit well with the vacuous nature of AOL—filtering reality and posting fluff, just the fit and ‘synergy’ for Fluffington Post.

BTW, in terms of a much more serious issue which Chris raises about the media’s focus on banal celebrity in all fields:

This is of great value to the ruling-elite of this disguised Empire because it defuses and confuses the many average Americans into conflating the media’s production of large supposedly sectors, types, and numbers of ‘phony elite’ with the only real elite; the deadly ruling-elite of the hidden Empire, who are the power-elite who need to remain hidden to survive blame and retribution.

By this standard even the faux-political elite, like those pompous pontificating egomaniacs who appear week after week on the Sunday morning talking-heads ‘shows’ are being tricked into volunteering to be the outward ‘targets’ of public insurrection and rage (now that it is coming), since they are the figures who tricked by their own vanity have been playing the roles of the phony ‘political elite’—- while the real elite of the Empire safely hide.  [Recognition that they have been duped into playing the political celebrity elite game by the Empire may well be the reason that there are so many Congressional resignations lately, like Kyl, who will certainly be targets as confrontation with Empire increases, and the Multitude look for the guilty].

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine
“Liberty over violent empire” Party headquarters

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By Anarcissie, February 23, 2011 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

Lafayette—according to what I read in the comments here, everyone’s back is to the wall and they are on the boundary of subsistence, ready to die.  They can’t go into business for themselves or with other people, they can’t even form unions.  Some Big Daddy has to do it for them—but they can’t even form a party to elect the necessary Big Daddy.  They look wistfully to Egypt, throwing off a brutal dictator, but they themselves for the most part don’t have the energy to go into the streets even for a few hours to protest the wars and the bailouts.  There is no hope for them—or so they say.

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By Leefeller, February 23, 2011 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

Lafayette,

Interesting synop on labor, especially like the idea of the right to unionize, being added to the Constitution. (we know it will not happen) Right to work states would have a problem with the concept, as I suspect the Ass hole Walker in Wisconsin and his supporters the Koch Brothers.

As for the Huffington Post, I wonder how collective bargaining rights would fit into her not paying contributors? I mean, it seems her setup was designed as a right to not get paid?

The testing of the waters in Wisconsin may determine with a great degree of significance on the future of working people every where in this nation and possibly the world. It seems the us and them mentality of Walker is what makes the world go around. Sadly many of the us’s do not know their own best interests, for the brain washing has been effectively bought and paid for by the likes of the Koch Brothers and their cohorts.

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By robert, February 23, 2011 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Perhaps you should re-title your piece:  Sour Grapes

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By Lafayette, February 23, 2011 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

SPECIOUS POLEMICS

a-aussie: They are essentially OTHER PEOPLE PROFITS, being the results of OTHER PEOPLE’S labour.

True enough, but there was no labor contract and nobody asked you or anybody else to “work” at HuffPo.

The above quoted argument is thus nothing more than specious polemics.

Your contributions were purely voluntary and your “compensation”, if that word be proper in this context, was to exploit a medium with others for the purpose of exchange of opinion. Which was, moreover, free, gratis and for nothing. (It was no personal expense of yours to view the accompanying Web-page adverts that supposedly compensated the costs.)

AH exploited the situation and made a huge profit. Such is the nature of the Internet. She is not the only one to have self-promoted herself employing the medium.

Nonetheless - far, far better, I submit, is to make the process more just and moral by taxing the profits (derived from the capital gains and bonuses). Which we do not do adequately in this country ever since Reckless Ronnie Reagan dropped marginal taxation enormously.

AH, if she is to pay any tax on this transaction, will walk away with a net-of-tax in-the-pocket benefit of close to 80% of the net value of HuffPo (presuming there was no debt).

Would AH have nonetheless undertaken the entrepreneurial risk by launching HuffPo years ago, knowing full well that should she ever sell it she would pay nonetheless a huge capital gains tax of 80%? I say yes.

Frankly, I doubt much higher taxation will hinder any entrepreneur. As an example, let’s presume that the net taxable value of the transaction was 100 megabucks. Would you not be quite pleased with $23 Megabucks net instead of 80% net? (And we should do the same for exaggerated lottery prizes.)

I would and I presume most other entrepreneurs would as well.

POST SCRIPTUM

Yes, yes, I know that the current capital gains tax rate is 37%. But the net “effective” tax rate turns out to be closer to 23%.

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By Lafayette, February 23, 2011 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

THE FREEDOM TO UNIONIZE

CH: Any business owner who uses largely unpaid labor, with a handful of underpaid, nonunion employees, to build a company that is sold for a few hundred million dollars, no matter how he or she is introduced to you on the television screen, is not a liberal or a progressive.

The above is true largely in two sectors:
* Casual labor employed seasonally in agriculture
* Restaurants and fast-food outlets (such as Chipotle).

In either example cited, the base cause is the fact that Americans are too lazy to break their backs (sic!) doing the work.

The practice is highly localized in either of the two above sectors. Though construction also shows some indications of such usage where unions are not prevalent.

So, we should pay a compliment to this administration that has done what Lead-head should have done but never dared to do (because it would be contrary to the Vested Interests that helped elect him). That is, bring a large, successful entrepreneurial concern (Chipotle) to court for labor-law business malpractice.

It will be a salutary lesson to the rest of that service industry and others (namely agricultural) that indulge in the same sort of exploitation.

Otoh, Americans are unwilling to do such work so illegal labor is very much in demand.

The solution should be obvious:
* Menial labor should be paid at least the minimum wage plus health insurance coverage.
*  Like religion, no law should be established to hinder or constrain the right to unionize. (It would be preferable to see this right inscribed in the Constitution.)
* Such labor should be contracted (as for other visas) by means of consulates in foreign countries, which legitmates the Visa process by linking the individual to an enterprise - which remains responsible for the visaed employee. that is, when the employee is no longer employed, the visa is invalidated and the migration authorities informed. (Meaning that we separate the migration from the immigration authorities, since the two contexts are separate and distinct.)
* Visaed individuals must be required to leave the country if they are no longer employed and can return when the employment is again necessary, by re-legitimizing their visa.
* Most importantly, existing laws must be enforced and the Justice Department must prosecute employers who employ illegitimate labor.

And Americans will pay more for their fast-food - which is salutary given the fact that obesity is a national pandemic.

MY POINT: The Trade Union Movement

The practice of using “slave-labor” is mostly prevalent where union-activity is minimalized—either de facto or by law.

America neutered the Union Movement in the post-war years. So, we have the situation of large-scale usage of illegal labor, which unions tend not to sanction where they exist.

The labor marketplace is like any other. There are two participants, one that supplies labor and the other that purchases labor. When the former is “atomized”, that is, it is constituted by individuals and not blocks (unions), then the latter can (and does) seek to exploit it.

Which is the founding notion of the Trade Union Movement the world over.

Unions are thus a Necessary Counterweight to Employers in the labor marketplace - giving equal weight to both sides in the negotiation process.

Free Enterprise is no less an key bulwark of a our economy than the Freedom to Unionize.

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By katsteevns, February 23, 2011 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

Well said tony_opmoc, ...“the entire population”.

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By Aethera, February 23, 2011 at 1:17 am Link to this comment

@americaussie: If I set up my own news aggregation site (as anyone is free to do - all they need to do is have a cheap hosting plan and some PHP knowledge) and, because of the types of articles I select it becomes popular with a wide cross-section of society, and I start to make a lot of advertising money, do I suddenly become evil?

Or if I have my own blog which relates to current events - maybe there are a group of us writing stuff - and we also include aggregate articles - and our site is popular, are we suddenly evil?

The expense of doing something like this is not that high.  Its not like it takes vast sums of money, and if the idea were strong there’s always the possibility of getting incubator money, small-business loans, or attracting venture capital.

The only argument I can see against huffpost would be one against all aggregator sites, against the very principle of aggregation.  But then picking out one particular instance of aggregation would not really address the problem.

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By americaussie, February 23, 2011 at 12:50 am Link to this comment

@Aethera: Your concept of profit is simplistic in the extreme and reflective of the ‘free-market’ nonsense that enthrals so many Americans. The issue is not whether there is or is not profit, as EVERY economy supposes some degree of profit for someone. Rather, it is WHO profits and HOW. Drug dealers make a profit, as do banksters with their subprime securitised loans, as might people who actually do something positive for society. I can profit from my own labour, or bloated useless parasites can profit from my labour, reducing my profits to the point of poverty. Classical political economy, as opposed to the junk neoliberal Friedmanite ‘no free lunch’ economics you seem to adhere to, sought to determine just prices and just profits, which are profits equivalent to the actual social value of one labour, as opposed to profits that are derived from established privilege. As Hedges here shows, Huffingtons profits are entirely unjust, derived entirely from established privilege and not her own labour. They are essentially OTHER PEOPLE PROFITS, being the results of OTHER PEOPLE’S labour.

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By gerard, February 23, 2011 at 12:06 am Link to this comment

aethera:  One is tempted to ask what are you breathing when you write:  ” in our society anyone is free to make their own company and offer their own products however they want.”

In present-day U.S., very few people are “free to make their own company etc.”  That requires the kind of capital that most of us never can accumulate, after we pay the rent or mortgage, and buy food, clothes and textbooks etc. for the kids, even though we work two jobs.  Our borrowing power is nil because our credit cards are maxed out.Every time we get a couple nickels together, one of the kids gets sicksick and our health “insurance” doesn’t cover it, partially or completely. We have used up all our unemployment insurance.
  You are living in a dream world.  It’s the kind of thing I used to hear from my father about 70 years ago.  Not any more.

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By c.hanna, February 22, 2011 at 11:54 pm Link to this comment

I’ve never been impressed with Huffington. But she is a “product of the times” in that she is an opportunist and will use whatever and whoever it takes to promote herself. She is a socially engineered narcissist.

Socially engineered narcissists are different from the developmental narcissistic who is character flawed from early childhood.

The SE narcissists, like huffington, have bought the system. They are the obedient ones who live their lives through their egos and appearances. They preen in front of cameras and will do anything for self glorification. There is little honesty in her.

I’m not a Jesse Ventura fan, but I was turned off even more by her when she banned him from her sight due to his 9/11 beliefs. There is no reason we cannot listen to people speak about scientific evidence some people have for thermate bringing these buildings down or why all three bdgs came down exactly like demolitions. Wouldn’t intelligent people want to find out ALL the facts regarding this heinous crime? After all over a million people are dead because of 9/11. And the official government “theory” was posted by noon or shortly after on 9/11. How did they do that so fast? There story has never changed or been added to since, even though they have never presented any factual evidence of what they said…..And the majority of the population took their word for it, accepting and supporting the mass slaughter that ensued..

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By Leefeller, February 22, 2011 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

Aethera,

In the Huffington post grand scheme of things,  your disagreements with Hedges article and most of the posters here would have qualified your post as one of those often heard about, ....Huffington Unposted!

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By RichZubaty, February 22, 2011 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

Arianna Huffington is a corproate vampire. Sucking writing content from people like msyelf, and paying herself the profits. She is not now and never has been a leftist. She is a rich woman who hated Bill Clinton and was driven to “compassionate conservatism” by George Bush, when she finally realized right wing ideology produces not freedom, but economic disaster. I know for a fact she stole the title of her book from a friend of mine who had a podcast of virtually the same name – Third World American – which he TOLD HER ABOUT. This is not about “making money”. This is about stealing money, from unemployed writers.

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By Aethera, February 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment

I disagree with the premise of this essay.  I think we should all be happy that we live in a society in which it is possible for people to make money.  It is easy to deride people who make profit because they seem like institutions to us, but in our society anyone is free to make their own company and offer their own products however they want.  I am glad for that.  What would the alternative be?  Not something that would be very pleasant.

Also, the characterization of what exactly Huffingtonpost.com is is not correct.  Because many news aggregation sites such as news.google.com really suck (talk about never linking to articles such as those on this site but frequently having links to right-wing israeli propaganda sites, etc.) I’ve considered setting up my own news aggregation site that would filter out a lot of the stuff in the news (e.g. blatant Operation Mockingbird-type stuff) in favor of interesting and useful world news.
I absolutely understand that reporting as a trade is in a severe crisis right now and join in the lamentations being made, but I flatly disagree that a site like Huffingtonpost.com is responsible for it.  It is a manifestation of shifts occurring at much deeper levels which involve sociological aspects, economic aspects, technological aspects, and others and I’m surprised the author hasn’t realized this yet.  In essence, it appears that he is blaming a website for things related to technology and societal trends.  I invite everything to realize that where one opportunity or door may close because of a change or shift, ten others might open somewhere else if people find creative ways to look for and to develop them.
So I disagree with this essay even though Mr. Hedges is an absolutely brilliant author with a good heart who I always love to read.
It seems like a ridiculous amount of profit to make from a web site but that is part of the way the new economy works.  I live at ground zero in Silicon Valley and have seen massive shifts occur over the past years because of this new economy, many of which were very deplorable.  For example escalating real-estate markets led to many mom-and-pops business being evicted by greedy landlords so that newfangled startups could move in, only to go bust within a year or two.  So there is a lot of ugliness to the new Internet/high-tech economy.  Factory workers in China being exposed to extremely nasty chemicals so kids here can have their nice iPods.  Etc. etc.  But I believe we have to roll with this - we have to find positive things in all of this otherwise we can just give up and say everything is evil.  I think the amount of money a company like Facebook is making is obscene.  Essentially companies today are making money of niches which are things which would have been inevitable given technological progress and advancing knowledge about ways to interact online.  Its like if the first person who realized 2+2=4 copyrighted it and made a fortune off of it, irregardless of the fact that mathematical knowledge and concepts would surely have been advancing prior to that.  Just become one person stumbles upon a niche first isn’t reason to capitalize upon it to make enormous profit.  We should be worrying about things like open standards.  If the first architects of the Internet had been as greedy and short-sighted as today, only thinking about niches to get rich with, we wouldn’t have the standards and protocols defined by RFC’s which truly make the Internet work - the Domain Name System, protocols like http, pop, imap, smtp etc. were all created openly without the sight for profit.  Imagine for example if the http standard had been developed by a private company which copyrighted that niche - the Internet would totally suck today.

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By redteddy, February 22, 2011 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

@Leefeller

coterminous |k??t?rm?n?s| adjective
having the same boundaries or extent in space, time, or meaning : the southern
frontier was coterminous with the French Congo colony.

I didn’t know what it meant I had to look it up in the dictionary.

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By RayLan, February 22, 2011 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie
“Liberalism is the political system of capitalism”
Not if its a Leftist ideology (see Marx). Liberalism in its uncorupted sense, is primarily a social justice politic - the economic equivalent of which is , not surprisingly - socialism.

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By Leefeller, February 22, 2011 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

What the hell is coterminously?  I believe the intent was to write the word continuously not coterminously..  Such as it is, .....I have already forgotten what the hell I wote!

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By housemusic3, February 22, 2011 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

I thought it was amazing that only 3 days before this announcement, HuffPo Had done a story outlining how Aol continues to get over 80% of it’s profits by charging people for something they don’t even need. a 24.95 service fee for dial up access was still being charged to customers that didn’t even know that they didn’t need to pay AOL for any more.  taking advantage of elderly and people that just aren’t tech savvy. Did anyone else catch that story?

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By Leefeller, February 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment

Since I see the self programed victim on the right have coterminously fought against unions, this fight has been going on for a long time now.  The right never lets facts get in their way, for that would be traitorous to the cause of destroying the middle class. Private industry destroyed the unions by moving overseas, sanctions of the new world order instituted by the supposed left leaning empathic Clinton’s, now it is time to destroy the Civil service Unions.

So Huffington has been able to talk people into working for free. I am not a rocket scientist, but Huffingtions technique seems more profitable than paying minim wages, well until they can get rid of minim wages.

The Unions in Ohio and Wisconsin are the first straw for the well choreographed attack on Unions. Guess who sponsored this whole attack, the Koch Brothers through one of their so called non profit organizations. Check this out in the NYT.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/us/22koch.html?scp=1&sq=koch wisconsin&st=cse

How in hell can any sane unemployed or working middle class person support Republicans? Answer; they are not sane or maybe they are just plain stupid!

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By kerryrose, February 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Textynn

At my University they hound me for the syllabus before the start of each Fall semester.  I keep sending the old one which doesn’t reflect the growth of the course over the years because it feels too personally relevent to just hand it over and make myself irrelevant.

I am an Adjunct, so I get nothing. Funny though, my Chair has started enrolling her Graduate Assistants into my class to spy.

Games, games.

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By gerard, February 22, 2011 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

tony op_moc:  It takes more than telling.  And more than telling what’s wrong.  It takes vision, faith in people’s ability to bring about change without killing each other.  It takes constructive suggestion.  It takes intelligent cooperation.  It takes caring for the future of human beings working together for each other. It takes communicating across lines set by prejudice and controversy. It takes inter-communication and acceptance of differences.

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By Anarcissie, February 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

RenZo:  The saluters need to cut back on that V-for-victory and just give half of it to their masters.  ‘Helicaturi te salutamus.’

RayLan—Liberalism is the political system of capitalism.  Capitalism is the economic and social system of liberalism.  Hedges is, or tries to be, well to the left of them, although since he does not make many positive suggestions (that I have read, anyway) I’m not sure just where.

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By Lafayette, February 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

BBQ: Even a High School Cheerleader could understand that Chris Hedges is not saying that facts *should not* matter.

Poor child, fabricating nothing out of something.

Mohandas Gandhi: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

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By tony_opmoc, February 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

Someone mentioned Hedges anti-war speech in Rockford in 2003, so I found it and watched it on Youtube. Rockford is supposed to be a “Liberal” arts college. A few months earlier before the Iraq War started I marched through London with over 1 Million people against the Iraq War.

Now everything Hedges said about it has come true. In fact it is even worse than he predicted. Yet he was shouted down and booed by a large percentage of a Young “Intelligent” “Liberal” Graduate Audience.

Its not just the American Leaders who have been brainwashed into becoming Nazis - its almost the entire population.

And what has America got from 10 years of war?

Hedges tells you - but you still don’t listen.

Its very sad.

Tony

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By Franks, February 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Look at the Huffpo over the last few days of Wisconsin events. Not the same
coverage or loud trumpeting they gave Egypt. Huffington’s friends don’t want
unions messing with their empires.

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By RichZubaty, February 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

“Is it any wonder that working men and women, who have been abandoned and betrayed by these self-identified liberals, hate the liberal class and its transparent hypocrisy?”

Just so. Arianna Huffington has ALWAYS been a conservative, not a progressive, until recently married to a rich gay oil man. She despised Bill Clinton and became a “Liberal” in 2004 when it became clear George Bush was destroying the country. Her kids turned her onto “blogs” and she quickly sensed how to both make money and shamelessly self-promote herself. I had built up a hard-won 260 followers on Huffpost. But at least most of my comments were admitted. At first. Once upon a time HP was a forum where intelligent people could express their opinions. But in the runup to the AOL deal, the censorship got worse and worse. In the early days 1 out of 10 of my posts were censored. By the time of the AOL announcement 1 out of 2 were being censored. I LOUDLY complained. Their offer to me was “exposure”. I told them exposure and two bucks will buy you a coke. When I told them I wanted some of the $300 million AOL payout, I got banned from making any more comments ever again. They’re capitalist vampires. I told Arianna to watch Citizen Kane again, to see how “working people’s heroes” morph into corporate vampires. This article is spot on Mr. Hedges. Arianna simply invented a new way to exploit unemployed people and get herself on Sunday TV.

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By gerard, February 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

You want to know what’s goin’ on with Truthdig and Chris Hedges?  Chris brings in 113 comments on a Huff Post article. 
  Other items (on Libya, Egypt, Wisconsin, housing problems, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco, nannies, dolphins, etc.) range like this:  11,5,2,8,1,5,7,22 (though not in that order.
  Tells you something?

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By SarcastiCanuck, February 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I bought and read a book by Arianna called ‘Pigs at the Trough’ many years ago.Little did I know it would turn into an autobiography.I just added another name to my hypocritical,phonies list.And the list grows long these days.

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By Patricia, February 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Colin26:  You, sir, remind me of someone who chronically complains about anyone who stands up rather than engage in genuine conversation towards solutions. You have made no responses to conversational attempts in Hedges’ last post and instead fabricate a new bunch of low-grade criticism.

You don’t work for the homeland security by any chance, do you?

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By Patricia, February 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Textynn: Absolutely agree with you on your post. Similar thing happened to me, curriculum work and all, but at a private arts college.  Also currently happening to a professor friend in NYC.

I don’t suppose this kind of thing would change unless workers got together and made it news about particular places and then collectively refused to indulge the abuse.

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By RayLan, February 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

The distinctions that Hedges make are subtle and almost esoteric. He agrees that anti-liberal rage is justified, yet he invokes Marx. He is obviously coming from a radical Leftist politics but it’s not clear to me who he thinks are the real liberals and the fake ones. It seems he is saying there are no real liberals at all. So, in spite of the fact that Arianna condemns the corporatocracy in her book, Hedges is calling her a hypocrite for making deals with AOL. This is walking a fine line - since left anti-corporate writing is either disingenuous (Arrianna?) or legitmate (Hedges). But where is the calculus or secret decoder ring to translate the difference?

HuffPost leans to tabloid with its titles in huge bold font. It’s style is very corporate media I have to admit and yet it moderates the blogs more closely than TD. I made a comment about Palin that never was accepted, comments that were similar to those that were accepted here.

He bemoans the passing of print journalism and the dedication of the arts to the beautiful and true and on that score I concur completely. It’s depressing to go to poetry (performance) readings and browse poetry sections at major book sellers- there is so little worth reading that is contemporary - its just chatty chatty trivia just like ... you guessed it - Facebook.
It is art in the Elizabethan sense that Polinius used it when speaking to the Queen - ‘Madam I use no art’.
A sense which connotes vapid trickery and deceit.

But we should pay careful attention to the exact content of Chris’s message- it is carefully articulated and sincere- it is not easily dismissed by sweeing ad hominems about ‘jealousy’ or bitterness.
That comes only from those who want to gloss over the realities with easy promises about hope and change that are never fulfilled.

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By Leefeller, February 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

The fact Huffington has sold everyone a bridge in Brooklyn suggests nothing new in the grand scheme of thngs, such is capitalism. The idea behind capitalism seems to make as much money as one can from the labor of others.  In Huffingtons case,  from what I have read she did not even pay most of the others for their labor, this dove tails with the Republican concept of the world.  Huffingtons abilities may be exceptional,  she shows opportunism of a new order and a sales pitch rivaling the likes of Bernie Boy Madoff!

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By RenZo, February 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

@ Anarcissie, February 22 at 4:45 pm

Since Woody Allen taught us all to whine, and the Borg showed us that ‘resistance is futile’ we have debased the Churchillian “V for Victory” symbol to salute our neo liberal feudal masters. Woe is ours!

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By Anarcissie, February 22, 2011 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

ITW—I don’t see how this article makes Hedges more radical.  His article looks like a relapse into more whining to me.  I would think radicals would not whine, but struggle to overthrow the system of the established order.  In this case, though, the established order is being overthrown for them and the question is how to get on in the new world.

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By Worried, February 22, 2011 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

I have been HP blogger for over three years and can tell you it has changed to nothing more than an opinion based news aggregate…this is not journalism by any stretch of the imagination…this article is spot-on…

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By Inherit The Wind, February 22, 2011 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

As Chris Hedges gets more and more strident and radical, and simultaneously becomes less and less relevant, his blatant jealousy gets in the way of his making what should be VALID criticism of the sale of HuffPo to AOL.  Instead he attacks the quality of the HuffPo work, hiding his real 2-fold problem with Huffpo:
1) It’s a liberal site, not a a hard-core Marxist Socialist site.
2) It’s extremely successful—and somehow, financial success to a certain type of Socialist is illogically, failure.

I am NOT happy that HuffPo is now in the AOL world.

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By colin2626262, February 22, 2011 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

I meant to ask, Did he go about it in the right way?  I’m referring to Hedges’s anti-war speech in Rockford, Illinois that got him fired from the NY Times.  That’s the real question.  Do you write and speak in the right way?  As the Gospel says, we’ll be judged by the words that come out of our mouths. 

If you’re admittedly not a pacifist, should you be giving anti-war speeches at all?  It seems odd to do so, unless you’re just trying to get attention.  I’m not saying that’s why he gave that speech, which he did lose his job over.  I really don’t know.

I’m critical of the left because of their secularism. That’s my real disagreement, not just with Chris Hedges but with anyone who thinks it’s possible to live without God.  Maybe Chris wouldn’t have to drink if he had more faith.  He’s spoken of getting drunk just to escape from his pain.  I’m not trying to be insensitive in pointing that out, and I don’t think I am since he himself brought it up.  The question of right and wrong in society has to start at the personal level.  This is my contention.

Does anybody care what I have to say?  Probably not.  But that doesn’t mean what I’m saying isn’t worthy.

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By tedmurphy41, February 22, 2011 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Surely, the best idea now would be to move to another medium and give the “huffington post” the bum’s rush.
Should Arianna Huffington open up another ‘money spinner’, then you will all know what to do with it, won’t you?

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By David J. Cyr, February 22, 2011 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (Chris Hedges):

“If Huffington has a conscience…”
____________

Having no conscience is a prerequisite to be a liberal. Liberals haven’t any need for a conscience because liberals always blame their conservative partners for all the crimes that they commit together.

Liberals believe because they’ve raised their consciousness that it’s acceptable for them to do the things unconscionable.

That’s why liberals are Democrats.

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By Anne, February 22, 2011 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges begins to unwrap a reality in information dissemination that also includes the necessity of translation.

There is no money to be made in translating documentation for say, indigenous peoples who are undergoing genocide at the hand of of the ‘extractive’ class and formalizing the ground work for access to the system including decades of academic certification is an aspect of the situation that also needs to be seen!

The fact that for centuries people who are not of the extractive class are viewed as children (at best) is indicative of the scope of loss in human capacity and balance without which the ‘developed’ world is, quite frankly far less than whole not to mention imploding.

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By oldog, February 22, 2011 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Jealous, Chris? That’s what it sounds like. I don’t
know about the disgruntled “employees”, of the
Huffington Post, but those poor old ‘journalist’ sure
kept their mouths shut while corporate sucked this
economy dry over the last 50 years. They took their
salaries as “truth sayers” while wages stagnated and
profits soared, while antitrust laws where abandoned
and “too-big-to-fail” became the standard. While
propaganda replaced news. Ariana’s liberal voice is
one of the few that is savvy enough to be heard,
which made her rich. Not pretty, but that’s the world
we live in.

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By vicki, February 22, 2011 at 9:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ms. Arianna Huffington is a similar to many Greek
conservatives.  She is a social liberal compared even
to most Democrats in the USA, but she is always keeping
her eye on the money and accumulation of money.  Good
to use discernment when judging people so their actions
aren’t so unexpected.

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By colin2626262, February 22, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

I also probably shouldn’t have said he doesn’t write about anything good.  That Dylan song is awesome.

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By colin2626262, February 22, 2011 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

And yes, I can share some correspondence.  According to Chris, “God is a verb, not a noun.”  That means basically it’s not what you believe but what you do in the world that shows you’re a spiritual person.  I have a basic disagreement there, since I don’t think it’s possible to be good without a belief in God, and Chris does.  He thinks it doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not.  Hey, maybe it was wrong of me to say he doesn’t care about the little guy.  But if that’s all he cares about, that itself is wrong.  Morality can’t be based on political prejudices.  It has to be based on genuine compassion for the other, and that can only be had through faith in God, the source of all goodness.  You won’t find anything truly good from people who are suggesting we study Karl Marx.  The twentieth century should’ve made that clear.  But I’m not interested in disagreeing or being disagreeable about Chris Hedges. 

He gave a speech in my hometown back in 2003.  He completely alienated the audience and then wore that as a badge of honor, like that’s what you’re supposed to do, bludgeon people with “the truth” about war.  It turns out he was right, but he did go about it in the right way?  He has great insights, like knowing the difference between a comrade and a friend.  Maybe I wished he and I could become friends, and when he ignored me, I felt angry and rejected.  That’s not to say there aren’t real disagreements, but that’s where the personal feelings come in, and you know life is about how we personally feel, if you haven’t noticed.  It’s true I’m a nobody, though not a completely anonymous blogger (my name is actually Colin).

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By colin2626262, February 22, 2011 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Barbie,

My correspondence with Chris was perfunctory at best, but we did write to each other for a short time.  I suppose I was upset that he wasn’t more interested in what I had to say, but that’s probably something I should’ve taken for granted.  People are busy.  In any case, it doesn’t matter what I think about someone.  You can make your own judgments.  I wouldn’t trust everything you read on wikipedia, though, and also, it’s not exactly a saintlike thing to be a war correspondent, especially if you admit to being drawn to the rush of violence and then call yourself “militanty nonviolent,” while admitting you’re not a pacifist.  Oh, and writing a book called “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” while praising the intellectual heritage of atheism.  Well, again, think for yourself.  I enjoy his writing.  I just read his latest book.  I learned some stuff.  And honestly, no one is perfect.  I don’t judge anyone, at least not in an ultimate sense.

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By ZombieNation, February 22, 2011 at 6:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ BarbieQue - what exactly is your rant about? Posting wikipedia’s link on Chris Hedges proves what, that he is anti-war, against Israel’s unjust & criminal behavior, that the Wall Street journal denounced him?

FYI - many of us feel exactly the same way as Chris does but you are entitled to your opinion & idealogy.

Regarding Huffington, Chris is spot-on. I am not surprised because I saw the cash-in comming from the begining the HuffingtonPost went online. I never believed for one minute that she was in this for anything but the money - which is her right, as long as she is upfront & not hypocritical about it.

What I didn’t know & didn’t expect, was that she exploited the very people who contributed to her commercial success - just like a Republican “conservative” would do.

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BarbieQue's avatar

By BarbieQue, February 22, 2011 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

colin2626262, February 22 at 10:04 am writes:

>>”...To be honest, the real reason I have a problem with Chris Hedges is that I think he’s a hypocrite.  He claims to be the voice of truth and justice and art and beauty, and to be someone who sticks up for the underdog.

But that’s just not the case in his personal life.  I don’t want to get into the details, but I know from experience that he doesn’t practice what he preaches.  He’s not interested in the little guy.  He doesn’t care about those whose voices have been silenced.

  My feeling is he’s just interested in what he rails against, ... I could be wrong to be that way, but that’s just how I feel.  That’s not to say he’s not interesting.  He’s just not as truthful as you think.”<<

****

With all due respect, Sir, are we to take your statements only upon the faith that an anonymous blogger says it’s so?

Can you see that making accusations without backing them up beyond “I know from experience that he doesn’t practice what he preaches.” is subject to question?

Can you provide anything at all to back up your claims? And when one looks at Chris Hedges Wiki,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hedges

and compares it with an anonymous “someone” on a blog, with no documentation at all, why should anyone take what you say seriously? Did you cover any of the wars that Hedges covered? Do you have any correspondence to share? 

I’m willing to believe you and I’m here on Truthdig looking for truth, wherever it leads. But feelings and unsubstantiated rumors are hardly truth.

If you have something that will show Chris Hedges to be a hypocrite you should make the case with verifiable facts. And if they check out, I, and many others, will have to re-evaluate our perception of Hedges. But until then it’s a post on the net.

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By melissa, February 22, 2011 at 5:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“And this, I fear, is what news is going to look like in the future. “

already there… long ago.

huffpost is still as its always been. garbage. who cares. dont look at it. works for me.

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By colin2626262, February 22, 2011 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

ashin,

These issues have been part of the global discussion for a long time, and what the left says in this country doesn’t change anything.  That was my point.  I don’t care if someone’s “gloomy.”  I just don’t see the point of listening to the same complaints over and over again.  I guess I should take my own advice then and just not look at something I don’t like.  To be honest, the real reason I have a problem with Chris Hedges is that I think he’s a hypocrite.  He claims to be the voice of truth and justice and art and beauty, and to be someone who sticks up for the underdog.  But that’s just not the case in his personal life.  I don’t want to get into the details, but I know from experience that he doesn’t practice what he preaches.  He’s not interested in the little guy.  He doesn’t care about those whose voices have been silenced.  My feeling is he’s just interested in what he rails against, “the cult of the self,” in other words, his own views, his own books, his own self proclaimed prophetic mission to change the world (or to make it more socialist).  Maybe that’s why my words are so bitter, and I could be wrong to be that way, but that’s just how I feel.  That’s not to say he’s not interesting.  He’s just not as truthful as you think.

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By aschin, February 22, 2011 at 4:13 am Link to this comment

For readers coming down on the author’s gloomy approach: Don’t hate tha playa, hate
the game.

Hedges is brave enough to write on topics mainstream journals avoid at all costs. The
problems are real and they need to be a part of our global discussion.

Personally, I’m a near obnoxious positive guy but I don’t need to read about rainbows
and puppy dogs everyday to maintain my attitude. Hedges didn’t create these issues,
he’s just doing his job by reporting on them.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, February 22, 2011 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

Despite Mr. Hedges outrage, the significance of the Huffington Post is minimal at best. Just ask a fellow citizen not caught up in the parlour game of politics, and they will say “Huffington what?” or when asked about the founding Queen they will say “wasn’t her sister on the television show Green Acres?”
As they use to say in a Monty Python skit: Stop that, that is just too silly!

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By colin2626262, February 22, 2011 at 2:42 am Link to this comment

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d rather read writers on the left than those on the right, and Chris Hedges is not a bad guy.  I wasn’t trying to say that.  But it just gets old.  You hear the same complaints.  Nothing is done about them.  It just goes on and on.  That’s why Hedges can have a column every week.  Every week is a new complaint.  But that’s all right.  If that’s what you want to do with your life, that’s fine by me.  Just don’t think it’s actually going to make a difference in the world.  Dust off our Karl Marx?  No, I think I’ll pass on that.  The left is meaningless, but it was like that even before it began.  The ideas are have no backing because they’re expressed by people whose lives are like living deaths.  Marx was a strident atheist. 

We need a complete change of heart, rather than any changes in policies.

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By colin2626262, February 22, 2011 at 2:16 am Link to this comment

It’s true that website is garbage and corporations are evil and people are greedy in America, etc., etc., and the liberal establishment is corrupt, blah, blah, and we’re heading to hell in a handbasket.  But, really, if I thought like Chris Hedges, if my whole purpose in life was to be angry with the “powers that be” and expose their moral backwardness, if that was all I lived for and wrote about, I’d just as soon kill myself.  What is the point of a life like that?  To be a prophet?  Chris Hedges tries his hardest to be a prophet, but he’s not.  You can’t be a prophet without God.  I once asked Hedges in an email if he believed in God or if he was religious.  He said he thought God was not a word (yeah, uh, neither did I) and he thought he was religious, although in a strange way since he values the philosophical contributions of atheism.  Anyway, I’m not going to complain about the complainer anymore.  Nothing he or anyone else on the left says is going to bring people together or change the very real problems with our society.  All the left knows how to do is tear down and condemn others.  That’s what they do best.  It’s a joke, but it’s not funny.

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By colin2626262, February 22, 2011 at 2:10 am Link to this comment

If you don’t like a website, then don’t look at it.  All Chris Hedges can do is complain.  That’s it.  That’s his whole life, just one long complaint.  He never writes about anything good, probably because he such a horrific pessimist that there is nothing good to him.  People like that will only be happy when they’re dead.

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By alturn, February 22, 2011 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

Something is happening and it has been happening since July 1977 when the head of the Spiritual Hierarchy of Masters, the Planetary Christ, landed in London.  The media that Hedges lamented is filled with people who have first hand knowledge of this story and many others who have seen the evidence and with fascination watched its events unfold yet kept the information in their desk drawer. 

The Huffington Post, along with the rest of the alternative media community, at least allows the story to finally leak out through the comments section.  The return to the everyday world of the World Teacher Maitreya is one of those huge events that long ago should have captured the imagination of the world.  Instead it only became the biggest of many stories that our traditional media took a pass on.  Huffington Post for all its flaws was a step in the right direction and should be commended for helping bring more openness and dialog than existed before.

“My brothers and sisters, My Return to the world is a signal that the New Age, as you call it, has commenced.
In this coming time, I shall show you beauties and wonders beyond your imaginings, but which are your birthright as sons of God.
My children, My friends, I have come more quickly, perhaps, than you expected. But there is much to do, much that needs changing in the world. Many hunger and die, many suffer needlessly.
I come to change all that; to show you the way forward — into a simpler, saner, happier life — together. No longer man against man, nation against nation, but together, as brothers, shall we go forth into the New Country.”
- Messages from Maitreya the Christ

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sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, February 22, 2011 at 1:36 am Link to this comment

(hmmm)...

////
00
o
O

“i just read the news and now i’m in-the-know and up-to-date with everything that’s going on!”...

\\\
00
o
o

“so you’re aware of how some newspeople dilute drops of facts or factitiousness into bucketfuls of illusion when they want to… handpicking mixtures and motives to use among their newsprint… and getting attention by slanting the news from their direction”...

////
00
o
O

“gee… that can put a different outlook on the news… i guess i wasn’t fully aware of that… or of all the implications it has!”...

\\\
00
o
o

“and sadly enough… neither are the newspeople who do it!”...
               
(and on another note… there’s so many rings-of-truth in bob dylan’s neat songs!... yes indeed!)...

and there’s lotsa stuff to do to put the people in the driver’s seat and behind the wheel!... and it can be done!...

(and also… http://citizenvoices.us )...

the best of wishes’n'ways’n'todays to each’n'everyone!... smile

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By Psychobabbler, February 22, 2011 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

I think it shows what a sad situation we are in when standing up for people who are obviously being treated unfairly seems so admirable.

I hope it is contagious.

Chris Hedges is one of several people lately who has a way with words that has inspired me to read books. Anyone who knows me will tell you that it is a miracle.

Just yesterday I dusted off a used book from a near-bye store that covers Karl Marx (more or less).

If that is causing you to have uncomfortable war propaganda flash backs, you can rest assured that the author also explains Capitalism in an informed way.

Business can be such a big bully some times that I think I might have to give it all a big noogie some day (with Madam gerard’s permission)

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By joentokyo, February 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment

While I agree with what Mr. Hedges has to say, I wish he had not chosen Mayhill Fowler as an example. I read a few of her posts and then avoided them as I found both the content and the writing to be poor.

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By Justin Weleski, February 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm Link to this comment

Personally, Huffington Post’s tabloid content always kept me away from the site.  I
used to occasionally click over to HP when Yves Smith over at Naked Capitalism
posted a link, but always left immediately after seeing the string of pointless,
vapid links/pictures on the side, e.g., “Miley Cyrus walks her poodle and trips on a
curb.  Was she drunk?!”

This sort of “content” literally disgusts me and I refuse to have anything to do with
a website that prominently features and promotes it.  Maybe that makes me sound
slightly elitist, but I don’t give a damn.

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By Billee, February 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, agreed, Arianna Huffington is an unprincipled fraud. And she always profits
off the sweat of another’s brow, whether it be a rich husband, gullible writers who
write for free, and the stories she swipes for her site. She’s all about selfishness,
greed and entitlement. ‘Everything Arianna’ indeed! I also find it odd that Bill
Maher has such lucre-greedy amoral galpals: Arianna Huffington and Ann Coulter.

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By BrunoDiderot, February 21, 2011 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment

I was kicked off Huffpost years ago when I criticized her neocon buddy Hillary
Clinton and other neocons as being ... neocons.

That she appears on “news” programs pretending to be a progressive is a
masterpiece of deceptive casting.

She is a fraud.

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By RichardWad, February 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Keep in mind, AH received a sweet position with a sweet salary along with this
deal. But no one needs to get their panties in a knot here. Remember, the AOL
name is attached to this. AOL is a dinosaur and this spells the end to the web
journalist extraordinaire persona AH has billed herself as for several years. She will now have her name tied to one of the most disastrous but high-profile acquisitions in the media. Good short term pay off; bad long-term decision making. AOL spells failure.

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By Alan, February 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

-What is your response Arianna?
—(smiles) Can you put the microphone a little closer,
but not too close, that’s expensive make up you know.
Well, you know you have to take the long historical
view.
-Long view?
—Yes, you see, well some time a very long time ago,
I used to be Greek, then I became a middle Atlantic
woman of mystery, I sort of aimed for an educated
Zsa-Zsa persona, and then I married my rich
Republican husband from whom I got my wasp surname,
and then I changed my make up , had a hair-do,
and had an epiphany, or maybe it was a revelation,
and then I became a liiiberal.  That was very useful,
now I am a senior executive at AOL, some jokers
have been telling me that that stands for
“assholes online”  I just smile and count the money.

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By Gary Corseri, February 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yay, Hedges!  You’ve done it again!

Great commentary on the sad state of American media, circa 2011.

I’m one of those who approached you after hearing you speak—not for the sake of an interview, but to review your latest book at that time, EMPIRE OF ILLUSION.  I got your endorsement right away.  Not only did I like your book very much—and said so in print—but I came away even more impressed with your character—helpful and serious throughout the process.

I’ve personally known one sterling writer who regularly posted his work at the Huff Post.  They even claimed him as one of their columnists for a while. He would bitch to his friends about not being paid a cent for his work, but… just as you say in this fine article, he is one of those special people committed to the truth… and so he continued his good work.

That commitment becomes more and more difficult in this celebrity-driven, brainwashed and brain-mushed society of ours. 

Keep punching, Chris.  We have no choice now.  Keep punching!

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By I.M. Small, February 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

WALKER HUFFINGTON, I PRESUME?

The right to bargain for my wage
Is going to be eclipsed
If Guv’nor Walker has his way,
With every facto ips’d.

For by the law, a person has
Such rights as this and that,
But corporations trump them with
The right for getting fat.

How can it be, a joint-stock corp
Can yet a person be
With rights more weighty than devolve
Upon such scum as we?

We have the right to kill and die
Protecting Uncle Sam,
Promoting also villainy
That am such as we am.

The slope is rather slippery
Betwixt no right to bargain
And serfdom—doing it for free—
While owners make their margin.

O cut, cut, cut the taxes for
The corporations please,
Though with each slash I bleed some more—
Y’all have me on my knees.

So let me cease to labor and
Go kill me if you like—
It’s hand to mouth without the (_____)
So let me go on strike.

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By Billee, February 21, 2011 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

I loved the truth expressed in this essay by Hedges especially because I’m a
reporter and dad was an old fashioned cigar chomping no nonsense newspaper
man who hated bs more than anything. He also was so good to reporters who
wouldn’t take no for an answer and hustled like crazy to get a story. The idea
that anyone should do that for free would blow his mind if he were alive today.
I’m freelance today and luckily have two or three papers and magazines that use me every month,
pay me decently plus provide contracts. When I pitch stories to new editors, I
am very aggressive in my rate demands. I won’t even tell them what I want to
write about before I secure a ballpark figure. These days I am certain someone
will steal my idea. Writers who write for free really anger me. There is no sense
in this…even for first clips! When I found out that Arianna Huffington doesn’t
pay writers I cancelled my account on her site. Huffpost has deteriorated in
quality anyway. Plus the censorship is awful and undemocratic. She is poisoning
the well for writers. But real writers (not people spewing opinions without
reputable sources) have got to get more confident about demands. This is a
profession. First, you have to get an idea. Then research and pre-interview.
Then pitch. Then interview again and transcribe and finally write the story. You
also have to provide high resolution images. So anyone who does this for free is
an idiot. Once again, thanks Chris! I read you each monday and buy all your
books because you are a sane voice in the wilderness.

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By vql, February 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have been increasingly distressed by the American obsession with celebraties
and with their money.  I personally don’t think we are a society as fragmented as
the greediest among us would like us to believe but I do think the American public
is strangely oblivious to their crumbling personal future security and even more disconcerting, the potentially dire future of their children.

I hope we wake up before its too late.

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SeattleKurt's avatar

By SeattleKurt, February 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

My first thought upon hearing of the sale of HuffPo to AOL was, ‘how is she going
to criticize Wallstreet when she now has to produce shareholder profit?’

Also, the timing couldn’t have been worse (or more perfect) with the Revolution in
Egypt happening while she was trying to spin this odd decision.

Professor Jodi Dean has written a few books on the nature of our hyper-
connected democracy and its appropriation by dominant corporate forces. 

http://jdeanicite.typepad.com/i_cite/2005/01/communicative_c.html

Glad to be moving to TruthDig.

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By Bluegreen Girl, February 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow!

The honesty and astuteness of this critique is an absolute stunner!

Thank you truthdig for giving Chris such liberties.

I’m even more amazed by Chris’s conscience and courage than ever before.

Bravo, Mr. Hedges.  Bravo.

I am inspired and emboldened by this fine example you shared with us.

Wow!

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By Victoria Linden, February 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I knew what Arianna was the day she refused to give Nancy Pelosi the question
her readers most wanted her to convey (by poll): Why is impeachment off the
table?

Arianna loves to be in the spotlight, she’s a self serving, insufferable duchess of
deceit who has led her “progressive” readers into a tabloid toilet and left them
there to be flushed down by AOL.

The censorship on her site is so egregious as to be frightening, and yet the
hoardes return because the layout is like a drug—the stories changing all day,
the huge splashy headlines, the posts. It will be interesting to watch how the site
shifts under AOL.

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kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, February 21, 2011 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

gerard

I hear you.  I have been hoping that Chris Hedges would write about the revolution in Egypt and the protests in Wisconsin.

I noticed the silence, too.

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