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No Justice in Kafka’s America

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Posted on Jun 12, 2011
Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

In Franz Kafka’s short story “Before the Law” a tireless supplicant spends his life praying for admittance into the courts of justice. He sits outside the law court for days, months and years. He makes many attempts to be admitted. He sacrifices everything he owns to sway or bribe the stern doorkeeper. He ages, grows feeble and finally childish. He is told as he nears death that the entrance was constructed solely for him and it will now be closed.

Justice has become as unattainable for Muslim activists in the United States as it was for Kafka’s frustrated petitioner. The draconian legal mechanisms that condemn Muslim Americans who speak out publicly about the outrages we commit in the Middle East have left many, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, wasting away in supermax prisons. These citizens posed no security threat. But they dared to speak a truth about the sordid conduct of our nation that the state found unpalatable. And in the bipartisan war on terror, waged by Republicans and Democrats, this ugly truth in America is branded seditious. 

The best the U.S. government could offer as evidence of Fahad’s crimes was that an acquaintance who stayed in his apartment with him while he was a graduate student in London had raincoats, ponchos and waterproof socks in luggage at the apartment and that the acquaintance eventually delivered these to al-Qaida. But I doubt the government is overly concerned with a suitcase full of waterproof socks taken to Pakistan. The reason Fahad Hashmi was targeted was because, like the Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Al-Arian, he was fearless and zealous in his defense of those being bombed, shot, terrorized and killed throughout the Muslim world while he was a student at Brooklyn College. Fahad was deeply religious, and some of his views, including his praise of the Afghan resistance, were to me unpalatable, but he had a right to express these sentiments. More important, he had a right to expect freedom from persecution and imprisonment because of his opinions. Facing the possibility of a 70-year sentence in prison and having already spent four years in jail, much of it in solitary confinement, he accepted a plea bargain on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism.

It has been a year since his 15-year sentence was pronounced in a New York courtroom. He is now held in Guantanamo-like conditions in the supermax ADX [Administrative Maximum] facility in Florence, Colo. He is isolated in a small cell for 22 to 23 hours a day. He has only extremely limited contact with his mother, father and brother, often going weeks without any communication. Between his transfer to Florence last August and this March he was permitted only one phone call. The rule of law in America, especially if you are Muslim, fits Kafka’s grim parody. The tyranny we impose on those held in Guantanamo, Bagram and the secret CIA “black sites” we impose on ourselves. This is and always has been the disease of empire. Empire imports the crude and brutal tools of control and violence back to the homeland. It creates internal as well as external colonies. 

We no longer have freedom; there is only the appearance of freedom. We are consumed by an endless and vague war on terror in which the perfidiousness of our enemy, whose number, location and nature are never clearly defined, justifies the shredding of constitutional rights, torture, kidnapping, detentions without charges or trials and an occult-like battle against an absolute evil. And if you think the state intends to limit itself to the persecution of Muslims, especially once there is an increase in domestic unrest and instability, you know little about human history.   

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I spoke Saturday night to Fahad Hashmi’s father, Syed Anwar Hashmi. The elder Hashmi came to the United States from Pakistan when Fahad was 3 and his other son, Faisal, was 4. He worked for more than two decades as an accountant for the city of New York. He came, as most immigrants have, for his children. He believed in America, in its fairness, its chances for opportunity, its freedoms. And then it all crumbled when the state proved as capricious and cruel as the Pakistani dictatorship he had left behind. On the day of his son’s arrest, he says, “my American dream became an American nightmare.”

Three law enforcement officials appeared at his home in Flushing, Queens, on June 6, 2006, to inform him that Fahad, who had been in London completing a master’s degree in international relations, had been arrested at Heathrow Airport on terrorism charges. Fahad, after fighting the order for 11 months, was the first American citizen extradited under the post-9/11 laws. He was taken in May 2007 to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan and placed in solitary confinement. 

“I came to this country from Pakistan nearly 30 years ago, in 1982 with my wife and two young boys,” Fahad’s father said. “Coming from a Third World country, we were full of hope and looked towards America for liberty and opportunity. I had an American dream to work hard and give my sons good educations. I worked as an assistant accountant for the city of New York, six days a week, nine hours a day, including overtime, to support my family and to send both my kids through college. We all became U.S. citizens, and my sons fulfilled my dreams by completing their undergraduate and postgraduate education. I was very proud of them.”


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By radson, June 19, 2011 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

NG:A Solipsism for the the Elites’would be an accurate description ,but not ‘my’ philosophical understanding.Nevertheless the introduction of the ‘word’ has sparked a certain interest ,which in essence is based on the Self of which some posters have a very livid arguement .

cheers

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By Night-Gaunt, June 18, 2011 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Now that is a solipsism.

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By radson, June 18, 2011 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

When the Meaning of Life becomes Meaningless only then will it become Meaningful.

Cheers

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By Lisa Simeone, June 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

The hypocrisy of this country and especially this
president are staggering. 

Our chickens are coming home to roost.  The abuses
we’ve been inflicting for so long on others around the
world are now being inflicted on us here at home.  And
if people think those abuses will stop at the purported
Other—in this case, American Muslims—they’re
crazy.

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By FRTothus, June 16, 2011 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

Fear.

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By b.b., June 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lady Liberty’s true status.

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By Grady Lee Howard, June 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So,if your judicial system becomes criminal the best thing to do is plan a party. I’ve always preferred those spontaneous parties that just kind of combust on their own from the heat and pressure. So many people have told me the Internet is a good organizing tool but it hasn’t happened yet. Why would you need to raise funds and meet in a convention center and get the approval of Mom and Dad if it worked? And where are the “actions”? Suppose everyone cut off their on a hot Saturday and went outside to read under a tree? The coal cars en route to the generation plant would have to slow and the dynamite bill for mountaintop removal would drop. Would anyone get the message? Because it’s all the same wires, just like all the same pipes, and peeing in the sink. If you can’t follow the money: Follow the wires. Hint-BLA just released report showing concentration of wealth and income are at a record high and accelerating.

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By TAO Walker, June 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

That “self”-appointed dogger of this Old Indian’s cyber-footsteps, “katsteevns,”
is again baying-at his/her own false ‘scent’....or maybe at the ‘hungry ghosts’ 
always hovering ‘round his/her own diminishing half-life.  Nevertheless, and
despite the false pathos s/he pretends to feel for the Hashmi family in-
“America,” the long-time sub rosa terrorist-regime CONfiguration of “these
United States,” now divested entirely of even its flimsy disguise as “self”-
proclaimed “last best hope of men on earth,” has been ‘written’  (from the
moment of the damned thing’s misCONception over the dead bodies and looted
lands of Turtle Island’s Native Peoples of ALL kinds) plain for all the world to
see.

That so many otherwise sensible people, from also occupied and abused
countries, let their “self’ dazzle them with the glittery treacle of ‘comfort’ and
CONvenience, the false promise of “freedom” and an “opportunity” to “get rich”
doing the tormentors’ dirty-work here, is perhaps lamentable.  That doesn’t
change the Natural Fact, though, that what people are willing (even eager) to
inflict upon ‘others’ will (usually much sooner than expected) be visited upon
theirown"self” (often amped-up CONsiderably by whatever
ideological/institutional/technical ‘enhancements’ have been put in-place in
the meantime) through the “power” of some ‘agency’ effectively beyond even
the crumbling illusion of their “CONtrol.”  There you have, in a nuts’hell, this
“USA Today.”

The plight of the Hashmi family is real and heartrending, even if they might’ve
been a bit more careful about what they wished-for, amidst the undoubtedly
trying CONditions they were having to endure in their own Native Land.  It is, as
“katseevns” says so sarcastically, “sadly unfortunate” that they neglected, in
their desire to escape the depredations of their own home-grown police state,
to exercise the due-diligence that would’ve made it clear to them that
(underneath its fraying-but-still-seductive facade) “America” was and is
essentially no different from the equally made-up (also by European-based
Christo-capitalist colonizers….the colon being where everything not suitable
for “energizing” the privileged corpus gets turned into “shit”)) “nation” called
“Pakistan.

Cold and hard though they may be, those are just the facts, Sisters and
Brothers.

HokaHey!

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By Leefeller, June 15, 2011 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

Far as I can tell the alternatives are limited between the two parties. To know the sincerity of the Democrats seems like a gamble, but to know the Republicans seems a sure thing.

I will take my chances with the Democrats, if I was in Wisconson I would be livid and active. 

The Republicans captured many states and in what I call fascist mental minded management, they have taken their jobs as a Venita against the populous, with what seems a minority in support?  This to me seems like Fascism in the closest definable sense.

The concept of representative government does not mean when someone wins by a small or large margin they become king or lord over the people. Well, it is not supposed to mean that.

But this is what has happened in the Republican states, against the will of the people, it appears the Republicans have instituted their benefactors agendas, from union busting, to privatizing everything including the kitchen sink, seemingly to gut government? Child labor laws gutted, making more hoops for voters.  Taking over municipality’s and school districts with no local involvement or rights?  This is happening right here in the USA. One more thing, in Wisconson raising taxes on the poor and middle class and cutting taxes for the wealthy, I do not know about you, but I smell corruptions, lack of integrity and when I hear Republicans quoting Ann Rand or saying it is not nice, but we need to take care of ourselves, we cannot help everybody seems to be the new way of dissing socialism?

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By David J. Cyr, June 15, 2011 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

All the good that Democrats never do when they can is the material evidence of what those who vote for the corporate party’s Democrats actually want:

More war.

More SickCare.

More concentration of wealth.

No timely responsible response to the climate change that will make our planet no longer human habitable.

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By katsteevns, June 15, 2011 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

TAO Walker,

“Had the Hashmis come instead to Turtle Island, and sought
succor among Native Peoples here, they might not’ve been any better-off
materially….but they would certainly not now be suffering the loss of a son to
the allmericancellblock of the “global” gulag.

“All-in-all, it’s just another brick in The Wall.””

Oh, and how sadly unfortunate that you couldn’t get the message to them on time, oh Sacred Quoter of the British Rock Band Who You Fail to Cite.

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By JDmysticDJ, June 15, 2011 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

O(b)zerkMichael

In order not to fall prey to your moronic obfuscation of Hedges’ excellent article, I’ll be “economical.” You are a moron!

Et Al :

Speaking of morons, Michael Calvin, and David J. Cyr reveal themselves to be not just morons, but fanatical morons. David J. Cyr reveals himself to be more than just a fanatical moron. His juxtaposition of shit, chocolate, and Obama reveals him to be something else; something very vile and despicable.

I have referred to Obama several times as a war criminal, a corporatist, an American exceptionalist, and metaphorically as a creep, but I have refrained from using disgusting racially tinged descriptions. As much as I despise those who possess a fascist mentality, I have not referred to such moronic sub-human cretins as pieces of shit. Call me whatever, but I am quite proud of not resorting to such mindless, hate obsessed descriptions. I’ll concede that calling someone a moronic sub-human cretin is not civil or polite, but it is a step above calling someone a piece of shit, don’t you think? Calling someone a piece of shit is thoughtless, don’t you think?

Enough about shit let me comment about this little feud between Calvin and Cyr. It makes me laugh out loud; it’s making me laugh out loud right now. Calvin and Cyr allow their hatred of Democrats, nay not just Democrats, but progressives as well, to cloud their thinking to point of nihilistic self destruction, or at least the destruction of goals they claim to espouse. Actually, their only real goal appears to be the destruction of traitorous progressives, like Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore, Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky, Howard Sinn, and anyone else who is willing to accept some change as opposed to no change.

“Its mission will be to get people to **NOT** vote for any **REAL** alternative.”

I understand that the this comment is intended to indicate that Democrats are not a **real** alternative to the most fascistic, which only suggests that Cyr and Calvin don’t have a clue about what has been, and is, happening in the halls of governments: National, State and Local. The reason for their not having a clue is because they are obsessed fanatics, who have a total lack of political acuity, and are blind to political reality because of their fanaticism.

Fortunately people such as Cyr and Calvin are only a tiny minority, within a minority. Personally, I wish the aforementioned “minority” were a majority, but having some political acuity, and an ability to recognize political reality, I am aware of this minority status. Fortunately for Cyr and Calvin there is room in this minority, hopefully to become a majority, for such as them. After all, they are good for a few laughs, and amused head shakings. If I thought such as they were a real political threat to achieving mutual goals, I’d probably call them “doo doo heads” or some such thing.

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By bodhidharma, June 15, 2011 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

To call someone a leftist and use that to dismiss what he is saying as biased is just a way of avoiding dealing with what he has said.  THAT is bias.  It is an argument without real substance.  The article illustrates a huge injustice that has become institutionalized in this country.  The whole concept of right and left is just so immature.  It implies that everyone just swallows the ideology of others and can’t think for themselves.

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By thecrow, June 15, 2011 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

At the start on Tuesday, Mr. Obama got a big burst of applause when he donned the FBI cap given to him by the bureau’s director, Robert Mueller.

On a more sober note, the president warned of a long struggle against al Qaeda terrorists.

He repeatedly said the FBI protects both U.S. security and ideals, rejecting what he called a “false choice” between preserving one or the other.

“We know that al Qaeda is not constrained by a constitution or by allegiance to anything other than a hateful ideology and a determination to kill as many innocents as possible,” Mr. Obama said. “But what makes the United States of America so special is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and our ideals, not just when it’s easy but when it’s hard.”

http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/look-into-your-heart/

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By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., June 15, 2011 at 4:39 am Link to this comment

Well yeah, in America we have the law; and we also had
justice.
Now we just have the law! To be interpreted by any
yahoo in charge; justice is nowhere to be found…

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By David J. Cyr, June 14, 2011 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE, Michael Calvin RN:

“You are missing their intention to run as a Democrat.”
____________

Actually, no, I’m not missing it, because I’m making good use of my observation of the constant duplicity of liberals (aka “progressives”) from the JFK years through to the Obama years.

I do not doubt your sincerity Michael, but your Freudian slip that I quoted above indicates that your unconscious self is much more aware of reality than your conscious self. Desperate hopefulness can betray those having the best of intentions.

Yes, the GP has been decimated by progressives, and the GP is chockablock full of unreconstructed liberals. And yes, that’s really disgusting. But, that’s a measure of the success of the progressive Democrats, who have used every dirty trick to sabotage the GP over the past ten years. But there’s still that inconvenient question. Why are progressives mimicking the GP’s platform, while continuing to support Democrat candidates?

It’s been the job of progressives to exterminate any and every left-spectrum political alternative to the corporate party, since the corporate state was produced from the Civil War. They are exceptionally good at what they do, because they’ve had a lot a practice; and they don’t need to have any new tricks because their old tricks keep on working every time.

The historic function of progressives has been to preserve societal rot; by promising to paint over filthy rot with just enough “clean” temporary reform needed to prevent people from rising up to remove the rot. That’s how progressives co-opt movements. The progressives are now what they’ve always been — ruthless thugs of corporate state.

When Kerry’s campaign revealed how incredibly disingenuous Democrats were, the liberals formed the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) to maintain their myth, and thereby managed to herd those disenchanted with Democrats into still voting for whatever creatures the corporate party’s Democrat faction shit out, like Obama, that piece of (D) shit wrapped in chocolate.

Now, after the Democrat controlled Congress and Obama’s presidency have so transparently revealed how very deeply depraved Democrats are, the progressives need to MoveOn to a new even more devious Democrat covert operation. This New Progressive Alliance (NPA) can be expected to function in the same covert corporate party collaborating degenerate manner that United for Peace and Justice has. But the NPA’s mission won’t be to get people to vote for the “electable” Democrat, like UFPJ did. Its mission will be to get people to **NOT** vote for any **REAL** alternative.

9 of the 10 nominees on the NPA’s list of preferred candidates to 2012 challenge Obama are Democrats. The NPA’s top 5 preferences are all Democrats. If those NPA preferred candidates were real they wouldn’t be Democrats. If the NPA was real it wouldn’t have any current corporate party members on its list of preferred POTUS candidates.

The 1st step needed is to stop free-will collaborating with the corporate party. There’s no such thing as a good Democrat.

A “progressive” is just someone pretending to not be the fucking liberal Democrat that they are.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

They’re having help in Libya but not in Baharain and Syria where they are getting slaughtered. Saudi Arabia is helping their rich neighbor Baharian to quell rebellion in any that might seek to burn in their own oil rich fiefdom. Politics especially energy based politics over human freedom. People can urn to be free and they can lose to. Remember China in 1989.

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By OzarkMichael, June 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

JDMystic, my first post is an accusation, an opening statement. i didnt give any specifics.

I did that for three reasons. First, I was being up-front with my opinion while introducing my concepts with a broad outline.

Second, my accusation gives you an opportunity to give it some thought and investigate for yourself whether there is a problem with Hedge’s approach. Thats the best way to learn something. Its something you have to want and if you accomplish it yourself then you really learned something.

And third, I dont like to waste too much argument and effort on closed minds, so i save the good stuff. If a person is curious and asks questions i give all i have, otherwise i keep a great reserve. Normally I keep all the facts to myself and introduce a little quantum only when i see little interest or a good sharp enjoyable intellectual disgreement.

In your case I see neither. So you get nothing from me except my opening accusation, which by the way, you richly deserve.

If you are already believing that Hedges has proved his case, then there is no fact, proof, evidence, or idea that will make any difference. I am not going to spend hours putting information together only for you to overlook it or ignore it or forget it. See how economical that is?

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By diamond, June 14, 2011 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

“Why will they fight for something they haven’t experienced before?”

Well, that could be a big miscalculation on the part of the military industrial complex. After all Gaddafi has been an unelected dictator for over forty years: that didn’t stop the youth of his country from rising up and being prepared to take up arms and die for the idea of democracy and elections. Same in Egypt. Same in Yemen. Same in Syria and Bahrain. Democracy is a virus and anyone can catch it - even if they’ve never actually experienced it before. You can’t kill an idea even if you can kill people and the idea of democracy is always there, however hard the Pentagon and the corporations try to kill it.

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By ControlledDemolition, June 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Hey,

I’m a radical.  I think we should nationalize Public Radio.

And, no, restoring the Bill of Rights is not a very progressive agenda, wait for the compromising dogs to start claiming that!

Speaking of rollover dogs, Obama is so weak and pathetic, it makes me want to t’row up.  He’s just not up to the job; he’s a puppet for the oil/military and wallstreeters—that’s why his advisor/handlers like him so much.  He can be played.

Oh, yuck, here it comes ... green vomit in a bucket.

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By M Henri Day, June 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

Land of the free, home of the brave…

Henri

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By Night-Gaunt, June 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

One thing our schools are definitely preparing the next generations for is a police state where they have no rights. Why will they fight for something they haven’t experienced before?

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By Michael Cavlan RN, June 14, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

David

You are missing their intention to run as a Democrat.

It is not to push or prod the Dems. It is NOT like Dennis (Airplane Ride on healthcare) Kucinich, to provide political cover for the corporate corrupted, pro-war Democratic Party.

It is to EXPOSE the Dems for the frauds that they are.

That message is resonating.

Hell if it was any of that, trust me. I would have no part of that.

It is why I left the Green Party. They were a faux opposition to the faux opposition of the Democrats.

I speak from experience.

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By D.R. Zing, June 14, 2011 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

@ colin2626262

Does Mr. Hedges own a television network? Nope.

Does he work for the New York Times?  He did but he doesn’t.

Have you seen him on FOX or CNN or CBS or ABC or NBC as a guest or commentator?  I haven’t.

Sarah Palin. Full blown idiot.  Have you seen her on the network news, on you local news?  Have you read about her in your local paper?  You betcha.

Guy with hard bulge in his underwear—have you read about him?  Uh, yeah. 

Basketball player—by all accounts a good guy—who had couple bad games, he’s all over all the news all the time now. 

You don’t quite get it: You can speak out all you want in America, as long as a relatively small number of people hear you. 

You can speak out all you want, if you’re an idiot. “How sweeee-eee—eeeet to be an idiot.”

You can get all the coverage you want with an erection in your underwear.

Journalists will stake their fame on ripping you to pieces if you’re a good-hearted soul who plays a couple of bad basketball games. 

But, uh, if you’re against war, if you’re against corporations ruling the world banking system, if you’re against corporations determining which countries we invade, if you think ordinary citizens—such as yourself by the way—should have a greater legal standing than a corporation does, if, in other words you are not a Democrat or a Republican, then you have a damned hard time getting your free speech out. 

On the other hand, say you own or at what time or another you have owned, TV Guide, FOX News, and The Wall Street Journal, well lo and behold, you do have free speech and you can say anything you want, particularly because you are pro-war; you think corporations should rule the world banking system; you think corporations should determine which countries we invade; and you think the Fourteen Amendment to the United States Constitution, which was passed to allow former slaves the right to be citizens of the United States, also applies to corporations. So, now, corporations have the same rights to free speech, even though they are not human.  They can never be given the death penalty, even though you can.  Their civil rights can never be infringed, even though corporations generally live much longer than human beings and, by the way, are prevented by business laws from even considering human rights as they go about their business. 

So, yeah, sorry to defend Chris here. I’m sure he can do it better than me. But you seem a bit naive.  I could say more but I think The Clash said it best, something like this:

“You have the right to free speech. As long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it.”

Read up. Think up.  You have been raised in a country with the most effective propaganda machine in the history of humanity. To quote another musician (Roger Waters):  “You better watch out. There may be dogs about . . . things are not what they seem.”

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By Michael Cavlan RN, June 14, 2011 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

David and All

Which is precisely why I am so excited by what I see with the New Progressive Alliance.

With this group there is no equivocation. No pretense or attempt to “move the Dems to the left” or any “safe states or small local races only in Republican districts etc etc.

These folks have come to grips with the fact that the Democrats are just as much the enemy as their Senior partners in crime, the Republican Party.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, June 14, 2011 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

David Cyr

You are communicating with a former member and activist in the Green Party. I and others I know worked our tails off for the GP for over ten years.

I have been a candidate twice with their endorsement in Minnesota. Once as a state rep in 2002 and once as the US Senate candidate in 2006. I was an official Green Party Official in the 2004 Re-Count in Ohio 2004. I was at the 2004 Convention in Wisconsin and was one of the Minnesota Delegates for the National Green Party.

To make a very long story short, the Green Party has been decimated. With the notable exceptions of a few states like New York and a few others, it is dead.

It is my own studied opinion that what helped destroy it was an element in the GP that were committed to the ideals of accommodation with the Democratic Party.

Long story and there is a lot of info out there about the hows and why’s that the GP was killed. For any caring to look for it.

You just will not find it on “progressive” sites like The Nation or Moveon.org

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By Leefeller, June 14, 2011 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

Geebebiz on a cracker JD!...You are starting to sound just like OMMMMMM!

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By JDmysticDJ, June 14, 2011 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, more than anyone on Truthdig, has advocated anti-Left propaganda in previous comments. Anti-Left propaganda is not objective, it takes up the great reactionary cause, its only purpose is to persuade [sic] and not to inform.

Since OzarkMichael is a dimbulbed advocate for Anti-Left propaganda, one ought to have a healthy suspicion that OzarkMichael will take his own advice and write that way himself. Is it unreasonable to make that assumption?

OzarkMichael has already announced that the truth isnt [sic] what he is interested in. Instead he wants you to feel a certain way. Then you will speak and act on those feelings, unfettered by facts or deliberative thought which weighs evidence. So one ought to be cautious with OzarkMichael, with everything he writes, with everything he says. Is that unreasonable?


No, such caution is very reasonable.


Knowing this, the reader ought to take OzarkMichael with great hesitancy, with constant fact checking, with more than a grain of salt, and more than just a question or two.

OzarkMichael has already warned what he appeals to: [sic] it is your prejudice and your emotions.

Ozark Michael has already warned you where he wants to take you: [sic] the destination is corporatist tyranny.

There are two levels of Reactionaries who read and blog here at Truthdig. One type of Reactionary is so far gone that they dont [sic] even hesitate, they clap OzarkMichael on the back and go for his agitprop hook, line, and sinker. It is pure emotion. One needs only examine what they write here to see what actions that leads to.

The other type of Reactionary enjoys having his prejudice appealed to, but also enjoys feeling that he is an intellectual, that he is a cut above OzarkMichael’s agitprop. They have a double advantage, for they still get to cultivate their prejudice while expressing some independence from this or that aspect of what is said.

Not one attempt to refute what Hedges has written, only an attempt to discredit Hedges and the Left. Obfuscate much?

(Don’t bother replying to Ozark Michael’s obfuscation; if you do you’ll fall prey to his nonsense. He is a reactionary moron, his argument is convoluted gibberish, and he is a facilitator of all that Hedges has correctly condemned, death, torture, injustice, loss of freedoms, et al.)

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By David J. Cyr, June 14, 2011 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, from the New Progressive Alliance’s platform ranking:

1) Full Employment
2) Medicare for All
3) Civil Rights/Human Rights/Civil Liberties
4) Fair Trade?
5) End the Wars Now
6) Environmental Stewardship
7) Campaign Finance Reform
8) Regulate of the Constitutional Rights of Corporations
9) Peace
10) Living Wage / A Real Social Safety Net (tie)
_____________

There’s nothing there that NPA supporters couldn’t have gotten before, or get now, by simply leaving the corporate party and joining the Green Party.

QUESTION: Why is the NPA proposing to have a platform that the Green Party already has?

ANSWER: So people who are angry for having been deceived into voting for Obama will be sheep herded into voting for an even more devious Democrat; someone like Kucinich.

If liberal progressives actually wanted what they say they want they wouldn’t be registered as Democrats.

It’s always been the job of progressives to ensure that either none, or the least possible progress occurs.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, June 14, 2011 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

David Cyr and All

If the New Progressive Alliance was nothing but a sham to get progs “back into” the Dem Party or another sham organization, I would not promote it.

If you read further, they are VERY clear. Run someone to primary Obama. That person will publicly state that they will NOT support Obama. (unlike Kucinich) That they already know that the Obama will buy the nomination.

The person will PUBLICLY announce that either
a. They will run against Obama in the general or
b. Support any progressive who runs against him.

The NPA are very clear.

They KNOW that the Dems are the problem just as much as the Repubs. Unlike Kucinich, they are public i walking their talk.

They are the real deal.

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By katsteevns, June 14, 2011 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

Has anyone seen the screwing these people are getting?!?

City Government demands all keys to properties belonging to Cedar Falls residents.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFCLiij0CBA&feature=player_embedded#at=146

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By TAO Walker, June 14, 2011 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

“Leefeller” for king!

....of “The Road”?

HokaHey!

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By OzarkMichael, June 14, 2011 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges, more than anyone on Truthdig, has advocated Far-Left Journalism in previous articles. Far Left Journalism is not objective, it takes up the great revolutionary cause, its only purpose is to pursuade and not to inform.

Since Hedges is a forceful advocate for Leftist propaganda, one ought to have a healthy suspicion that Hedges will take his own advice and write that way himself. Is it unreasonable to make that assumption?

Hedges has already announced that the truth isnt what he is interested in. Instead he wants you to feel a certain way. Then you will speak and act on those feelings, unfettered by facts or deliberative thought which weighs evidence. So one ought to be cautious with Hedges, with everything he writes, with everything he says. Is that unreasonable?

No, such caution is very reasonable.

Knowing this, the reader ought to take Chris Hedges with great hesitancy, with constant fact checking, with more than a grain of salt, and more than just a question or two.

Hedges has already warned what he appeals to: it is your prejudice and your emotions.

Hedges has already warned you where he wants to take you: the destination is radicalism.

There are two levels of Leftist who read and blog here at Truthdig. One type of Leftist is so far gone that they dont even hesitate, they clap Hedges on the back and go for his agitprop hook, line, and sinker. It is pure emotion. One needs only examine what they write here to see what actions that leads to.

The other type of Leftist enjoys having his prejudice appealed to, but also enjoys feeling that he is an intellectual, that he is a cut above Hedge’s agitprop. They have a double advantage, for they still get to cultivate their prejudice while expressing some independence from this or that aspect of what is said.

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By David J. Cyr, June 14, 2011 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, from the New Progressive Alliance’s Home Page:

“The challenge begins at the beginning, of course, in the Iowa caucuses. Small but determined groups manage to stand “uncommitted,” rather than support Barack Obama…”
______________

That clearly indicates that the NPA will be functioning within the corporate party’s Democrat faction caucus.

Progressives are always looking for new and more devious ways to get people who’ve decided not to vote for Democrats to vote for Democrats. That’s what progressives do.

Note: It’s inaccurate and highly misleading to refer to a political party that’s an actual alternative to the corporate party’s Republicans and Democrats as being a “3rd party” because the the conservative and liberal factions lie and work together as one, within one corporate party.

It was people’s support for a 2nd party that was always needed when elections could have been used for good purpose, but the past disingenuousness of the liberal progressives have made it impossible for elections to serve any good purpose now.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 14, 2011 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

You and Dubya, Leefeller!  He wanted to be “Dictator”. He got the first syllable right!

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By JDmysticDJ, June 14, 2011 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

Screw it! There’s nothing we can do. Why fight it. I don’t give a flyin’ freak about freedom, if it’s going to interfere with my freedom. Kick back and enjoy the deck chairs.

When did the “American Dream” become a comfy bank account, a mortgage, two cars with service contracts, and the latest in technological toys?

The revolution won’t be televised; it will virtually be on the internet. No, the revolution won’t be televised, but American culture is; decadence on display.

Get active! Pull your head out, and take it to the streets! No…? Kick back, enjoy those deck chairs, and take your worthless bitching down with you into the frigid brine, the moldering grave, or an urn of ashes. Have someone spread your ashes on your keypad.

An epitaph: Here lies a do nothing, who did nothing and was nothing; an existential key stroker.

Could anything be more Kafkaesque?

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By Leefeller, June 14, 2011 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

If I was in charge and made king, I would put some of those Catholic pedophiles in jail, maybe all the candidates running on the Republican ticket too,... because I would make it against the law to lie!

Hey, how about the thee aces,... Chaney, Bush and Rumy? They all would go to jail for lying, maybe even send them to Gutmo as an example, because this would be laying down the law with a clean slate!

Only if I were king!

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By katsteevns, June 14, 2011 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

By Michael Cavlan RN,

“That is how it works. Remember that, the next time you see a bumper sticker with a peace symbol on one side and Obama sticker on the other. “

GRRRRRR!!!! Come to New Hampshire to be inundated with just this same thing.

On another note, if you are plagued with those little silver fishies plastered to the rear ends of SUV’s, there is a “Satan” fishy that really pisses them off. He-He

http://evolvefish.com/fish/emblems.html

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By Michael Cavlan RN, June 14, 2011 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

OK

Fantastic. So to those who have talked of wanting to do more than just talk. There is a place to go. It is called the New Progressive Alliance. A group who are doing more than just talking or complaining.

Check it out. To the others, please carry on talking, commenting and blogging.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, June 14, 2011 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Ralph Cramden

You are 100% correct about the legal system in this country. As for the Grand Jury system, well it is worse than just being unconstitutional now.

There is a Grand Jury investigation under way right now. The targets are peace and justice groups. In this case it is the Anti-War Committee and WAMM Women Against Military Madness. Both of these organizations are based in part, in Minnesota.

The Grand Jury Investigation of Peace and Justice groups are doing so under the orders of Attorney General Eric Holder. Under the direct and personal authorization of president Barack Obama himself.

The Grand Jury system is being used to target political activism in this country.

That is how it works. Remember that, the next time you see a bumper sticker with a peace symbol on one side and Obama sticker on the other.

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By Grady Lee Howard, June 14, 2011 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Every American home should create a special suitcase with ponchos, raincoats and camping socks just in case. But maybe that would be “too dangerous.”

In Florida (some cities) it is a crime to feed homeless people.
Name some other breaches of “National Security.”

Daniel Ellsberg always asks why he remained free and Bradley Manning is under the jail. Maybe this is not the same country.

Forget the whore’s race between Obama and whomever.
Try recalling your rights.

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By race_to_the_bottom, June 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment

Yes,something must be done, but what is to be done? Who is going to do it? Who will organize it? Against what or whom? When? How?

There are many philosophers here interpreting the world. How do they propose to change it?

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By ControlledDemolition, June 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

Shalom and Salaams.

Chris, this pretty much says it: We no longer have freedom; there is only the appearance of freedom. We are consumed by an endless and vague war on terror in which the perfidiousness of our enemy, whose number, location and nature are never clearly defined, justifies the shredding of constitutional rights, torture, kidnapping, detentions without charges or trials and an occult-like battle against an absolute evil. And if you think the state intends to limit itself to the persecution of Muslims, especially once there is an increase in domestic unrest and instability, you know little about human history.

Methinks there are criminally insane sociopathic rats lurking in the dark corners of the U.S. National Security state.  If anyone tries to shed light onto these shadows, let’s see what happens to those whistleblowers too.  So, no, I don’t think the state intends to limit itself to the persecution of Muslims, especially when the self-preservation of the vampires shuns all natural illumination, as would happen if we were to investigate 911 with physical science instead of political science, for example.  Let’s see what would happen if more reporters and journalists were to touch that third rail.  How about the charge “supporting the enemy?”—which would be true, since their enemy is truth.  Attacking Muslims simply gives artificial weight to their 911 cover story.

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By kerryrose, June 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller

Watching people rummage through my sons’ backpack and luggage for no just cause struck me as an infringement of his civil liberties.

He is little, but still has rights.

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By kerryrose, June 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

WarrenMetzler

If a person in jail is not guilty of the crime for which he is imprisoned, then he is innocent. 

Believe me, very few people who are wandering around ‘free’ are innocent either.

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By Leefeller, June 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

Kerryrose, when I was 12 years old, I was in what they call Junior High school. I remember this one kid who was held back several years and was about 16 years old, not only was he adult size larger then everyone else, I suspect he was not all that smart.  I remember one day he brought a revolver to school, I believe it was a 38 pistol and I remember he never pointed it at anyone,... but I do remember he was playing Russian roulette across the bus from me.  Far as I know he was quite the juvenile delinquent, luckily he wasn’t a bully.

Several years later when he was about 18 years old, he walked into the local hardware store where I was working at the time, he spent some time looking at our selections of chains and he picked out some of heaviest chain and wanted me to cut him two three foot lengths…. (I suspected nefarious intentions).  I was wearing my official hardware clerk jacket and said; “You have to be 21 to buy chain”!  He looked at me than said “OH”  and I never saw him again? 

Checking the backpacks does not seem such a bad idea to me, maybe if someone had checked out Mr. Fishes backpack, we would not have read the story about his damn pissing doll!

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By Textynn, June 13, 2011 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

America is gone. What ever solider fought for was
stolen. Not by foreign enemies by Bush, Obama, and the
other handmaidens to the war profiteers aka Oil
Industry running this country.  Will we get it back.
No. Wall Street aka Oil Industry aka War profiteers
have complete enslaved and broken America.  Land of
the homeless and the debt pussies.

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By Nostromo, June 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Well, there are innocent persons and some end up in jail.  And Wall Street does own the government. 
About 46 years ago I became enamored with the idea of meditation.  It took a few years of grueling experience to get the hang. And then it became something I looked forward to.  I mention this because the reason people become unhinged in solitary confinement is that for them it is not solitude but loneliness, fear and despair.  They are suddenly shoved into Dante’s dark wood, and no Virgil appears—just the leopard, the lion and the she wolf!  But many Tibetan monks survived quite well in the Chinese gulags.  Solitary confinement for someone who has learned to meditate is not so bad.  Because they practice it every day for a while.  Sure I am not eager to be in prison.  But I would not break down.  Especially for younger persons who are politically active I believe this would be a real asset. In the APOLOGY Socrates mentions that philosophers practice death.  I think these are the things we need to do so that the increasingly negative state can not crush us.
America is so extroverted that when the outside becomes almost nothing, Americans experience terror.

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By diamond, June 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

Why do you think they did 9/11, used it to invade two Muslim countries and started the so-called war on terror, an unending war that will last all the way to eternity and back? It’s because once they’ve declared a state of war they can go after and destroy every liberty and protection put in place since the enlightenment. Which is exactly what they’re doing.

In Northern Ireland, lawyers who defended IRA suspects were also persecuted and sometimes killed. And we now know that many ‘terror attacks’ were not carried out by the IRA, but by those who wanted to prolong the ‘war’. And that war on terror wasn’t ended with some military victory: it was ended by a referendum in which the Irish voted for peace and peace was negotiated. The war on terror is nothing more than a war on Muslims and a war on the poor, carried out so America can get total control of the third world and all its resources and put what amounts to a global fascist dictatorship in place. If you’re not already afraid, you should be. And however flawed the Democrats are, it’s the far right and the Republican/neo con/Tea Party that is the driving force behind all of it. The corporations and the military are the real government and the chief beneficiaries, in terms of money and power, of the shredding of the rule of law and the war on terror, a war that obeys no law, domestic or international.

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By Nostromo, June 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

A PRACTICAL IDEA—but first this comment.  I can imagine a government well wisher saying to Mr. Syed Hashimi, ‘You should be grateful that you and all your family were not arrested, tried and placed in prison.  It is just by the Grace of Allah that that possibly is still not in place.’
But now for the practical idea.  It would be most helpful if someone who was politically active in China, spent time in prison and is now in the West, were to write a little booklet.  A little blue booklet.  “How to function politically in a closed society”.  As China becomes more like America once was with spirit and enterprise, so America is becoming like China used to be.  We are in the moment when the glass of milk has been knocked over but before even the milk has had a chance to flow on to the floor and the glass a chance to shatter.  This event is slowed down in our minds.  We do not know when the splash of milk will happen or the sound of breaking glass.  We just know that it is too late to prevent either from happening.  Too late, too late.  We were warned so many times by an aging Raven.  But like sleepers paralyzed we could not act.  We could not even cry out.  In the future we will need to carefully calculate the actions we take.  Too much exuberance and we shall discover this completely corrupted legal system ourselves—and for naught. We would be wise to forget the United States as it no longer exists.

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By Ralph Kramden, June 13, 2011 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To those of you who have never been charged or arrested let me explode a myth: In the land of the free you are guilty until you prove your innocence. This judicial system is the most corrupt in the industrialized world. Plea-bargaining is a scam and if you insist on a trial, that being your right, you are threatened with horrendous long sentence if convicted. Also, will someone please explain to me how a Grand Jury is constitutional? One is not allowed to be represented by an attorney and if one chooses to remain silent, one is jailed for the duration of the Grand Jury. Finally, I don’t understand that quote by an intern, the one about “nobody is innocent in prison.” Geronimo Pratt was not innocent? How many have been released from prison after DNA testing had proved them innocent? Did this Dr. believe what this inmate said? Sounds to me as if this inmate had been brainwashed by the prison guards.

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By WarrenMetzler, June 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

I once had a patient while an intern. He had just been released from prison. He
told me, “there are no innocent men in prison; they may not be guilty of the
crime for which they were convicted, but there are no innocent men in prison”.

At the same time, I agree with Chris Hedges that this solitary confinement and
SAM’s are a significant denial of the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.
But I disagree with Hedges view that corporate executives are responsible. I
propose that most Americans have been progressively abandoning all moral
character (able to recognize and do proper actions, in their daily activities) in
the past four decades, and government and corporate behavior reflect that; not
at all lead that.

An example? Almost none of the many responses I’ve read to the Weiner
situation, state that any man who has such immature crude discussions with
women he’s never met can have sufficient maturity or probity to be a
worthwhile Federal legislature. I’m a man, and I have never talked to a woman,
even my wives of girlfriends, in that manner, even in private. I consider it utter
nonsense that such talk increases the pleasure of a worthwhile sexual
encounter.

It is all of us that are becoming more and more morally depraved. It is not just
our politicians and corporative executives.

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By David J. Cyr, June 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE, Chris Hedges:

“And if you think the state intends to limit itself to the persecution of Muslims…”
_________________

Consider some evidence….

Lynne Stewart:
In 2005, during the Bush administration, human rights attorney Stewart was unconstitutionally and unconscionably convicted (effectively for daring to represent a Muslim defendant), and she was later sentenced to 28 months imprisonment.

On July 15, 2010, with America having become an Obamanation, Stewart’s sentence was increased to 10 years (effectively a life sentence for the then 70 year old woman with cancer).

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2009/stewart241109.html

Tim deChristopher:
He’s facing 10 years imprisonment, after being convicted by Obama’s Department of “Justice” for his having temporarily peacefully prevented a Bush Administration crime against Nature (a crime that Obama has MovedOn to liberally commit).

http://www.peacefuluprising.org/more-than-a-day-of-action-the-plan-for-tim-dechristophers-sentencing-20110518

Efficient fascist nations publicly put just a few of their best people in prison, so that near all those who are not the best people will freely imprison themselves.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 13, 2011 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

This is how they get innocents to plead to a “lesser charge” and still incarcerate you as a criminal. Solitary confinement is torture. Sensory deprivation and constant surveillance do you in.

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By A. Benway, June 13, 2011 at 11:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The natural course of empire - that’s what some might say it is that we’re seeing. There are those naive people who put their faith in violence - and that would seem to include both patriots and traitors. Both types miss the lessons from history. The same stupid fantasies that drive empire also create the secondary effects that sweep them away.

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By True Progressive, June 13, 2011 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“We no longer have freedom; there is only the appearance of freedom. . . . And if you think the state intends to limit itself to the persecution of Muslims, especially once there is an increase in domestic unrest and instability, you know little about human history.”

HOW TRUE, HOW TRUE, HOW TRUE!!!!  The often overlooked third branch of government, the courts and the judciary, is badly, badly corrupted, broken, and has become a complete joke.  If you think you have civil or constitutional rights, guess again.  The courts today function merely as effectors of law enforcement.  The terrorists called “judges” will slap the police down only when the terrorists in robes decide that the police conduct in question was both publicized and of such egregiousness that it might embarrass the courts if something weren’t done.  Unless those factors exist, recent federal appellate courts decisions allow police officers to be judge, jury and executioners on the street.  You can be jailed for merely offending a police officer. Despite what apparently right wing morons like colin2626262 believe, any “freedoms” that exist here are mere illusions.  If you don’t believe this, wait until the next terrorist attack hits, and the state strips away all remaining pretenses of liberty.

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By william eisele, June 13, 2011 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

History shows a truth that we have forgotten about empires. Briefly: They all reached for other lands/countries till they imploded by their own economy after going after too much till they couldn’t afford to control it all. (e.g.) Rome / Portugal / Spain / England / Germany etc.

P.S. The US has military involvement in 75 or more countries. We’re over stretched too. We’re fitting the analogy of a stuffed empire ready to burst / implode.

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By CanDoJack, June 13, 2011 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

Commenters who ask such naive questions as “why, if they
arrest cavilling journalists, isn’t Hedges arrested?”
have the same answer as, “why don’t they arrest people
who express views on social networks like
phasebook[sicmich]?”. Gov is building a dissenter
database. They are collecting data. Hedges is the bait.
If you are unaware or cowardly, you should not play here.

Also, Our, I mean their, system is like Russian Dolls.
You are already in several concentric prisons, froggie.
The noose has been tightening as the water has been
heating.

Your quality of life has steadily diminished. Your
paradigms go unchanged. Your cliches are more dog eared
(no dog has been hurt in the construction of this
sentence). Your “rights” are ever more illusory.

As Dylan said about the time Nixon installed and
retrofitted many secret prisons, “you are only a pawn in
their game.” Id est, another kind of prison.

But, ... before I perused and got side tricked on the
other comments I only came to compliment Chris Hedges on
his article. He has definitely found a niche.

I thought I would mention that though (as said in other
articles) a - Yale, was it? - high level university
theology course or two does help, theology training in a
Christian fundamentalist environment, say Bob Jones U.,
would have contributed to journalist Hedges particular
vector more appropriately, IMHO.

But, all in all, TruthDig digs, I grok.

Finally I suggest that TruthDig would be a good site to
set an example. The word ‘submit’ has been used in place
of the word transmit for so long, like the frogs we are,
we have come to accept this second linguistically flawed
definition of the word.

Want to do something great, TruthDig? Replace ‘submit’ on
your forms with the word ‘transmit’ and brighten the
corner where you are.

Thanks.

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By TAO Walker, June 13, 2011 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

The windy fellah again makes-up his own evidently quite “self”-satisfying
canard, then tries pasting it onto his handy-dandy effigy of this Old Man in yet
another vain attempt to dish-out what has lately become a sort of daily ration
of the “shit” his droppings here are so often so full-of.  Maybe we’ll see soon,
however, on the evening “news,” something about the heroic deed “Inherit The
Wind” has performed to redress this grievous Kafka-fication that is and has
always been the very hallmark of allamerican “justice”....at-least as it’s been
experienced by us COLORful “others.” 

It’s unfortunate, f’r sure, that the immigrant family who are the subject of this
Chris Hedges lamentation/expose got sucked so deeply and defenselessly into
the ugly maelstrom of the allamericanfeverdream.  That is, however, the chance
that opportunists (however sincere and well-meaning in their pursuit of the
Harpy of “happiness”) always have to take….here in the very “homeland” of
opportunism.  Had the Hashmis come instead to Turtle Island, and sought
succor among Native Peoples here, they might not’ve been any better-off
materially….but they would certainly not now be suffering the loss of a son to
the allmericancellblock of the “global” gulag.

“All-in-all, it’s just another brick in The Wall.”

HokaHey!

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By gerard, June 13, 2011 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

Suloco says:  “Guess the alternative is much easier as it is suits our human nature to rule with terror.”

Not a very clear sentence, but I assume it means that Suloco thinks suppression, cruelty and terror suit human nature “Human nature” is a vague term, meaning different things to different people

But let’s take it to mean “it’s the nature of human beings to be cruel and to accept suppression and terror.”  Why, then, are so many returning vets suffereing from PTSD?  And what is PTSD but very strong evidence that cruelty and terror (even in war)
makes human beings sick, damages their thoughts and spirits often beyond repair.  Why, then, do people
held in confinement often “go crazy” or otherwise become sick?  Why do children who have been abused
grow up to be permanently damaged? Why do people who cannot feed their families, or find satisfying ways to live, so often become addicted?
  The human spirit revolts against cruelty in many ways, and the symptoms are evidence of damage done.
The human spirit is born needing nurture and love.
When nurture and love are denied, the spirit sickens and dies.
  it’s a huge and vitally important subject and can’t be adequately treated in a brief space like this. But it’s vital not to lose sight ot facts, not to lose faith in human caring. Love, mercy and justice are absolutely essential to human life.They are the food of what we call “soul” and what we see now is the slow starvation of the souls of multitudes. That’s what’s so heart-wrenching about life in these deeply troubled times. The cure is acts of kindness, love-work, work for mercy and understanding, work for justice, work to stop wars.

Go to:  (http://www.cpdweb.org/stmts/1019/stmt.shtml for just one organization working for peace and democracy.

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By expat, June 13, 2011 at 10:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There comes a time….

when after a long string of abuses…

there are no other choice but to overthrow this illegitimate media-bankster-government machine and refresh Jefferson’s tree of Liberty.

Unfortunately I fear ameriKans are nothing but pussies who can only twit their balls à la wiener on the net all day long but have been emasculated by said euphemism of a government to the point of never growing a pair to do what’s right.

What would that be?  Don’t organize, you’ll be infiltrated and meet the fate described above.  They use the terrorism bogeyman all day long?  Give them what they want, lone wolf style.  The amount of damage a single, intelligent and methodical individual can inflict upon this fragile charade that is ameriKan society today would awaken you to what the term empowerment really means.  Copycats would do the rest to bring the whole edifice down in no time.

But most of you keyboard brigade intellectual masturbators never have the guts to actually DO anything.  You talk, you talk…  what do you ever actually DO?


(to the inevitable “what have YOU done” question, let me preemptively answer, I took my family and left ameriKa and if you think that’s a small thing, it is in a way, but let’s see YOU do something or anything of that magnitude in your life, adapting to new culture, restarting your life from scratch, etc…  Do YOU have the balls to do it?)

REVOLUTION NOW !

REGIME CHANGE NOW !

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By madisolation, June 13, 2011 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

Inherit the Wind:
“These SAMS and Patriot Acts are merely fig leaves on what has been done for long before any of us were born.  It doesn’t trivialize what’s going on now—it puts it in perspective. I don’t excuse it. I merely say it’s not new and it’s what government powers do when they are frightened.”

I take your point. People have been wrongly put to death and what they are doing is not a new phenomenon in that respect. Yet we had leaders who spoke out and a free press then. We have no voice now. We were not in a false “War Against Terrorism” then, from which the President of the United States draws more power than is legally his and the Congress blindly follows. He assumes the right to assassinate American citizens and declares war without our consent and Congress ignores or legalizes it.
Perhaps SAMS and the Patriot Act are not fig leaves for what has been done, but precursors of even more restrictions to come.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, June 13, 2011 at 10:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Repeat Test

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By jerry lagadec, June 13, 2011 at 9:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As usual, the critical comments of Chris’ article are from people who are denying that “things are that bad” because they’ve never been mugged yet… after stepping out of line. Of course people like Chris- who are very high profile-have a relative immunity to harrassment from the “Olympians” who are now calling the shots in Congress and the media and the corporate oligarchy.Besides, he is pretty much preaching to the choir since the majority of Americans don’t read. I stepped out of line once by verbally challenging our Empire and it’s discontents…and paid for it for twenty years.Unless you’ve taken a walk on the “wild side”,you have no clue. I’ve never broken any laws and yet I was spied on by a police informant planted at my work,had rumors spread through out the state that made it impossible for me to find another job, had reporters calling my “friends” to ask personal questions about my religious practices. I’m an atheist. I could go on, so those of you who think Chris is exaggerating are admitting to a paucity of experience in the type of pressures that can be employed against you, especially when we have an endless war on Terrorism; it’s almot silly to make the obvious allusion to “1984”...but I will. Oh, and I’m a veteran and volunteered to serve in Vietnam. I was young and believed the hype…but I did serve my country and I don’t like what’s happening here now.Listen to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows”...“old Black Joe’s still pickin’ cotton for your ribbons and bows….” Peace!

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By CJ, June 13, 2011 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

(Great one, Mr. Fish)

ITW is correct but so is Madisolation. (While Redwood seems never to have
heard of Bradley Manning or Joe Hill. Or poor people in general, especially as
they constitute the largest demo in prisons.)

It was always bad and has only gotten worse. And no surprise Clinton, that
most masterful of conservative politicians, introduced SAMs. Which remind of
RICO, also introduced with good intent and then abused, primarily in order to
cease property of all sorts of persons accused of just about any crime.

Countless arrive in the U.S. in pursuit of the inglorious dream, which notion
gained currency long ago, here, there, everywhere, apparently. None can
dispute that even a lousy job here is better than no job there. To that extent,
the dream was and remains a possibility, or is often enough realized, I guess.
But in that
case the dream amounts to not much, while freedom remains unrealized when
exploitation is still the name of the racket. But okay, higher-wage slavery than
in the Third Word in general. Still wage slavery, sans freedom, especially in the
work-place where democracy is effectively against the law. It was that which
Joe Hill fought for, along with millions of other slave-wage
laborers—of all colors and both genders.

The war on terror, and, I daresay, other wars ostensibly on whatever else, are all
class wars on have-nots, the principle purpose being keeping have-nots have-
nots. Since not having much is fundamentally most essential to the few in
possession
of most everything, though they too aren’t free.

In the tired “final analysis,” the problem (and very hard work) for power is
maintenance of power, including the material good life. Ergo, the poverty-
stricken are “terrorists” beyond being essential. This is some kinda
contradiction, and otherwise
constant threat to the well-being of power. Poverty is also, obviously, a threat
that is the very upshot of power’s attempt to maintain itself.

It all IS Kafkaesque! Hell, it’s all downright loony, though product of the usual
fears or insecurities. (Just listen to the crazed Netanyahu, for one example. He
really believes his own drivel. So do our own officials.)

And so, extreme measures, or not so extreme, that Hedges here reports in one
case, aren’t so difficult to understand. Power is indeed terrified, possibly more
than ever before. As well as more pathetic—then—than ever before. So it is
worse, ITW. Perhaps ironically due to the fact that to some minimal extent the
dream was realized for many (albeit, Redwood, almost all white Euro-types) in
the 1950s and 60s. The 60s probably were an expression of some real
democracy. And then, by the end of the 70s, that expression and most of
whatever came of it were fairly ruthlessly repressed, though Civil Rights remain
in law, and one or two other objectives the outcome of identity politics.

Some progress was made, and Hedges has all along here been decrying the
disappearance of that real “liberal” progress, that minimal freedom that was
forged. It was fairly minimal, but more than none. Meanwhile, Europe has
moved on in any number of ways, despite tendencies to fascism incorporating
deep racism. But Europe is past days of empire, power there brought low (still
not low enough) seven decades ago—at long last and at terrible cost.

Santayana (and Kafka in his way) had already issued warning America, the new
empire, has yet to hear. We’re busy with baubles and whatnot, gossip, TV and
action flicks and computer games, cell phones, Twittering, online virtual sex,
getting face and other parts lifted, etc., etc., all distractions masquerading
as freedom. (See Marcuse on “repressive desublimation,” Colin.)

“It’s only,” as they say, “a matter of time.” Before we notice all that isn’t really
the realization of a serious dream, let alone of authentic freedom.

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By Bruce Dickson, June 13, 2011 at 9:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Debates about America’s current conditions as compared to those elsewhere tend overwhelmingly to miss the most important point: it’s not as much about America’s situation as it is about its directon. The former is endlessly debatable, as it admits millions of case-specific examples able to bolster almost any argument. And, just because you can always find worse-off places in the world doesn’t mean yours is a good place to be: it only means it’s not the worst; and it certainly doesn’t mean it couldn’t - and shouldn’t - be a lot better.

Where the debate tends to coalesce, however, is around the direction in which the country has moved over the past half-century or so. And, interestingly enough, there appear very few assertions that things are getting better and better all the time - that the democracy is getting richer, justice is getting fairer and more enlightened, living standards for the vast majority are rising and the trend is broadening across the land, that people are getting smarter/fitter/healthier/closer/happier, that their prospects are ever improving, that their freedom is blossoming, and that - without question and based on decades of irrefutable evidence - the promise of America is being fulfilled. There’s as clear an aversion to discussing this aspect as there is an appetite to dote on the other. It is the elephant in the room.

By all means look about you and comment on what you see here and now, the good, the bad and the in-between. But there will be over 300 million widely-disparate, yet equally valid, opinions and observations on that topic - hardly the makings of a strong and shared consensus, which is what is needed to make the decisions a society has to make in order to forge a healthy future.

So get past it. Move on, instead, to where the consensus is far more distinct: that the direction in which things have been heading and appear to be heading is wildly at odds with what American life was supposed to be about. And it has been for a long, long time.

That would not be the case if the model being followed were consistent with the promise of America. If that model were consistent, then the longer it ran the more of the promise we’d see fulfilled. After using the same fertilizer for decades only to witness steadily-diminishing yields for the past generation, it might occur to us that the problem is a product that isn’t delivering. Then why is this shared and simple wisdom simply overlooked here? Why, instead, do we prefer to deplete our energies yammering on about far away farms we’ve never seen and will never visit and to blame the plants (i.e., we feeble individuals) for letting the fertilizer down?

Here are a few reasons why: people fear that stirring things up will chance making them worse, so they prefer to ride them out in hopes things will self-correct over time; things are getting better for those who just happen to control the message manufacturng and delivery sectors which reflect their satisfaction with the status quo and, by their steady emanation, cultivate a similar opinion among the rest; and we’re afraid of the amount of work we know would be required to bring about true change, reluctant to relinquish deeply ingrained and self-defining beliefs in favour of untested alternatives, afraid we might fail.

That all adds up to a huge weight of inertia, one that an even greater countervailing force will be needed to overcome. Growing numbers seem to see that force gathering while others persist in doubt. To those doubters I would point out that, by its steady encroachment on individual liberty, their own government has clearly signalled it espies that gathering, too. Decision time approaches: which direction will you choose?

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By litlpeep, June 13, 2011 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

Thank you, very much, Chris Hedges for this corageous and poignant article!

It is sadly amusing to read the proclaimers of freedom responding about all the freedom we have here, yet revealing none of its content.

Allow me to append this poem from Langston Hughes:

That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.

It is sadly amusing to read the ooze coming from those sores in the words of those who see little or no problem with our vaunted claims on behalf of all the freedom for which we can provide little or no content in rebuttal to the hard evidence this article presents.  Like the US Supreme Court, they confuse their petty personal opinions with our inherited and potential (but not yet) rich justice.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 13, 2011 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

TAO Walker, June 13 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Had that young man’s father studied-up a little on how it’s been all-along here under the allamerican military occupation, for us Tuttle Island Natives, he might well’ve decided to stay with his Family in Pakistan.  For generations theamericanpeople, languishing in the feverish delirium of their allamericandream, remained slap-happily CONvinced that what is done routinely in their ‘name,’ to our People and our Kindred around the world, using the very machinery of CONtrol they’ve idolized, would never be inflicted, by its carefully “self”-selected operators, on them.  So now they’re learning otherwise.
Their getting the long-delayed lesson the-hard-way, too, as their foolhardy underwriting of this latest reign-of-terror comes “home"landward, in the shape of their own worst ‘angels,’ to haunt them.
O, the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, eh.

HokaHey!

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

What a mean-spirited “they-got-what-they-deserved” post! It comes to “It happened to us so I don’t give shit that it happened to you.”

Hokem-today.

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By RedwoodGuy, June 13, 2011 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

Um, this is a nation for straight white euro-christians. All others are subject to abuse unless they take the specific precautions to avoid it.

Don’t think so? You better take a close look at the prison demographics, the justice system, and police operations.

Our official intolerance is growing rapidly. Muslims and Mexicans - look out! Ironic when you consider our president had a black father.

Our nation’s ethos is moving. But, it’s moving in the direction of fascism, not freedom. Sure, you can be as free a bird. Until you get caught. If you are rich, white and European, you can rent your jail cell in the Upper West side, while you await some slap on the wrist for your rapes and other crimes. You can even have your rich wife and family at your side for comfort. If you are brown, poor, and from the southern hemisphere, have we got a SuperMax isolation cell for you baby!

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By TAO Walker, June 13, 2011 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Had that young man’s father studied-up a little on how it’s been all-along here
under the allamerican military occupation, for us Tuttle Island Natives, he
might well’ve decided to stay with his Family in Pakistan.  For generations
theamericanpeople, languishing in the feverish delirium of their
allamericandream, remained slap-happily CONvinced that what is done
routinely in their ‘name,’ to our People and our Kindred around the world, using
the very machinery of CONtrol they’ve idolized, would never be inflicted, by its
carefully “self”-selected operators, on them.  So now they’re learning otherwise. 
Their getting the long-delayed lesson the-hard-way, too, as their foolhardy
underwriting of this latest reign-of-terror comes “home"landward, in the shape
of their own worst ‘angels,’ to haunt them.

O, the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, eh.

HokaHey!

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By Anarcissie, June 13, 2011 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

It’s generally not a good idea to plea-bargain unless (1) you’re guilty and (2) you’re sure the police have solid evidence that you’re guilty.  Regardless of the truth, once you confess something it becomes a legal reality.  The ‘justice’ system is under no obligation to observe its side of the bargain.  I don’t know what Syed Fahad Hashmi’s case looked like, but it might well have been as trivial as it sounds in Hedges’s description.  Any sort of ‘confession’ makes it much more difficult for those still on the outside to carry on the struggle, including the struggle to free the ‘justice’ system’s victims (who number in the millions).

ITW is correct—the perversion of justice to suit the desires of those in power and the prejudices of the mob are nothing new.  I recommend never forgetting that, and never cooperating with it in any way you can resist.

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By lasmog, June 13, 2011 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

@ Kerryrose
In the early 1980’s I was a student at UCLA living in a dormitory.  At our first floor meeting the floor monitor announced that dormitory monitors had the right to search any student’s bag if they suspected that the bag might contain alcohol.  When I objected to this type of search most of my fellow students sided strongly with the new search policy and were mystified by my objections. I also recall that many of the dormitory monitors were born again Christians and supporters of then president Reagan. - I’ve often looked back on this incident as my own little introduction to the Reagan revolution.

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By Jim Yell, June 13, 2011 at 7:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The motivation behind these staged terror trials, only need one to look at what the government is doing. Since Bush/Cheney everything has been framed in a Security Mandate which needs justification for its illegality and high handedness. Right now no one is particularly concerned because they think these laws will never be applied to a genuine American. That attitude is what we get for not teaching real history.

As to the actual criminality of the accused? Well I haven’t much sympathy for Fundamentalists Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or the emerging Fundamentalist Hindu. Trying to force everyone into round holes when many people are square pegs.

Where we are headed with our loss of identification with humanism is the ghetto civilizations that still exist and those that came before. What is the result for the future? We will see all the energy of the government being spent trying to keep the supposed citizens from killing each other. The process will leave us vulnerable and headed for distruction. But, then “nothing lives forever”.

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By Pops, June 13, 2011 at 7:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Colin 26…...

Could you please elaborate on this statement

“That’s not the say there aren’t problems with freedom here in this country, but
mostly that has to do with economic constraints.”

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By RGO, June 13, 2011 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

colin2626262 How about this?

Chris Hedges to big to jail. 

An unknown Muslim guy, see you in 15.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 13, 2011 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

Madisolation:
What YOU forget is that those people in the past were “executed”, MURDERED by the State, not merely imprisoned.

4 of the Haymarket “Bombers” were hanged with not one shred of evidence connecting them to the bombing.
Joe Hill was SHOT by the State of Utah, backed by the copper mining industry. Not one decent shred of evidence connecting him to the murder.
Sacco and Vanzetti were ELECTROCUTED though the evidence against them should never have even brought a conviction.
The Rosenbergs were ELECTROCUTED, even though the evidence against Julius was flimsy, the evidence against Ethel, obviously false (her brother later admitted he lied) AND no other spies before or after were executed for far worse crimes.  The Rosenbergs were Jewish Communists. That’s why they were put to death.

Do you remember Judge Julius Hoffman having Bobby Seales bound and gagged in his Chicago 7 courtroom?

These SAMS and Patriot Acts are merely fig leaves on what has been done for long before any of us were born.  It doesn’t trivialize what’s going on now—it puts it in perspective. I don’t excuse it. I merely say it’s not new and it’s what government powers do when they are frightened.

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By colin2626262, June 13, 2011 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

There’s clearly something missing from this article.  I don’t know about this case, but you don’t throw people in prison for fifteen years just for voicing opinions about the US crimes against Muslims.  That’s the way Hedges is making it seem.  If that were the case, then wouldn’t he be in prison?

Chris, you say there’s no freedom in America and anyone who dissents is silenced?  Hm, that’s interesting.  So why aren’t you in prison then?  Why do you have a weekly column?  Why aren’t you being silenced?  I think you’re a dissenter.  I’m sure of it.  So, I guess your point is that if you were a Muslim this would be different?  You’d be sitting in solitary confinement for your views? 

There’s too much exaggeration in this article.  There is surely freedom in America.  You get to say what you want.  You can dissent.  The real problem is that most people aren’t too concerned with the dissenting opinions.  It’s different in other countries where dissidents are taken seriously.  Look at Iran.  You know, Chris Hedges, for writing these kinds of articles, would not only be in prison in a country like Iran, he would be tortured and killed.  And yet he’s complaining about America, where he has his weekly column and gives speeches and interviews and publishes books freely.

That’s not the say there aren’t problems with freedom here in this country, but mostly that has to do with economic constraints.  Chris, I know you like reading Kafka, and your mindset is as bleak as his, but really, saying there’s no freedom here is just plain false.  And pretending we don’t have the right to dissent is not a serious statement.  It’s just not true.  You yourself are the epitome of dissent, and you’re free to write and speak your mind.  Whether anyone pays attention to those who dissent is a different story.

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By RGO, June 13, 2011 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

“The state, by making us afraid, is able to justify the disease of permanent war and the silencing of those who dare to dissent.”
So, I’m thinking, this is all pretty screwed up.  And, I want to make a comment.  Then I think, what if the FBI or somebody is reading the comments looking for people who sympathize with a Muslim father and his son.  Then what if I’m thrown in the slammer or spied on for making a dumb ass comment on the internet.  How would my actions possibly affect other members of my family?  I mean if they give a guy 15 years over ponchos, I could get at least 10 over comments.  Sounds paranoid, or is it . . . really?
Hedges should go one step further and say they are silencing those who even thinking about even the most minor dissent.
How many of you are reading this saying, yeah me too.

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By wmmbb, June 13, 2011 at 5:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is a video on the trial outcome in NY. What are
US service personnel doing in Pakistan?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=tpfPScPV5o0&feature=player_embedded#at=15

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By ardee, June 13, 2011 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

This topic so outrages me that I could not even finish the article. Are we sheep to simply adapt to the loss of freedoms paid for in blood? Do we continue to function within a system gone rancid with its slavish devotion to corporations and no regard whatsoever for the citizens? Are we to continue to elect those whose campaign promises disappear with their election?

Democracy cannot flourish without the participation of the people.

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By madisolation, June 13, 2011 at 4:24 am Link to this comment

Inherit the Wind, you write:
“Those that hold unpopular views have ALWAYS faced this…”
Not like this. With SAMS and CIPA, our government has imposed insanely cruel measures on people, and it’s not going to stop with Muslim Americans, as Chris Hedges wrote.
To write that “this has always happened” is to trivialize what’s been going on under especially the last three presidents. This IS new, this state of permanent war and outright torture flaunted in our faces as a warning to all.
We can learn from history, but we shouldn’t use history to make our present situation seem banal.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 13, 2011 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

The mistake CH makes is thinking this is anything new.
Those that hold unpopular views have ALWAYS faced this, from the German Anarchists who were charged in the Haymarket Bombing in 1886, to the phony murder charges against Scandinavian IWW activist Joe Hill, to the “Red Scare” and arrests of “Bolsheviks”, to the phony murder charge against Italian Anarchists,Sacco and Vanzetti, to the Japanese-American internment and property seizure, to the execution of the Jewish Communists, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, McCarthyism, to the “Statesboro Boys”, to the Chicago Seven and Daniel Ellsberg, this is all the same story.

Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

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By Suloco, June 13, 2011 at 3:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I must say as I read the begining of this article, I thought: ‘Man, these are some strong words here, surely it’s not all that bad..’. But as I read on I became more and more astonished. How the hell is this even possible in ANY western country? America starts to scare the crap out of me, considering it is supposed to be the last hope of the western culture. Why are they acting like this? Are they so short-sighted not to see that this will only create more enemies, more people will lose trust in US and less will see it as the last bastion of freedom?

It is very sad, that leaders of our world are trying as hard as they can to split this world into hating fractions rather than uniting it with understanding and sensitivity. But then again, no-one ever did that so why should the good and clean US give it a try? Guess the alternative is much easier as it is suits our human nature to rule with terror.

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By kerryrose, June 13, 2011 at 3:04 am Link to this comment

This may seem inconsequential but it was disturbing for me:

My 12-year old son was taking a school trip to Boston.  As they entered the bus teachers were instructed to thoroughly search their luggage and backpacks. Which they did.  I said to several other parents who were watching, ‘I don’t think this is legal.’  All of the parents averted their eyes and said nothing.

What message does it send to our children if they are searched when leaving for an overnight school trip, and why does the school think its legal?

I asked the Principal and he answered, ‘The search is voluntary.  If you don’t want your child to be searched, you don’t have to go on the trip.’

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., June 13, 2011 at 2:41 am Link to this comment

Welcome back Chris; law without justice is just law; at
the mercy of whomever has the power at any given time.

You should look into doing an article regarding the
citizens who have left America since 2001 because of
her descent into fascism.
We voted with our feet. Cheers.

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By mecormany, June 13, 2011 at 1:30 am Link to this comment

This country makes me ashamed almost daily and we aren’t even close to the bottom of the rabbit hole, there are still thousands of sharks to jump, many Muslims to kill and imprison. And non-Muslims if we keep speaking out on what a total nightmare and lawless mess this country has become. A security-surveillance-police state. The only consolation is as William Blum wrote, “The US is not the worst police state in history; probably not the worst in the world today.”
It’s tragic to be old and see this slide into fascism and perpetual war happening before I die, but what really makes me despair is what the youth have in front of them. A berserk empire led by the rich, the powerful who care only about the rich and powerful; a military that thinks there no problem that can’t be solved by bloodshed and bombs and sociopathic politicians running a corrupt Mafia government and none of them want to hear the truth or anything that isn’t praise and devotion. Are there no workhouses, are there no prisons? I fear many of our children will learn firsthand the answer to that question in the years to come. A great many like Fahad, are already.
And much of the country thinks nothing at all has changed and if it has it’s the miserable Republicans or the evil Democrats who are to blame. We are in a class war and getting our brains beat in and people are still hating on each other over the under card.
We are out-Kafka-ing Kafka. And into what kind of country and world will Fahad emerge?

This is a great and affecting article, Chris;  another story that proves the myth of progress.

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