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Is America ‘Yearning for Fascism’?

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Posted on Mar 29, 2010
AP / Jae C. Hong

By Chris Hedges

The language of violence always presages violence. I watched it in war after war from Latin America to the Balkans. The impoverishment of a working class and the snuffing out of hope and opportunity always produce angry mobs ready to kill and be killed. A bankrupt, liberal elite, which proves ineffectual against the rich and the criminal, always gets swept aside, in times of economic collapse, before thugs and demagogues emerge to play to the passions of the crowd. I have seen this drama. I know each act. I know how it ends. I have heard it in other tongues in other lands. I recognize the same stock characters, the buffoons, charlatans and fools, the same confused crowds and the same impotent and despised liberal class that deserves the hatred it engenders.

“We are ruled not by two parties but one party,” Cynthia McKinney, who ran for president on the Green Party ticket, told me. “It is the party of money and war. Our country has been hijacked. And we have to take the country away from those who have hijacked it. The only question now is whose revolution gets funded.”

The Democrats and their liberal apologists are so oblivious to the profound personal and economic despair sweeping through this country that they think offering unemployed people the right to keep their unemployed children on their nonexistent health care policies is a step forward. They think that passing a jobs bill that will give tax credits to corporations is a rational response to an unemployment rate that is, in real terms, close to 20 percent. They think that making ordinary Americans, one in eight of whom depends on food stamps to eat, fork over trillions in taxpayer dollars to pay for the crimes of Wall Street and war is acceptable. They think that the refusal to save the estimated 2.4 million people who will be forced out of their homes by foreclosure this year is justified by the bloodless language of fiscal austerity. The message is clear. Laws do not apply to the power elite. Our government does not work. And the longer we stand by and do nothing, the longer we refuse to embrace and recognize the legitimate rage of the working class, the faster we will see our anemic democracy die. 

The unraveling of America mirrors the unraveling of Yugoslavia. The Balkan war was not caused by ancient ethnic hatreds. It was caused by the economic collapse of Yugoslavia. The petty criminals and goons who took power harnessed the anger and despair of the unemployed and the desperate. They singled out convenient scapegoats from ethnic Croats to Muslims to Albanians to Gypsies. They set in motion movements that unleashed a feeding frenzy leading to war and self-immolation. There is little difference between the ludicrous would-be poet Radovan Karadzic, who was a figure of ridicule in Sarajevo before the war, and the moronic Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. There is little difference between the Oath Keepers and the Serbian militias. We can laugh at these people, but they are not the fools. We are.

The longer we appeal to the Democrats, who are servants of corporate interests, the more stupid and ineffectual we become. Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, and they are right. Only 25 percent of those polled said the government can be trusted to protect the interests of the American people. If we do not embrace this outrage and distrust as our own it will be expressed through a terrifying right-wing backlash.

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“It is time for us to stop talking about right and left,” McKinney told me. “The old political paradigm that serves the interests of the people who put us in this predicament will not be the paradigm that gets us out of this. I am a child of the South. Janet Napolitano tells me I need to be afraid of people who are labeled white supremacists but I was raised around white supremacists. I am not afraid of white supremacists. I am concerned about my own government. The Patriot Act did not come from the white supremacists, it came from the White House and Congress. Citizens United did not come from white supremacists, it came from the Supreme Court. Our problem is a problem of governance. I am willing to reach across traditional barriers that have been skillfully constructed by people who benefit from the way the system is organized.”

We are bound to a party that has betrayed every principle we claim to espouse, from universal health care to an end to our permanent war economy, to a demand for quality and affordable public education, to a concern for the jobs of the working class. And the hatred expressed within right-wing movements for the college-educated elite, who created or at least did nothing to halt the financial debacle, is not misplaced. Our educated elite, wallowing in self-righteousness, wasted its time in the boutique activism of political correctness as tens of millions of workers lost their jobs. The shouting of racist and bigoted words at black and gay members of Congress, the spitting on a black member of the House, the tossing of bricks through the windows of legislators’ offices, are part of the language of rebellion. It is as much a revolt against the educated elite as it is against the government. The blame lies with us. We created the monster.


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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 30, 2010 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

One can wonder what might have happened if Dick Cheney
had done the very same (riled the crowd for effect) in
the midst of an anti-Bush/Cheney protest.  Do you think
Cheney would have been spat upon and called names?

Would you also have an opinion on that?

Report this

By ardee, March 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man, March 30 at 2:47 pm #

ardee,

So you’re saying Speaker Pelosi did willingly attempt to instigate a clash between her House Members and the protesters.

It matters not to such as you what meaning I intended so I wont waste time reiterating the obvious.

How do you feel about the treatment of that poor homeless Parkinson’s victim by your guiltless and oh so precious Tea Baggers?

You are such a prick, really you are.

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By Fever911, March 30, 2010 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

Unbelievable. Moments ago, before I even read this column, I posted a comment on Huffington Post saying that while we’re indulging in our “kill the Pope” fetish and denigrating Sarah Palin’s intelligence, we run the risk of ignoring the seriously messed up situation in our country right now. I even outlined several of the points Chris Hedges makes in this article. Of course, the moderator chose not to post my comment. That’s why I’ve been referring people to Truthdig. Outside of Huffpo world, the country is skewing conservative, and liberals will still be clicking away, pretending to know better than everybody else. At best, we’ll wind up with another Republican president.  At worst, we could see civil war in our time.

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By nemesis2010, March 30, 2010 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

Depending on how one defines fascism the U.S. has been fascist for quite a long time now. AmeriCorp’s fascist model differs from that of Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and Pinochet’s Chile because of cultural histories. The Left vs. Right paradigm is a scam. Everyone awaits the arrival of a “Dear Leader.” That isn’t how this model of fascism works. “Dear Leader” is not an “is” he is an “are.” Dear Leader are corporate entities and super-wealthy special interests that own the government.

“Why has the response to rising inequality been a drive to reduce taxes on the rich?” –Paul Krugman

Am I to believe that the people desire more inequality or does it make better sense that the system is rigged in favor of that upper 1% of super-wealthy corporate and special interests? What does Occam’s razor say?

Most Americans are against the two publically-funded military actions to secure access to other people’s resources for corporate exploitation; yet the actions have been on-going for 7 years now and there is no indication that those occupations of the coveted lands will end anytime soon. Is there ever any problem getting increased public funding to secure access for private profit? Hell no! Any request passes with only a modicum of fake outrage by a few select congress critters.

Consider the corporate bailouts. Was there anything more than feigned outrage when Bush made his infamous “too big to fail” speech? Was the corporate bailout stalled or implemented almost immediately? Were there many billions more in bailouts to failed institutions given after the initial 750 billion? Of course there were. Why are upper level positions of the U.S. Treasury filled with Wall Street banking executives who march in through the interconnecting revolving door? Where is the voice of the people in the U.S. Treasury? Am I to believe that Wall Street interests serve the people’s interests? How does the Fed represent the public interests when its main goal is to destroy our currency through inflation?

In contrast look at the health care fiasco; cries of socialism and communism and obstructionist actions by the dumber side of the dumb and dumber Congress critters. The national health care policy war has been ongoing for decades. The spin from Big Media Corp always labels it as the government takeover of health care and yet there has been no government takeover of health care. While the dumb and dumbers of the Congress feigned their fight the corporate entities guaranteed themselves 100% market compliance by government fiat and which will be enforced by the public funding of 16,500 additional IRS agents! It’s the same thing going on in the occupied lands –public funded provision for corporate exploitation and private profit.   

Are there ever any cries and accusations of socialism and communism when AmeriCorp spends billions building up the infrastructure of other nations, rogues states, and failed states? No! And we all know why. The building up of other people’s infrastructure means huge profits for AmeriCorp’s owners Big Corp and Big MultiInter Corp but hardly any mention is made about the huge tax burdens for current and yet-to-born generations of Americans.

All “isms” —whether labeled right or left—eventually lead to totalitarian government when checks are not adhered to. All checks on power face an attack by special interests from the day of their being instituted. The U.S. Constitution cannot protect anyone’s rights or independence or save us. It cannot do anything because the Constitution is a parchment with words on it that express ideas of how we should govern ourselves. If there is no respect for those ideas then they are worthless to us or require that we fight for them to be respected. Freedom is not free.

Americans wouldn’t recognize fascism if it walked up to them and kicked them in the ass.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 30, 2010 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

ardee,

So you’re saying Speaker Pelosi did willingly attempt to instigate a clash between her House Members and the protesters.  The Speaker of the House deliberately placed her members into an already peaked and protesting crowd in order to produce an even larger media event.  If that was her intentions it certainly worked.

One can wonder what might have happened if Dick Cheney had done the very same in the midst of an anti-Bush/Cheney protest.  Would you also have an
opinion on that?

Report this

By felicity, March 30, 2010 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

GoRight…Why walk directly through the protests?  Why did young black children walk directly through the protests to attend school back in the ‘50’s.

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By Adam Holland, March 30, 2010 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Cynthia McKinney, who in recent years has worked
increasingly with the racist far-right, has said in
this interview with Chris Hedges that

“It is time for us to stop talking about right and
left.  The old political paradigm that serves the
interests of the people who put us in this
predicament will not be the paradigm that gets us out
of this. I am a child of the South. Janet Napolitano
tells me I need to be afraid of people who are
labeled white supremacists but I was raised around
white supremacists. I am not afraid of white
supremacists…  I am willing to reach across
traditional barriers that have been skillfully
constructed by people who benefit from the way the
system is organized.”

I’ve written extensively about McKinney’s connections to far-right racists, most recently here: http://tinyurl.com/ya98lca.  McKinney has grown increasingly bold in making common cause with figures of the far-right, largely around opposition to Israel and promotion of conspiracy theories (read here: http://tinyurl.com/yatumml).  I believe that this is the first time that she has commented about such connections in a mainstream interview, albeit in vague terms to those unaware of her right-wing ties.

From reading his column, I doubt that Hedges is aware of McKinney’s work with the far-right.  He takes McKinney’s statement to mean only that that the greatest threat American faces comes not from
“extremists”, but from the government and “elites”, a belief which is a focus of Hedges’ current work.  He apparently sees McKinney using white supremacists merely as a point of reference for this relative threat, not attempting to justify actually working with them.  Similarly, McKinney’s renunciation of the distinction
between left and right comes across in the column as arguing that our representatives are equally bad regardless of whether they’re left or right.  As for Hedges’ view of McKinney’s willingness to work across ideological lines, he has no comment.  He lets the comment stand for itself as a sort of search for common ground across ideological lines.


I wonder how Hedges would feel about McKinney’s
statements if he knew that she has been happy to work with a number of supremacists in recent years, and that she shows every sign of believing that the distinction between left and right (including far-right) is unimportant?  I suspect that, if he knew just how literally McKinney was speaking, he might have had a much different impression of her comments.

Read my articles on McKinney here:  http://tinyurl.com/yam6cg4.


The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report has an article on McKinney’s ties to racists called “CROSSING THE LINE” here: http://tinyurl.com/y8gsw7b.

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By Mark, March 30, 2010 at 10:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If anybody here wants to see what is really driving US policy on health care and Medicare/Social Security, I suggest they familiarize themselves with the WTO’s G.A.T.S. agreement and particularly the report at Global Trade Watch on how GATS could impact health care reform.

They are LITERALLY trading our health care away in exchange for access to foreign markets for US HMOs!

Also, please read Nick Skala’s work on GATS and single payer

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By Justen Robertson, March 30, 2010 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You’re mistaken in one way: fascism is already here,
and it’s not the just the right wing leading the
charge. Fascism is a progressive, leftist ideology at
heart - it wasn’t called “national socialism” in
Germany by accident.

The progressive socialist strategy imagined in the
late 19th century eventually grew into Mussolini’s
fascism, and was adopted by Hitler in Germany - but
it didn’t die with WWII. Industrialists throughout
the western countries loved the idea of a powerful
central government with strong involvement in the
economy. They were wise enough to realize that a
government powerful enough to pick the winners and
losers in business was one bribe away from serving
their interests instead of the larger public. They
were also wise enough to realize that a centrally
managed authoritarian society as imagined by utopian
socialists was in reality a mask for slavery.

This dream didn’t die, it went on living quietly
behind the scenes amongst the power elite. We are in
the utopia the Fabian Society imagined, a global
imperial hegemony where the vast majority of the
planet are listless, ignorant slaves who’s only
purpose is to feed the avarice of the elite, and
who’s only pleasures are the trinkets they’re given
in reward for their faithful service. The violence
you’re seeing right now is, as you said, a reflection
of the violence done to them. Their emperors have no
clothes; the peace, freedom, and equality they were
promised was in fact war, slavery, and poverty with
window dressing and doublespeak.

The public are angry about it, and they’ll probably
revolt, and those of us who have been pointing out
the obvious for all this time are, if I may speak for
them, extremely saddened that it came to this.
Unfortunately as ignorant and well-trained as they
are to defer to authority and suck up to populist
demagogues, they probably will be organized under
some psychopathic monster.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, March 30, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Sutton - Fundamentally, I don’t disagree with the anger expressed by Hedges. And you are correct to point out his message in the last paragraph.

Contrary to popular belief, we are not a kind and understanding people. Since that abomination, Ronald Reagan, was elevated to god status in the eyes of the political right (and unfortunately many Americans) mean-spiritedness and nastiness are perfectly acceptable.

In spite of my cynicism, I still believe that there are plenty of us out here who know what’s right and we won’t be heading to a civil war or revolution any time soon.

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By San Fernando Curt, March 30, 2010 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

This is excellent:

“And the hatred expressed within right-wing movements for the college-educated elite, who created or at least did nothing to halt the financial debacle, is not misplaced. Our educated elite, wallowing in self-righteousness, wasted its time in the boutique activism of political correctness as tens of millions of workers lost their jobs.”

Jim Sleeper has noted the upper strata of our progressive Left benefits from the very system they outwardly bemoan, comforting themselves with soiree activism over issues like greening the planet and shifting blame from themselves with accusations of racism directed exclusively at the white underclass.

Despite disturbing fever dreams of our progressive Left, we’re not an evil country. We’re not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, and there have been chapters of our history drenched in blood and infamy. But barring major catastrophe man-made or via idiot fate, tomorrow won’t bring mass killings, no crimes against humanity.

I’m at a loss as to why progressives constantly try to conflate small-potatoes bad behavior and isolated crimes into a vast, right-wing crisis; there appears every effort to suggest American facsists are champing at the bit to unleash racist horror.

We’re told over and over workforce white conservatives are angry at losing their country, that they’ll never have their “privileges” back. Are they losing their country? And what privileges are we talking about? The privilege to give up more than 40 percent of their income in taxes? To be soaked by government-approved legal usury from credit and banking industries? To see everything of value they own disappear because lawmakers allowed Wall Street to become Las Vegas for the benefit of a chillingly tiny number of the American elite?

These “under folk” are defined - condemned - by the very classes that rape them.

And we expect from them - what? - cheery gratitude? Are we THAT shocked at their fury?

Pray America doesn’t unravel. If it does - run…

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By ardee, March 30, 2010 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man, March 29 at 8:59 pm #


I’m curious if anyone here holds an opinion as to what motivated Nancy Pelosi to lead House Members to “symbolically” march directly through the protesting crowd with congressional aids and the media filming?  Pelosi’s symbolic photo opportunity could have taken place anywhere at any other time of her choosing.  Why walk directly through the protests?

You are kidding are you not? Miss a photo op like that? Especially with the potential for unacceptable acts from the crazies present…...Pelosi, not my favorite person by any means, worked her tail off to get this bill enacted into law, and whether one supports the reform or doesnt one might credit her incredible acumen in getting the job done. She deserved to parade…..

-

Some of my most ardent critics on this site will never attempt an answer.  Unfortunately all I ever get are lazy and cowardly Hit and Run personal attacks.

WAAAAAAAAA, need a hankie little one? Funny how sometimes you get what you deserve…..

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By Inherit The Wind, March 30, 2010 at 3:40 am Link to this comment

Mundt, March 30 at 3:43 am #

Hedges is just another hater. Same old tired message we could get from Ann Curry or Joy Behar. “Ooohh, Sarah Palin bad. She hunt. She fish. She draws crowd. Ergo, she fascist.”
**************************************

While I’m no defender of Hedges, if that is your level of understanding and fact awareness you have a serious problem.

Nobody gives a shit that Sarah Palin hunts and fishes or even that she draws crowds.

What they give a shit about is that she puts gun-sights on Congressmen she’d like removed from office.  Or that she preaches an illogical and contradictory “philosophy” that talks obliquely about armed insurrection (“Take Back America”) and that implies that she and her followers need to be armed to do it.  Or that she’s a total phony who talks about government interference and corruption when she used HER government to interfere and was corrupt. Or that she appeals to the baser instincts of people as a rabble-rouser.  Or that she wants to be President but copped out of even a single term of running one of the smallest states in the Union. Or that she preaches the “Christian” way of no premarital sex, no access to birth control, and no right to abortion while her daughter is so badly taught by Mom that she gets knocked up anyway.

I can go on and on and on.  To be a fascist means to actively oppose the Bill of Rights and look to use it and the Constitution to bring down the Constitution.  Sarah Palin fits that perfectly.  Even if she gives up hunting and fishing and field-stripping moose.

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By bogi666, March 30, 2010 at 3:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think that it was Upton Sinclair who predicted that “it can happen here” meaning that Fascist NAZISM could happen in the USA. Well, here it is folks. I say let it happen, get it over with rather than pretending it doesn’t exist. This is a real power play and it is those whom adhere to MINDLESSNESS, especially the “liberals” play make believe that corporations are benevolent beings now, after the Supreme Court and it coup’s which has usurped democratic processing with bribery. MINDLESSNESS is the inability to discern thoughts from facts. The Becksters take MINDLESSNESS to a new level, construing Becks psychotic thoughts to be their own facts. Beck declares that what he say/does is not reporting or journalism and the Becksters pay him no heed, thinking what he recites is news reporting.It was MINDLESSNESS in Germany that created NAZISM.

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By LEROY FERGUSON, March 30, 2010 at 2:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If many Democrats are weak-kneed, hesitant and
ambivalent, it is because they fear - and rightly so
- the Republican noise Machine. Nothing in modern
democracy equals the power of today’s rightwing media
to discredit Democrats and spread confusion about
their programs.

Now we have CNN bringing in another GOP apologist,
who almost immediately had to admit he was fudging
his “facts”. Bill Moyers, who brought us intelligent
discourse for years, is being replaced at PBS by
someone with a reputation as a rightwing
propagandist.

How the Democrats ever managed to achieve even the
slightest Health Care Reform is truly remarkable
considering how difficut it is for them to gain the
public’s attention. As Kevin Drum has noted: “There’s
simply no liberal counterpart to Drudge and Fox and
Rush: a conservative commentariat that concedes
nothing, pounds home its points like a jackhammer,
repeats its themes relentlessly, and has the ear of
the Washington mainstream press in a way that liberal
commentators don’t.” Add hundreds of rightwing radio
stations and viral mailings and, well, you have
fertile ground for fascism to grow.

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brewerstroupe's avatar

By brewerstroupe, March 30, 2010 at 1:42 am Link to this comment

Fascism is as Fascism does.

  The manifesto (published in “Il Popolo d’Italia” on 6 June 1919) is divided into four sections, describing Fascist objectives in political, social, military and financial fields. Politically, the manifesto calls for:

      * Universal suffrage polled on a regional basis, with proportional representation and voting and electoral office eligibility for women;

      * Proportional representation on a regional basis;

      * Voting for women (which was opposed by most other European nations);

      * Representation at government level of newly created National Councils by economic sector;

      * The abolition of the Italian Senate (at the time, the Senate, as the upper house of parliament, was by process elected by the wealthier citizens, but were in reality direct appointments by the king. It has been described as a sort of extended council of the Crown);

      * The formation of a National Council of experts for labour, for industry, for transport, for the public health, for communications, etc. Selections to be made of professionals or of tradesmen with legislative powers, and elected directly to a General Commission with ministerial powers (this concept was rooted in corporatist ideology and derived in part from Catholic social doctrine).

  In labour and social policy, the manifesto calls for:

      * The quick enactment of a law of the state that sanctions an eight-hour workday for all workers;

      * A minimum wage;

      * The participation of workers’ representatives in the functions of industry commissions;

      * To show the same confidence in the labour unions (that prove to be technically and morally worthy) as is given to industry executives or public servants;

      * Reorganization of the railways and the transport sector;

      * Revision of the draft law on invalidity insurance;

      * Reduction of the retirement age from 65 to 55.

  In military affairs, the manifesto advocates:

      * Creation of a short-service national militia with specifically defensive responsibilities;

      * Armaments factories are to be nationalized;

      * A peaceful but competitive foreign policy.

  In finance, the manifesto advocates:

      * A strong progressive tax on capital (envisaging a “partial expropriation” of concentrated wealth);

      * The seizure of all the possessions of the religious congregations and the abolition of all the bishoprics, which constitute an enormous liability on the nation and on the privileges of the poor;

      * Revision of all contracts for military provisions;

      * The revision of all military contracts and the seizure of 85 per cent of the profits therein.

  The manifesto thus combined elements of contemporary democratic and progressive thought (franchise reform, labour reform, limited nationalization, taxes on wealth and war profits) with corporatist emphasis on class collaboration (the idea of social classes existing side by side and collaborating for the sake of national interests; the opposite of the Marxist notion of class struggle).
http://www.redress.cc/global/rtucker20100115

I do not wish to appear pedantic but what most people mistakenly refer to as “facism” is the hijacking of common assets by an elite and the subjugation of common people into an underclass whose rights are not common with those of the elite. This is a social phenomenon much older than fascism and is only corrected, from time to time, by the commonality of purpose demonstrated by the common people.

Common sense really.

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Sutton E. Ninnis's avatar

By Sutton E. Ninnis, March 30, 2010 at 12:56 am Link to this comment

@ mrfreeze, March 29 at 11:15 am

Assuming you finished Rich’s essay the first time, you may wish to review the
piece’s concluding paragraph.

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By Mundt, March 30, 2010 at 12:43 am Link to this comment

Hedges is just another hater. Same old tired message we could get from Ann Curry or Joy Behar. “Ooohh, Sarah Palin bad. She hunt. She fish. She draws crowd. Ergo, she fascist.”

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By plainsman, March 29, 2010 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

Hey Tao Walker,

Instead of gloating over what you see as the pending collapse of the group you so rightfully despise, why don’t you fill us in on The Tiyoshpaye Way? Maybe Truthdig will give you your own column.

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By davidrj54, March 29, 2010 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

I think the socio-economic & political mess in USA is too deep for the return into “The American Dream” of the 70s, 80s & 90s. A new structure is bound to emerge over the next 30 years to balance the imbalance. To maintain a system there are all forces acting in two or more directions. There seems to be zero political will to correct or regulate the matter because in the first place it was not an economy that grew out of the grass roots and nature but an artificial one that grew out of greed, selfishness and hunger for power and world dominion. As such the existing Oligarchs will have to be over thrown to be placed by a reformed mindset that is aware that we live in the 11th hour. Neither man nor nature can with stand the present gamut of nonsense ranging from Food Shortage & Over Population to Terrorism & War, not to mention the hypocrisy of a few controlling the many in the name of Peace and Liberty! http://www.buyerbeaware.blogspot.com

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By Inherit The Wind, March 29, 2010 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3, March 29 at 8:49 am #

ITW wrote:
“For there to be a “Job”, there has to be a task that needs to be done, a task that adds value.  Where do those tasks come from if not from a growing economy?”
____________________________________________________

There can be a growing economy, but in the mean time is being accompanied by persistent and spreading unemployment and hardship due to:
1) The continuous outsourcing and offshoring of jobs to foreign lands especially China.
2) Very unfair destribution of the results of the economic growth to the very top layer of the society coupled with tax cuts to that layer and burdening the common people with more taxes and fees.

********************************************

While I fully agree that both of those are significant contributory factors to unemployment, stopping them is extremely difficult though it should be done.

However, neither of those is sufficient to reverse 30 years of deliberate destruction based on the desire to break the unions.

I PERSONALLY think that the re-assertion of unions and re-organization of the new service and intellectual industries (programming, health care office and medical staff, Wal-Mart/Cosco, etc.) will be a critical market-driven control factor on excesses. But only as long as we have a government that won’t seek any method, legal or illegal, to break unions.

But without real economic growth that creates the need for jobs and therefore jobs, there can be no fix to unemployment.

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Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, March 29, 2010 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

Hello Dear Chris Hedges!

Though I normally find myself in agreement with you as a social and political critic, I am surprised that you consider America’s yearning for fascism as a recent phenomenon. For eight long years of evil Bush and gang, America not only yearned for fascism, but actually lived fascism to its fullest manifestation.

The seventh anniversary of the fascist evil war of the US in Iraq came and went, and there was only a small demonstration of few hundred people to commemorate. The so-called liberal Truthdig and its many liberal posters did not even bother to remember the anniversary of this fascist atrocity that cost huge amounts of treasure and so much bloodshed and destruction.

And the US so-called closest ally, Israel, during the last decade carried on terrorist bloody wars in Lebanon and Gaza, courtesy of American tax-payer money and the full blessing of the American political-military establishment!

How can any sober observer ignore all these wrongs and atrocities as not being fascist in nature! And how can any person with conscious ignore that all this evil can occur without the possibility of retribution by the natural laws of truth and justice!

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By Sunny Badger, March 29, 2010 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

GRYMan, why would Nancy Pelosi march directly through the protesting crowd with congressional aids and the media filming? According to my Constitution, that is part of the contract. To be spit on and shouted at makes good news video that leaves a lasting impression on the viewers. With all those symbolic government buildings and national monuments gracing the horizon, I would think Pelosi’s march was pure symbolism.

Can someone tell me when Sarah Palin and the TEA Party express are going to have a rally in San Fransisco? Pelosi is up for re-election and you would think TEA Baggers would want to do their thing in ground zero of Pelosi’s home turf.

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By Clarifier, March 29, 2010 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges,

Brilliant work, as usual.  You are right about a great many things, here - the complicity of the intellectual class, the corruption of the elite and the two parties they fund, and the anger in the population and its ultimate potential result.

You are, however, confused about one thing - fascism.

The angry members of the population do not yearn for fascism.  The media is attempting, valiantly, to point them in that direction, its true - and, they may yet succeed.  Still, at this point, the most fascist thing going in America is the Obama administration’s Corporatist policies. 

When corporations control the state - *that’s* fascism.  And *that* is all the current administration seems to be about.  From forcing people to purchase plans from for-profit companies with his health care legislation, to bailing out the Wall Street banks, to escalating the war in Afghanistan - thereby funneling even more money to the military-industrial complex - Obama’s people advance their Corporatist agenda day by day, at the expense of all but the most elite among us. 

The next thing will be “Cap and Trade” to put even more money in the hands of Wall Street - for who will be offering us carbon credit indulgences for sale?  Why, JP Morgan Chase, of course - among others.

If Obama wanted to provide health care and quality of life for all Americans as he has claimed, why not institute Medicare for all and pay for it with reductions in foreign-war expenditures?  Or with a Tobin Tax on Wall Street trades?  If he wanted to prevent disease, how about some regulation for the obviously-corrupt food industry? 

The American people can see the true beliefs of our elected officials - not merely because of what they do, but also because of what they *do not do*.

I think people in this country would be crazy not to be angry.  The question is, will they remain (or become) clear about who and what their enemies are, or will they succumb to the media’s barrage of mainstream-party-oriented propaganda?  Propaganda that seeks to herd them towards continued in-fighting, and continued mindless participation in the existing agenda? 

Astrologer’s claim 2012 will be a “time of awakening” due to the predicted alignment of the stars.  I certainly hope they are right - for all of our sakes.

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By Go Right Young Man, March 29, 2010 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

Andrew Breitbart is UPPING THE STAKES: $100K to United Negro College Fund if Rep Lewis shows evidence of anyone yelling the N-Word at CBC at last weeks Capitol HCR protest.

-

I’m curious if anyone here holds an opinion as to what motivated Nancy Pelosi to lead House Members to “symbolically” march directly through the protesting crowd with congressional aids and the media filming?  Pelosi’s symbolic photo opportunity could have taken place anywhere at any other time of her choosing.  Why walk directly through the protests?

-

Some of my most ardent critics on this site will never attempt an answer.  Unfortunately all I ever get are lazy and cowardly Hit and Run personal attacks.

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By JohnMcD, March 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

Ardee, a lot of us don’t see much of a difference between the authoritarian right and left.  The differences might be there “by definition,” but it doesn’t matter too much in practice if the elites are captains of industry or top party members.  What’s in common is more relevant:  politicians regulating individual behavior while rigging the economic system to favor themselves & their friends.

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By TAO Walker, March 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges continues to worry and fret and fulminate about all the wrong things.  He hardly is and “....should not feel so all alone” in that, of course.  Few if any numbering their own pseudo-‘self’ among theamericanpeople have caught-on yet that the only thing really destroying “the american way of life” IS theamericanwayof’life’ itself.  It has been ever thus, but memories fade….or are systematically erased.

Meanwhile, many will go on reflexively trying to address this actually LIVING condition with more of the same old dead-letter make-believe and abstraction….the ‘inventions,’ perhaps, of “intellectual elites,” but tightly-woven ‘nets’ in which all members of the sub-species homo domesticus, from the poorest to the richest, are more-or-less thoroughly enmeshed.  Their virtual world-o’-hurt is disintegrating and collapsing, however, as the Vision of our Mother Earth again shines through the tattered shroud of yet another “global civilization” in full self-destruct mode.

Those who All together pay their precious attention and their sincere respect to Her Living Arrangement, including that ‘part’ of it that is the essential Humanity in one another, will fare a lot better as She ‘rings’ Her genuine ch-ch-changes than will those who remain trapped in the suffocating illusions of their fools-gold “individual”-ity.  The CONtraption that gave a temporary semblance of substance to those mirages is already breaking-down, and will soon join its failed (and orders-of-magnitude more ‘advanced’ and ‘sophisticated’) predecessors in the realms of myth and speculation.

Why not take The Leap together, tame Sisters and Brothers….into The Tiyoshpaye Way?  Surely you have nothing to ‘lose’ that you ALL won’t be way better-off without.

Besides, us surviving free wild Indians are here to ‘catch’ you.

HokaHey!

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By ardee, March 29, 2010 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

Left wing fascism is no better than right wing fascism, small is beautiful!

I am a bit surprised at this from prole. This poster is usually sharper than this sentence implies. Fascism is never from the left, a its very definition is the opposite of what leftist politics is all about.

Samson, March 29 at 1:23 pm #

Don’t make the mistake of believing your TV set.

Yes, there are tea-baggers.  But, they are still no more than about 20% of the populace. 

Wise words indeed, I think. The difference being that these tea party persons are out there, are vocal, are active and are impacting in far greater proportion than their numbers might indicate. The Left might take heed of this.

Inherit The Wind, March 29 at 6:51 am

Poor Inherit  It is getting harder and harder to defend his party but he believes stridency and attacking Chris Hedges is the way to do it.

As to drbhelthi, March 29 at 8:03 am What can one really say. Others have skewered him quite aptly I think and I can do no better. Sad little fellow , cant get any facts straight.

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By nick, March 29, 2010 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No word about jews…. This strikes me as an attempt to cober the real problem or at least to avoid the origins of what is going on. Dear Mrs, you are jewish. But are you American? Then why being silent about this?

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By one of the wolves, March 29, 2010 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Dear Mr. Hedges,

It is with patience that I reply to your latest article. Yes, some Americans like Fascism , and yes, they yearn for it. But most of us know better, and some of us are working for justice and a restoration of something resembling a republic. I don’t know what else to tell you except that you should get some attention for your PTSD.

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By vladRK, March 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t understand throwing in the reference to the Oath Keepers.  You wouldn’t want the military to honor their oath to the Constitution over orders from above?  Why feel threatened by them?

The Bill of Rights, as a block - with no exceptions, should be supported by all.  Supporting the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution should be the unifying call for all freedom loving Americans.

Come on people, let’s find common ground.  The future is too bleak to wildly name others as our enemies.

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By Dudeman, March 29, 2010 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem with a solution to “immediately reincorporate the unemployed and the poor back into the economy” is that if this effort comes from the government it will be rejected by half of America—no matter how sensible and fiscally sound the plan is. 

They simplistically believe that “government” is a single, living entity like a person with one mind and one evil intent.  They ignore every achievement of policy that benefited Americans because it was done through the means of governance.  To them, only the “free market” can solve all our problems.  It’s as if the government is an evil person and the market is a benevolent person.  Neither is true.

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By gerard, March 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Truthdiggers are way too good at finding fault.  For those who want to find some way to help lift the load and preserve the world for kids growing up:  Google, for heaven’s sake!  Try Liberal Advocacy Organizations, or General Progressive Resources, for starters. Give them some money, and even more iimportant,some time and energy.  Join. Keep in contact with ongoing work, create a project, get friends involved.  Most of these organizations are probably short staffed, short of funds, and in need of help of many kinds.  Many of them have records of success behind them. Some of them may be “dead ends” but you’ll at least find that out first hand. If you don’t like what y ou find, start something else.
  I know first-hand the tremendous needs and possibilities of many of these groups, especially as they learn to coordinate.  They are consciously trying to build infrastructure on the Left to counteract the Right.  They need you.

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By ArlenWilliams, March 29, 2010 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Fascists are the Marxists—and they are “ruling” in Washington D.C.

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By Ace Frahm, March 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is an “Elite”?  What is a “Liberal”?  What property do I measure to determine if someone IS one or not?  What qualities are/are not present that allow me to determine who these people are?  Can you give example?  Who or what is the labels used for people who are not “elite” or “liberal” or directly opposed or “other” without neccessarily being “against”?  Can you give examples, both groups & specific individuals?

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By Chase Dunn, March 29, 2010 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges, your work is superb.  I have been constantly amazed at your brilliance
and insight.  We should all listen!  Social activism is the key.  We live in a very
depoliticized country that has almost no labor movement, no union movement,
and no real leftist movement. If we are to avoid this “fascism”, we must present a
clear, viable alternative to the current system. 

I plead with everyone reading this to venture out and read men like Noam
Chomsky, Michael Albert, Howard Zinn, Edward Said, Robert Fisk and others who
can bring us back to reality and present ways forward.

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By dkenneth, March 29, 2010 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges, 

I read your books and listen to your talks. Everything you say is right, and
resonates with me and my feelings, my head and my heart. I know what you
say affects others the same way. 

You take me, with your ideas, to the end of the road and then you stop. You
offer no concrete solution. OK, that’s asking for a lot, and to imagine an
effective movement in the country to fight all the evil, destructive, enslaving
forces you cogently identify is difficult to do. 

My suggestion is this: Citizens, not necessarily you, or anyone in particular—
announce a series of national strikes, what’s been done in Argentina. Identify
the changes we want effected and inform everyone in the nation through a tool
that is perfect for this type of non-violent acton and organizing. The internet. 

National strikes which target tax-paying, identify the war makers and war
profiteers. Strike out against the bankers and the usurers. 

A series of national strikes will bring the business of this monstrous machine
of wealth and death which is the United States to a standstill. Strike and strike
again. Continue and repeat as necessary. 

An idea to effect the change you and many others clearly identify. 

Thanks for reading.

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By sempdog, March 29, 2010 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Wow! Chris Hedges certainly stirred up those at both poles of this electronic conversation. I’m troubled by those folks who are frustrated by where WE are with jobs, money, and the future. But staging lame rallies, or scattering threats here and there, or waving malicious flags and posters at marches and meetings, often approaches the level of sedition. The tea party cabal is especially misguided, and I’m smelling a rat behind their movement by the name of Grover Norquist. He might be operating underground, a bit like Karl Rove did in 2006:trying to undermine the democratic process.

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By felicity, March 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

Dear Samson - Your second paragraph made your first paragraph moot.  Our ‘choices’ are for all practical purposes limited to the only two parties with any financial clout - as of now what it takes to get elected.

I’ve become convinced that all legislation and all Supreme Court decisions and all edicts from the Adminstrative Branch must meet the criterion of what constitutes a democracy - a political system in which every citizen has equal access to power. 

We have wandered, if we ever had it, so far from that precept.  At this point, we are merely with house jacks, shims, spackle and paint prolonging the inevitable slide down the hill to end up in a broken heap at the bottom.

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By c.hanna, March 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

Is it just me or does anyone find it strange that the majority of these suicide bombings and attacks are always directed at civilian trains, plains, and automobiles? (In thoughts on the Russian attack today).

Why do they never go after the powerful who they supposedly have the grudge with?

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By P. T., March 29, 2010 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think the anger is all coming from the working class.  I think a lot is coming from the petite bourgeoisie caught between big capital and the working class—and feeling themselves being pushed downward into the working class.  Things done to help the working class can actually be seen by the petite bourgeoisie as a threat (unionization, universal health care, etc.).

I do think the Wall Street bailouts have badly discredited the elite in the eyes of the public.

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By Tobysgirl, March 29, 2010 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

My experience of liberals (plain liberals, certainly not part of any elite) in the 2008 election was saddening. These are people who are antiwar, pro-national health care, pro-financial regulation, etc, etc, and they had ZERO interest in knowing who Obama’s advisors were. They are not uninformed people, but they just seemed not to care, and not to want to think about the implications of his coziness with Wall Street. I gave up years ago wanting to talk politics with right-wingers; I’ve now pretty much given up talking politics with liberals. What’s the definition of a liberal? The fellow who won’t defend his own point of view in an argument with himself?

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By c.hanna, March 29, 2010 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

People should listen to Nancy Pelosi’s morning news conference which may still be posted on Cspan. It was on March 25th.

She was speaking of the people’s rights to express themselves but then went on to talk about people being “civil” about it.

I found this talk of hers about as bazaar as I find her to be.

She always has this plastic fake smile on her face, yet i always detect a sense of subtle fear in her. Its always the same every time I see her.

When civility fails to address the people’s grievances, then what becomes our means of recourse?

We have been “Nice”. We have been “Civil”. We have written letters. We have called. We have written our congressmen. We have voted. Many have been involved in peaceful protests and activism…..

To what avail?

We all need to tatoo JFK’s words on our bodies I think: “When peaceful revolution is impossible, violent revolution is inevitable”.

At first they called the Middle Easterners Radical and Extremist.
Then, they call “certain elements” in the U.S. extremists and “homegrown terrorists”.
Now, they are on the verge of expanding those definitions to anyone who is “alleged” to be plotting a crime…...

See where this is going? Hedges makes a beautiful point about the tea baggers and some of the less “choice” people when he says these ARE acts of rebellion.

But another question is: Why did we skip the civil disobedient step? We never tried many things we could have, like stop paying the Big 5 banks for credit cards and other loans, stop paying the taxes until representation is resumed, stop working, refuse to leave your foreclosed house.

American’s have jumped from the expected “civil” behavior to the violent means. We are like a pendulum that swings from one extreme to another.

Even our Two Party political system represents this.

Our extremism has become like second nature; that it is no longer visible even when its massive, negative cloud sits before our eyes.

Its no longer possible to have a peaceful revolution. It was surpressed by Bush and now by Obama. Obama made it clear during the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, by the show of military force that enveloped the city, that he is on the side of fascism.

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By Thomas Dooley, March 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

I want to congratulate “Brian D” as well for being able to read the “drbhelthi” rant. Has anyone figured out who “G. H. W. Bush, Jr.” is? I guess it doesn’t matter.

I’m just filled with admiration that “Brian D” could read the post well enough to be saluted by its author. Most of what I could make out was a bunch of barely connected English words. I guess they mean something. I wonder what?

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By c.hanna, March 29, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges

Thanks for the insight on how the “intellectual elite” are also complicit. You know, we need to stop the snobbery. I have met, over the years, many beautiful and smart people that are uneducated. Some of them have marvelous ideas and views and many are inquisitive.

Most just don’t have the means to express themselves. I’ve also met many educated people who seem to think they know it all and have the answers.

As a self professed democracy, the United States makes it very difficult for ALL to be heard. Thank goodness for the internet and the open channels for ALL to participate.

Chris Hedges:

After reading on the internet for about 8 years now, you are one of the only intellects I really find worthwhile to still read. So many are just speaking to their “own” class, and so many so-called intellects are now using debasing words towards the Lessers (we that are not considered viable brain material to understand anything).

I am still hoping to read an article by you that has more action type steps that the Lessers can do to help.

I thought, and mentioned before the U-Cube that the unemployed had developed. What a great tool for other activism if only those that are natural leaders will take the reins on.

Some of us Lessers don’t think in words but in pictures and some of us think in less abstract ways. We are all different in our brain power, but we are still all one and derive from the same source.

Sometimes, I think that the intellectual elite are just using issues of poor people, wars, and other things to promote their own agendas. I think maybe this thought has been proven by the actions of the democrats since Obama got in office.

Anyways, I am not always open to truth dig but I will say, they at least have more variety of writers. I like global research too, but notice very few women’s writings are posted. They can always argue that women don’t produce good works. But that’s because it may differ from the male perspectives. Just the same, they could at least have a section for women’s writings, then the guys that don’t like to hear what women have to say could just skip over it.

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By sjolyjuly, March 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The blame lies with us. We created the monster. “

Something else we should take the blame for?  Not on your life.  I agree with the author of this article.

http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/27359/

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By gerard, March 29, 2010 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Frankly speaking, desperation and laying guilt trips on everybody won’t help much in bettering whatever horrid things are coming our way—or not.

Save room for intelligent, reasoned, effective, courageous action.  Fear and rage met by fear and rage will probably not help.  Organized nonviolent action might help. It may be we won’t “succeed” (We don’t even have a vision yet of what “succeed” might mean, but “without vision the people perish.” Yet it is fairly clear that fighting and killing won’t get us where we hope to go

Meantime we have a hard-fought health care (sort of) bill behind us, a nuclear agreement extension with Russia (sort of), a couple stupid, self-destructive wars winding down, some hope for decreasing global warming worldwide and a.s.a.p. more work to be done on that.  We have a worldwide sense that it is impossible to sustain the exploitations of the past, and a worldwide need to find ways to prevent massive poverty and disease, and the need worldwide to put people to work making and growing things people need.  Sure there’s more. 

But let’s not give up.  We owe it to the world’s children not to turn suicidal (either by action or by inaction) but to help change and rebuild a better world.  .

Remember the warning over the Entrance to Hell?

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By drbhelthi, March 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

Congratulations to “Brian D” for careful reading, and
for accurate awareness of a historical event.  That
should have been 10 instead of 30.

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By Thomas Dooley, March 29, 2010 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

hark said:
The biggest threat we face to our standard of living in America is that there are billions willing to work for far less than our wages, …This is the force that is slowly grinding us up, notwithstanding this essay.


Really? Wasn’t the same thing true in the 1950’s or the 1960’s or you name it? Haven’t there always been billions willing to work for higher wages than what they now receive? The “force that is slowly grinding us up” is not some irresistible demographic or technological tide that we can can do nothing about. Sure, that’s often the official story, but it’s not true and it doesn’t even make all that much sense.

That “force” comes from purposeful policy choices. The policy choices that were in force during the 1950’s and 1960’s are not in force now. To believe differently is to engage in a form of magical thinking whereby things happen all on their own of their own accord with no direction from those with enormous political and economic power. It is to believe that they, and all of us, are mindlessly riding along on a magical wave staring into space and musing about where it will take us. I’m fairly gullible, but I’m not that gullible.

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By prole, March 29, 2010 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

“The message is clear. Laws do not apply to the power elite. Our government does not work. And the longer we stand by and do nothing, the longer we refuse to embrace and recognize the legitimate rage of the working class, the faster we will see our anemic democracy die”…RIP. It’s about time Amerika had another civil war. Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the last one. “The unraveling of America” is long overdue. The slavery issue gave secession a bad name but the idea of withdrawing from a venal union deserves a fresh look. Amerika is not too big to fail. A loose collection of small democratic cantons on the North American continent would provide a better opportunity for more direct popular democracy and less foreign aggression. ‘“We are ruled not by two parties but one party”’…in one oversized nation state. So you can either multiply the number of parties – which has never effectively succeeded over the last 150 years – or you can try something different and try to multiply the number of states. There’s no reason why it has to be a united states. “Our country has been hijacked. And we have to take the country away from those who have hijacked it”...who then they will try and take it back again. “The only question now is [not] whose revolution gets funded”…but what kind of revolution it will be, state socialist or anarchist?  Left wing fascism is no better than right wing fascism, small is beautiful!

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By enemyartistkristofeR!, March 29, 2010 at 10:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Fascist takeover has already begun, for years already - It doesn’t matter if
it was King George W. Bush, killing innocent people around the world and
enacting illegal, rights destroying bills such as the Patriot Act, or if it is
Obomber and his Obombergeddon, destroying innocent lives around the world,
in what he calls a “just war”, and supporting rights crushing bills such as the
Patriot Act.

These are the Two Wings to the Iron Clawed bird of Fascism - Wake Up People.

The Democrats are not going to save you. Stop your little dreaming. Both of
these parties are the parties of criminals. Thats why they BOTH, together, share
an Iron-Clad contract to make it literally IMPOSSIBLE for ANY 3rd party
candidate to have a real chance at running for a major office.

If the Democrats & Republicans were NOT the same, they would NOT share this
contract to keep other parties out of the race. They want to KEEP the POWER for
themselves. BOTH the Republicans AND The DEMOCRATS are OLIGARCHS!

Why is this so difficult to understand? Have your brains been turned to
Nationalist, Democratic Mush in all the Public Schooling Indoctrination camps?

from the article;
“It is time for us to stop talking about right and left,” McKinney told me. “The
old political paradigm that serves the interests of the people who put us in this
predicament will not be the paradigm that gets us out of this.

Obomber, the great messianic Barry Obombergeddon is KILLING as many
innocent lives as his buddy, George W. Bush. They are BOTH Bastards thats care
NOT for you and I, only for their powerful elite friends, as displayed in the
Bailouts.

Obomber talks of Just WARS in Afghanistan and how we are LIBERATING The
people of IRAQ, while sitting in a Concentration Camp, created by the Israeli
government, the ONLY people who TRULY need to be Liberated in the Middle
East, in GAZA - and what does our lovely United WAR States government do,
they cut Israel another check for $3 Billion dollars
- Thats 3 Billion of OUR dollars, to go to a WAR Mongering Racist Israeli
government.

Yea, because the Democrats and Obomber love you. Get real already.

peace. love. anarchy

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By Samson, March 29, 2010 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

Don’t make the mistake of believing your TV set.

Yes, there are tea-baggers.  But, they are still no more than about 20% of the populace.  Nothing’s changed there.  Just because Faux and CNN tell you ever single thing they do, don’t let that trick you into thinking they are some sort of majority.  Just because Truthdig promotes every tea-bagger event as a part of the Democratic party’s politics of fear, don’t give them too much credit.

The problem in America is that our supposed ‘democracy’ doesn’t listen to the people.  Check out this list from http://prorev.com/obamabehind.htm.  Read it, and ask again the question in the headline.

“Sarah van Gelder of Yes Magazine gave us a clue as to what an independent progressive movement might look like - based on polls - of “an agenda that the majority of Americans support, whether they vote red, blue, green or something else.”

  * 67% favor public works projects to create jobs.
  * 55% favor expanding unemployment benefits.
  * 76% support tax cuts for lower- and middle-income people.
  * 80% support increasing the federal minimum wage.
  * 59% favor guaranteeing two weeks or more of paid vacation.
  * 75% want to limit rate increases on adjustable-rate mortgages.
  * 58% believe a court warrant should be required to listen to the telephone calls of people in the U.S.
  * 59% would like the next president to do more to protect civil liberties.
  * 79% favor mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions.
  * 90% favor higher auto fuel efficiency standards.
  * 75% favor clean electricity, even with higher rates.
  * 72% support more funding for mass transit.
  * 64% believe the government should provide national health insurance coverage for all Americans, even if it would raise taxes.
  * 55% favor one health insurance program covering all Americans, administered by the government, and paid for by taxpayers.
  * 81% oppose torture and support following the Geneva Conventions.
  * 76% say the U.S. should not play the role of global police.
  * 79% say the U.N. should be strengthened.
  * 63% want U.S. forces home from Iraq within a year.
  * 47% favor using diplomacy with Iran. 7% favor military action.
  * 67% believe we should use diplomatic and economic means to fight terrorism, rather than the military.
  * 86% say big companies have too much power in politics
  * 65% believe attacking social problems is a better cure for crime than more law enforcement.
  * 87% support rehabilitation rather than a punishment-only system.
  * 81% say job training is very important for reintegrating people leaving prison.
  * 79% say drug treatment is very important.
  * 56% believe NAFTA should be renegotiated.
  * 64% believe that on the whole, immigration is good for the country. ”

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By Samson, March 29, 2010 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Dear Felicity ....

The best way to make the elites in Congress feel the economic collapse is to make them unemployed.  We all have this opportunity in this fall’s elections.

But the key point is to realize that electing Democrats over Republicans isn’t the answer.  Surely that’s obvious my now.

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By Chris Herz, March 29, 2010 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nothing can prevent social and economic collapse in the USA.  The reason:  All power centers in our country still desire to practice business as usual. 

Were there in the elites the slightest desire to arrest the process of national bankruptcy the obvious first move would be to eliminate foreign military bases and the rest of the useless military overhead of a failed attempt at global hegemony.  This will not happen.

European fascism was not just the failure of the liberal intelligencia, it was the failure of the hereditary, economic and corporate elites as well.  This is what we have here and now. 

We are in the presence of such a profound economic implosion that it really does not matter who rules the USA in coming years:  This country will lose the economic and thus the political and military power to affect anyone beyond its borders.

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By wiseowl, March 29, 2010 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

Fascism existed in the USA prior to Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy: SEE Hawaii, taken over using military might for the interests of “American businessmen”; Day of Deceit (book) tells & lists all the Congressional records telling of how the attack at Pearl Harbor was deliberately set up by the GOV of the USA.
Since “democracy” is setting the truth to the side & presenting a different picture (prev postings re diaries of early settler John Beeson); what ACTUALLY was going on was not to STOP Hitler, but to SAVE him & a bunch of his merry little men.
NOTE: David Rockefeller, in SPEECH: in book by Cuddly, New World Order: thanked the MEDIA: Abc, cbs,nbc, NY Times, Washington Post, Time Magazine and host of others for KNOWING what was going on: but HIDING it from the PUBLIC who would NEVER have let them get away with it, setting up THEIR system of a world run by bankers & “intellectual elites”; THIS nation set up the UN, etc, ALL based on “lies and deception”; ACLJ, a Christian group of lawyers, fighting for the RIGHTS of Americans & Christians: has fought THIS Gov system who has tried to make it so that their faith in the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob could NOT be shared in ANY nation, even while on vacation. THAT should CERTAINLY open MANY EYES to the REALITY: it is NOT a system set up on TRUTH, or even BASIC GOVERNING which is BASIC: doing that which is MOST BENEFICIAL to the PEOPLE of that NATION.
  Their #1 enemy is the One who’s Name is TRUTH! The Lord Jesus Christ! NOT Al Queda, NOT “taliban” NOT anything OTHER THAN the One who RULES over all the nations of the EARTH!
  This “system” calling itself “democracy” was indeed scheduled to be destroyed by HIM first back in 1949. He had SEEN the babies born, SEEN the DREAMS of the CHILDREN, then SEEN the LIVES they had been FORCED, FORCED, FORCED, FORCED to LIVE!
Only INTERCESSION and WEEPING on the GOV’S behalf: has saved THIS system with CORRUPT and BROKEN judicial system from being destroyed. NOW: it is going to go down NOT ONLY here in the USA but every single NATION that it has gone to. EVERYTHING NOT OF HIM folks: is going to be SHAKEN VIGOROUSLY! and it WILL NOT STAND!
http://www.truthout.org tells the TRUTH of the “founder” of the “tea party’: no surprise, close ties and connections with THIS SYSTEM; Rockefeller is behind the LIBERTINE party.
In 1972, when mimimum wage was $1.50; PEOPLE paid $1m for items costing $35. Exploitation which is targeting and harming for PERSONAL PROFIT & GAIN: is a CRIME. BANKS involved with CORRUPT GOV SYSTEMS are known as VICTIMIZATION.
ROCKEFELLER NAME: DOW, Pharmacutical, promoting DOCS: was RESPONSIBLE for removing all NUTRITIONAL VALUE from SUGAR; replacing with something causing diabetes, salt: same with something causing high blood pressure & other medical problems; same with FLOUR: ALL NUTRIONAL VALUE REMOVED: and replace with BROMINE causing CYSTS; 600,000 xs the COST: for generics at $4; with them ALSO getting $ for “plastic” pill bottles, caps, & INK!
  It is INDEED a “conspiracy” to make the ones involved in this DECEPTION extremely wealthy: and make everyone else unhealhy, and poor.
SET UP in CHINA: SAME SYSTEM called itself a “democratic dictatorship”; put together a Congress; listen to the people; put the LAWS they WANT (or will LOOK GOOD to THEM) on the BOOKS: have all the $ you want, do whatever you want, whenever you want, & NEVER be brought to JUSTICE! THIS is the “democracy” which has gotten itself a MONOPLOLY in the USA; and they APPEAR to “borrow” money when in reality they GIVE the $ to CHINA: to create a FALSE illusion of being BROKE. THEY ARE NOT! and never have been.
THIS system of “people” in each CITY, COUNTY, STATE and FED level: are what is CALLED COUNTRY by politicians. THIS is why “ask NOT what your COUNTRY can do for YOU”: TO THE REST of us AMERICANS WE think of “country” DIFFERENTLY as our fellow COUNTRYMEN!

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By felicity, March 29, 2010 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

I read Chris’s post as a diatribe against the liberal, educated elite, who are either playing-their-fiddles-while-the-country-burns; enjoying-their-cake-while-the-mob-lacks-bread, or consciously (or unconsciously) aiding/abetting the forces responsible for the growing economic inequities.

His criticism may be justified but it is also true that, given the very human proclivity to look out for number 1 first and foremost, the educated, liberal elite are merely behaving like human beings. Afterall, unemployment among college graduates is only 5% (while it’s 10% among high school graduates and 15% among non-graduates.)

It is only when the so-called elites (historically the people who stage and run revolutions) feel the same economic hardships as their fellow citizens that any reversal of the situation can/will happen.

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By Dori Smith, March 29, 2010 at 9:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once against Chris Hedges warns, but how to get more Americans to listen? The comparison between America’s collapse and Balkanization in the region of the former Yugoslavia is very apt. Politicians used the free floating anger of citizens, and historic divisions long put to rest, to energize a militant social movement. They couldn’t have done it without the use of the press for propaganda.

While the American Militia movement has had little financial income and has been in decline in states on the US border with Mexico, its members seem to be regrouping and taking advantage of media coverage of the tea bag movement. Their numbers combined with existing right wing militant movements have swelled the ranks of protests.

The upcoming April protests around tax day should be interesting in that these groups are targeting the date to take advantage of anger about taxes. Where are they heading? We should trust Chris Hedges to know.

Talk Nation Radio received a copy of what is ostensibly a “rant” by Sara Palin from her web site. We cannot verity its authenticity, though we took our copy from her web site.

“Warning: Subject to New Politically Correct Language Police Censorship
Share
Yesterday at 4:59pm
March Madness battles rage! My family and I join millions of Americans enjoying college basketball’s finest through March Madness. Underdogs always get my vote as we watch intense competition bring out the best in these accomplished teams.

The Final Four is an intense, contested series (kind of like a heated, competitive primary election), so best of luck to all teams, and watch for this principle lived out: the team that wins is the team that wants it more.

To the teams that desire making it this far next year: Gear up! In the battle, set your sights on next season’s targets! From the shot across the bow – the first second’s tip-off – your leaders will be in the enemy’s crosshairs, so you must execute strong defensive tactics. You won’t win only playing defense, so get on offense! The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons – your Big Guns – to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win.

Focus on the goal and fight for it. If the gate is closed, go over the fence. If the fence is too high, pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, parachute in. If the other side tries to push back, your attitude should be “go for it.” Get in their faces and argue with them. (Sound familiar?!) Every possession is a battle; you’ll only win the war if you’ve picked your battles wisely. No matter how tough it gets, never retreat, instead RELOAD!”

- Sarah Palin

As this is part of her campaigning for John McCain we assume this is part of rhetoric attached to a political campaign, therefore subject to fair use rules involving candidacy and campaign rhetoric.

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By Bill Wolfe, March 29, 2010 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

People may be confusing issues of what fascism looks like with mental images of goose stepping brown-shirts or home grown varieties of survivalist and militia guys in camo.

But, that’s not what’s happening here right now. Ther Teaparty “movement” is enabling all sorts of less visible attacks on the open society, democratic values and institutions, and marginalized people - all while promoting and consolidating further corporate control.

Hedges need look no further than his home state of NJ for what this begins to look like. NJ Gov. Christie has channeled all the angers and resentments Hedges mentions into an all out assault on wroking class people, government at all levels, adn democraticv instittuons like public cschools and libraries adn culture itself.

All this is just the first installment.

And Christie’s attacks have compeletly neutered and displaced any progressive response to the economic collapse - in fact, Christie is doing exactly the opposite.

One flagrant example: instead of regulating Wall Street greed and private sector failures that have caused the economic collapse, Christie is attacking the salaries, benefits, and jobs of public sector workers, while further deregulating, privatizing, and crippling effective government intervention.

So, although there are no rifles and camo’s displayed, the policy framework is pretty clear.

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By Jon, March 29, 2010 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reading some of the progressive/liberal blogs, one sees this detachment Chris mentions.  The health care bill means ‘we won,’ forget about the fact that it doesn’t cover kids with pre-existing conditions, won’t really kick in until 2014, and will use the IRS to enforce the individual mandate.  Progressives and liberals in the run up to the vote suddenly lost the ‘public option or bust’ attitude, and instead went for the ‘pass anything’ route.  Try, on some of these blogs, asking what the bill actually does ‘today’ for the uninsured, why the IRS is being looked to for enforcement?  Crickets. Or you get ridicule.

Overall, Democrats are enabling the move toward a fascist America.  They could have stood up to the renewal of the Patriot Act, they could have stood up to the telecom immunity issue, they could have stood up to the banks.  But, no.  And, the progressive blogs are all ‘lalalalalalala’ fingers in the ears now. Now that ‘we won’ on health care, well, we uh, won! 

And no comments from the same blogs about the fact that unemployment insurance extensions have been blocked by the Senate, and that Harry Reid, faced with this, sent the Senate home for a break. 

I never understood how the German people could have supported Hitler, or minimally, his rise, but I do now, and it started around 1919, when the right took up the common man’s plight, and built a machine that became the Third Reich.

As for Bosnia/Serbia, Chris has it right. Chuckleheads got control.  In Rwanda, talk radio enabled that genocide.  Can’t happen in the U.S.?  I tend to trust Hedges’ opinion: yes we can.

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By sharonsj, March 29, 2010 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

While I agree with much of his commentary, it’s strange that Hedges appears to only blame Democrats for our problems.  What, the Republicans don’t exist?  He’s taking a leaf from the Rush playbook: it’s all the fault of those liberal elite Dems—as though the Republicans had nothing to do with anything!  Gee, wasn’t it under Bush that we had a war in Iraq and an explosion of spending and debt?

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By RdV, March 29, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

If Hedges wasn’t a journalist of note, than he would be banned from so-called progressive sites like Democratic Underground or CommonDreams for maybe reporting the unvarnished truth and upsetting the delicate sensibilities of the big donors threatened by the rabble growing restless.

  Like the rest of us.

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By Tennessee-Socialist, March 29, 2010 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

DEAR FRIENDS: IF YOU LOVE YOUR CHILDREN AND FAMILY, YOU HAVE TO BE A REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALIST AND FIGHT AGAINST THIS EVIL MONSTER OF CAPITALIST HEALTH CARE THAT ONLY KILLS PEOPLE.  THE US HEALTH CARE SYSTEM MURDERS AMERICANS.  WE NEED TO OVERTHROW THIS CAPITALIST SATANIC SYSTEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE IN ORDER TO SAVE LIVES AND PREVENT MORE DEATHS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


.

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By Brian D, March 29, 2010 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Responding to drbhelthi: I have a bit of trouble acknowledging any “facts” you may offer, when you state right off “Lee Harvey Oswald, who had almost 30 years CIA service to his credit/debit.” Lee Harvey Oswald was 24 when he was shot to death. Can you explain how he had almost 30 years of service in anything, much less the CIA?

While I agree that there is a percentage of our population that yearns for fascism, the problem, of course, is that they aren’t AWARE it’s fascism they yearn for. To them, if they’ve heard the word at all, fascism is whatever Palin and Beck and O’Reilly and Hannity and Limbo say it is. And while there is certainly economic distress happening among the masses, the marchers at the Tea Party buffoon fests I’ve seen are solidly among the lower- to middle-middle-class. Many of them are older folks, benefiting from Social Security and Medicare and even military pensions, which makes their beef against the government that much more ironic. 

I think we would have to experience a total economic collapse before such cozy weekend revolutionaries will get up the energy to pose more of a threat than simply giving a few lone nuts an excuse to throw bricks or take shots at politicians. We have a supremely lazy, supremely entertainment-soused population. It will take rampant inflation and near-starvation to energize any political movement. That is why bread and circuses work, and why a wise government would keep its population relatively comfortable.

In the meantime, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to drive out the media morons creating and using discontent to line their own coffers. To get rid of Limbaugh, Hannity, Palin, and their ilk, we need to stop paying attention to them. Then their funding will fade and they’ll be forced back into the silent slough of discord they so richly deserve. They are tinpot demagogues using any half-baked, made up issue to enrich themselves and give themselves an ugly sort of power. The media like them because they make a lot of noise and get some people riled up. A few people like them because they support their prejudices. This is “entertainment” that no one needs. If any real threat of fascism arose, they would surely use that and magnify it. So turn off your sets, let their advertisers know you’re not amused, and let’s see if we can finally pull the plugs on those miserable losers.

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By hark, March 29, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The biggest threat we face to our standard of living in America is that there are billions willing to work for far less than our wages, and global free market capitalism ensures that these billions will slowly take our jobs away from us, until we agree to work for what they do.

This is the force that is slowly grinding us up, notwithstanding this essay.  We will survive this economic crisis this time, jobs will return, and the threat of fascism will disappear, for now.

But underneath it all is the rotting away of our standard of living, and nobody at the top either cares or has the guts to talk about it, because only the few will escape this trap - the fact that mother earth simply cannot produce enough for 7 billion people to live the way we currently do, and global capitalism is slowly but surely evening that standard out amongst all of us.

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By micmae, March 29, 2010 at 8:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real question will be how many people will exercise thier right to throw out all the incumbants.  If just the people up for election in November are replaced with all new people, it should send a signal to both parties that the people are serious!

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By ofersince72, March 29, 2010 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

You can bet your sweet ass ,,,,when it comes

  to any humanitarian decisions   at the Security

  Counsil of the United Nations,  it   will get a

  BIG   FAT   VETO FROM THE UNITED STATES…..

  all our ambassadors know how to do is send
  ammunition, weapons and troops just as   they did
  in Haiti   before   they   even made sure food
  and   shelter were provided…time after time !!!
Even in out own country just like   New Orleans !!!!

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By mrfreeze, March 29, 2010 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

I’m in agreement with Inherit the Wind on this piece: Chris, Chris, Chris…........time for your blood pressure medicine.

Indeed, this isn’t the 1st or last time we have or will see lunatic-fringe movements stealing the headlines. In fact, it should not SURPRISE anyone here in the U.S. that there’s a festering nasty hatred of the government. All one needs to do is reflect on the militia/freemen/compounders/G. Gordon Liddy (rat eater) groups from the Clinton years.

I’d like to point out that most Americans, when pressed by these groups, will ultimately reject and then crush this nonsense. Most of us live quiet lives. We are working and have no time to spend out in the forest, plotting a revolution against the commies and socialists. I can assure you that if/when these half-wits emerge in their camouflage to “overthrown” the empire, they will be met with the scorn and violence they deserve.

I believe Frank Rich’s NY Times Op-Ed is a far more intelligent and realistic commentary on current events.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/opinion/28rich.html

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By balkas, March 29, 2010 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

Recent interethnic warfare in yugoslavia 2 or anywhere else can be compared with the planetarian warfare by an empire only if both the similarities and differences in the two types of human behavior are studied or posited.

At present time there is not much wrong in being ethnocentric. But, of course, much wrong, if an ethnos wants to gather all of its people in one country by war.

Both the serbs and croats were guilty in this respect by wanting to dissever bosnia via war-terror.
However, most serbs wanted also to split assunder croatia.
And it wans’t only the chetniks [serb royalists, dreaming of Dusanovo Tsarstvo] who propagated serb expansion but also serb inetelligencia.
And since serb emancipation early 1800s from ottoman empire.

That was their thanks to germans, poles, czechs, hungarians, wallachs,austrians, slovenes, slovaks, ukrainians, and croats who bled for over 300 yrs before driving turks out and thus set the stage also for serb emancipation.

At one point in time, hungary entirely disappeared and of croatia only remnants of remnants remained.

American planetarianism differs enormously from interethnic warfare or int’l wars over disputed borders.
It is realy global theft of land and not ab theft of an isle, some mountains, a valley, a river or lake.

It is like the old indian wars.
This time waged against new indians and solely for their land.
Riches, after all can come from land only! tnx

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By Jaded Prole, March 29, 2010 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

There certainly are people and forces behind them that want fascism and in truth, it is already present in legislation. Still, the vast majority do no want fascism and are saying so more and more in response to the rise of the Teabagger phenomenon. The best way we can work against it is to focus on the corporatocracy and on an anti-corporatist struggle for democracy.

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By Artful Dodger, March 29, 2010 at 6:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What does Hedges know about Oathkeepers? Can he quote any member of oathkeepers as advocating violence? Does he know the vision and mission of Oathkeepers? You can go to their website and find out. In a nutshell an Oathkeeper member makes a vow to uphold the Constitution. He will not obey an unconstitutional order. Imagine if policemen and soldiers in the Nazi Germany en masse swore oaths to uphold the constitutional liberties of German citizens. This would have remade the world.

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By km0591, March 29, 2010 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

I agree with many of the comments here.  Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, and Limbaugh are really just political carnival barkers who are after attention and money.  They just do not have the intelligence and the ruthless cunning of an Adolph Hitler, a Slobodan Miloševi?, or a Saddam Hussein.  The Republican party is not a fascist party, but a party of sore losers who want to regain power.  The “Teabaggers” are a movement that came out of nowhere and has received a lot of attention, but are probably no more than an “astroturfed” media phenomena that both sides try to exploit.

Having said all that, Chris is right, the danger is real.  The forces these people seek to exploit for money, fame, and to regain political power are dangerous and unpredictable.  These people will not be able to control these forces if things continue to go downhill.  The tiger that they have all glibly grabbed the tail of will spin about and maul them, and I guarantee that it won’t be Sarah Palin or Glen Beck riding that tiger’s back.  They will be the tiger’s lunch.  Who and what leadership will be riding that tiger’s back will tell the future or our country.

God help us all.

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By Louis Proyect, March 29, 2010 at 6:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sigh. If only there was a working class threat to bourgeois power, then there might be a need for fascist gangs. But with an atomized and largely apolitical proletariat there is no need for an Adolph Hitler when our version of the Weimar Republic is functioning so well.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, March 29, 2010 at 5:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The tea party is nothing more than a few thousand people showing up for demonstrations here and there.  When there are leftist demonstrations in equal numbers they don’t make the cable news shows and the ny times buries them on page 28.

The tea baggers are using the paltry health care reform legislation as a cover for expressing their hatred for a black president.  The issue is racism not the economy.  There is nothing in the health care bill that republicans did not propose as an alternative to Hillary care in 1993.
If Bush had given us the present health care “reform” legislation during his second term there would have been no tea party uprising.

The tea party is a group of very confused people.  A recent poll showed that 70% of them want the government to take an active roll in creating jobs and in regulating wall street.  Aren’t those leftist issues?  If Obama did those things wouldn’t they be calling him a communist?

Americans do not recieve a political education in our schools.  It is something we have to do on our own and when people don’t do it we get organizations like the tea party.  Anybody you don’t like is a nazi or a communist or both.

I don’t see a yearning for fascism today.  What I see is a yearning for more and better shopping experiences, a cell phone that can drive my car and cook dinner, better entertainment, eternal youth…

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By truedigger3, March 29, 2010 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

ITW wrote:
“For there to be a “Job”, there has to be a task that needs to be done, a task that adds value.  Where do those tasks come from if not from a growing economy?”
____________________________________________________

There can be a growing economy, but in the mean time is being accompanied by persistent and spreading unemployment and hardship due to:
1) The continuous outsourcing and offshoring of jobs to foreign lands especially China.
2) Very unfair destribution of the results of the economic growth to the very top layer of the society coupled with tax cuts to that layer and burdening the common people with more taxes and fees.

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By Tom Westheimer, March 29, 2010 at 5:33 am Link to this comment

Time to read The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot by Naomi Wolf - she says the same thing.  Where are the thousands of rounds of ammunition that was bought once Obama won the election? If you think this was for the hunters you are in for a big surprise.  Words and actions of the extreme right are making not very veiled threats but we don’t want to hear them!  If you think it “can’t happen in the US” in my opinion “think again” and listen carefully.  I hope I am wrong .....

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By Mel, March 29, 2010 at 5:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m afraid Chris Hedges has captured the zeitgeist of
todays America. Those that dismiss the depth and
breadth of the fledgling movement and who disparage
the competence of the Teabaggers et al, have no
understanding of how these things have evolved
historically.
Low information voters aren’t overly lazy, they are
just stupid. And stupid people will allow themselves
to be led by hollow rhetoric and empty promises while
an Utopian yarn is spun for their consumption.
Think about this. During the lowest point of public
approval for GW Bush his approval numbers were in the
thirty percent plus range and most revolts (the one
in 1776 included) was raged by approximately 30% of
the populace. Scary, yes?

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By msgmi, March 29, 2010 at 5:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges is not far off the mark. The neoCON takeover of conservativism has transformed Capitol Hill into a power struggle where Soviet-style propaganda of disinformation and infiltration of government by the megachurch apostles mirrors the brown-shirt path for a power grab. Capitol Hill has been taken over by lobbyists of special interest groups while the media has lost its metal and direction. Capitalism is unraveling as casino-style investments are permissive and unchecked, all in the name of free-market economics. The Wall Street privileged and Main Streeters have reached a crossroads of having nothing in common while the guardians of the environment are indifferent to the daily immeasureable destructive poaching of the planet’s eco-treasure. Human nature has taken a U-turn from the road of creativity and passion into a state of homophobia and paranoia which feeds the crowd mentality.

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By truedigger3, March 29, 2010 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges wrote:
“The Balkan war was not caused by ancient ethnic hatreds. It was caused by the economic collapse of Yugoslavia. The petty criminals and goons who took power harnessed the anger and despair of the unemployed and the desperate. They singled out convenient scapegoats from ethnic Croats to Muslims to Albanians to Gypsies. They set in motion movements that unleashed a feeding frenzy leading to war and self-immolation. There is little difference between the ludicrous would-be poet Radovan Karadzic, who was a figure of ridicule in Sarajevo before the war, and the moronic Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. There is little difference between the Oath Keepers and the Serbian militias”
_________________________________________________

Chris Hedges is PARTIALLY right.
There were powerful EXTERNAL forces that were anxious to break up defiant Yugoslavia and force it to open its economy to globalization.
These powerful EXTERNAL forces, first caused the Yugoslavian economic collapse, and then used the resulting anger and desperation to re-ignite and the old ethnic hatred and secessional movements, which were almost extinct under prosperous inclusive Yugoslavia. Of course, as usual, demagougues and opportunists, especially from the break away republics, exploited the resulting chaos and hatred to further their interests and feather their nests, and in the end, as usual, the common people, from all sides, suffered tremendously.

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By ofersince72, March 29, 2010 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

and of course,  these same ones that are hanging on to
a party that has betrayed them in every way,

have found an enemy…the tea baggers….to blame all
social unrest on.

I live in one of the reddest regions of the UNITED STATES
, it never even offers a democrat opponent to run against
the walk in representative,  this little town drew the
largest outdoor audiance in Bush’s 2004 re-election
campaign. YET…...
You see NO tea bag activism…..
While I understand it does exist around the country, it
is being way over rated by Democrat mouthpieces in order
to throw their own scare tactic to voters in order to keep
what is left of their support

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By drbhelthi, March 29, 2010 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

The comments and references of “P. Smith” provide
information that is usually missing from my
“comments.”  Too often missing is familiarity of
readers with the historical facts on which my
comments are based.  For example, the unfolding of
“Operation Paper Clip,” 1945-1948. Excepting the
propagandists, who, like good little “hirelings”,
attempt to “scapegoat” all factual comments.  These
naïve´ folk think, erroneously, that they and their
offspring will share “ruling authority” with the
elitists who currently employ their rat-like
services.  Thousands of them will be sacrificed as
was Lee Harvey Oswald, who had almost 30 years CIA
service to his credit/debit.  The hundreds over the
last twenty years who simply “disappeared,” without
receiving a new passport, with falsified identity
plus an envelope with +$25,000 ??? 

The concept, that Mrs. S. Palin - or any political
personage NOT currently in power - will remove
rights of Americans - is artificially contrived. 
These rights were removed by administrative decree
by G.H.W. Bush Jr. and the various “Patriot Acts.” 
The concept against Mrs. S. Palin may be classified
as propaganda generated by the system that has
threatened various US Congressional representatives
with assassination if they did not vote for certain
bills, evidence of the NAZI/CIA/MOSSAD machine at
work.

In his speech, July 2008 in Colorado Springs, Mr.
Barak Hussein Obama called for a national, civilian
security force, equal to the US Military, but not
sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution.  This force
has now been authorized by senate revisions of the
recent “Health Bill,” Subtitle C, Sec. 5201-5210. 
“Section 203 of the Public Health Service Act (42
U.S.C. 204) is amended to read as follows: SEC. 203.
COMMISSIONED CORPS AND READY RESERVE CORPS.” 

Very interesting is “Sec. 5209.
Elimination of cap on commissioned corps.”  The person in the US
presidential position makes the decision of how
many.  Is this IAW the U.S. Constitution ??? 

Which German requested Adolf Hitler to migrate to
Gemany?  His propaganda machine seduced the German
citizenry with fantasy promises that “everyone”
wants.  The NAZI machine secreted itself into the
USA, 1945-1980s, joined by the israeli false
Zionists.  Since 2000, bulldozing has occurred. 
The most recent example is the subject “health
reform bill.”  Notice the changes made by the
SENATE.  “None Dare Call It Treason.”

The U.S. citizenry allegedly “wants” a dictator and
authoritarianism?  Nonsense.  It is a case of
dumbidity.

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By earthwirehead, March 29, 2010 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

I think Hedges is correct to identify a ‘yearning for fascism’ among a certain percentage of Americans.  What he incorrectly estimates is the size and significance of this percentage.

There’s nothing new about this.  The same people made George Wallace a significant third party candidate in 1968; the same people formed the militias of the 90’s that gave us Timothy McVeigh… and I fully expect that this latest convulsion of crackers will give us another horrific act of domestic terrorism before it runs out of steam.

But to believe that these people represent a significant or long-term threat is to ignore the fact that they are the ones who are rapidly assuming the position of ethnic/cultural minority. 

This is what the shrill cries of “taking the country back” are really about.  None of these people had a problem with a large and intrusive federal government when the figurehead leading it was someone as white and buffoonish as themselves.  It wasn’t until a “scary black man” became the face of the government that the hillbillies started reaching for their guns.

I don’t rule out the possibility that we may yet see genuine resistance to the corporatist imperialism that has already essentially taken over this country.  But don’t expect any such thing from the petulant billy-bobs showing up at tea party rallies.

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By SoTexGuy, March 29, 2010 at 4:09 am Link to this comment

Hedges’s strong opinions and words draw strong responses!

Usually, I am more than content to only read his offerings (at least twice) and not try to add anything to them. I’m compelled this time to advance some opinion of my own.

The Liberal elite may well be as comfortable with the (eroding) status quo as the author says.. and I’ll venture that in their own way the few true Conservatives in power in America are also relaxed, secure in the structures of security and authority they’ve built. Or their off-shore alliances and properties!

What I think Mr. Hedges may have overestimated in his warnings of a coming social upheaval.. is the depth of the will and character of the partyers and protesters now out in the streets and in the news. If Beck, Palin and Limbaugh are their leaders; the marchers and protesters are a reflection of them.. mostly just as fickle and disorganized and somewhat deranged..

Of course a mob doesn’t have to be able to march at parade in drill-order to be dangerous! But just as Palin quit playing governor when it no longer suited her and the Boss and Beck will move on when they’ve made enough money or whatever.. these marchers and spitting ruffians now comprising this ‘movement’ (if somehow surprisingly found to be moving in concert against the local post office) could be easily and effectively halted and disbanded .. if only a Hostess Twinkie truck were to overturn and burst open in their path.

That’s all the humor I can muster on this subject.

Adios!

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By Inherit The Wind, March 29, 2010 at 3:51 am Link to this comment

I get it: Hedges is a social critic.  He doesn’t “need” facts—he knows.

So it doesn’t matter to CH that the fascist movement, while growing, is made up of a shrinking minority: White, evangelical Christians, undereducated, male (mostly), and heavily unemployed that represent 1/3 of the Republicans, who represent 40-45% of Americans—nominally. (of course the REAL percent represented by both parties doesn’t even add up to 50%).

Hedges decries every stimulus programs but says we need to give the unemployed jobs.  Sure, I’m in full agreement with that, but how are we going to do that, Chris?

For there to be a “Job”, there has to be a task that needs to be done, a task that adds value.  Where do those tasks come from if not from a growing economy?

Basic economics: Unemployment figures are a TRAILING indicator. IOW, Unemployment only improves when the other indicators are already positive.

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Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, March 29, 2010 at 3:10 am Link to this comment

C.Curtis.Dillon, March 29 at 5:05 am
Hard to disagree with what you wrote; so I won’t.

I’ve seen this coming for years and I’ve spoken to it
for years. It does indeed start with a breakdown in
the existing government; an impotent government
failing it’s citizens.
That should have heralded a rallying cry; but all
it’s done is bring out the wackos. They’ll be the
ones who’ll get what they want. Then they’ll cowardly
whimper that they were deceived; when in fact they
were too stupid to see the truth of their own reality
and desires.
Too bad there is no god; because that’s what it’ll
take to save their sorry asses and ours.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, March 29, 2010 at 2:05 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately, Hedges is right in this.  But I don’t see any real urge among the comfortable, liberal elite to change anything.  Demonstrations are sparsely attended.  We confine our upset to blogging, commenting and sending unread letters to our elected representatives.  We are powerless to fix this because we don’t possess the will to rise up and demand change.  We will see the re-emergence of the Republican party this fall and they will punish all of us in ways we cannot yet fathom.  They will continue the erosion of our fundamental rights and the disenfranchisement of the poor and middle class.  The constitution, which they wrap themselves in with such fake pride, will become the doormat where they wipe their dirty shoes.

History has shown us our future.  Right-wing fanaticism is the result when government breaks down.  There are no “liberal” revolutions, only conservative rage and a desire to return to the “good old days”.  In America, this is white, Christian and male.  We can expect minorities (of any type including “majorities” who lack power) will be marginalized and destroyed. We may see a form of “ethnic cleansing” similar to what happened in Yugoslavia.  We may see open warfare between various groups.  In some parts of this country, this has already started.

I hope you are all ready for the new world being planned by the tea parties.  It will be a truly wonderful place!

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