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Recognizing the Language of Tyranny

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Posted on Feb 7, 2011
AP

By Chris Hedges

Empires communicate in two languages. One language is expressed in imperatives. It is the language of command and force. This militarized language disdains human life and celebrates hypermasculinity. It demands. It makes no attempt to justify the flagrant theft of natural resources and wealth or the use of indiscriminate violence. When families are gunned down at a checkpoint in Iraq they are referred to as having been “lit up.” So it goes. The other language of empire is softer. It employs the vocabulary of ideals and lofty goals and insists that the power of empire is noble and benevolent. The language of beneficence is used to speak to those outside the centers of death and pillage, those who have not yet been totally broken, those who still must be seduced to hand over power to predators. The road traveled to total disempowerment, however, ends at the same place. It is the language used to get there that is different.

This language of blind obedience and retribution is used by authority in our inner cities, from Detroit to Oakland, as well as our prison systems. It is a language Iraqis and Afghans know intimately. But to the members of our dwindling middle class—as well as those in the working class who have yet to confront our new political and economic configuration—the powerful use phrases like the consent of the governed and democracy that help lull us into complacency. The longer we believe in the fiction that we are included in the corporate power structure, the more easily corporations pillage the country without the threat of rebellion. Those who know the truth are crushed. Those who do not are lied to. Those who consume and perpetuate the lies—including the liberal institutions of the press, the church, education, culture, labor and the Democratic Party—abet our disempowerment. No system of total control, including corporate control, exhibits its extreme forms at the beginning. These forms expand as they fail to encounter resistance.

The tactic of speaking in two languages is as old as empire itself. The ancient Greeks and the Romans did it. So did the Spanish conquistadors, the Ottomans, the French and later the British. Those who inhabit exploited zones on the peripheries of empire see and hear the truth. But the cries of those who are exploited are ignored or demonized. The rage they express does not resonate with those trapped in self-delusion, those who continue to trust in the ultimate goodness of empire. This is the truth articulated in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and E.M. Forster’s “A Passage to India.” These writers understood that empire is about violence and theft. And the longer the theft continues, the more brutal empire becomes. The tyranny empire imposes on others it finally imposes on itself. The predatory forces unleashed by empire consume the host. Look around you.

The narratives we hear are those fabricated for us by the state, Hollywood and the press. These narratives are taught in our schools, preached in our pulpits and celebrated in war documentaries such as “Restrepo.” These narratives humanize and ennoble the enforcers of empire. The government, the military, the police and our intelligence agents are lionized. These control groups, we are assured, are the guardians of our virtues and our protectors. They produce our heroes. And those who challenge this narrative—who denounce the lies—become the enemy.

Those who administer empire—elected officials, corporate managers, generals and the celebrity courtiers who disseminate the propaganda—become very wealthy. They make immense fortunes whether they deliver the nightly news, sit on the boards of corporations, or rise, lavished with corporate endorsements, within the vast industry of spectacle and entertainment. They all pay homage, even in moments defined as criticism, to the essential goodness of corporate power. They shut out all real debate. They ignore flagrant injustices and abuse. They peddle the illusions that keep us passive and amused. But as our society is reconfigured into an oligarchic system, with a permanent and vast underclass, along with a shrinking and unstable middle class, these illusions lose their power. The language of pleasant deception must be replaced with the overt language of force. It is hard to continue to live in a state of self-delusion once unemployment benefits run out, once the only job available comes without benefits or a living wage, once the future no longer conforms to the happy talk that saturates our airwaves. At this point rage becomes the engine of response, and whoever can channel that rage inherits power. The manipulation of that rage has become the newest task of the corporate propagandists, and the failure of the liberal class to defend core liberal values has left its members with nothing to contribute to the debate. 

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The Belgian King Leopold, promising to abolish slavery and usher the Congolese into the “modern” era, was permitted by his European allies to form the Congo Free State in 1885. It was touted as a humanitarian gesture, as was the Spanish conquest of the Americas, as was our own occupation of Iraq. Leopold organized a ruthless force of native and foreign overseers—not unlike our own mercenary armies—to loot the Congo of ivory and rubber. By the time the Belgian monarch was done, some 5 million to 8 million Congolese had been slaughtered. It was the largest act of genocide in the modern era until the Nazi Holocaust. Leopold, even in the midst of his rampage, was lionized in Europe for his virtue. He was loathed in the periphery—as we are in Iraq and Afghanistan—where the Congolese and others understood what he was about. But these voices, like the voices of those we oppress, were almost never heard.


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By damedog, April 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

LocalHero- Do you realize how incredibly bigoted you sound? I’ve watched Zeitgeist and there is very little there that makes substantial proof that the Bible was essentially plagiarized like it claims.

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By LocalHero, March 10, 2011 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

Hey OzarkSheeple,

Zeitgeist is not “based on the idea that Jesus is a myth.”

Part of Zeitgeist refers to the FACT that the story of Jesus is an amalgam of several other (and far older) Messianic myths.

Sorry that your big, pink, phony Easter Bunny was taken away from you. Get a new security blanket and move on.

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By OzarkMichael, February 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

Be aware, Ray Joseph Cormier, that “MarthaA” is a known sock-puppet, she is in fact an atheist. Nothing wrong with being an atheist, except that MarthaA for some reason keeps up a farce of being a “Christian” to entrap the unsuspecting.

MarthaA has slipped many times here, most recently when she proclaimed the movie “Zeitgeist” as the key to our salvation. She did this 4 times on four separate threads. I will supply links if you are interested

I checked and found that the movie Zeitgeist is based on the idea that Jesus is a myth. Anyone who promotes the idea that Jesus is a myth isnt much of a believer. MarthaA is a wolf in sheeps clothing, she hopes to decieve even the elect if that is possible.

MarthaA uses the two languages that Hedges talks about. One language is completely materialistic, and the other is her thin veneer of “Christian” “spirituality”.

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By MarthaA, February 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Ray Joseph Cormier, February 20 at 8:17 pm,

Peace and harmony under God will happen on this earth when Jesus reigns for a thousand years, but until then there will be no peace, especially if the 70% Majority Common Population can’t become aware of the power of the people.

One has to be careful how they follow God in a volatile society or they could end up like Joan of Arc, who followed God and saved her country, but lost her life because of it after the country was saved.  If our government keeps to the Right, it won’t be long until our country is back to the killing symbolic Joan’s of Arc.

It is easy to say one’s political views stay on the middle of the fence, but politics is similar to religion, Jesus said he will spew out all that are lukewarm, because it is imperative to either be cold or hot, there is no middle ground, one must be either liberal or conservative. Jesus gave his life “for the people”.  Liberal is for the people, while Conservative is for the rich.  I am a liberal that is for the people, a liberal like Christ http://liberalslikechrist.org/index.htm.

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By MarthaA, February 20, 2011 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Ray Joseph Cormier, February 20 at 5:24 pm,

The 70% Majority Common Population of the United States are being symbolically treated as Cinderella by the Ugly Step Sisters, the Corporate Middle Class and Culture and the Corporate Elite Capitalist Class and Culture, and Obama the symbolic father concerns himself mainly with the concerns of the Ugly Step Sisters as he himself is a member of the Corporate Middle Class and Culture.

I know that when the Lord returns that the perpetrators of dasdardy deeds will receive their reward and that is something I am thankful for, but in the meantime, I am of the opinion that protests will help; protests similar to Egypt and Wisconsin should be made in every state of the United States for representation of the 70% Majority Common Populace as a class and culture in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order.  Because the 70% Majority Common Population in the United States are not being represented politically at all and there is no way of knowing just when the Lord is coming back, it may be another thousand years, and in the meantime the 70% Majority Common Population must not resign themselves to being slaves or indentured servants, when they are the MAJORITY population and could cause change as has happened in Egypt.

It is imperative that a new political party be legislated that is equal with the Democratic Party and the Republican Party to represent the 70% Majority Common Populace as a class and culture, as the Democratic Party represents the Corporate Middle Class and Culture and the Republican Party represents the Corporate Elite Capitalist Class and Culture, leaving NO POLITICAL PARTY representative of the 70% Majority Common Populace Class and Culture, therefore, rallies and protests must be for an EQUAL political party to represent the 70% Majority Common Populace as a class and culture.

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By MarthaA, February 20, 2011 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Ray Joseph Cormier, February 20 at 1:59 am,

It is plain that since the New Class of the Left was formed and separated from the Majority Common Population that the Common Population has not even had a semblance of political representation as a whole by the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.

Shutting down the government is a trope played to the Common Population that is meant to dissolve the entitlements of the Common Population, which is all that is talked about, because if they were actually shutting down the government, there would be no money for the military or the Congress, and that isn’t going to happen, so it is a trope to dissolve benefit to the Common Population, and all the benefit to the Common Population isn’t anything compared to what the Corporate Elite Capitalists and the Corporate Middle Class benefit.

Entitlements is a trope, as everything the government funds is entitlements— not just what has been legislated for the Common Population.

Collective Bargaining is also a trope, because it is only inappropriate when used for benefit of the Common Population that are only being represented by unions, as collective bargaining is used every day by the Corporate Elite Capitalist Class and the Corporate Middle Class.  The following are some examples of entitlements that are not for the Common Population:

http://dissidentvoice.org/2008/03/small-retailers-being-forced-out-by-government-subsidies-to-big-chains/

http://www.progress.org/2004/corpw37.htm

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

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8431

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/03/oil-companies-reap-billio_n_634874.html

http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Government+subsidies

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By MarthaA, February 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

RayLan, February 9 at 12:54 pm,

A trope has a different meaning to different groups of people and always subjective.  The Right-Wing is well versed in the use of tropes, as is the Conservative Middle Class as a means of control of the 70% Majority Common Population, the American Common Populace.

The masses of the public at large are becoming aware of their power as the American Common Populace, which denotes no insignificance whatsoever individually, only a class and culture that needs to be realized in the United States, because as individuals there is no way to have equality with the two other classes and cultures, the Corporate Middle Class and Culture that will never grow to more than 20% of the population and the Corporate Elite Capitalist Class and Culture that is only 10% of the entire population.

Here are some definitions of common as used in common population:

common:

1.  belonging equally to each or all of a group: The airwaves of the United States belong in common with the entire population of the United States. 2. of all; from all; by all; to all; general: common knowledge, 3. united, joined: Science and medicine form a common front against ignorance and disease. 4. belonging to the community at large;public: He sowed a slander in the common ear.  A commoncouncil. The common population of Egypt and Wisconsin USA are outraged at the government’s attempting to remove the workers common benefit.

common carrier:  A person or business conveying goods or people for pay, offering the service to the public generally, the common population.

common council: the lawmaking group of a city, town, etc.

commoner:  one of the public; a person who is not a nobleman. 

common land:  land that is used and enjoyed by the public and is not restricted to private ownership.

common law: 1. law based on custom and usage, but confirmed by the decisions of judges, as distinct from statute law2. the law of all countries whose legal systems derive from English law, as distinct from civil or canon law.  3. law based on the decisions of judges in actual cases; case law.

common market:  an association of countries for promoting free trade among its members by eliminating tariffs, duties, and similar restrictions, with a common tariff for external commerce.

common wealth1. the group of people who make up a nation; citizens of a state.  2. a democratic state; republic.  3.  any one of the states of the United States.  4. a number of people united for a common interest.

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By Rob, February 15, 2011 at 11:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

LECTOR, SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS, CIRCUMSPICE

We’ve seen how movements have again and again gathered momentum in the past (most recent example, Egypt) only to come up against the wall of the forces of violence, whose primary function is not necessarily to slay demons abroad, but rather to protect the power elite from its own population.  That corporations - enmeshed with the State - have now become global entities means that those forces of violence must be unleashed anywhere in the world, as the corresponding “population” to be subdued can be defined as spanning the entire globe and is no longer contained withing one nation-state.

That doesn’t mean that nothing has been gained in the past, there have been certain victories.

It’s telling that the word “terrorist” has been used by Biden and others to describe Wikileaks’ founder, and also that the Cybercommand units of the armed forces - along with private security corporations, FBI, CIA, DHS, NSA, etc; - are being loosely affiliated in the GWOT against those engaging in civil disobedience and 1st amendment rights.  Look at Booz Allen, Lockheed Martin, and also the recent HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis), DoJ, Hunton and Williams law firm scandal dug up by “Anonymous”.

It is clear (and saw this coming as soon as 9/11 hit) that the distinction between the “war on terror” on the one hand, and population control/surveillance/“security” on the other, has been blurred, as the entities enacting the one are also enacting the other.

There’s lots more to say about this “bringing the war home”.  Suffice it to say that there are always those that say “No, it could never happen here” before every chain of atrocities.  Keep a free press, America !

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By Alan MacDonald, February 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Empire now being forced to speak in its real language; brutal totalitarianism.

The “good news” of Inverted Totalitarianism’s lost tongue soft-language.

Now that the elite global corporate/financial/militarist Empire, which controls our former country by hiding behind the facade of its TWO-Party ‘Vichy’ sham of faux-democratic government and media, has actually effected a coup against their current talking puppet, Obama, (which the empire did with the Egypt Wisner affair), and now that perceptive establishment elements, like the NYT and increasing numbers of members of Congress, see that this previously well disguised and soft ‘Inverted Totalitarianist’ Empire is losing its cool and turning vicious even to the Vichy pols and media that have hidden it for so long, these establishment actors will be fearful of continuing their ‘roles’, and there will come a quick and very revealing ‘dropping of the false language of democracy’ from which the people will see that “the Empire has no clothes”.

In other words, the shift from the subtle language of “Inverted Totalitarianism” (Wolin) to full throated, vicious, and overtly fascist totalitarian Empire will allow Americans to finally have the clear vision, the freedom, and the truth to make a final decision of whether the have the courage to fight for “Democracy over Empire”.

“So at least we’ve got that going for us” as Bill Murray would say.

Have courage,
Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine
“Democracy over Empire” party headquarters

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By Gulam, February 10, 2011 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment

I agree with Tao Walker:

“Even many of those here professing to abhor ‘the language of tyranny’ seem
prone generally to limit their distaste for it only to the effects of its operations
within and among their own Kind….homo domesticus, to be generous about it.”

I agree. this aggressive need to dominate the world oppresses far more
creatures than just human beings, but not everyone here is oblivious to this.
This is why I keep bringing up the Aswan High Dam in relation to the uprising
in Egypt. It is the prototype for similar massive dams now under construction
which trade short term energy for our future ability to explore mankind’s past,
and they devastate the ecology of massive areas. In this case it also
emasculated Egypt’s military, because the Israelis can so easily destroy it and
destroy the country entirely.

At the core of the present situation is the rising price of bread in Egypt, where
farmers now must use fertilizer and pesticides that were not necessary up to
1970, when the Nile stopped flooding. If Islam will not tolerate the unnatural
perversion of breeding a mule, how did it go along with intentionally damming
this great river that had been a source of bounty ultimately enriching all
mankind? How is that not a perversion of nature of the same order but a far
greater magnitude? Today we know that seventy percent of the ingredients
used by the physicians in ancient Egypt are still in use, and medical technicians
tell us that their methods of preparation were rational. When I was a university
student, in the late 1960s, we were told that these were all fanciful
preparations based on superstition and magic. In its ignorance and arrogance
the “modern” industrial world is in danger of throwing out vast amounts of
useful information learned through observation and error over the past hundred
thousand years.

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By TAO Walker, February 10, 2011 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

Even many of those here professing to abhor “the language of tyranny” seem prone generally to limit their distaste for it only to the effects of its operations within and among their own Kind….homo domesticus, to be generous about it.  Most seem pretty-much okay, though, with its ubiquitous application to Nature, and the “global” attempt at the hands of a captive subject/citizenry to impose upon the rest of Earth’s Living Arrangement the murderously rapacious tyranny called “civilization.”

It is all, in any case, nothing but the impoverished jargon of the IDiotic “dominance”-paradigm.  Some of this Old Indian’s Ancestors tried long ago to caution theamericanpeople that sooner-or-later they would theirownselfs suffer all the abuse and degradation they so foolishly inflict without any compunction upon All Our Relations and on our Mother Earth Herownself.  This Person regularly suggests here that all the ills that are the occasion for so much of the punditry and ensuing commentary, on this and many other sites, are in-fact the inevitable “blow-back” from their long-time cavalier treatment of Nature….now being applied ruthlessly to them by the “self”-styled ruling class who’re “self”-declared “superior” to all the lesser “individuals” whom they exploit so relentlessly and remorselessly.

Attempts by our currently captive Sisters and Brothers to address the depredations of “dominance” now impacting negatively, and daily more seriously, their own diminishing half-lifes, are doomed to failure so long as they continue half-witlessly to use its own highly specialized homo-/elite-centric argot.  They might try learning, instead, the Natural Language of Organic Functional Integrity.  It isn’t, admittedly, very easy to get that into “English,” for example, but doing so anyhow can help greatly to free the handicapped speakers of that forked tongue (as described in its duplicitous usages here by Chris Hedges) from the semantic prison of its carefully CONtrived limitations.   

Right now our tame Human Relations are for-the-most-part unable even to talk together with useful comprehension about the condition their CONdition is in.  So what chance do they have of responding mutually to its debilitating CONsequences, with any genuinely beneficial effects?

Maybe a good place to start would be a recognition that, in the virtual world-o’-hurt, “rational”-ism is just a cheap imitation plastic substitute for the Natural Organic Virtue of Sentience.

HokaHey!

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By OzarkMichael, February 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

Gulam,

while i enjoyed reading your post because it was   well written and coherent, i notice that the theme in your post is self contradictory and completely self defeating.

If you are aware of it, how do you justify what you are saying?

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By Gulam, February 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

Yes David, I liked that quote from Hedges too, but he never follows through on
that line of logic, does he? He would never, for example, apply it to Lincoln. As I
said before, I have always felt uneasy about working to make the protests in
New Haven over the trial of Bobby Seal and the march in Washington following
Kent State go down non-violently. Now I see that all we did by holding big
non-violent rallies was to suck the wind out of justifiable anger. As long a
protest is guaranteed to be just one big peaceful party there is no reason for
power to take it seriously. If Egyptians are not free of the current regime soon,
we can conclude that the peaceful nature of the protests gave the military time
to outflank them.

I still want to know how everyone else goes along with this business of
suddenly dropping the Nazi death camp story into this Chris Hedges essay as if
the Jewish people are the archetypical victims of corporate power, when in fact
that community is also very much a part of the moneyed elite, the corporate
board room, and the big banks, when in fact their perceived participation in
that aggressive fiscal world was why the Germans became so angry. Who is
David, and who is Goliath in the Levant today? Things do get turned up-side-
down given time.

This play has not come out well when it was put on many times in many places
across Europe over the last thousand years, what makes everyone think that it
is not going to be a tragedy when it is put on by the USA. Is this not what is
meant by American and Israeli exceptionalism? Every time in the past when the
Jews took control over the money system and the bubble finally collapsed there
was hell to pay. Is America going to be the exception? In the past when the
Jewish people ignored the physical realities of Assyrian and Babylonian and
Roman power, trusting in strong allies, believing themselves protected by God
from reality, the result was disaster. Is trusting in American power going to be
the exception?

The story of the Nazi Death camps was THE story of the twentieth century in
some ways, but it has become a mandatory bow that liberals make to Jewish
power. Used in this way the story is debased and its importance weakened. This
is a classic case of dropping in that issue out of the blue to no real purpose. It
is the cheapest trick, tackiest tick in the liberal lunch box, it was a non-
sequeter in this essay, and he should be called out for using it once again for
no good reason.

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By David J. Cyr, February 10, 2011 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (Chris Hedges):

“Those who inhabit exploited zones on the peripheries of empire see and hear the truth. But the cries of those who are exploited are ignored or demonized. The rage they express does not resonate with those trapped in self-delusion, those who continue to trust in the ultimate goodness of empire.”
____________

Those who consider foreign resistance fighters to be “terrorists” and/or advise the victims of America’s structural domestic violence to always be “nonviolent” — to never ever defend themselves and their communities with whatever means they can — speak with the fork-tongued language of tyranny. The function of pacifists in America has been to disarm the corporate state’s victims, and to more easily enable the corporate state’s crimes.

The pacifists hold victims down while the corporate state continues to assault them.

The criminal success of America’s “nonviolent” movement is deserving of a Kissinger/Obama Peace Prize.

The Violence of “Nonviolence” :

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=492&Itemid=1

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By Igloo, February 10, 2011 at 7:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since America had its revolution (political not social)in 1776 it has mutated from a Republic to an Empire by 1900. Since that time revolution has become a forbidden word in the country and corporate interests have allied themselves with the powers that be to suppress any popular movements throughout the world under the guise of stopping communism. How did we deviate so far away from our original ideals of Freedom and Democracy or have they become empty slogans in the pursuit of materialism, short term profits and globalization?

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By Robert Higgins, February 10, 2011 at 5:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges cuts through the hypocrisy and cant of our
corporatocracy.

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By RayLan, February 9, 2011 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

gerard
“Raylan, we are in danger of drowning in words here”
Doesn’t take much—about two inches of clear water.

“rights to live and breathe because of one’s own belief in self-righteousness.”
Didn’t imply any such thing. Non-violence is your righteous hyperbole not mine.

“No oppression possible means no revolution possible, violent or otherwise.”  This sounds like an exercise in gobbledegook to me. In other words”  “All oppression possible means all revolution possible, violent or otherwise.” Or am I missing something.  “

Yes all and nothing are logically equivalent. Your spiritualization of oppression however, means that oppresion is simply illusion - or no oppression is possible.
The rest is a simple syllogism - not gobledegook.

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By gerard, February 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

Raylan, we are in danger of drowning in words here. The problem is beyond words, so I’ll stop with this entry because you already understand what I am trying to say, even though it is impossible to say.
  Quoting you:  “I’m a vegetarian because I am serious about the mitigation of violence.” I’ll settle with you right there because you are on the path.
  As to the rest:  “Life is violence. Breathing is violence (germs die). Only the dead are non-violent.” Here you deny what I’m talking about—unnecessary pain, destruction, the deliberate massive denial of others’ rights to live and breathe because of one’s own belief in self-righteousness. The refusal to explore other ways to solve problems. The insistence on reliance upon force, even when we can see it isn’t working. The idea of “enemies” and “winning” and “losing.” The very stuff of misconception and propaganda.
  “The scriptures of all the mainstream religions…” Yeah, sure. Religions say and do anything, just like governments, because they want to justify their control via violence.
  ” .. you will have elimiated the possiblity of oppression.” Sounds good to me, though far down the road from where we are.
“...No oppression possible means no revolution possible, violent or otherwise.”  This sounds like an exercise in gobbledegook to me. In other words”  “All oppression possible means all revolution possible, violent or otherwise.” Or am I missing something.  Anyway, thanks for thinking with me, even though we are pretty well thunk out at this point.

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By gerard, February 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

Redteddy:  The problem with words is that all of them are a “slippery slope.”  It is sad that we have to depend on them to “communicate.”  However, you say ‘I do not consider those who use violence in self-defence as being ‘without a soul’ or having somehow sullied or destroyed their soul.”  Nor do I.  Something beyond our comprehension is lost,  however, when violence takes over human affairs.  Something ineffable is lost on all sides—and we have little to no understanding of what that “something” is.  Yet the results of its lost are evident.  Something more valuable than the physical body is involved.  Human affairs ought to be primarily concerned with its preservation, not its destruction.
  The first step toward preserving and nourishing it is to recognize and respect its existence, no matter what it is called in words. The main purpose of nonviolent action as I understand it is to honor and preserve this quality by studying, practicing and learning what nonviolence is, how to use it early on, before problems become so volatile that violence “breaks out” automatically.  We need to think about why it offers a better way to solve human problem than wars with weapons of mass destruction, spying, torture and all the rest. 
  And speaking of “slippery slopes”, the advocacy of violence, and the use of violence is a slope just as slippery, and a good deal more widespread, unquestioned and destructive of empathy, compassion, reason and common sense. And of life itself.
  I can’t make a nice neat case full of glowing promises for noviolence—nobody can.  But it contains principles and possibilities that need to be investigated, understood and practiced. At this point now I hear Lennon’s voice on the wind: “All I am saying is give peace a chance.”  How long ago was that?  And what have we accomplished since?
  What holds us back?  Fear? Laziness? Stubbornness?
Stupidity?  Habit?  Lack of confidence?

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By RayLan, February 9, 2011 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

gerard
I’m a vegetarian because I am serious about the mitigation of violence. Notice I wrote ‘mitigation’ not non-violence. Life is violence. Breathing is violence (germs die). Only the dead are non-violent.
The scriptures of all the mainstream religions, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Islam all have histories of war and more war. The Bhagavad Gita takes place on a battlefield.
If you want to completely spiritualize the idea of control - then you’ve just elimiated the possiblity of oppression. No oppression possible means no revolution possible, violent or otherwise.

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By redteddy, February 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

@Gerard

Its a real slippery slope when you conjure up ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ in order to promote
nonviolence as a tactic.  I do not consider those who use violence in self-defence
as being ‘without a soul’ or having somehow sullied or destroyed their soul. Its a
religious argument that assumes these terms are concrete but its also
condescending as there are many instances when people have defended
themselves and others, sometimes even taking a life to do so, in the interest of
the preservation on humanity not its destruction.

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By gerard, February 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Raylan:  Regarding your statement: “Well there is no such thing as a non-violent revolution when the oppressors have absolute control. It’s just a question of who takes the blows.”  Truly, I don’t want to argue with you, or anyone, yet ... important primciples are involved here.
  1.  “...when oppressors have absolute control.”  Absolute control of what?  The physical body—to administer pain and/or death. But in understanding nonviolence the problem is primarily spiritual. The reason for nonviolenc is to hold onto the human soul, not to relinquish humanity, humaneness.
  2.  “... just ..?  a question of who takes the blows.”  First, the word “just” vastly decreases the significance of what we are talking about.  There is nothing “merely insignificant” about this question.
  3.In addition,“who gives the blows” is equally important.  One who gives blows inflicts pain and death on others.  To inflict pain and death is to kill one’s own soul as well as hurting or killing one’s opponent’s body—a fellow human being, even though judged evil.  At the same time, the killing (even in self defense) acts as a contagious disease, perpetuating violence because it arouses the desire for revenge and more pain.
  It is true that this is best known as a religious teaching, but it had its roots in practicality and was first used as a kind of spiritual martial art—a way of preserving the better instincts of human beings in the face of overwhelming violence. Psychologically speaking, it turns the opponents’ force against them.
  Though seldom practiced and far from perfected, the idea (and the strategic-tactical methods) still exist after thousands of years of futile warring—exist as a creative alternative with undeveloped possibilities, in the sense of evolving and re-evolving. It is more truly revolutionary than bloody revolutions and that is why it has remained untaught, unrealized, unpracticed and largely scorned and suppressed. It is also more difficult.

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By RayLan, February 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

aacme88
“But it’s certainly no substitute for being tough. If anyone thinks violence requires more grit than non-violence should try facing rows of guys with guns and clubs and full armor, sometimes on horseback, with nothing but your convictions. “

Well there is no such thing as a non-violent revolution when the oppressors have absolute control.
It’s just a question of who takes the blows.

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By Dr. O. P. Sudrania, February 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The maxim may have become obsolete but it is very much relevant even in this modern day life. Rex non potest peccare.
God bless
Dr. O. P. Sudrania

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By David J. Cyr, February 9, 2011 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

“I don’t call it violence when it’s self-defense; I call it intelligence.”

— Malcolm X

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By aacme88, February 9, 2011 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

@ redteddy, February 9 at 5:07 am

Interesting quote. I am trained in non-violent confrontational tactics and have led the security end of large protests in San Francisco in the eighties.
Nonviolence has been shown to be the most powerful force against oppression. Time after time, from the deep South to the Philippines to Russia, to South Africa, to Egypt,  nonviolence has backed down brutal power. It’s called Not Playing Your Enemy’s Game.
But it’s certainly no substitute for being tough. If anyone thinks violence requires more grit than non-violence should try facing rows of guys with guns and clubs and full armor, sometimes on horseback, with nothing but your convictions.

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By RayLan, February 9, 2011 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Duh another typo - I meant CH

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By RayLan, February 9, 2011 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

“HD articulates ” correction in my previous post.
I meant CD

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By RayLan, February 9, 2011 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

MarthaA
“You need to rethink, because Middle Class is a trope, the subjective American Dream.”
I wasn’t telling you what I think - I’m a writer and a poet - trope has an objective meaning- a ‘figure of speech’ or ‘extraordinary use of language’ .
Calling the working class the ‘Middle’ class could be construed as an extraordinary use of language - a symbolic trick.
I think the word hyperbole might fit better.

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By RayLan, February 9, 2011 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

ITW
“very week CH runs another rant through TD, saying the same things he said last time.”
What do you mean by the ‘same things’? Plato, Chomsky, Barzun, a raft of intellectuals could have been accused of ‘saying the same things’ at a high level.
Reality doesn’t just adjust according to our infotainment needs.
HD articulates an ugly important truth in a variety of ways. He displays the constant oligarchic state of the nation through the lens of current events and I can’t wait for his next ‘rant’.
The problem is perpetuated precisely because of this typical American need to only view the ‘positive’ , to excuse denial under the rubric of Polyanna petulance.

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By redteddy, February 9, 2011 at 3:55 am Link to this comment

@Gerard

Its the feeling of impotence and the disconnect that is the most difficult to deal
with, knowing that you should resist in some way but not quite knowing how.

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By redteddy, February 9, 2011 at 3:39 am Link to this comment

@Gerard

I think you are right about participation on a local level, grass roots efforts that
address small but significant community issues, cooperation to alleviate some
of the hardships that people undergo presently and also building ties for when
those hardships begin to mount. I also think you’re correct about learning not
to be afraid of the future strife that is certain to arise as the empire loses grip
on the economy and everyday life becomes more challenging.  I must say I do
look at the events in Egypt with some envy because even if those people do not
get what they want and go home they would have at least known what it meant
to stand up to authority.  It saddens me to see americans so distracted or
overwhelmed that they cannot take the time to organize against the mammoth
empire but maybe they would be willing to work on other issues, everything
from community action information networks to food co-ops to brainstorming alternative ways of untying their lives from corporations to which they have become so dependent, even if its turning their bank accounts over to small local banks as opposed to the ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions.  Its just hard to think of what one can do when there seems to be an avalanche of worrisome prospects.

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By ocjim, February 9, 2011 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

I would suspect that many who read Hedges believe that he is wild-eyed and delusional. Such people live in a self-deluded world in which they can only see movements in terms of weeks or months. They do not project what our world will be in decades or generations. Change seems to come slowly in their lives and they do not analyze or ruminate about its meaning. I would guess that unless Americans take back their birthrights from the rich and from government, we will be ruled by complete tyrants within 50 years.

For too many, redistribution of income and wealth from the lower 80% of Americans to the top 20%, curtailment of freedoms, the growing right-wing media, plutocracy—all are not seen for what they are.

The tyranny that Hedges describes is a real and growing threat.

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By gerard, February 9, 2011 at 1:24 am Link to this comment

redteddy: I share your concern and questions.  Truth is, we don’t know answers until afterward.
  Study is ESSENTIAL to learn pitfalls, mistakes of past, plus to change our naturally violent psychologies which are ingrained by years of prejudicial experience and false perceptions.
  The earlier problems are corrected the easier it is.  War is centuries old; violence is culturally induced.  It will be hard, maybe impossible. The only way I know would be to work for reforms bite-sized. That means at the community level if possible.  I cannot foresee Egypt happening here until we learn a lot more about community and fellowship and can free ourselves from our choking love of individualism. 
  It’s not going to happen suddenly, I don’t think. Violence breaks out suddenly, but not non-violent resistance. Language, methods, gesure, physical stance all have to be modified toward reasoned,
nonthreatening determination as much as possible.
  People have to learn NOT TO REACT to fear, confrontation, threat, even attack.  It’s very difficult but not impossible but it’s the nonviolent resistance that changes the outcome. Belief in it has to be built.
Voting is not enough when governments are allowed as much power as the US has. We permitted this aggrandizement of power because we did not act sooner and in constructive ways, so it’s not all the fault of the government, though they bear a major responsibility for all the fear-mongering, the propaganda etc.  (along with the corporations twisting media out of shape._)
  Your fear of being “carried off to a camp” is shared by everybody, and there’s no way to guarantee that it won’t happen, whether agitation for change is violent or nonviolent. Persecution is a sure sign that the government etc. fear the people, which means the people have enormous power even though they feel powerless. 
  One key problem is fear on BOTH sideS. It grows larger as it moves in crisis situations from one side to the other, back and forth.  Fear is what causes violence to begin and perpetuates it.  That fear is not only fear of being hurt, but also fear of hurting.  Fear causes adrenalin to rush into the body, which rattles rational thinking and shuts out reality temporarily.  It sets up a vicious circle. The hope is self-control to add as little to the fear on site as possible.
  I know this all sounds humanly impossible, and the wonder is that it is not.  It can be learned and has been practiced. Further, even when “defeated” nonviolence is victorious, spirituallyi speaking—which is the essential element of its vitality. 
  Threat of violence is much less at the local level. IMO, non-violent changes should be practiced at the local level immediately as learning experiences.  Leadershiop that understands strategy and tactics is essential. We have some such people, but probably not many. If we can do it at all, IMO it will be at the local level, but it might be contagious.Maybe As you can see, I’m not in favor of attempting any mass action without experience on a small scale.  People generally are far from that way of thinking, to our great misfortune. It’s hard to see how people who can tolerate ten years of projecting modern warfare on shepherds in Asia and 60 years of excrutiating deprivation against a minority of poverty stricken children and young people in Palestine, and sell arms all oer the world could suddenly take up massive nonviolent action.  Could happen, but it would be a miracle.  Pray for a miracle.  Meantime, act locally and practice reconciliation.  Key word, reconciliation.
  Sorry to be so longwinded.  It’s a huge subject.
I’m glad for your interest. Search the net.  I really don’t know what’s out there in the way of accurate information.  (PS—I’m not so naive as to not recognize that there are such things as nonviolent violence, and violent nonviolence also. But learning how to change the balance in favor of nonviolence would probably improve the country.)

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By redteddy, February 9, 2011 at 1:14 am Link to this comment

@Ray Joseph Cormier

I read the article but its easier to diffuse a situation like that.  What I’m really
referring to is how one confronts violence meted out by the State.  For example
one can speak of the bravery that took place when a Chinese citizen stands in
front of a tank during the Tiananmen uprising but he was simply lucky that they
didn’t mow him down as they had the students in the square, I mean thousands
of people died at the hands of the State during that incident.  His single act of
defiance was remarkable but it didn’t change the Chinese regime nor the
clampdown nor the imprisonments.  My point is that if the students and the
demonstrators were prepared for violence isn’t it possible that the outcome
may have been a little different?

You were able to talk your way out of being robbed but what if they simply
wanted to beat or kill you.  Wouldn’t you have fought back?

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By frank cajon, February 9, 2011 at 1:04 am Link to this comment
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This post by Hedges doesn’t turn over a lot of new ground, but that doesn’t mean most of it doesn’t need to be said again, especially about the return to a feudal oligarchy that the US and most of Europe are seeing. Just because capitalism is taking 25 years longer to fall apart than communism doesn’t make it a success.

The piece says a lot of the things that I used to write in my college free newspapers during the Vietnam war. The wars change, but the imperialist philosophy doesn’t. And for the apologists for the Nazis: sure, Hedges is falling back on an old horse to use the holocaust in a political argument. Is there anyone with an IQ above 90 in this country who hasn’t seen a shift towards totalitarianism by both federal and state governments in the US in the last four decades? Bankrolling warlords, strongmen, and oppressive thugs. Laundering a $trillion into military contractors’ pockets in Iraq. The list could go on for pages.

The only reason the people on this board will scoff at this is the fact that we still are allowed to say it-but that will pass, too.
What I just do not get, and I used to post here all the time about it, is why it takes a people with guts and heart in a country like Egypt to take up a struggle we should have taken up as a nation of workers robbed of our birthright and economic freedom long ago. We should be in the streets right now showing our solidarity with them.

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By redteddy, February 9, 2011 at 12:49 am Link to this comment

David J. Cyr
“I don’t mean go out and get violent; but at the same time you should never be
nonviolent unless you run into some nonviolence. I’m nonviolent with those who
are nonviolent with me.”

— Malcolm X (from “The Ballot or the Bullet” April, 1964)

Right he’s speaking of meaningful self-defence.

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By David J. Cyr, February 9, 2011 at 12:33 am Link to this comment

“I don’t mean go out and get violent; but at the same time you should never be nonviolent unless you run into some nonviolence. I’m nonviolent with those who are nonviolent with me.”

— Malcolm X (from “The Ballot or the Bullet” April, 1964)

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By redteddy, February 9, 2011 at 12:07 am Link to this comment

@Gerard

Have you seen this quote?

“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to
put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” 

Its Ghandi who said that. Upon research I found this:

Gandhi himself never ruled out violence absolutely and
unreservedly. He conceded the necessity of arms in certain
situations. He said, “Where choice is set between cowardice and
violence, I would advise violence… I prefer to use arms in defense
of honor rather than remain the vile witness of dishonor ...”

http://www.eduqna.com/Trivia/589-trivia-3.html

I think its important to remember that these leaders who used
pacifism used it as a tool and not the only solution in the face of
tyranny.

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By davidtalks, February 8, 2011 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

I heard a protester in Liberation Square give this answer to the question “”” do you think that the Google exec will be the leader the movement is looking for?”“”

“”“we don’t need a leader. We are leading ourselves.”“”

It’s just possible that the Egyptians are re-inventing democracy.

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By David J. Cyr, February 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (Gerard):

“David J:  What you got against hope?”
____________

It’s usually false; it’s always false when Democrats offer it.

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By OzarkMichael, February 8, 2011 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment

The Belgian Congo really was awful. If your faith in humanity is already shaken dont read a book about it. Its that bad. Ugh, worse than that even.

Leopold King of the Belgians had been the brother of a beautiful and intelligent princess. If only she ruled instead of him. She was capable and intelligent. She needed something important to do and while desperately searching for it found a tragic end instead.

Both were the children of a pretty good king in the old days. As an unknown young man he refused to serve the tyrant Napolean. Served against Napolean in Russia (I think) and did quite well. As the first King of the Belgians his careful, solid diplomacy made Brussels the political capital of Europe when France and Austria/Hungary stumbled. He was the one that young Vickie of England trusted to recommend a husband to her. By the results he gave very good advice. 

When i think of Belgium I try to think of the father and not the son Leopold who seemed to have no soul. i probably exaggerate the goodness of the father. Well, the son was so awful I cant help it. Please dont disturb my little embellishment.

Just learn that a great man can make a terrible father.

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By OzarkMichael, February 8, 2011 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

Martha/Thomas said: Middle Class is a trope.  A trope that represents the 20% minority Middle Class and is presented as representation of the Common Majority, but is actually false representation as a trope.

Martha/Thomas “is a trope”, or probably a “false representation of a trope”. Take your pick.

Martha, why did you pretend to be a Christian at first? What were you gaining from that? And why have you stopped pretending now? I notice you stopped quoting the Bible during your harangues.

In that case, why not just use the ThomasG account and drop your sock puppet “MarthaA”?

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By RayLan, February 8, 2011 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

We have a live one -
” implying that the Jews are THE
archetypical oppressed people. No, that is a lie, a turning up-side-down. That
was not the source of the German genocide: “
The Holocaust didn’t victimize Jews.LOL Strained logic. ROFLMAO

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By DEProf06, February 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

@gerard: “You never know whether violence will work, either, but one thing you can be sure of is that violence will bring about further violence in which many people will inevitably be injured and/or die.  In fact, you are never sure you will get up in the morning, for that matter.”

People are already dying - the poor, elderly, homeless, etc.  This is a major problem with the non-violent path we’ve chosen - no casualties among the terrorist class like Glen Beck and his comrades, lots of them among the working folk.  When only one side is suffering setbacks, it isn’t really a war.

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By redteddy, February 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

@Gerard “So how do you do what you can to prevent peaceful revolution from
becoming impossible?  You study peaceful revolution, its advantages, its
dangers, its methods, its ratioale, its history, how it might be applied to what
problems when and by whom, how you can maintain your own convictions
under pressure, what kind of language y ou use in dealing with opposition,
what kind of gestures, declarations, demands etc. etc.  It’s a whole different
psycho/physical stance. The best thing it has going for it is that it does not
perpetuate violence but instead works to replace violence (which inevitably
means blood, hatred, and a desire for vengeance) with newer, more creative
solutions, begun earlier, more rationally designed, more humanely prepared
for, more open, more healing.”

Well I thought that is what people were doing by protesting against the war and
voting for the democrats and fighting for health care and now it seems all
anyone got was bubkus. The American people voted against bailouts only to
see their officials say no and then turn around and say yes going completely
against the desires of their constituency. I get the feeling that their is no
leverage against these powers because they don’t fear the people when large corporations can just
foreclose on your home, keep you in debt from student loans and then make you work like a dog just to survive. How are
people to organize on such a grand scale when they are so bogged down?  I
mean what is happening in Egypt seems to be a very organic but I don’t think
you could count on such a massive turn out anywhere in the States where the
military and the cops wouldn’t just turn on them with tear gas and bayonets and
jails. I mean look at what happened at the WTO in Seattle? I just saw this
documentary about all of that and it was truly inspiring but they turned on
everyone and now you can’t even get close to any of those conferences.  I don’t
know maybe if they felt they were confronting the middle class they wouldn’t
turn on a large crowd but they certainly have no problem doing so against
students. 

I mean when you listen to Hedges he talks about the rise of a Right wing
movement that would turn on gays and blacks and immigrants and the state
turning on everyone by monitoring everyone with surveillance and further limiting civil
liberties and he seems to believe its inevitable.  I
mean its a scary scenario and I wouldn’t want to be peacefully carted off to a
camp like he described happened in the former Yugoslavia.  I don’t find it hard
to trust people per se but I do find it difficult to trust these institutions which
have seemingly turned their backs on us.

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By gerard, February 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

David J:  What you got against hope?  You got a little pink raft that floats on top, no matter what goes on down below?  You got a pipeline to Certainties, Inc., where they make puncture-proof water wings?  Seriously,  Every breath you take involves an unconscious, inate hope that it won’t be your last.  Every time you get in your car, you hope some idiot won’t come out of nowhere and hit you head-on.  Every time you fly, unknown hundreds of people whom you will never know, worked to manufacture every single part of that complicated machine, hoping they weren’t making any mistakes in their work and even the most experienced pilot in the world, when he takes off, hopes he will land again—preferably on time.  Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter—where?  Hell, of course!

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By JM, February 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

Ref.: By Gulam, February 9 at 1:42 am (1st post)

One of the best comments I’ve read to date by far.

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By Gulam, February 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

Logic is strained pretty hard in this article.

First he talks sensibly about the two languages of power, and there is a very
nice part drawing parallels between British and Belgian colonialism and the ways
of our corporate masters today. But, then the article takes a turn. For his
generation of Americans, shifting the scene abruptly to Dachau is such a
constant that we are hardly likely to notice, but the logical problem with
dragging that up again in this context is that Jews have played throughout the
last two centuries a wildly disproportional roll as those running the
corporations and banks that drive the empires, and their troubles come from
excesses in this direction, not from always being a fall-guy who is religious,
honest, and poor.

When the crash came in 1929 more than 1200 of fewer than 1500 seats on the
Berlin stock exchange were in Jewish hands, and they wrote more than 50% of
movie scripts during that film noir period. Yes, Jews were shockingly
exterminated by the Nazis, and it was eternally wrong, but we are never ever
today allowed to talk about why so many Germans became so angry with them.
Before the Nazis took power in a defeated and impoverished Germany, Jews
were disproportionally large players in the big corporations, banks, and
universities; in the 19th Century Germany had been one of the most liberal and
open societies for Jews in Europe. The horrors of the WWII period were in part a
people’s reaction to what they perceived to be Jewish participation in precisely
the kind of corporate aggression that is discussed in the opening paragraphs of
this essay. The Jews were already deeply involved in the British colonial project
of taking Palestine away from the Arabs. Was there no Jewish money invested in
the Belgian Congo and other colonial ventures? Logically the Jews cannot be
abruptly given the leading roll of the poor and the oppressed, trod on by those
discussed in the opening paragraphs, when they had long been so great a part
of the financial and corporate elite.

This is really tacky and intellectually lazy: setting up a basic scenario about the
unchanging nature of corporate power and the evils of empire, then dropping in
yet another German concentration camp story, implying that the Jews are THE
archetypical oppressed people. No, that is a lie, a turning up-side-down. That
was not the source of the German genocide: that these poor, innocent,
religious, modest people are always being picked on. And, if this age-old
pattern continues once again in the US, which seems more likely now with every
passing day, one of the main reasons that it could go so far is because every
time someone mentions the holocaust we have always been certain that nobody
really wanted to discuss this historically repeating pattern seriously, they were
just dropping in yet another tear jerker story for rhetorical effect to avoid
having to really look at the issue. There are Jewish names all over the recent
banking failures in the USA to an embarrassing extent and the pressure groups
leading America to war with nations living under Islam? Mr. Hedges never
comes to terms with the religious issues, supposedly his field, but instead
returns again and again to knee-jerk liberal emotional bubbles. How can he use
Jews once again as a symbol of those crushed by corporate power when they
own so many of the corporations?

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By gerard, February 8, 2011 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

redteddy:  Exactly my point:  “I believe that John F. Kennedy was correct when he pointed out
that “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”
  So how do you do what you can to prevent peaceful revolution from becoming ipossible?  You study peaceful revolution, its advantages, its dangers, its methods, its ratioale, its history, how it might be applied to what problems when and by whom, how you can maintain your own convictions under pressure, what kind of language y ou use in dealing with opposition, what kind of gestures, declarations, demands etc. etc.  It’s a whole different psycho/physical stance. The best thing it has going for it is that it does not perpetuate violence but instead works to replace violence (which inevitably means blood, hatred, and a desire for vengeance) with newer, more creative solutions, begun earlier, more rationally designed, more humanely prepared for, more open, more healing.

Thing is, you don’t just suddenly start doing it.  It requires a frame of mine, which can either be inherent in the nature of the society ahead of time, or deliberately and thoughtfully constrructed and prepared for. It is thought that nonviolent protest “came easier” in India because of the cultural influences of Buddhism.  Nobody really knows for sure, but in Egypt today it would appear that their ability to maintain nonviolent protest for days on end, involving tens of thousands of people, indicates there is something at the root of Egyptian culture that makes nonviolence intuitively available.  In the U.S.?  Well, again, nobody knows, but ... the tolerance for violence in the U.S. is considered very destructive by many “foreigners.” If you look at what we have tolerated for the last ten years alone, it makes you stop and wonder.
  On the other hand—a brand new day is also possible. IMO, we should be considering nonviolence carefully, learning more about it, thinking about what institutions might prove more prone to nonviolent initiatives than others, planning and working on it consciously at the local level everywhere in this country. (It is being gradually adopted more and more in troubled inner city schools and prisons, in programs called AVP (Alternatives to Violence Programs) but still, many people are so prejudiced against it that they won’t give it the time of day. Not coincidentally, weapons manufacturers hate the idea, and most corporate management would like to snooze through the entire subject.

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By moonraven, February 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

Ray Joseph Cormier:

Wrong.  The US is not the world.

Buy yourself a plane ticket to Venezuela.

You know, the country where the Uncle Tom Colin POwell complained that there was TOO MUCH DEMOCRACY.

That was in 2003.  In the past 8 years more democracy has broken out there.

Queenie:

It was too late when the US was founded on genocide and tyranny.  When you build on blood, institutions are pretty damn slippery.

End Apartheid in North America!

There is no peace without justice.

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By David J. Cyr, February 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Hope:

Hallucinations
Oblivious
People
Endorse

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By gerard, February 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

redteddy:  You never know whether something will “work” or not until you try it in the very most deeply-committed, well=thought-out plan ou can muster, backed by as any people cooperating as you ca possibly muster.  You never know whether violence will work, either, but one thing you can be sure of is that violence will bring about further violence in which many people will inevitably be injured and/or die.  In fact, you are never sure you will get up in the morning, for that matter. All you can do is love, take care of, give, learn, think—and take a deep breath of hope.

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By David J. Cyr, February 8, 2011 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (Ray Lan):

“You conflate terms. Liberal and Democrat - the definitons have been subject to major changes over time. Are you saying the civil rights movement was fascistic?”
_____________

The formation of the United States was an “enlightened” liberal experiment in essentially maintaining monarchy without any monarchs.

The birthing of the corporate state, by the American Civil War, was the natural evolution of the original Founding Fathers’ liberal design for an oligarchic form of government purposefully permanently precluding the possibility of democracy.

The post Civil War modern “progressive” liberals have long loyally served the corporate state to moderate or exterminate any and every movement arising from the Left. It was the corporate state’s “Progressives” who murdered the Populist Party movement. That’s what devious liberal, liberal Democrats and the even more devious “progressive” liberal Democrats have been doing ever since — murdering movements that do not corporate obediently moderate.

America evolved into the preeminent fascist state through its liberal led victory in World War II’s massive conflict between fascist states. The weak and incompetent fascist states all lost. The strongest and most ruthlessly efficient one won.

The Civil Rights movement was a long overdue truly righteous cause. Liberals moved on in to do to it what liberals do. They nicely ensured that the least possible Civil Rights progress occurred.

The Violence of “Nonviolence” :

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=492&Itemid=1

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By redteddy, February 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

@Gerard “Nonviolent resistance, as well as being a morally superior strategy and
tactic, requires even more courage than violence. “

And if it doesn’t work?

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By Inherit The Wind, February 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

RayLan:
I guess you haven’t noticed…every week CH runs another rant through TD, saying the same things he said last time.  Once in a blue moon he has a nugget of insight, but mostly he’s just spilling his guts for how rotten everything is…as Fran Lebowitz said, spilling your guts is exactly as charming as it sounds.

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By gerard, February 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

madisolation:  From your comment:  “for thousands of years violent conflict has been used as a means of gaining justice and or attaining liberty with positive results.”
  Our question is not “violent revolution or nothing..”  Today’s question is “how to promote, organize and conduct non-violent revolution and/or change that brings about more “liberty and justice for all.”
  It is not fair for a few people to have the “liberty” to buy freedom and justice when most others live in virtual slavery, either economic or intellectual. It is not fair for a few people to have the freedom to buy, hold and sell the vast bulk of the world’s resources while the vast majority live in dire poverty, ignorance, sickness and helplessness.
  There are ways to organize, cooperate and work for more justice without killing people or inviting murder by government police. To do so requires resistance, but not violent resistence.  To do so requires the courage to be willing to risk being killed, but to also have the courage (and the common sense) not to kill in retaliation.  It’s a tough call—as is violent revolution.  The difference is that violent response leads to more violence; violent response offers the excuse to retaliate with violence.  Nonviolent resistance does not retaliate with violent resistance. 
  Nonviolent resistance, as well as being a morally superior strategy and tactic, requires even more courage than violence.  Violent opposition fears nonviolence because violent force knows how cowardly it looks when it oppresses and abuses nonviolent people. Violent opposition against nonviolence inevitably loses its moral credibility. And its creative ability, its ability to think of new and better solutions.  It deals in death, not life.
  We are talking inner forces here—spiritual forces, not just crude physical power. The utter emptiness, the complete depravity of physical force is evident everywhere political/economic violence prevails.  That’s why we thrill to the spontaneous uprising of tens of thousands in Egypt, coming together in public without weapons, and demanding nothing but their rights to be human, to live together and to govern themselves together with peace and justice. The depravity of violence-weilding leaders (theirs and ours) becomes ever more apparent.
  Spirit matters.

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By redteddy, February 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

@Gerard

Sorry I pressed submit instead of preview please excuse some of the botched
sentences. Someone here should consider adding an editing button so one can re-
edit or delete ones post if needed. Oh well.

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By redteddy, February 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment

@Gerard

“Yes—but for an equal or more thousands of years violent conflicts has also
been used to establish unjust regimes and maintain socio/political horrors.
It’s a chicken-and-egg situation—violence perpetuates violence. Very soon
everyone loses sight of any alternative but violence, and at that point it’s time
to try some different, less bloody, more creative, cooperative ways of “doing
human business” or whatever it is we are here for—if…Sure if there’s no
experience or knowledge about alternatives circulating anywhere, there’s no
hope.Why do you suppose King, Mandela, Gandhi, Walesca tried a different
way? Because they thought it wouldn’t work? Because it was silly and effete? 
Even cowardly?  Because everybody else said it was useless? Did they “win”
simply because it was Alabama or So.Africa or India?  Did they “lose” because
they didn’t succeed in changing the entire world?”

In answer to your last questions obviously these men used what they believed
would work within the circumstances but lets put this in context.  But let us
remember that Mandela was a member of the Umkhonto we Sizwe which was
the armed wing of the ANC and was ready to resort to armed resistance if the
bombing campaign against apartheid targets had failed. He considered violence
a last resort but he didn’t brush it off the table if necessary.  If someone uses
violence in self-defence is it wrong?  Would you have suggested to German
Jews that they should not use violent means of resistance against being carted
off into ghettos?  Wining for a specific cause is not a failure simply because it
doesn’t change the world and isn’t the argument I’m trying to make.  I’m simply
saying that in life there are times to fight.

Well I’m not sure about the argument that violence begets violence as it
assumes that peace begets peace which we know isn’t always the case.  There
have been plenty of instances in history where peace has been perceived as a
sign of weakness and has been met with brute force so nonviolence is not
always effective.  It also assumes that perpetual peace is somehow aligned with
human behaviour and I don’t believe this to be true.  nonviolence is always
effective. Nonviolence under any circumstances is only a means to an end, if it
works then fine but if it doesn’t pretending as if the same tactic will yield
different results no matter what the injustice or circumstance doesn’t seem
wise.  I mean the French Revolution was a bloody affair but it also lead to a
lasting democracy that has yet been challenged. Its also interesting to see how
the founding fathers debated between the merits of armed resistance vs.
negotiation with the British.  We don’t know what would have happened if they
chose the latter but we do know that the former did yield the desired results.

Martin Luther King once said “The more there are riots, the more repressive
action will take place, and the more we face the danger of a right-wing
takeover and eventually a fascist society.” The riots ceased and yet what do we
have now?  What does Hedges article address if not right-wing takeovers and
an eventual fascist society?  Did the cessation of rioting stop the path towards
right-wing demagoguery and nascent fascist impulses?  No.  Of course King
was referring to the African-community specifically but it also illustrates a
larger point so I believe that John F. Kennedy was correct when he pointed out
that “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution
inevitable.”

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By poonckie, February 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

I am thrilled at the discussion of the article and the mostly civil tone. Too often these threads are infiltrated by trolls spewing vitriolic crap. Chris Hedges is correct. What has happened to our small towns and big cities are the direct result of the corruption of our democratic process. The ability to turn Americans against each other and scape goat one group or another as the cause of one’s own problems has become an art form. While the MSM fans the flames of hate and fear we are distracted from the real issues. The politicians make the same promises cycle after cycle and we lurch from party to party hoping for “change” and the only thing that changes are the faces of the corporate serving politicians.

They promise “jobs” but are never asked where these “jobs” are going to come from. We prospered as a nation when we manufactured goods to sell to the World and now we make NOTHING but war. Our economy is based on people buying cheap chinese crap that they can’t afford and moving electronic “money” around. The only growth industries in this country are prisons and the MIC. Yet we still cling to the notion that one party or another will make it better. BP refinery blows up in TX killing people and they get away with murder, their well explosion and subsequent poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico is all but forgotten. The MSM covered the persecution of journalists in Egypt but never mentioned the private security and local and State police keeping American citizens and journalists away from the spill. They never mentioned the detaining of journalists and protesters during the Republican convention even going so far as to arrest people before they left their homes. Even Democracy Now journalist Amy Goodman was arrested. Our MSM has been consolidated to the point of absurdity where a few men control practically all of the media outlets. If there was a popular uprising it wouldn’t be covered by the MSM.

The suffering caused around the World by our government is ignored at home while we still debate abortion, immigration,homosexuality and religion.

All of the talk about budget deficts never mention the cost of two wars or the looting of the treasury by politicians for their corporate masters.

So let’s keep railing about liberal/conservative/right/left and whose the worse/best for this Country, and when enough Americans wake up and realize that we do indeed have the power to effect the changes we all realize are necessary for our collective survival maybe then we will use the power of the vote.

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By Lloyd English, February 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris has a divinity degree from what I understand. 
He is probably very familiar with this passage.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high
mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the
world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All
these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down
and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee
hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship
the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

We like to speak in the language of evil and justice
and moral right and ideology because this other
“religious” stuff sounds a bit koo koo in today’s
world of reason and rationality. In this modern age
we of course can now “reason” with the powers.  We
can politely beseech them to behave in a nice morally
just fashion and this will without doubt bring them
to their corporate knees in fits of shared moral
conscience and humanity.

Who in this day and age can believe that there is a
satan and that spiritual force is on the side of
liars and cheaters and haters who usurp the world’s
wealth for their own gain.  That is just silly and
thinking that is not meant for the educated.

We still have the power of speaking to the injustices
of the world through the Church.  There are those who
believe that this is where Jesus still speaks out
through his elect against the rulers of this world,
against the evil “spiritual” powers of this world. 
You just have to send in 20.00 and get back your
anointed prayer cloth to take back the world from
tyranny.  Go online to order.

And of course all of us Darwinized Freudianized
existential reasonable rational beings know that all
that stuff about the world coming to an end is a
bunch of silly stories designed to scare us into
buying something or made up by some religious nut. 
Science has brought us freedom from dogmatic
thinking.

Take a look, everything is good.  War is just a
result of fighting for what is right (and fortunately
we are), people starving is their problem, natural
disasters, global warming, nuclear weapons, genetic
modification-chill,don’t worry, be happy!  Don’t
listen to all that crazy talk.  Everything is fine. 
Why don’t you just watch the game and get a beer and
god will take care of the rest.

Note that Jesus response did not deny that the devil
did have all the kingdoms of the earth to give. He
does have the kingdoms of the earth to give, to all
who bow down and worship him.

But that is just silly and there are no secret
societies.  (except maybe skull and bones but that is
just a lark for presidents and corporate heads, they
don’t believe any of that).

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By madisolation, February 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

Gary Mont, you wrote:
“What is needed, is not revolution. What is needed is a new way of distributing the wealth of the earth. Civilizations needs to evolve, not revolve again.”
And how can we realize a new way of distributing the wealth of the earth if not by revolution? We can’t sit around waiting for wait for civilization to evolve. In a perfect world, we would frown on those who have an obscene preoccupation with wealth accumulation. In this world, when their greed is harming us and our very planet, we have to fight back.

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By gerard, February 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

Redteddy:  Excuse error— “conflict has”

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By RayLan, February 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Non-violent revolution—-hmmm - a novel idea -
it implies that either passive resistance like Ghandi was sufficient to convince the autocracy to step down, or an external threat of violence was applied.

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By Gary Mont, February 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just a note.

To all of those here who feel that a revolution is needed in order to thwart the forces of fascism now controlling life on earth, please consider this.

Revolution is a running circle - that ends up right back where it started. When one tyranny is defeated, it is ALWAYS replaced by another Tyranny-to-be. History may be written by the winners, but this theme is the basic format of history and cannot be disguised.

Every Tyranny is designed specifically to defeat violent overthrow through violent retaliation and violent reaction. Revolution is always a lose, lose response.

What is needed, is not revolution. What is needed is a new way of distributing the wealth of the earth. Civilizations needs to evolve, not revolve again.

Every Tyranny ever formed had the accumulation of wealth as its members’ primary goal.

The stripping of the planet’s resources is simply a method of creating more wealth.

Slavery is simply a means to raise profits from manufacturing by eliminating wages.

Remove wealth as the goal and there is a slight chance that human advancement and social evolution can replace human survival and social revolution.

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By gerard, February 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Redteddy:  You say:  “for thousands of years violent conflict has been used as a means of gaining justice
and or attaining liberty with positive results.” Yes—but for an equal or more thousands of years violent conflicts has also been used to establish unjust regimes and maintain socio/political horrors.
It’s a chicken-and-egg situation—violence perpetuates violence.  Very soon everyone loses sight of any alternative but violence, and at that point it’s time to try some different, less bloody, more creative, cooperative ways of “doing human business” or whatever it is we are here for—if…
  Sure if there’s no experience or knowledge about alternatives circulating anywhere, there’s no hope.
Why do you suppose King, Mandela, Gandhi, Walesca tried a different way? Because they thought it wouldn’t work? Because it was silly and effete?  Even cowardly?  Because everybody else said it was useless? Did they “win” simply because it was Alabama or So.Africa or India?  Did they “lose” because they didn’t succeed in changing the entire world?

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By redteddy, February 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

@Gerard “Nonviolent political/social innovation is not impossible. The apparent
inability of our corporate/government to self-correct indicates a fatal illness
within that is crying to be understood, articulated and corrected.
  Force and violence is a very crude tool and should be the last, not the first tool
used—if ever. Better never, IMO.”

Agreed. Nonviolence is a tactic not a way of life, if it doesn’t work you have to
try something else.  Interestingly its with the destructive capabilities of modern
technology that has led to the idea that all violence is wrong and unacceptable
as the wholesale deaths seem more catastrophic and gruesome yet for
thousands of years violent conflict has been used as a means of gaining justice
and or attaining liberty with positive results.

@zzonerr “The quickest and most efficient way to bring the system down is
simply to leave the corporatocracy to its own devices. It won’t take long. If they
don’t have the means to do it now, they’ll figure out a way.  They couldn’t do a
better job of it if they planned.”

I had to chuckle reading that.  Its exactly what I was thinking this morning. 
Leave it alone or even aid its demise and allow the whole thing to cave in on
itself.  Its the counterintuitive approach.

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By RayLan, February 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

ITW
I agree you should not bother writing anything if you are to be so dismissive. BTW the problems he is uncovering are not ‘his’ problems - nor does there carry with that discovery a righteous responsiblity to come up with solutions. I can’t fathom that argument.

It’s like Thumper’s mom (from Bambi)- “If you can’t thay anthing nice, don’t thay anything at all”.

We don’t expect that from journalists, in any case.

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By RayLan, February 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

David Cyr
You conflate terms. Liberal and Democrat - the definitons have been subject to major changes over time. Are you saying the civil rights movement was fascistic?
Should we go back to segragation?

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By M L, February 8, 2011 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Chris. Your commentary is educational and insightful. Sometimes it is not another individual we want to help change but our own groups ( political, etc) We have a tendency to form groups with people who have similar insecurities. Because many people in a group may have similar insecurities or fears, we often end up with a larger insecure group. Just as insecurities make and indivudal narrow minded, insecurity of groups creates narrow mindedness in groups. Authoritarians can easily manipulate and dominate insecure and fearful people. Authoritarians are overly controlling, demanding and restrictive towards people. The have little regard for a person’s feelings or thoughts.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 8, 2011 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

I cannot even write about Chris Hedges’s delusional rantings anymore.  Is he off his meds again?

For every nugget of gold in this article there are 20 nuggets of crap.

And it’s always the same thing.  He has no solutions, just problems.

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By kulturcritic, February 8, 2011 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

If I am not misreading you Chris, this is the most lucid, penetrating, and damning analysis of political society—hence civilization—that I have ever seen.  You have just forwarded the proposition that any political structure, i.e., hierarchical control, is basically fascist and enslaving.  Certainly, the degrees of abuse and enslavement (and methods) may vary from a Stalin to a Bush or Obama, but the end result is the same.

As you said:

“No system of total control, including corporate control, exhibits its extreme forms at the beginning. These forms expand as they fail to encounter resistance.”

And you were clear that even our touted democracy is a Spectacle performance used for the benefit of the few to control the many… no political hierarchy can withstand this critique.

Good job.

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By David J. Cyr, February 8, 2011 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (RayLan):

“[‘Liberals’] is a loaded label. Admittedly the political right (defined currently as Rep) are only different in the overuse of red herring arguments… In that respect Obama is a Rep since he is so busy ‘reaching’ that he stands for nothing.”
____________

A “liberal” is someone who is always saying that they really, really want good government policies for people… but then they go vote for Democrats. Obama is (D) same degenerate creature now that he was before liberals all wet-loin excitedly voted for him.

America’s liberals are the people who developed the most sustainable fascism; a “nuanced” fascism having its success so liberally well sustained that its Final Solution will eventually indiscriminately exterminate all humans. It is the “progressive” liberals who have regularly provided both the best shields and the best weapons for the corporate state’s evil and inequity to flourish. The “ignorant” conservatives wouldn’t appear to be so accomplished if the “intelligent” liberals weren’t always getting the “best and brightest” hard work of empire and exploitation done for them.

Anyone who lived through the 60’s without learning that there are no good Democrats wasn’t awake and aware then, and can’t remember now. Government cultivation of the drug culture provided a permanently brain damaged voter base for Democrats. Recent election results indicate that the drug induced brain damage of Boomer Generation voters has been inherited by their children. It’s the ever reliable provision of popular vote mandates for a continuum of corporate crimes birth defect.

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By sallysense, February 8, 2011 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

today’s deception relies on people not knowing any better…

tomorrow’s deception relies on people still not knowing any better…

where are the people who do know better?... and what are they doing to help all those who don’t?...

////
00
o
O

“i only frequent online establishments that i consider high class and worthy of my superb intelligence!... hence it’s beneath me to frequent other places!”...

\\\
00
o
o

“well gee… your intelligence doesn’t sound too smart if that’s the only thing it’s aware of to do!”...

(and also… schools need to teach students how everyone’s standard human perception uses illusion which can distort something from being seen “as it actually is”... into something else when thoughts (already in the mind) substitute their own ‘pictures’ (or connotations etc) instead…

then mental pictures that resurface as ignorant social or racial or extremist or “manipulative” bias etc are less apt to make big impacts as they’ll have advantages of being more prone to use added consideration as they live with themselves and others in our world here!)...

(and gee… the commenter’s creed ?)...

i do my best to better things by sharing my opinions!...
so i’ll leave it up to others to give bad events good riddance!...
don’t look for me near worthy deeds in need of hands to help them!...
but follow these columns as things get worse and watch me comment again!...

(things need to change to get better!... lotsa stuff to do to put the people in the driver’s seat!... and it can be done!)...

( http://citizenvoices.us )...

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

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By madisolation, February 8, 2011 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Sean01 wrote:
“Only two options remain: Barriers must be erected to isolate our representatives from their corporate masters…or we must remove the ‘representatives’ from our democractic process.”
I agree. I think we can only accomplish that if we draw inspiration from the revolution in Egypt. One thing the people have going for them is they aren’t obsessed with ridiculous left/right politics. Not everyone there believes the same, but they all believe in an Egypt that’s free and serves the people. If we learn anything, I hope it’s that we have to let the old animosities go and focus on the America we want to have, free of the corporations and political establishment that have dirtied and shamed our country. We can do it. Let’s hope the revolution spreads to our shores.

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By omygodnotagain, February 8, 2011 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

“By the time the Belgian monarch was done, some 5 million to 8 million Congolese had been slaughtered. It was the largest act of genocide in the modern era until the Nazi Holocaust.”

Not true the largest act of genocide was in the Soviet Union, under Stalin, the planned murder of 14 million kulaks in his Great Terror.  This is the problem, the only opposition to capitalism is a form of socialism, but it has a bloody past. People are asked who should I trust, money and power vested in the State or in a group of powerful companies, not a great choice, but people will always go with the latter. Throw in that the Bill of Rights was created to protect citizens from the power of the State, why would Americans stand against corporations. The issue is the awesome power of the State, the only possible way out is decentralization of power. Moving power back to States from the Federal Government is not a progressive policy, it brings up issues like segregation, the civil war. The Federal Government has been used as a weapon against local power, now we see the unintended consequences.

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

“By the time the Belgian monarch was done, some 5 million to 8 million Congolese had been slaughtered. It was the largest act of genocide in the modern era until the Nazi Holocaust.”

Not true the largest act of genocide was in the Soviet Union, under Stalin, the planned murder of 14 million kulaks in his Great Terror.  This is the problem the only opposition to capitalism is a form of socialism, but it has a bloody past. People are asked who should I trust, money and power vested in the State or in a group of powerful companies, not a great choice, but people will always go with the latter. Throw in that the Bill of Rights was created to protect citizens from the power of the State, why would Americans stand up for people power. The issue is the awesome power of the State, the only possible way out is decentralization of power. Moving power back to States from the Federal Government is not a progressive policy, it brings up issues like segregation, the civil war. The Federal Government has been used as a weapon against local power, now we see the unintended consequences.

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By RayLan, February 8, 2011 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

David J CYr
“Liberals”
That a loaded label. Admittedly the political right (defined currently as Rep) are only different in the overuse of red herring arguments (the deficit caused the economic collapse)—Vaccous sloganism. ‘Government spending. blah blah’ ‘Big government’ ...blah blah ‘Socialism ...’ blah blah.
Then we get rank fallacies - such as government spending kills jobs…blah blah.
In that respect Obama is a Rep since he is so busy ‘reaching’ that he stands for nothing.

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By Capt rick, February 8, 2011 at 6:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

again a very insightful article . It is no wonder that a person like Chris is writing it as opposed to the writers of these comments. There are very few insightful authors in the world today.. They are not in these comments.FOR SURE-TOO REACTIVE.
THAT said.  EVEN the SS feared rebellion from the Jews and had to disguise the arrival into a concentration camp. So at every level of existence a controlling oligarchy still is afraid to tell the truth while it OPPRESSES ITS HUMAN UNDERLINGS. It follows that if we were ALL UNITED IN RESISTANCE TO POWER FOR GOOD OF HUMANITY AND THE PLANET, THE POWERS THAT BE WOULD COLLAPSE. WHY? BECAUSE IT NEEDS OUR COMPLIANCE/ OUR NEE FOR CLOTHING AND SHELTER.LIKE THE JEWS WERE NEEDED   BP EX ON MOBILE ET AL ARE EXAMPLES OF BRUTE FORCE AND POWERS CHRIS IS WRITING ABOUT IS AS OLD AS PATRIARCHY.IT MUST BE RESISTED AT ALL COSTS just LOOK AT Appalachia AND WHAT IS LEFT OF MOUNTAINS S WHERE COAL WAS BLASTED OUT OF THE GROUND.IT IS ECOLOGICAL HOPPER BEYOND IMAGINATION, AS IF AN ATOMIC BOMB WAS DROPPED .

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By zzonerr, February 8, 2011 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

Everywhere I see people who call themselves progressive in a mood which is getting darker and darker. I wonder if something around them has changed? Or maybe what’s changed is them?
In 1976, studying for a year in Paris, a French schoolmate explained American politics to me like this, “It’s a very simple system.  You have the Republicans who are the conservatives and you have the Democrats who are also the conservatives.” My impressionable 20-year old self was stunned.  I was raised in a blue-collar Democratic family of union workers.  My grandmother used to say, “If it wasn’t for Roosevelt we would have starved.”
Although I call myself progressive too, I don’t share the current mental state of the others around me.  I see anger, frustration, and blame and I think about the main character in the movie “Memento” with his self-induced amnesia.  As progressives they must know, since it’s been true for decades, that they don’t have any real participation in what we call democracy. These are the folks who resolutely vote, year after year, for “the least worst.”  I think they somehow got punked. They just woke up.
All around I hear, “Could we come up with a plan? We’re progressive and we don’t have a plan.”  I’m a little surprised to hear that progressives, who are, by definition, concerned with getting from here to there, don’t have a plan. Then I remember the amnesia.  Self-induced.  I try anyway.  It’s going to be a lot of work.  Just look at the other side.  A parade of disasters for the last 10-12 years in the ‘infallible’ business corporations and the ‘self-correcting’ financial markets. The people running it have almost done all of our work for us. But somehow they seem to still have the upper hand.  How did they do it?  A lot of work.  And a lot of money. And a plan. But I don’t put much effort into details or execution.  For one thing, it could take years, even decades, to finally put the progress in progressive. With patience it could work, but it doesn’t look like we could ever match their money.  But no worries because there’s an alternate solution which is so much easier. 
All around, the plutocrats and their puppets are cheerful.  The Dow Industrials have reached a 2.5 year high.  Gold is going up, up, up. After all that was said, taxes are staying low. Enormous sums of money will remain in their hands. They are high on victory. The bravest of them have speculated on this outcome and entered the market early, already bidding it up. Now the tax cut brings the rest to see what they can buy.
And so another economic bubble begins. Or perhaps multiple bubbles all at the same time. A series of economic bubbles, becoming more and more destructive, is all we have as a result of, their plan. Who knows if it’s denial, greed, insanity, evil, or all of the above which allows them to continue.  All we have to do is stand back and watch the ‘unintended’ consequences. A deregulation of commodities markets brings a sharp increase in the price of wheat, which results in rising food prices, which brings a people’s revolt in Tunisia, which then spreads like a contagion to Egypt. What about gold? Scare people, then tell them gold equals security, and sell them a piece of paper that says they own some. Amazing things can be done by speculators with market traded investments especially when the vehicle is no longer tied to anything tangible. The market created to bring price stability in commodities is subverted when they ditch the limits on the number of contracts that can be traded so that they no longer represent anything that actual global supply could match.
The quickest and most efficient way to bring the system down is simply to leave the corporatocracy to its own devices. It won’t take long. If they don’t have the means to do it now, they’ll figure out a way.  They couldn’t do a better job of it if they planned.

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By Gary Mont, February 8, 2011 at 5:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very nicely stated and very true.

Nothing much to add, save that the Fuedal Empire is a final stage of civilization and always preceeds and creates its demise.

In a way its funny. The wealthiest among us tend to forget that the populations they conspire to exploit are the very source of their original wealth.

Once the population is fully enslaved and impoverished, the system that generated the wealth comes to a grinding halt. In order to gather more wealth, the elite must seek other lands or simply rob each other.

Either way, the social structure collapses and another vast ruin is created for future antiquarians to ponder.

It is the most popular method of social self-destruction humanity has ever invented, since, for some, the final days are spent living like gods.

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By Lafayette, February 8, 2011 at 4:09 am Link to this comment

POLITCAL MEDICINE

DJC: Liberals use “nuanced” rationalizations for their immorality to obfuscate their lack of any morality.

So what ... ?

Which would you rather be hit with, the “Nuance” of Progressives or the “Hard-rock” of Reactionaries?

To each their own political medicine. If you are blind to Leftist Morality then that is whose problem?

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By Lafayette, February 8, 2011 at 4:04 am Link to this comment

THEN AS NOW

Mark Rudd: In a way, I still don’t know what to do with this knowledge. I don’t know what needs to be done now, and it’s still eating away at me, just as it did 30 years ago.”

When it comes to changing/altering popular beliefs, the above is always the challenge.

Especially in a country that is Fat, Dumb and Happy with the notions it which it has been inculcated. Americans are not yet hurting enough to pick up the cudgel and revolt.

So they go to the ballot-box to vote their disgruntlement when some leader dares upset their tidy little fantasy.

We have met the enemy and he is us.

MY POINT

The process of alteration has no Quick Fix, of which Americans are so beloved. It is a very slow learning process, year after year.

What would help, however, is a Social Democrat Party that functions as a focal-point for the Progressive Agenda.

Anybody got an extra 15 megabucks with which they don’t know what to do to get that ball rolling?

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 8, 2011 at 2:35 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (Tim Hetherington):

“Unlike this article, perhaps truths in life are a little more nuanced.”
_____________

Liberals use “nuanced” rationalizations for their immorality to obfuscate their lack of any morality.

Here’s trailer links to two important war documentaries (below). It requires a real (D)onkey shit slick “nuanced” position to either forgive war criminals or condemn the antiwar warriors.

The Fog of War (2003)
(self-serving confessions of a war criminal):
http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/the-fog-of-war/trailer

The Weather Underground (2002)
(reflections of old antiwar warriors):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay4cgdq6g-o

“I think that part of the Weatherman phenomenon that was right was our understanding of what the position of the United States is in the World. It was this knowledge that we just couldn’t handle. It was too big. We didn’t know what to do. In a way, I still don’t know what to do with this knowledge. I don’t know what needs to be done now, and it’s still eating away at me, just as it did 30 years ago.”
— Mark Rudd

Clinicians can quibble over whether someone with PTSD has it or not, but PTSD can be as curable as terminal cancer isn’t.

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By gerard, February 8, 2011 at 1:28 am Link to this comment

tonyopmac and zagostino and redteddy:  Keep thinking and planning, alone and/or with others of similar intentions.  Sooner or later you’ll come up with a practical idea for some beneficial change.  seam01”  You might discover an amazing possibiity regarding “.. barriers to isolate our reps from their corporate masters or remove the reps etc.”
Concentrating on crucial but manageable areas with limits that make accomplishment possible is probably better than trying to bite off too large a problem.

Look for other people already working on the same problem.  My hunch is that the entire MIC structure is so inter-related and dysfunctional that it is fragile. (That may be why there is such a resistance to change anything from within government/corporate organization itself.  (Some of the power-brokers must know they are failing; it is so obvious.) Success in one weak area would probably affect associated areas.
  In areas of research and innovation, an idea is cooperatively decided upon and tried in an organized way. At a certain point if things aren’t working out, adjustments are made (although some reluctance of vested interests occurs) and a revised process continues until either the research is fruitful or reaches a dead-end.
  Nonviolent political/social innovation is not impossible. The apparent inability of our corporate/government to self-correct indicates a fatal illness within that is crying to be understood, articulated and corrected.
  Force and violence is a very crude tool and should be the last, not the first tool used—if ever. Better never, IMO.

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By racetoinfinity, February 8, 2011 at 1:00 am Link to this comment

@ thebeerdoctor, February 7 at 9:01 am

Sentimentality and empire go together; mythic levels are imperial, and rigid ethnocentric caste systems prevail, where everyone knows his “place,” not him(s) self or better Self.  It’s very unpleasant to have to deal with such persistent reactionary imperialist forces and powers in C.E. 2010!!

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By tony_opmoc, February 8, 2011 at 12:06 am Link to this comment

I rarely post here, the standard is very good, and the format different, however I did register here a year or so ago….

I am English and have been posting in the US regularly on Alternet for the last 4 years or so..

There are some things I really love about Americans which is partially the opposite of what I expected by spending 4 years of my “virtual life” reading what Americans were writing…

Sure I learned and loved some of the things I was reading - like an incredibly exciting book - as you turn the page - but you can yourself - even “me” contribute to the story

After 4 years writing in America

I wrote a few things on a couple of UK newspaper websites and went out for a walk in the country with my wife…

When I came back in less than 3 hours over 250 people had ticked a box indicating they “Liked” what I had written…

So I thought FFS - how many people actually read it?

“AOL buys Huffington Post for $315 million”

To be honest, when I wrote this I thought she was an English Girl and thought her website was pretty crap so I didn’t bother even registering…

I don’t want to look like Arianna Huffington and I took a few looks a few years ago and never even bothered to register…

I suggest she cashes out immediately….

Walk away with it girl

RESIGN

If you want my respect

And Arianna says Tony “You Don’t Undertstand - AOL have made me President - and I can’t sell the shares - part of the deal is a legal lock in”

Arianna - it is your company that AOL have bought and in my expereince AOL are a bunch of sharks - uou would be well servered to get clear..

But it is a part of my life….and anyway what would I do with the money if I used your advice to completely safely and legally get out of the lockin…

I said to her do you want to achieve an enormous mental orgasm so good that you feel like you are touching God

Just donate the fucking lot to

Feeding america

http://feedingamerica.org/

Tony

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By Sean01, February 7, 2011 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment

Always a pleasure to read Hedges. 

What we are witnessing at home is the failure of representative democracy. 

Only two options remain: Barriers must be erected to isolate our representatives from their corporate masters…or we must remove the ‘representatives’ from our democractic process. 

Sean
Leftista.com

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peterjkraus's avatar

By peterjkraus, February 7, 2011 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

“American democracy looks real even as the levers of
power are in the hands of corporations.”

American “democracy” has never looked real. Two parties
sharing power constitute an oligopoly. Take one away or
let one act like the other and you have a monopoly, or,
in political terminology, a dictatorship. Let industry
be the leading voice in the parties or party and you
have a fascist dictatorship.

Where’s the democracy?

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By redteddy, February 7, 2011 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

@kerryrose “Torture is against American law and International law
supposedly because we profess to be more enlightened than we
actually are.Someone is knocking on our door, but, almost as if we
have Stockholm syndrome, we ignore it, and rationalize it, or call
for more (Tea Party).  Do you want more percentages and numbers
to affirm?”

I don’t think it matters what the numbers are.  Governments
generally and systematically break as well as insist on laws based on
their own momentary interests, regardless of the desires and values of the
general population. If their activities run counter to whatever image the people have of their government and their society then they simply run them clandestinely which is what happened under Bush.  When the US isn’t torturing someone in their
own prisons they send them to other countries where they don’t
have to concern themselves with the moral issue. The laws are
only relevant when there is some other institution to enforce these
laws when the government fails to uphold them itself and as of yet no other nation
nor combination of nations under the UN have the power to do so.
Bush’s administration was allowed to get away with torture through
the acquiescence of Obama’s administration. Obama it seems has
put a stop on torture as far as we know but that’s irrelevant since
there were no serious consequences doled out to the previous
administration. 

Do you know how people are treated in US prisons?  The abuses? 
It happens regularly and we don’t seem to mind it much as a
population. I don’t think its necessarily helpful to target abuses of
others abroad when we are able to legally engage in these abuses
at home within our prison system.  This should prove to be
interesting viewing:

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/americas-brutal-prisons/

I don’t put so much stock in the Tea Party, I think their numbers
are inflated and influence minimal in the long run, they’re an
outgrowth of the financial meltdown that left many Americans frightened & confused. Hedges and Chomsky are correct that
instead of worrying about the Tea Party we should question why
the Left doesn’t have a grass roots movement motivated to reach
out to this population with alternative options. The Tea Party is a one horse pony fiscal
movement worried about big government even though many of
the programs like the single payer health care option would
benefit them and their families. But corporate manipulation takes place in both parties which is why you have a president who’s
basically a watered down version of a liberal pandering to corporate interests.

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By FiftyGigs, February 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

Vacuous.

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By tony_opmoc, February 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment

zagostino,

You make some very good fundamental points in an elegant way, and I largely agree with you.

But societies do not always progress to a state of complete Dictatorship, where a very small number of people are in control of almost everything

The reason for this is that Dictatorships are inherently grossly inefficient

They result with a small number of actors - who are great at projecting themselves and their friends “images” - about “policy” producing a completely horrendous smelly turd from inside their own arsehole because they become incapable of communicating with real intelligence.

Real intelligence would for example be well educated humans who tell the truth, even when they are being paid to tell lies.

Eeveryone else looks on in total disgust, and realises that the entire system is broken and there is no point in voting until these old horrible stupid evil people die or in some way “go away”

Some of us look at it - and say - we have to change things around here -

Just look at The State of It!!!!

What do we do?

Tony

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, February 7, 2011 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment

RayLan, February 8 at 12:56,

You need to rethink, because Middle Class is a trope, the subjective American Dream.

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By tony_opmoc, February 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment

The history of warfare in Afghanistan is obvious even if you skipped your history lessons at school to chase girls…

Long before the Americans and The Russians, the entire might of The British Empire (and our soldiers were not very nice) persistently got slaughtered in Afghanistan

And I thought all this insanity was coming to an end when Led Zeppelin sung Kashmir and I travelled to foreign lands and Muslims and Hindus and - well everyone was really welcoming and nice

Then They Did This

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0417397/

And although they recorded it after the event, and it is in Russian - it tells you everything you need to know about Afghanistan and war

Comment from Estonia

” people in the movie are much more real than in Hollywood movie….only Russian actors can let the public see the soul of Russian people and soldiers….Russians have very hot temper, they can blaze up in a second and start the fight, but they never let it damage their friendship.”

Tony

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By zagostino, February 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

Cassandra comes to mind when reading CH’s post this
week.

It fits right in there with his last chapter of
“Death of the Liberal Class.”

I ascribe to much of his analysis in this post and
his book. But where I need clarification is on his
view on corporate entities. I work for a
corporation. Most businesses are corporations. They are not going away.

Corporate capture of those government agencies,
agencies that are supposed to subordinate corporate special interest to that of the public good, is well know and documented. Where I don’t see much analysis is on how to create corporations that can both prosper within their own individual economic spheres AND secure the public good.

When I read CH and Richard Wolff or others from the left that I identify with, I find suggestions on individual action, or collective protest, but not much on how to subvert the corporate and political elite’s control over the levers of power.

An elemental principle of political science is that under any system of government, democracy,
autocracy, communism, monarch, etc…,the few will
rule over the many; it can not be otherwise.

The use of political formula/myths have always been employed to mask this fact. But once this fact is realized, then the role of the corporation takes on new meaning - especially as it relates to the propagation and maintenance of these myths.

I am not sure how non-profit organizations work,
what their legal structure is nor how they
moderate, if they do at all, the monied and
powerful for profit corporate entities. But, the
formation of viable “good” corporations to combat
the prevalent “evil” ones might make sense….I
don’t know….

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By rainwave, February 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

http://youtu.be/jOSfLXpzO9M

yes and let the nation keep sleeping….Hedges is dreaming of an unknown hero.

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By tony_opmoc, February 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges who has been round the block a few times again dumps his journalistic guts in spectatular style.

Tim Hetherington whose film I haven’t seen complains re how he thinks Hedges is portyaing his film.

Well, I am just a spectator, and have tremendous respect for anyone who goes out to a war zone and attempts to portray it in either words or film…

But although I don’t have the courage (or is it madness?) to do this kind of thing because often being a journalist with a camera and a mike is even more dangerous than being a soldier, I do have a personal view.

I actually met a freelance journalist I hadn’t seen for a few years - and he had been out to Afghanistan - completeley unsupported and independent. He is a massive big bloke - and looks like a US Marine - but he is Scottish.

He attempted to record his experiences independently but got picked up by the US army…

And he was trying to tell my wife and I about his experiences in Afghanistan, in my local pub, and this “peace activist” overheard the conversation and immediately adopted an incredibly aggressive stance, such that my friend was not allowed to talk and he had to apologise and leave

The anti-war feeling is extremely strong in the UK and journalists are perceived as part of the problem regardless of what they have done.

However the support for UK soldiers who turn up in our pub, particularly the guys who have been seriously injured is overwhelming.

They almost never mention it, and do their best to hide it, whilst I try and choke back the tears seeing this incredibly good looking 26 year old trying to stand up with the help of his Mum

We have the best bands on within easy travelling distance of here

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/05/afghanistan-injured-soldiers-rehabilitation

You should see our soldiers dance

But Western Journalists need even more courage. They need to break all the rules - and spend 6 months or a year “embedded” with the other side.

The people who’s country we have invaded.

Tony

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By DEProf06, February 7, 2011 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

I think the point CH is attempting to make is that the tyrants will sweet talk their victims as long as needed, then stomp when the facade of decency is no longer needed.  Right now the Koch Bros and other right-wing fat cats are giving money to the teabaggers, because they need storm troopers to disrupt meetings and so forth.  This largesse also serves to distract from the fact that the congress elected by the teabaggers began breaking all of those promises as soon as they got into office (or before).  When the shock troops are no longer needed, they will become part of the little people again.

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By gerard, February 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

Kerryrose:  “Such a culture is in need of condemnation or transformation.”  I’d just change one word—“condemnation AND transformation.
  My point (to counterbalance Hedges eloquent condemnation) is to call for transformation, and my heart and mind tell me that transformative language is the first requirement to prepare people for transformative action—the verbal articulation of new ideas, new methods, new hopes, new institutions.
  Hedges often mentions nonviolence, and puts it into practice in his recent small demonstrations in DC.  In those cases he goes over and above his habitually dark rhetoric, moving toward nonviolent practices. But he does not naturally articulate speciiic nonviolent philosophy or strategy.  With the exception of King, Schweitzer, Mandela, Gandhi, and a few others, nonviolence has never been widely verbalized. 
  Most Truthdig commenters don’t “believe’ in it. Most don’t understand it because it hasn’t been verbalized clearly (hard to do at best!) or exhibited in behavior. They admire Hedges” dark critiques of the present situation, but don’t see beyond them to the possibility of nonviolence, and hence don’t join him in nonviolent demonstrating. There is also the whole area of institutional change, specifically envisioned, articulated and planned nonviolently, which nobody has yet done. For instance, what would a nonviolent army look like? Wat could it do? How would it be trained?  Why?
  What about a non-violent Wall Street?  How could a nonviolent government be structured?  You think I’m kidding?  No, seriously, the gap in understanding and planning is enormous! Many more talented people need to be thinking about such things, planning toterhter, strategizing, acting at many different levels. 
  Most Americans neither understand nor “believe in” nonviolence, so we don’t bother to think it through, to understand why it is a better way than violence, to recognize its possibility. So it doesn’t happen—and hence doesn’t ever gain credibility in action.  It’s too odd, strange, “naive”, “passive” , “weak” etc. etc.  So serial violence based on previous violence, plus the lack of bothering to find better ways, wins out,  which again creates more violence.  It’s a social syndrome. 
  Deep understanding, courage and creativity are the only cures for habitual wars, and it won’t happen—can’t happen, quickly.  It has a natural life—seed, root, growth, fruit.
  To the degree that the Egyptian demonstrations refrain from violence (even in the face of police brutality) they will really lead the way toward meaningful and lasting social change. (I hope everybody saw among the participants the many evidences of nonviolence—smiles, children on shoulders, singing, people helping people, no fist-shaking, crazed shrieks, “kill Mubarek!” signs, etc. Very little provocation if any.  It takes a wise and caring people to assemble in such huge numbers and maintain calm resistance in the face of provocation!

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By RayLan, February 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

MarthA
A trope is a literary device a ‘figure’ of speech - like ‘dumb as a post’. Symbolism is trope, like a flag.

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