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Liberals Are Useless

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Posted on Dec 7, 2009
AP / Jens Meyer

A woman in Germany selects a candy box with President Barack Obama’s face on it.

By Chris Hedges

Liberals are a useless lot. They talk about peace and do nothing to challenge our permanent war economy. They claim to support the working class, and vote for candidates that glibly defend the North American Free Trade Agreement. They insist they believe in welfare, the right to organize, universal health care and a host of other socially progressive causes, and will not risk stepping out of the mainstream to fight for them. The only talent they seem to possess is the ability to write abject, cloying letters to Barack Obama—as if he reads them—asking the president to come back to his “true” self. This sterile moral posturing, which is not only useless but humiliating, has made America’s liberal class an object of public derision.

I am not disappointed in Obama. I don’t feel betrayed. I don’t wonder when he is going to be Obama. I did not vote for the man. I vote socialist, which in my case meant Ralph Nader, but could have meant Cynthia McKinney. How can an organization with the oxymoronic title Progressives for Obama even exist? Liberal groups like these make political satire obsolete. Obama was and is a brand. He is a product of the Chicago political machine. He has been skillfully packaged as the new face of the corporate state. I don’t dislike Obama—I would much rather listen to him than his smug and venal predecessor—though I expected nothing but a continuation of the corporate rape of the country. And that is what he has delivered.

“You have a tug of war with one side pulling,” Ralph Nader told me when we met Saturday afternoon. “The corporate interests pull on the Democratic Party the way they pull on the Republican Party. If you are a ‘least-worst’ voter you don’t want to disturb John Kerry on the war, so you call off the anti-war demonstrations in 2004. You don’t want to disturb Obama because McCain is worse. And every four years both parties get worse. There is no pull. That is the dilemma of The Nation and The Progressive and other similar publications. There is no breaking point. What is the breaking point? The criminal war of aggression in Iraq? The escalation of the war in Afghanistan? Forty-five thousand people dying a year because they can’t afford health insurance? The hollowing out of communities and sending the jobs to fascist and communist regimes overseas that know how to put the workers in their place? There is no breaking point. And when there is no breaking point you do not have a moral compass.”

I save my anger for our bankrupt liberal intelligentsia of which, sadly, I guess I am a member. Liberals are the defeated, self-absorbed Mouse Man in Dostoevsky’s “Notes From Underground.” They embrace cynicism, a cloak for their cowardice and impotence. They, like Dostoevsky’s depraved character, have come to believe that the “conscious inertia” of the underground surpasses all other forms of existence. They too use inaction and empty moral posturing, not to affect change but to engage in an orgy of self-adulation and self-pity. They too refuse to act or engage with anyone not cowering in the underground. This choice does not satisfy the Mouse Man, as it does not satisfy our liberal class, but neither has the strength to change. The gravest danger we face as a nation is not from the far right, although it may well inherit power, but from a bankrupt liberal class that has lost the will to fight and the moral courage to stand up for what it espouses.

Anyone who says he or she cares about the working class in this country should have walked out on the Democratic Party in 1994 with the passage of NAFTA. And it has only been downhill since. If welfare reform, the 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act, which gutted the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act—designed to prevent the kind of banking crisis we are now undergoing—and the craven decision by the Democratic Congress to continue to fund and expand our imperial wars were not enough to make you revolt, how about the refusal to restore habeas corpus, end torture in our offshore penal colonies, abolish George W. Bush’s secrecy laws or halt the warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of American citizens? The imperial projects and the corporate state have not altered under Obama. The state kills as ruthlessly and indiscriminately in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as it did under Bush. It steals from the U.S. treasury as rapaciously to enrich the corporate elite. It, too, bows before the conservative Israel lobby, refuses to enact serious environmental or health care reform, regulate Wall Street, end our relationship with private mercenary contractors or stop handing obscene sums of money, some $1 trillion a year, to the military and arms industry. At what point do we stop being a doormat? At what point do we fight back? We may lose if we step outside the mainstream, but at least we will salvage our self-esteem and integrity.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, December 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

“You illiterates are angry at Ralph over the 537 votes he “took” from the Democrats”. 

Yep! Guess this cinches it, I will have to vote for Nader now, Not sure about anyone else, but being called one of “You illiterates” sounds naughty?  Though I may not be angry at Nader, guess I should be, just because someone said so?

“How to win friends and influence people”, seems the book is still out there to buy,  for those socially declined, not just Nader folks could look into it, of course they would have to know how to read?

Report this

By mattfuniciello, December 10, 2009 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

MC, you say that Nader got Bush elected in 2000?!?!?

Do you even know how to read?

1 - 58,000 black votes were stolen by Bush and Company. Your racist party and its fearless leader (Al Gore) refused to fight that battle. And, in your narrow eyes, this is Ralph’s fault?!

2 - You illiterates are angry at Ralph over the 537 votes he “took” from the Democrats. By that measure, every single candidate on the Florida ballot “spoiled” the election. Why are you only mad at one of them (there were 10)?! Could it be that the corporate media in collusion with your cowardly piece of shit lobby mechanism hate only Ralph because he is a truthteller who regularly reveals how corrupt and evil you all are?

3 - 8 million Democrats voted for Bush in 2000. 700,000 Democrats voted for Ralph. Shouldn’t you be leveling these “spoiler” accusations at your own scummy party and its idiot membership before attacking a real, principled human being who has tirelessly championed the causes of the working class for almost 5 decades?

4 - Chris Hedges is brilliant and he is right UNTIL he tells you people the REAL truth ... that YOU are the problem! Then, strangely, just like Nader, Hedges is a lonely pariah who just doesn’t get it. A guy who just doesn’t make sense anymore. Might I suggest that if you desire real change, you should listen to what intelligent people have to say and write even if you disagree with it? By the way, in case you’re unsure, Nader and Hedges would be examples of very intelligent people. To disagree with them is fine but there is no need to disparage them just because you are factually challenged.

5 - Have you ever heard of a little thing called the electoral college? It means that even cowards like you and your fellow party members can vote safely for someone with principles and an intellect (like Ralph) in about 40 states where there is no contest in EVERY single national election. The fact that you don’t do this shows that you are TV-fed simpletons in dire need of just the kind of brutal spanking Hedges meted out.

Good work, Chris! Give ‘em Hell!

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By elisalouisa, December 10, 2009 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

You are right Virginia777. Liberals are needed. However, there are powerful
factions at work whose goal it is to stop any movement that might interfere with
the wealthy elite gaining further control of this nation thus the world. Things are
not as they used to be. Most liberals are worn out because of the clever ways of
the Rupert Murdochs of the business world who not only control finances but the news media. We have no money so to speak, do
not have a TV channel and are outsmarted at every turn. Senator Paul Wellstone
was an excellent leader of the liberal cause. Look what happened to him. Just that
fact must make a representative think twice before sticking his or her neck out as
to the perpetual wars we are in or the Wall Street fiasco.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, December 10, 2009 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

Sitting in the middle surround by all these fanatics, I have finally seen some light at the end of the tunnel. 

My excitement forces me to share this with the Obama Nasalitys.  Obama is creating jobs and I am applying for one.

I am going to become a professional Caulker! Though I may need to ask elisalouisa for a reference!

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, December 10, 2009 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Liberals are Useless, when they don’t focus on how to mobilize and face the very real threat from the Right.

Liberals are Useless, when they gripe about Obama

Liberals are Useless, until the step up to the challenge to make this country a better place for ALL of its citizens

Liberals are Useless, when they don’t understand how desperately they are needed

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, December 10, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa transgressing and me forgiving elisalouisa!

“Forgive me, I trangress for you are not here to further the cause of justice as
only malcontents would do(paraphrasing your words.) As you mentioned in one
post, you are content sitting in the middle with fanatics on the left and fanatics
on the right.
You have earned your award and that is no cheap shot.”

elisalouisa you forgot the part about the fence post stuffed up my arse and me tottering from side to side!

As for the cause of justice, I wear pink tights (which used to be red, but got mixed up with my KKK outfit!)
and sometimes I would further the cause of justice! my problem is deciding whose!?

You heard about the guy who deliberately ran over a mother duck in a parking lot?!?!?  Well when I heard of this and if I had been there I would have furthered the cause of justice!  What do you think of that!?!

Seems justice was served, the 12 baby ducklings were saved and taken care of and released back into the wilds of the parking lot!

Being surrounded by fanatics is hard work and one must walk stiffly or waddle like a duck in a parking lot!

Report this

By elisalouisa, December 10, 2009 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

Let’s get what was said correct.: I first quote ITW post with date added as to when ITW posted:

My post of: By elisalouisa, December 10 at 12:11 am #

Inherit The Wind: Dec. 1 10:33 am Addicted to Nonsense thread:?

Anyone who’s worried
about the dumbing-down of America needs to come here and have their worries
turned into total terror!  Most posters here have the insight and perspective of
callers to the right-wing radio shows, only they claim to be “left” rather than
“right”.?****************

?elisa replies:
As evidenced by the above post, you do not think much of TD posters thus I feel I
am in a select group.  Contrary to your views,  I happen to find most posters on
this website quite interesting and knowledgeable and by the way do not resort to
abusive language or a cheap shot to make a point.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 10, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Treg4RonPaul, December 10 at 3:27 am:
‘Please… Join me in calling for a national and hopefully, annual, intellectual summit meeting between Socialists/Progressives and Libertarians & Ron Paul Republicans. . .  we do agree on some things from time to time. Like say, Audit the Fed and End the Iraq/Afgan Wars, abolish the Drug War, put an end to the “corprotocracy” as John Perkins in Confessions of an Economic Hitman calls them. ..’

The Internet provides that now.  In fact, you’re enacting it even as you write.

But according to what I read, most people oppose the present set of wars, were against the bailouts, don’t like the Drug War, suspect the FRB—yet it doesn’t make any difference, because most people believe they will be saved by a good monarch.  Authoritarian institutions and practices follow naturally, and here we are.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 10, 2009 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, December 10 at 1:18 am #

elisalouisa stated:

“I feel I am in a select group.  Contrary to your views, (referring to ITW the cheap shot guy) I happen to find most posters on this website quite interesting and knowledgeable and by the way do not resort to abusive language or a cheap shot to make a point.”

Thank you elisalouisa, I too feel this elated most enlightened select group also, for some even without the sheets.  Yes those horrible most disgusting people who will resort to abusive language or taking cheap shots to make some point’s also annoy me so much! I sometimes cry me self to sleep at night!

By the way elisalouisa, did I thank your for the Chicken Little Diviel award of the year award yet, you have not told me if I get to keep it until next November? I really hope I do not have to reapply in January!

I find it so nice that Hedges has brought our attention to how useless those liberals are!
*****************************************************

Truthdig3: While I still disagree with much of what you post, your recent intelligence of insight, even when I don’t agree with you has forced me to reassess you and give you credit.

Besides, next to ElisaLouisaMoronica and Ginny666, you come off as Gore Vidal, Einstein, and Robert Scheer!  (unfortunately for you, even at this level it’s still damning with faint praise!)

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By Inherit The Wind, December 10, 2009 at 5:10 am Link to this comment

Virginia777, December 10 at 1:06 am #

elisalouisa: ITW is a Truthdig troll, has been for ages.

Liberals are Useless, when they tolerate trolls.

(but we deal with him, we have to!)
***************************************************

That’s right 666. Rather than address EL’s twisting of fact into falsehood, reinforce that it’s OK for her to lie about other posters.  Which she does.

I was here long before either of YOU started posting, so to term “troll” would hit you both from the mirror first.

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By ardee, December 10, 2009 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

Treg4RonPaul, December 10 at 3:27 am

Sans Laughter

I will consider your request if you first explain to me the apparent link, proven by statements from Paul’s aides, between Paul and the organisation known as “Stormfront”.

Further I would appreciate a refutation of my opinion that Libertarianism is a white middle class refuge from those fearful that those “minorities” are getting all my money…..

Report this

By Floridian, December 10, 2009 at 4:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, This was an interesting read. I see that there are a bunch of socialists and conspiracy theorists on this web site. It’s laughable what you people believe in. I have a question to the socialists. Why not run your own candidate. Let’s see how far you get with the slogan ” We want to control your life” . Obama is a socialist and he knew there was no way that he would ever get elected by being up front with his true political agenda. You see socialists are nothing more than cowards. Don’t believe me? I dare any one of you unamerican parasitc leaches to come down to main street USA and start spouting that BS and see how long it takes for you to get run out on a rail. It’s one thing to hide behind your keyboard it’s another to do it face to face. My bet is that most of you socialists are also baby boomers and like locusts have consumed everything their parents generation gave them along with leaving a huge check for their kids. This has nothing to do with political idealogy it has to do with greed. Since they squandered what they had they now embrace the ideology of taking from those who were not stupid enough to do the same thing. You people are over the top ingorant and bitter. Losers always are.

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By elisalouisa, December 10, 2009 at 2:12 am Link to this comment

I find your column most enlightening Mr. Hedges, However, I assure you we
are not the problem.The problem as I see it is that ruthless people have taken
over our government and control elected officials. Representatives who do not
play ball have unhappy endings, such as Senator Paul Wellstone and his family
who were killed in a mysterious plane crash twelve days after telling Dick
Cheney he would not support the Iraq war. Elected officials who do not play
ball are quickly eliminated, one way or the other,  from the Presidential
candidate list.  People that are for this country and don’t sell out no longer run
for office because the campaign money does not roll in. They may pay lip
service to such aspirations but if they want campaign money they go to the
back room and make deals and the deals they make are not for the good of this
country, such as NAFTA. Our representatives actually got on TV and told us that
NAFTA would create jobs for this country. You know all this, I don’t have to tell
you. How can Mr. American citizen combat such a situation? Answer: He
cannot.

Report this

By elisalouisa, December 10, 2009 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

By Virginia777, December 10 at 1:06 am #

elisalouisa: ITW is a Truthdig troll, has been for ages.

Liberals are Useless, when they tolerate trolls.

(but we deal with him, we have to!)
***********************************
So true Virginia777.

Report this

By elisalouisa, December 10, 2009 at 1:38 am Link to this comment

Leefeller:did I thank your for the Chicken Little Diviel award of the year award
yet, you have not told me if I get to keep it until next November? I really hope I
do not have to reapply in January!
***************
Nag, nag, nag. You’ve asked me that before Leefeller and that is just one
reason why you won the “Drivel(not diviel) poster of the year” award.  Length of
time is a mystery as to the award lest you let up and not continue to spew out
those award winning posts(the last short post with 4 exclamation marks).
Count them!!!!
Forgive me, I trangress for you are not here to further the cause of justice as
only malcontents would do(paraphrasing your words.) As you mentioned in one
post, you are content sitting in the middle with fanatics on the left and fanatics
on the right.
You have earned your award and that is no cheap shot.

Report this
Peetawonkus's avatar

By Peetawonkus, December 9, 2009 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

This is for mandinka. (And all those fact-free, incoherent, stuttering-with-righteous hate, right-wingers who love our Founding Fathers so much.)

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
                  Thomas Jefferson

Report this

By Treg4RonPaul, December 9, 2009 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment

Please… Join me in calling for a national and hopefully, annual, intellectual summit meeting between Socialists/Progressives and Libertarians & Ron Paul Republicans…

Stop laughing and here me out.  Please stop laughing…or ... loosing your lunch.  Please, give the idea some time…and here me out.

The idea here is that when we do agree, we can unite and be very very powerful force united on that issue.

Lets face it, the rest of the public is like distant cousins to us (“us” = Socialists/Progressives and Libertarians & Ron Paul Republicans), yet we are like brothers and sisters in that we have DEEP POLITICAL PASSIONS—hence like it or not, we are of the same family. Our distant cousins (everyone else) do not have the deep political passions that runs pure in our blood. And just like brothers and sisters, yes we strongly disagree (so much we live on other ends of the town & are quiet happy never seeing each other) and yet are surprised to find on Thanksgiving day that we do agree on some things from time to time. Like say, Audit the Fed and End the Iraq/Afgan Wars, abolish the Drug War, put an end to the “corprotocracy” as John Perkins in Confessions of an Economic Hitman calls them. 

So it is time, time that we come together and talk, discuss, debate, (we both love that!), and philosophize (we both love that!), explain our reasons, principles, and ethics on the issues, (we both love that!), and most of all buy and sell our books to each other (we certainly need to double our market share, and who else would buy a book just to disagree with it but us?). YES, we must start reading each other.

Here is the REAL problem this country has.  We both live in this echo-chamber ...where upon we truly do not grow and advance forward, no synthesis as some would say can come if we do not meet. Perhaps we resist so strongly from meeting because it would mean the death to us in both camps?  But isn’t giving rise to something new and beautiful and unexpected a good thing?  Lets face it, who can critize smart ass well thought out libertarians better than a well thought out socialist?  Who could find the flaws in the socialists arguments better than well researched libertarians?  A summit would be a good thing. 

An annual Socialist/Progressive & Libertarian/Ron Paul Republican summit would be a ROCKING affair. The best writers and speakers from both sides could attend. Bernie Sanders could attend, and so could Ron Paul could attend. Dr. Walter Williams could attend and so could Cornel West. My I would love to see those to debate!  It could be an intellectual feast for us all. We could buy each others books, and maybe learn a thing or two.

One thing is for certain, the talks around the pool will go on and on into the night, because no-one likes solving the “worlds problems” like socialists and libertarians… ..lmao.

While most people on the planet’s eyes glaze over on such intellectually charged discussions, we brother and sisters of the same family, really get off on such passion arguments about politics.

But the best part would be the areas where we agree ... there, our non political cousins would here us in unison for once. We would not be at two opposite ends pulling on the big demographic middle. The big middle would follow our lead.

Think about, help spread the idea…and help make it happen.

In peace & liberty,
Treg

Report this

By MC, December 9, 2009 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris: You conclude with this comment:

“If liberals had even a bit of their fortitude we could have avoided this mess.”

What does that mean?  Seriously, how exactly could we have “avoided this mess”?

Voting for Nader in 2008 had zero impact.  Voting for Nader in 2000 (as more people did) had very real impact: It got Bush elected.

You blame liberals for “this mess” we’re in.  OK, then it’s fair for me to blame Nader voters, for giving us 8 years of Bush.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, December 9, 2009 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa stated:

“I feel I am in a select group.  Contrary to your views, (referring to ITW the cheap shot guy) I happen to find most posters on this website quite interesting and knowledgeable and by the way do not resort to abusive language or a cheap shot to make a point.”

Thank you elisalouisa, I too feel this elated most enlightened select group also, for some even without the sheets.  Yes those horrible most disgusting people who will resort to abusive language or taking cheap shots to make some point’s also annoy me so much! I sometimes cry me self to sleep at night!

By the way elisalouisa, did I thank your for the Chicken Little Diviel award of the year award yet, you have not told me if I get to keep it until next November? I really hope I do not have to reapply in January!

I find it so nice that Hedges has brought our attention to how useless those liberals are!

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, December 9, 2009 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

“the [Obama] conservative, right-wing, lunatic, totalitarian, greed machine has destroyed that America”

It was done for just that purpose—to eat the Republic from the inside to weaken it on all sides and to demean the idea of a republic in the first place for the cool, unsympathetic planners want an empire; a corporate theocratic dictatorship in its place and we are still going that way now. Its rather obvious isn’t it?

I’m still waiting for a liberal gov’t, case-in-point, the Obama Administration’s Legal arm today is spending its own time to protect that American Nazi jurist John Yu in court. They are working to make it safe again for Nazis of all types to do the evil dance on the corpses of others in the halcyon times before 1947 & the Nuremburg Laws that the USA of that time signed on to. So the march in lockstep goosestep of our Republic continues to ruin and then the rise of a new American Empire and a Paxis Axis Americana in the offing for the 21st century! Or so I surmise. The Sith do exist and they have a face and voice and appearance of nice people. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. [That sneaky subversive George Lucas.]

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

rfidler: “Well, Duh!” - I love that!

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

Quinty: I invite you to stay home and miss the revolution, with garth

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa: ITW is a Truthdig troll, has been for ages.

Liberals are Useless, when they tolerate trolls.

(but we deal with him, we have to!)

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

rfidler, I love your poem!

keep it up!

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By elisalouisa, December 9, 2009 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind Dec. 1 10:33 am   Addicted to Nonsense
Anyone who’s worried about the dumbing-down of America needs to come here
and have their worries turned into total terror!  Most posters here have the insight
and perspective of callers to the right-wing radio shows, only they claim to be
“left” rather than “right”.
*****************
As evidenced by the above post, you do not think much of TD posters thus I feel I am in a select group.  Contrary to your views,  I happen to find most posters on this website quite interesting and knowledgeable and by the way do not resort to abusive language or a cheap shot to make a point.

Report this

By cocostar, December 9, 2009 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a brilliant story. The only thing that I failed to understand is the true meaning of liberal. Which apparently the author has no idea the meaning. Its certainly understandable though him being a graduate of Harvard and a professor of intelligence with zero common sense. Although I could believe the aptitude of the writer to be far above double u and his 259 thousand dollar diploma, I could wonder if his definition of liberal came from Mush Limbaugh and the propaganda army that the commie socialist and corporate pigs have dominated radio with for the last 30 years. The hole problem with our government could be easily solved with term limits and running the incumbents and senile politicians and gigolo’s out of our government. The arturs Harvard brain would rather blame it on the liberals. Without them the country of America would of never been created. Another problem that might need addressed would be the problem of America running on all brains and no common sense. Or could the problem be ingrates and money?

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By Inherit The Wind, December 9, 2009 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa, December 9 at 11:27 am #

“The imperial projects and the corporate state have not altered under Obama.
The state kills as ruthlessly and indiscriminately in Iraq, Afghanistan and
Pakistan as it did under Bush. It steals from the U.S. treasury as rapaciously to
enrich the corporate elite.


It, too, bows before the conservative Israel lobby,

refuses to enact serious environmental or health care reform, regulate Wall
Street, end our relationship with private mercenary contractors or stop handing
obscene sums of money, some $1 trillion a year, to the military and arms
industry.
**************************************
Face it ITW, the middle sentence in this quote from Mr. Hedges’ column is what
really gets you and is the reason you continually attack Mr. Hedges. Zionists are
relentless in their pursuit of those who question Israel

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

Still aiming for “dumbest poster ever”, EL?
Actually, I missed that sentence by Hedges completely.  Thanks for pointing it out.  But how dumb are you? I never even MENTIONED anything about Israel, zionists or ANYTHING to do with that—but YOU brought it in because you incorrectly ASSUMED I was talking about that.

Sorry lady but there is NOTHING in my post about that overtly, implicitly, or in “my heart”.  You just made yourself look like a nasty anti-semitic bigot once again, and you did it ALL BY YOURSELF!  Plus you have Johannes to back you up on it.

Oh, I gotta say this EL: You really are too funny for words with your bigoted knee-jerk idiocy!

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, December 9, 2009 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

Two days and 200 plus comments. I LOVE IT. “Liberals are useless.” Well, Duh!

Liberals don’t solve problems, they bitch about them.

Liberals don’t want to make poor people rich, they want to make rich people poor.

Liberals don’t want to fix the environment, they want corporations to suffer.

I am REALLY enjoying the schadenfreude!!!

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By rolmike, December 9, 2009 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

couldn’t agree more, but having spent some time with
the quakers i probably would differentiate among
liberals. as a Trotskyitr i believe in unions and
revolution but the great masses are sheeples these
days, things have to get a lot worse for them to revolt
and go into action. meanwhile the class society is
firming up.

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By Jean Gerard, December 9, 2009 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oops!  There’s that scary word “socialism” again! 

Duck and cover!

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By Quinty, December 9, 2009 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

Garth -

Well said. “Morning in America” it may very well be. As Americans frantically
stumble to get up off the floor. But less than a year is not enough to judge a
president. We can’t, in all truthfulness, decide today what kind of president
Kennedy would have been. And he had three years.

Obama comes to us on top of a giant hangover: eight years of out and out
madness under Bush. Or was it merely stupidity? A mix of the two perhaps.

Obama ran as a chameleon. Offering a little to everybody, allowing one and all
to see their own hopes in him. And, what’s more, his charisma was based upon
a genuine superiority. Thus many of us hoped for much: that being more than he can deliver, but certainly enough to get him elected.

I’ll wait until this show, this play comes to the end of the third act before
passing final judgement. Someone today is right. It won’t be me because I’m
still withholding judgement.

It may well be a Reagan reincarnate who offers us a “morning in America” in three years. We are truly in desperate straights and that, of course, would only make matters much worse.

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

(dang, that lunatic, totalitarian greed machine is going to give me nightmares tonight)

Lunatic, totalitarian Greed Machines of the world, leave the useless liberals alone.

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

Oh my gawdddd!! garth has the aliens coming:

“the [Obama] conservative, right-wing, lunatic, totalitarian, greed machine has destroyed that America”

garth, you are writing science fiction here, how “fun”

how destructive.

what a waste of time.

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By bklynguy, December 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am new to this site so I am not sure who this “Mandinka” is but I suggest he go back to freeperville or whatever right-wing hole he crawled out of. I thought this site was for progressives and I looked forward to having an interesting dialogue about the best way forward and instead I see posted here the same right-wing claptrap that I see spouted by Limbaugh, Beck and the other Father Coughlin wannabes. By the way, Mandinka, Russia isn’t Communist any more, this is 2009, not 1969, the highest rates of unwed births and drug addiction are in Red states (love that crystal meth, don’t ya,  rednecks) and this claim that only 50% pay taxes is a lie. I challenge you to show me stats to prove that. Better yet, turn off Rush O’Beckitty and try actually thinking about issues for a change.

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By mandinka, December 9, 2009 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

truthdig you epitomise the liberal progressive mentality, you have something assets and i want my share!!. Things like getting an education, working hard, staying off drugs and ending babies having babies are things that liberals hate as a life style.
Libs are after having society totally dependant on the government ala your ideal political way of life in. Cuba, Russia, N Korea.
Socialism has never worked anywhere its been tried but still the peanut gallery won’t be silenced. Since you want more government why not ask China how many of their people have access to Universal healthcare, let me help with the answer ZERO.
Our founding fathers never envisioned a country where those who don’t pay taxes, that’s 50% now in the US, would have the ability to vote and take someone elses money. That is the tyranny that they railed against

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By garth, December 9, 2009 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

I can see it all now.  In 2012, Obama’s campaign slogan will be, He wasn’t as bad as Bush, or What do you expect?  You didn’t make me do it.

Most likely, Mitt Romney, the megalomaniacal greedhead will run a campaign with a slogan like Morning in America.

I grew up in the 50s and 60s.  Went to a state University on National Defense loans.  My first loan was $1000 at 3 % interest.  My first semester tuition, room and board was $555.  The second year the government gave me a grant-in-aid for $1500. 
If I decided to teach school, they would deduct 10% for each year I taught up to 50%.
Starting with Reagan and now continuing with what looks like will be the Obama years, the conservative, right-wing, lunatic, totalitarian, greed machine has destroyed that America.

Good luck Virginia.  You’re going to need it.

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

right on, Jean Gerard, I love your ideas

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

I am sorry I bother you, garth, I am sorry your profound comments of despair and anguish and negativity and liberal uselessness,

are not finding your hoped-for audience today.

better luck next time.

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By Leefeller, December 9, 2009 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

BawbTheRevelator

Scolding is what Hedges does so often, in his case preaching I suppose. I was married for 30 years to the same women until she ran off with the bible salesman, well, your post reminded me and now that I think of it Hedges 30 years of scolding!

Hope you make it back!

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By BawbTheRevelator, December 9, 2009 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

This is my first post and - given my Slow-Due-To-Cerebral-Palsy typing speed - possibly my last, though I doubt it.

[NOTE: “CAN” the pity! I’m a vastly fortunate 71-y.o old fart whose “Bitch” [as Phil Hendrie puts it] is as close as I can get to “The Truth” - such as any may be. Nuf said smile. Back to the subject].

It’s impossible to miss the gazillions of posts re Hedges column’s content and title

IMO the title presaged a STEADY-STATE STUPID RANT! It probably cheered up a few geriatric alumni of The Spartacist League. Mostly it’s embarrassing. Or should be. Hedges is among the few investigative, generally truth-telling journos around today. Then he pisses that away by INSULTING HIS READERS who may or may not know his body of work. “Holy crap!” to quote the illiberal Cartman of South Park.

I’m starting to understand why the Graduating Class of whatever jivetime, Ivy League college it was that invited Hedges to address them a few years ago
BOOED HIM OFF THE DAMN STAGE! Nobody likes a SCOLD! With 99 ways to present exactly the SAME MATERIAL convincingly and one way to piss off everybody.. Y’all can complete this sentence.

If Hedges is pissed-off by Obama’s skill at selling re-packaged crapola [So am I BTW] DO SOMETHING ELSE ALREADY! Try doing a linguistic breakdown of what this Prez is saying! True that’s Chomsky’s and Lakos’ “beat.” Both likely can do so better but at least Hedges and TruthDig can’t be parodied as Miss Grundy’s prize pupils.

Our Side, such as any may be, doesn’t need by-lined hissy-fits placed where they’re quotable by every third Stan McChrystal or Tim Geithner apparatchik.

Point? Hedges, Si! Estupido, No!

Cheers an’ ‘at.

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By Jean Gerard, December 9, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Enough already with the language and the fire in the belly?  They have very
little to do with constructive action that has some realistic hope of success.
They are motivators to emotional responses and in a pinch those involved will
follow the loudest screamer.

To get tasered or beaten senseless is of no benefit to reform, and It plays
directly into the system of fear and repression.  Nonviolence is being used and
currently thought about in many quarters because violence is
counterproductive.  Viz.  The wars we are trying to stop. 

Non violence is also creative in the sense that it is not pre-set, patterned,
leaving open doors, tp allow space for unhackneyed reactions   It’s relatively
new, but what precedent there is for nonviolence, it has worked dynamically in
several situations involving millions of people as well as smaller groups, and
major social changes have been brought about by using it.

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By bklynguy, December 9, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wish there would be more recognition of the reality of the political situation in this country by those on the Left rather than engaging in Obama and liberal-bashing. Really, some of the personal attacks on liberals sound like they were lifted straight from a post on freeperville.

Some observations and thoughts that may clear the air:

Twice as many Americans identify as conservatives than as liberals. Does this not place constraint on any would-be progressive in the White House? There should be more thought given as to how to change this than self-righteous Obama-bashing that does little more than make people feel better by venting.

There are real differences between Democrats and Republicans. I know because I work in a government agency that handles workers’ compensation claims.  Whether or not there are Democrats or Republicans in charge of this agency makes a real difference in how these programs are administered and how well or poorly injured workers are treated. Multiply this by the experience of millions of other Americans dealing with social-welfare, labor, occupatioal health agencies etc.at federal, state and local levels. The changes in how these millions are treated are not well-known outside the narrow circle of those directly involved. These changes are not dramatic and revolutionary, they won’t usher in the New Progressive/Socialist World but they are very real. Just ask a disabled worker trying to feed his family.

I am a lunchpail Democrat as was my father who would have been trapped forever in a Pittsburgh aluminum mill were it not for the GI Bill, passed by liberal Democrat Harry Truman. As much as I detested the Vietnam War and opposed LBJ on that issue, I remain a Democrat because of that same LBJ who passed Medicare, was the last President who tried to do anything about poverty and threw away the Solid South to the GOP to get the civil rights bills passed.

Some here mentioned that progressives should emulate the right-wing evangelical polticos who had and (God forbid) may regain the power needed to effectuate their agenda. Fine. Let’s remember that their success came in working within the GOP. Had they organized a pure Christian Right 3rd party, they would have balkanized the conservative movement and we might not have had to deal with Reagan and Bush and now the Alaska Disasta. Like it or not, the USA is a duopoly. It may take decades to change this. Too many people will suffer too much pain for too long for us to enjoy the luxury of practicing the politics of ideological purity. We need to get real and push the Democrats as far as we can. Do what FDR said: “You want progressive legislation. Make me do it”

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By Textynn, December 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Chris,
I have to agree with most every word. During the last presidential election, my best friend tried to encourage me to vote for the Green Party.  No, I said. We need every vote to beat the Republicans who steal elections and Obama is the only one who can do it.  She said that’s what everyone thinks and the Dems and the Republicans are the same. Well she was right. The Dems court the people to pretend democracy but they always compromise to the point that there is no difference or are predictably always just a few votes short.  Im sick of it and Im sick of this theater.  I am voting Green next cycle and if that puts the Repubs in power again. “OH well”  and that’s a big “Oh Well” at that.  There is no difference.

My only concern is that the Elite will not allow any other voices coverage other than Dems or Repubs.  And as you have so well stated, there is no breaking point.  There is no limit to the extent a person can be disenfranchised in this country.  We have all been taught to believe that America is a civilized country where barbaric practices are prohibited. That is not true on any level. America excels in barbaric practices, it just does so with a cloak of righteousness and well crafted rhetoric full of overblown and false idealisms like “Health care is a privilege” and those losing their homes were stupid people who took on more than they should, etc.

I don’t, however, think Progressives are weak and don’t put their real backs into change. What I believe is that the vehicles we are using for change are all controlled, owned, and falsified by the ruling Elite. They steal elections, wouldn’t allow single payer to be discussed even while the whole country wanted it, etc. We have done everything we know how to do outside of being shot and thrown in prison to stop this control. 

I do believe however that people need to stop believing that the usual avenues for change work because they clearly don’t.  Progressives are like a bunch of rabbits standing around discussing how the wolves just don’t understand the hardships they inflict on us and then finally deducting that the wolves don’t care. The wolves do understand our hardships, they created them carefully and with great effort. And, no, the wolves don’t care about the rabbits. They only care when they are being slowed down in their killing and consuming of the rabbits.  The rabbits in real life do get it. The wolves’ livelihood depends on rabbit meat and the rabbits don’t stand around trying to reason with them or make themselves be heard by the wolves.  That only makes them/us vulnerable and exposes their/our weaknesses.

We need to fight these tyrants a whole new way. We need to establish the facts that many are realizing and that is that these Elite/wolves do intend to eat us and don’t see us in anyway as part of their populations.  We are their prey and we better start standing up to them with this understanding and stop shaking our fists about hardships, etc.  Our hardships, deaths, losses, and lack of opportunities for ourselves and our kids are their gain. When we stand up and cry, “You’re killing us.”  They answer, “So, what did you expect. And please, do tell, what methods are most effective?.” 

This is a war and our lives and our kids lives are at stake.  People like Liberman and Baucus and the whole Republican Party are true enemies and the sooner we start posturing ourselve thus the better off we’ll be.. 

The number one thing we must start doing is demand that the Elite are subject to the same laws and policies as the rest of us.  They operate in a world where risk and laws are comfortably omitted. We must demand accountability.  These medical insurance companies should be charged with murder for putting profits ahead of people.  We have to do something and the sooner we realize these Elite are not even remotely among us as citizens or even caring individuals the better.

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By KDelphi, December 9, 2009 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

Union busting, permanent war, Glass Steigal (sp?), NAFTA/CAFTA/PAFTA(and pushin for more!!), neo-liberalizing the Southern Cone, welfare reform, the bombs on Hiroshima/Nagasaki, Vietnam escalated, Af-Pak escalations, “urban renewal” , Arne Duncan’s charter schools,(re-segregation) parties parties parties , money money money, tax cuts, tax cuts, taxcuts. bank bailouts, dotcombubble, WWII bubble, baby boomer bubble, Chicago 9, climate change bullshit, New Left, New Democrats, Democratic leadership Council, telling the Cong Black Caucus to sit down and let them swear in Bush, medical industrial complex, military industrial complex, “free speech zones”, Bagram AFB, “move on”—really?? I mean..really?

Merkins are crazy.

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By garth, December 9, 2009 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

The Senate Health care Medicare clause allows people 55 or older who are making 150% of poverty that is
$ 16,000 for a single and $ 21,000 for a couple.
How many of your fellow country men fit into that crack in the wall?
This is a giveaway to the health insurance and soon to announced a giveaway to BI GPHRMA.  My question for you to think about is how long will it take for the average working American to realize that he or she is being screwed.  They’ll pay higher premiums and higher Medicare deductions in their taxes.
Now, please, go way, little girl. You bother me.

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By Jimmy Mac, December 9, 2009 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I lean libertarian in my beliefs and tendencies.  I do not find myself interested in any political affiliation, especially socialist. But I see much truth in this posting.  I read the other comments. The self proclaimed intellectual elite continue to talk democrat and republican.  They desire to be included in something that has no requirements but to buy into a particular brand or flavor of rhetoric.  The salt of the earth people as described in this posting are not that easily fooled.  They measure their thoughts and convictions and think of others when doing so. Political parties, organizations and unions are not able to do the same thing. Why, they are only designed to be self serving.  History shows they always have been and always will be.  On occasion a special individual or group of individuals can rise to an occasion and cause one of these groups to do something special but very seldom. We must vote out all incumbents in state and federal elected positions until at least 2014 and replace them with one term, untainted clear thinking individuals.  Not political party hacks that are bought and paid for.

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

and who are these heavy hitters you are talking about? are you threatening me? for commenting??

give me a break, you can’t silence free speech, even if you don’t like what someone else is saying

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

I’m not a troll, garth, I’m doing this because its what I believe in,

not for money.

you, on the other hand, I am starting to wonder about, especially now that you have decided to lash out at someone other than Obama…

or is it just fun to spread negativity all day long? am I “raining on your parade”?

a parade which, by the way, is damaging to the Left? (which I happen to care about)

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By garth, December 9, 2009 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

Trolls who watch the blogs to counterattack any entries that are not Pro Obama have a stupid job.  Especially when the one who assigned to that task is so uninformed and just plain non verbal.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child.  If someone said, “You mothe wears combat boots.”  I replied, “Oh, yeah!”
Virginia, there are some heavy hitting, well informed posters to this blog.  Myself excluded.  But you are in over your head.  Try My Space.

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

a liberal could be very useful right now, to cheer up garth

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

“Liberals are Useless”

no they’re not

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By garth, December 9, 2009 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

The Senate compromise on the health care bill brings me back to that sinking feeling in my gut when I awoke on that November morning in 2004 to learn that Bush had stolen another election.
To the liberals, blue dogs and the rest of those bastards, progressives or whatever they call themselves, the jig is up.
When insurance rates go sky high and the 55 an older find out that they are not eligible for your fucking Medicare ploy, how fucking long do think it’s going to take before Joe and Mary say, “Fuck this.  I can’t afford it any more.”
You take Obama, and the rest of those friggin’ un-progressive Democrats and take those goddamn Republicans as well and stick the fucking bill up your fucking ass!
I’ve had it.  And soon, the families who have to pay the bills will turn off ABC, CBS, NBC, C-SPAN and the rest of the cable bull shit and do something else.
If you have any idea about history, especially to what could’ve happened in the midwest during the period leading up to FDR’s election, you’ll take fuckin’ heed.
But I don’t think you will.  May God have mercy on your friggin’ souls.

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By Alphysicist, December 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

Actually, I disagree with the title.  Liberals are very useful.  Any neocon will tell you (if you succeed in getting the truth out of them).

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By glagadec, December 9, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

I couldn’t agree with Hedges’ accessment of liberals more; for years I have identified myself as a “radical”: I am not advocating violence; I am willing as- long as I am not interferred with, coerced, or unjustly impaired from talking ...talking… to acknowledge the fact that revolution has to first begin at home in your own head.Then you take it to the streets in demonstrations. But and I mean But…the Chinese, I believe, have an apt expression: your right to throw a punch ends where my nose begins. That about say it for me. I don’t go into ovens quietly, nor will I   allow myself to be beasten by some corporate mongoloid.I’m not Gandhi not do I turn the other cheek.I’ve been in the streets and I can sense a sucker punch coming. What is it about so many “liberals” that just don’t get it? Are so enamored of their sense of being superior to that mongoloid that they accept having their brains beat out? Is pontificating on the peaceful, moral high ground that important? As I write this,we have been screwed again : no real public option and the senate is debating passing a law that will prohibit Americans from getting their drugs at a more reasonable cost from Canada…cause we know that they are dropping like flies from their “unsafe” pharmaceuticals. Aren’t we so lucky that our politicians are so concerned about our well being? Grape Kool-aid anyone? When will this crap stop? Are they going to keep pushing asnd pushing us into a corner until we get tired of our bloody noses and fight back in any way we can. Who are the real terrorists in this world. They sure as hell aren’t all in the Middle East.If you believe that, you’ve already had the Kool-aid. The purpose of propaganda is not to convince those who can actually think for them selves; it’s about giving moral cowards the excuse to smack their lips and tell themselves that the poisonous drink offered to them is really rather tasty and salubrious. If they admitted to it’s true nature, they might have to actually do something…instead of salivating over the pathetic health plan they just passed. And for those of you who want to whine about it being a step toward single payer and now they can’t bump you off for pre-existimng conditions…,well we’ve just handed millions of customers to those rapacious S.O.Bs and they’ve already crunched the numbers. They are goin to clean up… and their hired minions in both parties. There’s no competition and they will continuje to screw us. Period! They are not going to roast this golden goose, trust me. The only way they can maintain the fascist, corporate hegemony over our lives and heads, is to step up the propaganda and marginalize the ones who don’t want to drink. They are not listening to you, liberals. Here’s the truth many of you don ‘t want to cosider:in the end the truth seekers, the justice seekers have to lay it all on the line. Sometimes you bleed! Fat chance of that on your Facebook page or your late brewing cell phones. Your emasculated tactics are not working. Grow a pair and go into the streets…not behind carefully designated sections a mile from the real action. I’m done. One last thing, I’m a veteran of both the military and the streets and I am basically a pretty peace loving old codger [67], but honestly…some of you have to start cultivating a bit of fire in your belllies. I’m staying pissed!!

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By Old Geezer Pilot, December 9, 2009 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Bob Scheer - I hope you pay this man well. His writings are the soul of all of us.

Keep it up, Chris.

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By Leefeller, December 9, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

mandinka,

One almost sees mandinka as Hedges Yang!

Doomed to spending Chinese dollars, is that sort of like stocking up on tea bags? Expecting to receive something for nothing is just not the same as paying for it? Yes, spit in one hand and expect in the other!

Always the Us and them, “useless liberals” comes to mind, for there must always be a “them”!

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By Mark E. Smith, December 9, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Take a look at Joe Bageant’s latest essay, “The Devil and Mr. Obama.”

http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2009/12/the-devil.html

Bageant says it better than I can, but from my point of view liberals are people who, when a Democrat outsources their jobs, steals their pensions, savings, and investments, forecloses their homes, cuts off their credit, denies their valid health insurance claim in a life-or-death emergency, sends their traumatized daughters and sons with PTSD back for their third deployments in an illegal war of aggression, and hands trillions of dollars over with no strings attached to his biggest campaign donors, say, “Don’t bash MY President! I voted for him, I’m happy with the job he’s doing, and he needs more time.”

Meanwhile, they’re standing on line at the food bank, which has just run out of food, and blaming their situation on the President’s predecessor—the guy whose agenda he is continuing to follow and expand upon.

Liberals are people who KNOW that we have the world’s biggest gulag with more prisoners than any other country, even countries with much greater populations like China or Russia, and still think that we’re a free country. Conservatives like it this way as they’ve never cared much for freedom or democracy. Liberals claim to care, but in an abstract way that never impinges on reality.

I was so confounded by liberal voters that before the 2008 election I started asking people at local activist events and peace rallies if they would still vote if the only federally approved voting mechanism was a flush toilet. Fully 50% of them said that they would, that voting was their precious right for which people had died, that it was better than doing nothing, etc., etc.

Sorry, but I’ve met crackheads, paranoid schizophrenics, and alcoholics convulsing with DTs who were more in touch with reality than liberals. And don’t get me started on progressives:

http://www.medialeft.net/main/index.php/mark-e-smith-medialeftcontributers-281/1398-some-very-confused-progressives

I can understand conservatives and libertarian types believing that corporations are people, but liberals who prefer our oligarchy (government by the elite) to socialism (government of, by, and for the people), somehow seem to have failed to realize that they themselves are people. Do you suppose there is some way that we could break it to them gently?

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

garth: All is not lost!

“All” is only lost, when pessimism create inertia, and the left sits on its a__ and lets the right come rolling in.

But I love your law! “I forward a suggestion for a law.  I think these bastards should appear nude before the podium and microphone.  That’s right, bollicky bare assed”

lets adopt it

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By truedigger3, December 9, 2009 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

Mandinka wrote:
“Anytime you have a society that realizes that they can vote themselves all types of benefits and not pay for them that society is doomed”
_____________________________________________________
Mandinka,
Anytime you have a society that is governed by a thieving oligarchy that is sucking the blood dry from its citizens and is setting a poor example for them about citizenship and duty toward fellow citizens, that society is doomed.
A fish rots starting from the head.!

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By garth, December 9, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Yes, it seems that all is lost.  The Globalists and their Globaloney have propagandized the electorate into believing that what is good for them is good for world salvation. 

We are on the brink aren’t we?

We’ve tried conservativism for the past 39 years and look where it has gotten us.  Seriously, just look at where it has gotten us.

Congress appears to be a strained example of a Moot Court where, supposedly, all the great issues of the day are debated.  They arger, arger, arger and then they pass a bill written by the corporations they represent.  (Wait, see for yourselves if your outrageous insurance premiums do not go up?)  It is a cover for all the big donors, those who really live off the fat of the land.  The Congress debates whether the Constitution only allows for the nation to defend itself or whether it includes the “General Welfare” as well.
I turned the mute button on and watched C-SPAN this morning.  To their benefit, the Republicans don’t parade their tele-evangalist, look-alikes any more.  The Democrats still have their “Mary-Artsy-Fartsy” representatives, though, from California.  But on the whole they look presentable, but pressing the mute button was good choice. 
I forward a suggestion for a law.  I think these bastards should appear nude before the podium and microphone.  That’s right, bollicky bare assed.

It’s not porn.  These people will do to porn what laws could never do.  It’s the idea that they’ve got nothing to hide, no where to go except what they say, and by any means of assessment, it’s what they believe.

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By Virginia777, December 9, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

“Liberals Are Useless” when they bash Obama

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By shalom, December 9, 2009 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Dear Chris,

If you write your books for the liberal intelligentsia and your man in the street rarely if ever sees a better choice let alone the avenue to get there then the increasing powerlessness of the left will continue unabated. While you were taking the trolley to Harvard I was at BU taking a politics class with Murray Levin who told all the young naive freshmen, (including yours truly) that the best thing for corporate America was Ralph Nader because he challenged the system and a very famous car, the Corvair, and the car rightly dissapeared; thus the system works. We have very far to go to see beyond Obama and remake our world one issue at a time. HELP!

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By Go Right Young Man, December 9, 2009 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith—“If the issue doesn’t concern you, like General Smedley Butler said, you don’t get to vote on it. If you’re not in the military, you don’t get to vote on declaring war. If you don’t pay taxes, you don’t get to vote on funding war. If you’re not female, you don’t get to vote on abortion. If you aren’t in school and don’t have kids in school, you don’t get to vote on funding for education.”

-

What an absolutely terrifying idea.  Who, exactly, would make the determination on who is “allowed” to vote for which issues?  Who would determine what’s important or of “concern” to an individual and/or group?  I can’t think of a more complete way to tear a nation, any nation, apart.

I would think that a drive to get more people involved and voting would better accomplish what, I imagine, your goals are.

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By mandinka, December 9, 2009 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

Its too bad that todays society didn’t have the vision and dream laid out by our founding fathers. What they tried to insure never happen is exactly what is going on today.
We have 50% of the electorate not paying taxes and they can’t understand why they can’t continue to spend other peoples money. They have gotten so greedy they are now spending the Chinese $$ to advance their agenda.
Anytime you have a society that realizes that they can vote themselves all types of benefits and not pay for them that society is doomed

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By noneya, December 9, 2009 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Um..hello! Did any of you see this???

——Chris Hedges, author of “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle,” will speak with other anti-war activists at Lafayette Park across the street from the White House at 11 a.m. Dec. 12 in a rally calling for the withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.——


I think the point most of you have missed…unless I missed someone else noticing?...Is that it is time to get off our asses and take to the streets in DC. and let them know that we are not going to let the gov. bully us anymore!! We will not accept war profiteering at the expense of medical and so on.

I know I am going!! What about the rest of you? I would much rather watch you bicker with one another in front of the Whitehouse than on here. If every one of us from all the liberal blogs showed up in front of the Whitehouse demanding an end to these useless wars??...It just might scare them enough to do so. We need numbers out there!!!

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By Leefeller, December 9, 2009 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

Scott McLarty,

Reality seems most insulting, especially when one does not agree!

Appreciated post, why do I picture marching tea bags?

In the end the socialist bogyman has been created and promoted as reality for the purposes of special interests.  Fantasies work very well, when indoctrinated from birth!

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By garth, December 9, 2009 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

Thank you Mark Smith and Scott McLarty.

And a special thanks for the excerpt from Roy’s latest book.

For ITW, I remember a few years ago, the Republicans in MA were pushing a tax reform bill.  As an example, they cited a union construction worker who had to sell his house.
Well, it turned that he had to sell his fourth house.  He had his own, the one he lived in, a vacation home, and a strictly rental property.
I guess the adage that a Conservative is a Liberal who has been mugged has been reversed to a Conservative is a Liberal who has come out on top.


God bless America!

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By Gregor, December 9, 2009 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, you mean Harry Truman types?

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By Leefeller, December 9, 2009 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

If Hedges had instead written, the “conservatives are useless”, he would only have three posts on this thread. So the numbers game is working. Now if one was really into the money bags thing, they would change a few words and presto they could post this article on “Right is right” or tattoo it on Glen Becks arse and make a few bucks!

ITW, the steel workers in the early 1900’s were trying to Unionize, the good old boys met and did the Unions are Socialists and what ever else they could suggest and presto, it worked so well it is still used today. Public support for Unions has been up and down, but mostly down since!

One thing for sure, Hedges ground hog day approach of dispensing wisdom, does seem to have a scurrying cultism of toothy haberdashers!

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By Lorraine Watkins, December 9, 2009 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The failure of American liberalism and progressives is that as a group they/we
tenaciously hold onto elitism and over- valuing position, rank and celebrity. What
connection there once was to the ordinary people they/we pretend to advocate for has
been gone a long time. As someone pointed out above even the Unions have long
bought into GOP rhetoric.

The Bolsheviks failed because of their elitism.  Fortunately our failure has so far been
less bloody as we sink into the role of a socially acceptable service club such as the Lions
or Rotary.

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By johannes, December 9, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

I have the same feeling as other writers on this site, that Jewes writers are more Zionist as Jewes, and as you dare to say, the slightes negatief fact or feeling about Israel, they try to make you word dead, by putting words in your mouth you never have used, I must say I don’t find this just and not helpful for our discusion.

And it makes you wonder that their is a growing anti semietic feeling around, its stupid to create your own downfall, by people who have an positief feeling for the Jewes people to cut them dead, and ignore.

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By johannes, December 9, 2009 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Their are not much Americans who have the guts to say I voted socialist, as this men Chris Hedges, not so long a go they put you in prisson if you had sayd that, do the citizen know the real difference about Republican and Democrates, no they just go for the men and not for any ideology, they vote for thin air, it makes it all so irrational and unreal, but as a citizen you geth practical never wath you wanted, and where you voted for.

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By elisalouisa, December 9, 2009 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

“The imperial projects and the corporate state have not altered under Obama.
The state kills as ruthlessly and indiscriminately in Iraq, Afghanistan and
Pakistan as it did under Bush. It steals from the U.S. treasury as rapaciously to
enrich the corporate elite.


It, too, bows before the conservative Israel lobby,

refuses to enact serious environmental or health care reform, regulate Wall
Street, end our relationship with private mercenary contractors or stop handing
obscene sums of money, some $1 trillion a year, to the military and arms
industry.
**************************************
Face it ITW, the middle sentence in this quote from Mr. Hedges’ column is what
really gets you and is the reason you continually attack Mr. Hedges. Zionists are
relentless in their pursuit of those who question Israel.

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By grantup, December 9, 2009 at 6:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris,
I am one of those guys you hung out with; but I left school in the first quarter of the tenth grade. However, I did not run: I worked in fields, orchards, groves and packing houses throughout California. I Did a little time in the Merchant Marines and then joined the U.S. Army in 1946, for seven years of service in 11th Airborne, medics, security with the old Atomic Energy, and finally after getting a B.A., I taught school here, there and everywhere, some of it in Colombia, S.A.  I should add that my wife also taught school and that our daughter was the learner both at home, in school, and on the play grounds. 

The only time we had a chance at socialism was during FDR’s long tenure in office, really to save capitalism, in a manner that I approved of: That is, there would be capitalism with restrictions and socialism for meeting the needs of the people,that capitalism could not or would not meet.

Your position reminds me of Lou Dobbs: Let’s all become Independents.  Whoop De Doo!  Until we can revert to the original system in which the two top vote getters were president and vice-president or put back into place the FDR restrictions, your position makes for good essays and clarifies national issues, but always works against the lesser of the two evils. 

I appreciate your experiences and how they inform your attitudes but I cannot see where and how you believe those attitudes will bring about changes in your dreams.

Grant

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By ardee, December 9, 2009 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

Well, then Hedges starts discrediting himself. “I vote Socialist.”  He might as well say “I am an unrealistic moron who STILL believes in a system that has failed EVERYWHERE, despite its failures.”

If , ITW, you mean ‘discrediting himself’ as differing with your own opinions, then yes, Hedges does so. If, by ‘failure everywhere’ you mean successful in limited use as part of an overall governmental plan to help its people, or that the perverted systems that substituted elitism for actual communism were failures then you are again correct.

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By Go Right Young Man, December 9, 2009 at 5:32 am Link to this comment

truedigger3, December 9 at 4:59 am

Not only did your last post completely contradict what you had posted previously, how are you making the fantastic leap to suggest I said nothing when Bush set in motion a “social-governmental” solution to the economy?

You take fantastic leaps in your assumptions (I would say FDR was a communist?).  Perhaps you could end the practice of assuming what people think and say and, instead, listen to what they think and say?

I see you more disagreeing with your own perceptions of others rather than what others actually believe in.  You are not truly listening to other opinions.  You are projecting what you think and feel on them.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 9, 2009 at 5:12 am Link to this comment

So I read the title and thought “OK, this is good. Hedges is on to something.”  Then I read the first paragraph and thought “OK, Hedges has it locked in…but why is this a two page article when he says everything relevant in this first paragraph?”

Well, then Hedges starts discrediting himself. “I vote Socialist.”  He might as well say “I am an unrealistic moron who STILL believes in a system that has failed EVERYWHERE, despite its failures.”

Then he talks about the “working class” as if that only means blue collar workers.  Since that cuts out the millions and millions of office workers, he’s back in his fantasy land.

Then he uses Boston union construction workers as his “typical” worker.  Now I’m ALL in favor of unions—I think we now need unions more than ever and in far more industries than just manual or blue collar labor.  The whole retail industry (think Wal-Mart) and the whole pharmaceutical industry needs to be unionized.

But the reality is they are NOT.  And the reality is that MOST Americans, particularly blue collar workers have bought into the GOP lie that unions are “socialist” and destructive to America.  The Boston or New York union man in the construction trades or other blue collar trades are NOT typical Americans, and they are NOT typical blue collar workers.  Nor are they typical workers.  They are THE LUCKY ONES!  As we see the entire state of Michigan dying as the car industry dies, the UAW is well on its way to being useless as the workers lose their jobs anyway.

3.5 million union jobs have been lost overseas due to the GOP plans starting with Reagan, crushing unions’ effectiveness (which they wanted) and destroying our domestic industries (an unanticipated consequence that caused them to shift THEIR wealth into other assets).  Now the non-union white collar jobs are being lost as rapidly as phone “help centers” and “support line” are shifted to India by companies like H-P and Microsoft, because it’s cheaper to use Indian companies.

Hedges sees and understands none of this, living in a 20’s and 30’s world where “workers” and “working class” meant blue collar construction and heavy industry workers.

As usual, he is off the mark and out of touch.

...and he was off to SUCH a good start with his title and first paragraph.

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By Go Right Young Man, December 9, 2009 at 4:40 am Link to this comment

truedigger3,

I still applaud what you submitted December 7 at 7:53 pm.

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By RIck, December 9, 2009 at 4:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rock on Chris!  Now are you going to get off your butt, knock on some doors and work the phone to change the political balance in our favor, or are you just going to sit in the comfort and privacy of your own home and keep whining.

I’m an organizer in Colorado, where we’ve got key Senate and Governor’s races coming up.  I’m sure it’s the same in true in your state.  Now do something more effective than talking!!!

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By ardee, December 9, 2009 at 3:32 am Link to this comment

Scott McLarty, December 9 at 3:37 am

Kudos for this post….It bears repetition.

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By cabdriver, December 9, 2009 at 2:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amon Drool, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a long, drawn-out process.

http://instantrunoff.com/

http://www.fairvote.org/irv/

Here’s a partial list of who is already on the record as supporting it:

RV Endorsements (Partial List)
Federal and Statewide Elected Officials

  * President Barack Obama [Legislation]
  * U.S. Sen. John McCain (AZ) [Audio]
  * U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT)
  * former Gov. Howard Dean (VT) [Video]
  * U.S. Rep. John Porter (IL) [Statement]
  * U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (MN)
  * U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA)
  * U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH)
  * U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL)
  * U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (VT)
  * U.S. Rep. Tom Allen (ME)
  * U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (MA)
  * former U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (NJ)
  * Hon. Sharon Priest, former Secretary of State (AR)
  * Hon. Deborah Bowen, Secretary of State (CA)
  * Hon. Deborah Markowitz, Secretary of State (VT)
  * Hon. Mark Shurtleff, Attorney General (UT)
  * Arne Carlson, Former Governor (MN)

http://www.instantrunoff.com/supports/elected.php

Of course, it’s mostly lip service, so far…no way to know how sincere anyone is until it’s out there as legislation, being put through the gauntlet.

It’s important to note that there is also an anti-instant runoff movement:

http://www.instantrunoffvoting.us/

The important thing to note about that website’s objections is that the process they’re objecting to is not the two-choice system that I support- it’s the more complicated “weighted” process that uses ballots allowing not only a first and second choice, but three or more choices as well.

I don’t support the system being opposed by that website, which requires algorithms to sort out among three or more candidates/parties. I don’t want to get into ballot-box calculations.

I don’t even like computer balloting, I much prefer hard copies and hand counts- along with lengthening the window for casting votes to be more than one single day.

When it comes to large-scale political elections, two-choice ranking is much clearer for everyone to relate to as voters, to utilize, to tabulate, and to compile a final result. 

And it still provides the most important advantages of an instant runoff system- providing for the chance for people to vote FOR the most preferred candidate, not merely a way to wield a vote AGAINST the least preferred candidate.

Arguably, the two-choice method I support is sort of dumbed down. And it inclines toward keeping the traditional American majoritarian electoral system in place, rather than shifting toward a system of proportional representation.

And that’s what I prefer. Keeping it utterly simple, not double-jointed. And retaining majoritarianism.

If I wanted proportional representation, I’d simply endorse a parliamentary system. But I think that’s too much of a structural upheaval- I suspect that it would be terribly unpopular with most Americans. And I’m okay with that. I’m not sure I’d want a parliamentary system, myself. It could be that the simple two-ranked-choice model accomplishes everything I’d want as far as an electoral reform that would allow formerly marginalized third parties to compete against the Duopoly.

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By DaveZx3, December 9, 2009 at 1:14 am Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith, December 8 at 11:05 pm #

“Seeking power within a corrupt system with the intention of changing it is a dumb idea—sort of like throwing a few good apples into a barrel of rotten ones. The only way to bring about real change is to get a new barrel”

You post is full of holes, and I do not mean pot holes.

I am not buying into any straight democracy.  It could turn into the scariest thing you could ever imagine.  And I am not buying into a new constitution.  There is very, very little wrong with the one that we have. 

Your idea that the Supreme Court is undemocratic is absurd.  Your idea that only people in the military should vote to go to war is absurd. 

The US is not a democracy, it is a democratic republic.  This means that the ultimate power is not in the hands of a majority, but in the hands of individuals, sovereign individuals with inalienable rights which cannot be infringed upon by voting or majorities.  (theoretically)

Could you imagine a straight democracy in the US?  As soon as the right got in power with 51% of the vote, they would pass a law to outlaw the left.  Without a Supreme Court, they could all be locked up forever. Never to vote again.

THank God the founders were smart enought to realize the dangers of democracy in its rawest form, power of the majority over the minority.  And they put a checks and balances system in effect to at least have a chance at limiting the abuses of the power of the majority.

The problem is not in the system, but it the execution of the system.  The lazy and self-serving electorate and the crooks they put in power to bring home the pork. 

If you want to clean up the system, quit blaming the crooked politicians and start blaming the sovereign individuals, (all of us) entrusted with keeping the system clean. 

It is as simple as voting for someone new everytime you get the chance, (quit voting for people with money) and no matter how good they are, vote for someone new the next time.  The good-old-boy, pork barrel political machine would die in its tracks. 

But we don’t do that.  We elect them over and over and over, until they finally become egotistical enough to think they actually have power.  Of course that is what every local electorate really wants, powerful politicians to bring home the pork.

It is all about the self-serving character flaws of the human ego.  Every system becomes corrupt.  Look around the world and quit complaining about America. 

Just elect good, moneyless, new people every chance you get and the system will start to work much, much better.

And remember, in politics, good character is far more important than intellectualism, technical knowledge or experience. 

And a rich man should never be elected.  You already know who his friends are.

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By truedigger3, December 9, 2009 at 12:59 am Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man wrote:
“No offense intended but I have to wonder aloud if you understand what a practical socialistic central government is.  These actions you describe are the epitome of an exercise in social-economic engineering.  Free market capitalism would have allowed the banks, GM/Chrysler, and AIG to fail. 

President Bush, clearly an advocate of the free market, talked of suspending the market system in order to save it.  The “Shrub” knew what he was doing in his last few months was nothing akin to the free market.”
____________________________________________________

Exactly. It was socialism for the losses and capitalism for the profits of the ruling elites. Ha.
Your “shrub” started the Wall St. bail-outs and gave Wall St. hundreds of billion of dollars, didn’t he?.
You didn’t say a word at that time!
It is all whatever work for the benefits of the rulling elites,  whether it is socialism, capitalism, religious theocracy or outright atheisim!!
Whatever “theory” that benefits the ruling elites will be used and justified.!

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By Amon Drool, December 9, 2009 at 12:44 am Link to this comment

cabdriver…i do agree.  irvoting would provide a wedge to weaken the present duopoly. u write: “once that’s in, at the very next election…”  at the very next election!?!!  irv is a fine idea and even has a bit of magic-bullet possibility to it.  but it’s not exactly in the forefront of american political consciousness.  cities will first adopt it and then maybe states will allow it to be used in choosing their representatives to our federal legislature.  but i’m pretty sure this is gonna be a slow, drawn-out process..

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By Subtext, December 9, 2009 at 12:25 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges:

I appreciate your consistently bristling anger, but I’d like to suggest you direct it towards a more appropriate enemy.

Having heard you make similar generalizations about liberals during your booktour and radio spots a book or two back, it makes me wonder if you’re not protesting a tad too much.  (If I were your therapist or sponsor, I might suggest you try to examine where that resentment really comes from.)

I suspect most of us appreciate your demonstrable bona fides, but it doesn’t mean you have a more noble heart - it may just mean you’ve had more opportunities.  Most of the rest of the country is terrified to lose their job, and the healthcare that would go with it.  Many in this country have gaped into the heart of no-safety-net and there’s a good chance that they’ve been cowed into submission. What you’re detecting may not be simply lily-livered liberals, but may instead reflect a populace both seduced by status and intimidated by corporate America’s capriciousness.

But in the meantime, keep up the good fight.  I just hope it doesn’t turn into everybody.

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By Scott McLarty, December 8, 2009 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment

Regarding popular fears about creeping socialism, I recommend Sam Smith’s essay in The Progressive Review on Nov. 15 titled “A Brief Guide to Avoiding Socialism” (http://prorev.com/2009/11/flotsam-jetsam-brief-guide-to-avoiding.html).  Especially the final paragraph:

“People who complain about the threat of socialism remind me of the man from Virginia who went to college on the GI Bill and bought his first house with a VA loan. When a hurricane struck he got federal disaster aid. When he got sick he was treated at a veteran’s hospital. When he was laid off he received unemployment insurance and then got a SBA loan to start his own business. His bank funds were protected under federal deposit insurance laws. When he retired he went on Social Security and Medicare. The other day he got into his car, drove the federal interstate to the railroad station, parked in the public lot, took Amtrak to Washington and went to Capitol Hill to ask his congressman to get the government off his back.”

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By Inherits The Wind, December 8, 2009 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment

Hey tough guy.  Honor your compadres and walk the talk.  Why don’t you lead by example (as all good soldiers do) and start something.  You have a platform.  What to do?  Perhaps start by connecting with like minded people to brainstorm a plan of action.  We the people don’t have money, but we have votes and the internet.  I would like to volunteer to help get things going.

You can contact me at my Facebook page.

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By Samson, December 8, 2009 at 11:13 pm Link to this comment

OK, I agree that liberals are useless.

So, lets kick them the heck out of power.  Start now.  Organize now. 

They get elected on the votes of people who want real change, which of course they never deliver.  So, the answer is for the people who want real change to stop electing them.

The 2010 elections are fast approaching.  We can kick a lot of these jerks out of Congress by running independent campaigns in their races.  Once this bunch loses, the next bunch will give us more respect.

Stop voting Democrat.

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By Anarcissie, December 8, 2009 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, December 8 at 7:06 pm:
‘The process of moderates being dumped on by idealists/extremists is happening at a record setting volume.

Is it any consolation to you that the Republicans have the same problem?’

In the case of the Democrats, such of the Left as were still associated with the Democrats were unceremoniously dumped in May ‘08, as soon as Mr. O had the nomination sewed up.  It’s taken them quite a while to catch their breath.

As for the Republicans, I thought they all loved Sarah Palin and thought she was hot or something.

“But I really don’t wa-ant to know….”

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By Anarcissie, December 8, 2009 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

Socialism is the ownership and control of the means of production by the workers.  Government control was not part of the original concept.

The proper term for a corporate state whose economy is controlled by the central government is “fascist”.

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By Go Right Young Man, December 8, 2009 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

Truedigger3, - “no president helped Wall St. and the bankers and the corporate class more than Obama who gave them hundreds of billions of dollars of hand-out ie bail-outs. What kind of a socialist is that?”


No offense intended but I have to wonder aloud if you understand what a practical socialistic central government is.  These actions you describe are the epitome of an exercise in social-economic engineering.  Free market capitalism would have allowed the banks, GM/Chrysler, and AIG to fail. 

President Bush, clearly an advocate of the free market, talked of suspending the market system in order to save it.  The “Shrub” knew what he was doing in his last few months was nothing akin to the free market.

-

How you imagine I would think FDR a communist I do not know.  You didn’t get that from reading anything I’ve written.

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By Ouroborus, December 8, 2009 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

ardee, December 8 at 2:36 pm #
Ouroborus, December 8 at 10:31 am

You, with whom I have no problem, nor ever once had
in fact, advance only pessimism. What purpose does
this serve to motivate, energize or resolve??
============================================
Likewise me, you. Thanks.

Hmm; pessimism or recognition of the reality of the
present situation?
Was it the Fireside Theater who said; “I Think We’re
All Bozos on This Bus.”?
Now, the question is; who’s driving the bus? IMO,
it’s not us. Some still think they’re driving and
will act accordingly. I know I’m not driving and am
acting/speaking accordingly.
Next question; Can we be the driver again?
My answer: Not as long as we continue our present
behavior.
Next question: Can we change our behavior?
Answer: IMO, yes, but it’s not likely.

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By cabdriver, December 8, 2009 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“What are we waiting for?”

Speaking for myself: a balloting system that isn’t rigged so that third parties aren’t consigned to the role of “spoiler”. A balloting system capable of registering everyone’s first choice, not merely those who vote for the status quo Duopoly parties. 

The American system is designed for majoritarianism, not parliamentary coalitions. I can accept that, as long as the ballot is also capable of registering some dynamism, and providing an accurate tally of where the country is really at politically.

As it stands now- who knows how many Democrats or Republicans actually prefer an entirely different political party, as their top choice? The fear of the Spoiler Effect herds what is literally an UNTOLD NUMBER of voter toward choosing the least worst of two unsatisfactory choices. And that is not a function of “sheeplike” behavior, or “craven fealty”, or any other mischaracterization.

Neither is staying home and refusing to vote necessarily a function of “apathy”, given the present structure of the ballot. A lot of non-voters- maybe even the majority of them- are simply looking at the same old menu that always seems to boil down to one of two stale choices, and saying, “I’m not hungry.”

As for registering a vote for a third party- under the present balloting system, it’s neither “heroic” or “self-indulgent.” But it IS futile. It does register dissent- but it does so at the risk of tilting an election to the party and candidate that one wants LEAST to maintain power.  And it does so within a framework that encourages an UNTOLD NUMBER of people who share the same political leanings to either stay home, or to shelve their actual preferences in order to cast an unenthusiastic vote that’s more often aimed AGAINST a candidates than it is in favor of one.

All of those options inherently suck.

However, they are all rationally defensible adaptive responses to a system that’s rigged to provide the illusion that Americans overwhelmingly favor one of the two Duopoly parties.

There’s no use in people getting into a circular firing squad over this, when NONE of those choices is satisfactory-

until the balloting system changes.

To repeat my earlier post:

It’s the structure of the balloting system that’s neutralizing 3rd parties in American politics.

We NEED 2-choice instant runoff voting.

Nothing more complicated than that- just “who you really want”, and “who you’ll settle for”- and if both of those choices are the same, fine.

Once that’s in, at the very next election, the electorate will receive a snapshot of our actual political makeup, across the board.

And after that, we can take it from there.

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By truedigger3, December 8, 2009 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man wrote:
“If you look at any poll conducted over the past 18 years you’ll see that an overwhelming majority of voters reject that form of socialism.”
_____________________________________________________

It seems that any attempt to curb the influence of the corporate/moneyed class, you and your ilk call it socialism! 
If you have lived during Franklin Rosevelt time, you would have called him a communist.!!
In a previous thread, you called Obama a socialist, although no president helped Wall St. and the bankers and the corporate class more than Obama who gave them hundreds of billions of dollars of hand-out ie bail-outs. What kind of a socialist is that??
You use the word socialim loosely for two purposes:
1) To derail any attempt for reform.
2) As a smoke screen to cover a real capitist at work helping the capitalist class for example Obama!
Very clever.!!

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By truedigger3, December 8, 2009 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

Re:By Scott McLarty, December 8 at 9:55 pm #


Excellent post. Thank you.

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By Mark E. Smith, December 8, 2009 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

What Arundhati Roy in her most recent book, Grasshoppers; Field Notes on Democracy, is as applicable to the United States as it is to India:

“Personally I don’t believe that entering the electoral fray is a path to alternative politics ... because I believe that strategically battles must be waged from positions of strength, not weakness. The target of the dual assault of neo-liberalism and communal fascism are the poor and the minority communities. As liberalism drives its wedge between the rich and the poor, between India Shining and India, it becomes increasingly absurd for any mainstream political party to pretend to represent the interests of both the rich and the poor, because the interests of one can only be represented at the cost of the other… A political party that represents the poor will be a poor party. A party with very meagre funds. Today it isn’t possible to fight an election without funds. Putting a couple of well-known social activists into Parliament is interesting, but not really politically meaningful. Individual charisma, personality politics, cannot effect radical change.”

Seeking power within a corrupt system with the intention of changing it is a dumb idea—sort of like throwing a few good apples into a barrel of rotten ones.

The only way to bring about real change is to get a new barrel. You can’t demand a new system as long as you’re continuing to acquiesce, consent to, and vote for the old one.

The question isn’t where you stand on the emotional hot-button issues, but who do you think should make those decisions for YOU? Congress? The Supreme Court? The President? Or should you have a direct vote on issues that concern you?

If the issue doesn’t concern you, like General Smedley Butler said, you don’t get to vote on it. If you’re not in the military, you don’t get to vote on declaring war. If you don’t pay taxes, you don’t get to vote on funding war. If you’re not female, you don’t get to vote on abortion. If you aren’t in school and don’t have kids in school, you don’t get to vote on funding for education.

And foreign-owned corporations are not entitled to the Constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. Corporations can’t vote, so they should have no right to donate money or have lobbyists or do anything else to attempt to influence legislation. Direct democracy means that people get a direct vote on issues of concern to them. Corporations aren’t people, they can’t register to vote, so they have no place in politics. None.

The Supreme Court is incompatible with the most fundamental principle of democracy, that the supreme power over government be vested in the hands of the people. Unelected partisan clowns have no business meddling in the affairs of citizens, and a Constitution that gave them that power did not establish a democratic form of government. We need a Constitution that does.

It is incompatible with the most fundamental principles of democracy for a President or Congress to be able to declare (or command an undeclared) war. Only the people who will have to pay for it and fight in it have that right. A Constitution that gave Congress that power did not establish a democratic form of government. We need a Constitution that does.

It is incompatible with the most fundamental principles of democracy for people not to be able to hold their representatives accountable by voting to directly and immediately remove them from office for malfeasance. A Constitution that did not give us that right did not establish a democratic form of government. We need a Constitution that does.

Only when we grow up and stop delegating our power to people we cannot hold accountable, will we be capable of self-governance.

If my neighborhood has potholes, I trust my neighbors, conservatives AND liberals, to vote to fix them, but I don’t trust ANY of our representatives to do so.

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By Go Right Young Man, December 8, 2009 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment

Scott McLarty,

A third party candidate in the next election?  Perhaps.  Green Party?  Not for generations.  If you look at any poll conducted over the past 18 years you’ll see that an overwhelming majority of voters reject that form of socialism. 

This does not appear to be a case of Corporate American manipulation.  As many ills as there are in corporate culture we have every reason to believe the Green Party platform is plainly and simply unattractive to 90% of the largest voting block (seniors), and 78% of all in the 34 to 65 range.  That leaves only those under 34 (41% pro-green). 

Unfortunately most Green advocates fail to even vote.

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By Scott McLarty, December 8, 2009 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

What are we waiting for? Go Green!

It’s not enough to bemoan the betrayals of the Democrats and the craven hypocrisies of liberals. There are alternatives, which too often get brushed into the margins.  Chris Hedges mentions Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney as evidence that no one was compelled to vote for Obama last year.  (Hedges is right, Obama the candidate never ran on a progressive antiwar platform, despite liberal wishful thinking.)

Nader ran for President as an independent—a worthy campaign, but independent runs are a dead end.  Cynthia McKinney was the Green Party’s nominee.  The Green Party (http://www.gp.org) has been bumping along for over a decade trying to establish itself as a genuine alternative to the parties of war & corporate money.

Is there any doubt now that the US desperately needs an independent political party that takes no corporate money, that embraces basic principles of ecological and economic justice, and that stands up for human rights and freedoms against the encroaching authoritarian imperial state and the power of corporate elites represented by the Dems & Repubs?

What we need is a group of writers like Chris Hedges and other prominent progressive leaders to stand up together and declare “That’s it, there’s no more hope for the Democratic Party.  We’re going to help build the Greens into a major party, to compete with the corporate parties and replace Democrats and Republicans in office.”

What we need is a few dozen courageous progressives who call themselves Democrats to do what Cynthia McKinney did a few years ago—bolt the Dems and help create a new party for the 21st century.  Dennis Kucinich, John Conyers, Barbara Lee, & al.—stop wasting time!

What we need is a few million voters who vow: “Not one more vote for the parties of war & corporate money.”

There are external obstacles and the usual internal squabbles in the Green Party (as in all political groups with a wide and diverse membership), but these are surmountable.  There’s no law that says the US must be limited to two corporate-money parties for the rest of history.  Is there anything drearier than another four years with a Republican in the White House?  Yes—another century of politics limited to D vs R.  Unless we change the political landscape, there can be no hope at all for universal health care, livable wages & democratic workplaces, effective steps to curb global warming, non-imperial foreign policies, and a lot of other things.

Every time Dems capitulate, the GOP and the center of political gravity in the US lurch further to the right.  This has happened steadily for the past couple of generations.  The Republican Party of Palin, Limbaugh, and the Tea-Bagger crowd is on the verge of fascism (a peculiar American variety, but fascism nonetheless—Foxism?).  And the Democrats, led by the Clintons & Obama and ever seeking that phony middle ground, are right next to them.  Those, we’re told, are our only choices.

No they’re not.  With a concentrated effort, we can have a real alternative party in the next decade.  We can build on the Green Party’s already existing groundwork.  Think of the shock to the US political system if we got two or three or more Greens elected to Congress in 2010.

Do we want national health care (Single-Payer/Medicare For All)?  Do we want an end to the Iraq & Afghanistan-Pakistan wars and multi-hundred-billion-dollar handouts to financial corporations, military contractors, etc.?  Do we want to see Taft-Hartley repealed and Glass-Steagall restored?  Do we at least want a party in Congress and our state legislatures that won’t retreat from these goals?  What are we waiting for?

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

gerard, this is key “Another huge factor, obviously, is that media owners and backers support the right wing “conservative, militaristic status quo” factor and prejudice readers/viewers against movement toward the left… That means the left is not entering a level playing field.”

Exactly! so why don’t we acknowledge that huge handicap…

and fight extra hard to mobilize the left, because we have to! (instead of all the devastating bitterness and swipes at Obama)

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By Virginia777, December 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

gerard, I am so with you! “Why don’t we look at the roots together and understand how to effect changes instead of hammering each other?”

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