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The Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost

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Posted on Mar 26, 2012
AP / John Minchillo

Chris Hedges is suing the president over the National Defense Authorization Act, which legalizes the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process.

By Chris Hedges

I spent four hours in a third-floor conference room at 86 Chambers St. in Manhattan on Friday as I underwent a government deposition. Benjamin H. Torrance, an assistant U.S. attorney, carried out the questioning as part of the government’s effort to decide whether it will challenge my standing as a plaintiff in the lawsuit I have brought with others against President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), also known as the Homeland Battlefield Bill.

The NDAA implodes our most cherished constitutional protections. It permits the military to function on U.S. soil as a civilian law enforcement agency. It authorizes the executive branch to order the military to selectively suspend due process and habeas corpus for citizens. The law can be used to detain people deemed threats to national security, including dissidents whose rights were once protected under the First Amendment, and hold them until what is termed “the end of the hostilities.” Even the name itself—the Homeland Battlefield Bill—suggests the totalitarian concept that endless war has to be waged within “the homeland” against internal enemies as well as foreign enemies.

Judge Katherine B. Forrest, in a session starting at 9 a.m. Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, will determine if I have standing and if the case can go forward. The attorneys handling my case, Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer, will ask, if I am granted standing, for a temporary injunction against the Homeland Battlefield Bill. An injunction would, in effect, nullify the law and set into motion a fierce duel between two very unequal adversaries—on the one hand, the U.S. government and, on the other, myself, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, the Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir and three other activists and journalists. All have joined me as plaintiffs and begun to mobilize resistance to the law through groups such as Stop NDAA.

The deposition was, as these things go, conducted civilly. Afran and Mayer, the attorneys bringing the suit on my behalf, were present. I was asked detailed questions by Torrance about my interpretation of Section 1021 and Section 1022 of the NDAA. I was asked about my relationships and contacts with groups on the U.S. State Department terrorism list. I was asked about my specific conflicts with the U.S. government when I was a foreign correspondent, a period in which I reported from El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Middle East, the Balkans and other places. And I was asked how the NDAA law had impeded my work.

It is in conference rooms like this one, where attorneys speak in the arcane and formal language of legal statutes, that we lose or save our civil liberties. The 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act, the employment of the Espionage Act by the Obama White House against six suspected whistle-blowers and leakers, and the Homeland Battlefield Bill have crippled the work of investigative reporters in every major newsroom in the country. Government sources that once provided information to counter official narratives and lies have largely severed contact with the press. They are acutely aware that there is no longer any legal protection for those who dissent or who expose the crimes of state. The NDAA threw in a new and dangerous component that permits the government not only to silence journalists but imprison them and deny them due process because they “substantially supported” terrorist groups or “associated forces.”

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Those of us who reach out to groups opposed to the U.S. in order to explain them to the American public will not be differentiated from terrorists under this law. I know how vicious the government can be when it feels challenged by the press. I covered the wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua from 1983 to 1988. Press members who reported on the massacres and atrocities committed by the Salvadoran military, as well as atrocities committed by the U.S.-backed Contra forces in Nicaragua, were repeatedly denounced by senior officials in the Reagan administration as fellow travelers and supporters of El Salvador’s Farabundo Marti National Liberation (FMLN) rebels or the leftist Sandinista government in Managua, Nicaragua.

The Reagan White House, in one example, set up an internal program to distort information and intimidate and attack those of us in the region who wrote articles that countered the official narrative. The program was called “public diplomacy.” Walter Raymond Jr., a veteran CIA propagandist, ran it. The goal of the program was to manage “perceptions” about the wars in Central America among the public. That management included aggressive efforts to destroy the careers of reporters who were not compliant by branding them as communists or communist sympathizers. If the power to lock us up indefinitely without legal representation had been in the hands of Elliott Abrams or Oliver North or Raymond, he surely would have used it.


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By American Lion, March 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges stands as bulwark against the onset of creeping tyranny in this country. I follow his work closely and support his efforts on behalf of our citizenship.
@Lafayette - Please add to your list of vote count manipulations: Electoral college unhooked from vote percentage tally, Absentee vote counted only under close calls, PAC money huge driver TV spots, Electronic vote rigging is a huge problem on several levels, corporate ownership of media outlets does much to skew what voters hear and see.
Hope I’m not off base with these observations and thank you.

Report this

By Steve Consilvio, March 30, 2012 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris,
Thank you for not being “complicit in their own enslavement.”

http://www.behappyandfree.com

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, March 30, 2012 at 12:24 am Link to this comment

GAMING THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM

balkas: i could have also used “controlling people to a degree”

It is very complex, but the political process in the US is “gaming the system”.

Here are its basic attributes:
* Gerrymandering (districting) allows a two-party system to encrust both parties into continuous power, since redistricting carves up the vote in favor or one or the other party.
* Ballot restrictions and the inability to “write in” a vote allow further to constrict voting patterns
* The excessive use of Negative Advertising (calumny, character assassination, defamation, etc.) is apparently an effective electoral tool with American voters.
* Restricting political advertising on televisions effectively limits their ability for third-parties to attract public attention (over a vast expanse of the US). Consequently very large advertising budgets have an edge in promoting a candidate’s image amongst voters.
* The fact that in the best of years only 60% of the Americans eligible to vote do so and the overall average is closer to 50%, meaning that voter turnout can and does decide electoral outcomes.
* Vote counting is first-past-the-post, winner-take-all so there is no proportional representation. (Admittedly, this has the advantage of promoting more stable governments than when legislatures are constituted of large numbers of political parties.)

There are perhaps other factors that enter in to the “gaming”, but the above - I suggest - characterize how gaming can so easily happen in the US. The political system over the years has been shaped such that the two parties can assure their hands on the levers of powder both on state and Federal levels.

Third-parties haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell. Just ask Ralph Nader ...

POST SCRIPTUM

Note below some rules that help avoid the above “gaming” in France (which is conducting at present its presidential election):
* Personal defamation, by means of publishing nonfactual information or innuendo, is civil offense punishable by fines (at all times and not just during elections).
* Districts are based upon existing recognized administrative boundaries within a state and cannot be reconfigured to consolidate votes of one party or another. An individual must reside in the district for which they are election candidate.
* Advertising on TV must be offered to all candidates - with no payment for access - and there is a continual analysis of “face time accorded” by each TV-channel. A channel can be sanctioned for not giving all candidates equitable access to TV.

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By pulltheweeds, March 29, 2012 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

fear and the politicians who employ it is our greatest enemy

Report this

By heterochromatic, March 29, 2012 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

hey sally, re-read the comments, re-read the petition, read the comments on the
petition…....

it won’t fly, but good luck and stay optimistic.


http://youtu.be/eCv_DI_dk0o

Report this
sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, March 29, 2012 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

hiya again heterochromatic…

“sally—- just which part of
“Im agreeing with you but we need to change the members of Congress before it’
can possibly be repealed”
don’t you understand ...as pertinent and of importance?”

the comment does as much as it says… nothing…

how much pertinence and importance does nothing have ?...

you can run yourself around in circles without even moving…

but don’t look for me on the sidelines…

too busy elsewhere…

if you still don’t get it…

re-read the comments for yourself ‘til you do…

that is if you care… too…

Report this

By balkas, March 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

i am aware that a generalized utterance can be interpreted in an indefinite number of ways.
and defining and redefining a generalization can go on forever.  “owning people” or “owing people to a degree” are
also generalized statements.
i could have also used “controlling people to a degree” to limn what goes in socalled democracies.
i’ve been using the generalization that some people own other people to a degree for about a decade [i found a year
ago that also george carling used it and may have beaten me to it]

however, i always also include some examples of the ownership or control of people by some people.
you own/control a person when you send himher to a near or far country to kill people there.
you own a person if you own a place where s/he works. you own a person if only you write a law, regulation. and only
you interpret and execute them. one can own/control a woman in too many ways to list them all; so, be my guest and
do some listing.
[btw, i know when i control my wife, but i feel bad if i do it even if i lie to her in order that she not feel hurt]

so, owning people can be understood only by citing actualities in the ownership and never by defining it.
alas, i suggest, that 99% of people in US or even world do not know this fact.
i suggest that most priests, ‘teachers’, and politicians know this truth or at least instinctively understand it.
and they’ll use it on you if you’re not aware of the ruse.
and, of course, such people win every debate.

Report this

By 1984 or 1776, March 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

@Hetero,

I’m off, really?  You were the one who asked an
unanswerable question in light of the NDAA?

You asking me proves my point regarding NDAA.

All of us hapless neo-Germans will be asking ourselves,
“hey, did Dirka Dirka go on vacation? I haven’t seen
him in a while, oh well, pass me the remote control”

Report this

By heterochromatic, March 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

you’re so fucking off on that one, 86…just like all the rest of your swamp gas
ravings..

here’s a lovely parting game and thanks for coming.

http://youtu.be/G2tNVwzdxaI

Report this

By 1984 or 1776, March 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

@Hetero,

I’m sure you would have been the type of German who asked
his neighbor to “prove” that the Jews ain’t on vacation.

Report this

By bahmi, March 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s been a great read on these pages of comments, truly a mature group of people.
Chris Hedges gets criticized for any number of reasons.  Love it when some say “he didn’t do things my way, what’s wrong with him anyway”? Arguments directed in favor of one party or another are as close to human waste as is humanly possible.  We are being shafted equally well by both groups of toads.  Write your rep and make a reasoned case against, x, y, z? Hahahahahahha! Or, better still, Party X makes less mistakes than Party Y.
I’ve railed against non-participation in many forums. I’ve felt from my reading that the number 1 problem we have is lack of rock ribbed resistance to the forces of true evil in the country. If you’ve had as broad a career as Chris Hedges, if you’ve wrestled with the government in many ways, if you’ve paid a certain price like incarcerations, if you’ve carried the message to as many people as he has, Voila!, you’re a damn good soldier. If you’ve not been as prolific as Chris, feel free to go soak your head. Oafs calling his efforts as mere exercises in capitalism, making money, exploiting people for only financial and publicity reasons really are a cowardly group.
Yeah, give us the bromide that nobody including Chris is perfect, wow, such a revelation. Chris is doin’ it, what about you, big fella?

Report this

By heterochromatic, March 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

86—- here’s how you can disappear.

http://www.customnames.com/visittex/headup.jpg

Report this

By 1984 or 1776, March 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

@Hetero,

Asking me to name those who are disappeared? LOL

If you don’t get the irony of that, well, ....

Report this

By heterochromatic, March 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

the totality of your failure to produce say’s you’re full of shit….. fook off.

Report this

By 1984 or 1776, March 28, 2012 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

@Hetero,

The irony of your question is my answer.

Report this

By heterochromatic, March 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

86—- You need to answer…..no laughs at all.

Report this

By 1984 or 1776, March 28, 2012 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

@Hetero,

You need to ask? LOL

Report this

By heterochromatic, March 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

86—- you wrote that Iranian-Americans have been disappeared and I asked you
to name some?

can you do that or were you merely blowing gas?

Report this

By 1984 or 1776, March 28, 2012 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

@Hetero,

This lawsuit is DOA, not because it’s frivolous, but
because the Empire’s Court will find a way to quash it.

If you are waiting for the disappeared to somehow show
up and put on a “serious” lawsuit, well, that’s just
plain silly.

Report this

By heterochromatic, March 28, 2012 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

86—- the situation is serious, the lawsuit is not.


which iranian-Americans have been disappeared… I’m aware of a couple who were
imprisoned in Evin, but only one or two still missing

Report this

By dharmabuilt, March 28, 2012 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

well, i for one am warming-up to the idea of a bug-out bag and plan. and i for one will defend me and mine and the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic (that’s right, i remember my oath when i wore the uniform).

where the hell are our “esteemed” institutions of law on this one? where the hell are our “civil liberties” watchdog groups? seems to me that only the likes of Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Wikileaks, #Occupy, jesse Ventura, and a few others are willing to stand-up and be counted.

Thank you Chris and your esteemed colleagues - bless you and Godspeed.

Report this

By 1984 or 1776, March 28, 2012 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

@Hetero,

It’s only serious for the Iranian-Americans who have
been disappeared lately, right?  Too bad those folks
can no longer hail a cab down to the Empire’s Court.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, March 28, 2012 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

By heterochromatic, March 27 at 12:18 pm
 
“‘balkas——-owning people [if i may call that what is
happening in US and elsewhere]....——’

you may not call it that, unless you content to wildly
distort.”

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

The concept of being “owned” is subject to interpretation:


in•ter•pre•ta•tion


establishment of meaning: an explanation or establishment of the meaning or significance of something

ascription of particular meaning: an ascription of a particular meaning or significance to something

performance of something: the way in which an artistic work such as a play or piece of music is performed in order to convey a specific understanding of the work

Synonyms: clarification, understanding, explanation, reading, construal, elucidation, analysis, version


To the extent that a person is free to strike out on ones own, one is not “owned.”


Free


costing nothing: requiring no money to be paid

not kept prisoner: not, or no longer, physically bound or restrained, e.g. as a prisoner or in slavery

not restricted in rights: not subject to censorship or control by a ruler, government, or other authority, and enjoying civil liberties

Synonyms: liberated, unbound, freed, released, set free, emancipated


Religious texts, philosophical concepts, as well as the U.S. Constitution are subject to interpretation. Since the “Marbury vs. Madison” Supreme Court Decision the Supreme Court has ascribed to itself the role of final arbiter and interpreter of the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law, over and above democratic processes, ruling by fiat. That the Supreme Court is at its core a political institution can not be denied by a rational person. Supreme Court Justices are politically appointed and subject to interpreting the constitution according to philosophical and political perspective. Supreme Court decisions are seldom unanimous and dissenters to Supreme Court decisions within the Supreme Court illustrate that contention perfectly. “All rise!” In spite of the reverence given to Supreme Court Justices; Supreme Court Justices are not deities, they are human beings subject to human failings.


Avoiding the idea of an individual’s subservience to something metaphysical; an individual’s philosophy and political perspective are of necessity dictated by interpretations of what is moral.


mor•al


involving right and wrong: relating to issues of right and wrong and to how individual people should behave

derived from personal conscience: based on what somebody’s conscience suggests is right or wrong, rather than on what rules or the law says should be done

according to common standard of justice: regarded in terms of what is known to be right or just, as opposed to what is officially or outwardly declared to be right or just

Synonyms: message, meaning, significance, rule, maxim, point, lesson, truism, aphorism, axiom, dictum


According to my philosophical perspective it is imperative that a person give precedence to his or her perception of what is moral and not to the rule of law per se. “To thy own self be true.”


Diverting from the philosophical and focusing on practical meaning of ownership I’ll use the following example, “Is a wage earner dependent on an employer, whose preponderance of waking hours are dictated by the demands of an employer not in some respect “owned” by that employer? Is such a contention a distortion, or an accurate representation of what is real?

Report this

By heterochromatic, March 28, 2012 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

86—- it was never a serious case. it’s a publicity and awareness sort of a thing.

Report this

By 1984 or 1776, March 28, 2012 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New
York = The Empire’s Court

This court has been a key player in the fake War On
Terror.

This case is DOA.

Report this

By heterochromatic, March 28, 2012 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

sally—- just which part of
“Im agreeing with you but we need to change the members of Congress before it’
can possibly be repealed” 
don’t you understand ...as pertinent and of importance?

Report this
sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, March 28, 2012 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

hiya again heterochromatic…

like had said before…

the bottom line remains the bottom line…

regardless of opinionated implications…

and side-trip speculations…

and maneuvers swaying folks into complacency…

or furthering it to lure more angles of illusion out of the would-work…

for those pieces to inflate and engage in useless debates between themselves…

Report this
moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, March 28, 2012 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

After just over a week in Gringolandia it is clear to me that you folks have made a pact of collective psychosis.

Let me now when you kick that addiction and can come close to finding your ass with both hands.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, March 28, 2012 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

MC: 501c3 Industrial Complex

We are not fools, but if you cannot define what your write mystically then your credibility meter suffers.

What do you mean by the above phrase?

Report this

By heterochromatic, March 27, 2012 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

sally—- the fact that it is as likely to pass this same congress as a camel is likely
to pass a golden egg doesn’t matter?


can we also petition to repeal the laws of probability?

Report this
sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, March 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

hiya heterochromatic…

the bottom line remains the bottom line…

detours through opinionated implications won’t change that…

neither will the spin from side-trips of speculation…

those things draw attention away from the bottom line…

they’re some of the same maneuvers used by big shots…

they use them to entice other folks into complacency…

the bottom line remains the bottom line…

here’s that link again to contact your representatives to support h.r. 3785…

http://www.petition2congress.com/5958/co-sponsor-hr-3785/

Report this

By noname, March 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I deem the government to be a threat to me. Therefore I am not going to lift a finger to put one dollar in the US treasury till they get the interest rates back up to 5.5% where it was when George Bush was in office. Compound interest is freedom from poverty. Poverty is where we are going. The US government sucks because the US government is taking the middle class to poverty. Independence Day Movie is starting to look better and better to me. I don’t think we need DC anymore. DC is an achor around our necks.

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By heterochromatic, March 27, 2012 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

sally -I agree, but there’s a somewhat less than zero chance that the same
Congress that passed the thing is going to repeal it…....


it’s gonna have to wait until after the election.


maybe you might want to print out the sponsors and supporters of the noxious
provisions to aid folks in choosing which Congressional candidates to support.

Report this
sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, March 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment

Our Constitutional rights belong to We-the-People of the United States. 

A high regard for our Constitution and citizenry will not allow those rights to be infringed upon. 

It takes a lesser regard for our Constitution and citizenry to infringe on those rights. 

And that disregard for our Constitution and We-the-People is happening through Section 1021 of NDAA 2012, which was approved by those elected to represent us.

Our Constitution and citizenry deserve full regard, not disregard.

We need Section 1021 of NDAA 2012 to be repealed.

H.R. 3785 was introduced (by Rep. Ron Paul) to repeal Section 1021 of NDAA 2012.

Here’s a link to contact your Congress representatives to support H.R. 3785.

http://www.petition2congress.com/5958/co-sponsor-hr-3785/

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Palindromedary's avatar

By Palindromedary, March 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

It won’t matter who is President ...Obama…Paul..Stein..they will all tell you campaign rhetoric…but once elected…they will still be working for the ruling elite. The President, Congress, Supreme Court…all window dressing and a distraction for us to haggle over. They are all puppets of the real sinister powers in America…the world.

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By heterochromatic, March 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

balkas——-owning people [if i may call that what is
happening in US and elsewhere]....——

you may not call it that, unless you content to wildly
distort.

Report this

By balkas, March 27, 2012 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

owning people [if i may call that what is happening in US and elsewhere] to a degree might be ok to even a
much an enlightened people.
it does seem that both jill stein and rocky anderson are enlightening people about this vital issue.
so, is it any wonder that MSM is ignoring anderson and stein? and i am told that ‘progressive’ and alternate
sites also do the same.
td, or rather, all columnists writing pieces for td, do that also. but td does not, as far as i know, delete any
posts which mention their names and the fact that they are running for the office of presidency.
naturally, we cannot expect that MSM columnists wld ever advertise stein and anderson.
and td employs only or overwhelmingly MSM scribes. their job is to obnubilate, omit facts, look at world
and US events from the narrowest point of view, instead the widest possible.
if i were an amer, i’d vote for anderson or stein-anderson ticket.

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By balkas, March 27, 2012 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

system of rule of all countries had been founded on an ideology; which had been in basics exactly the same. we may
call it “personal supremacism”.  one could also describe it as “the right of a person to own another; solely pass laws,
interpret/execute them, and protect them by force, if necessary.
russia [or russian empire] was the first country which tried to eradicate the principle that one person has the right to
own another person. and it paid very dear price for it. and not only because all other countries wanted to destroy
russia for doing away with personal supremacism, but because also of own pop which opposed destruction of said
ideology.
this is what US govts have been doing for the last 200 y and england, germany, france, russia, italy, et al, for at least
a millennium; and cambodia, egypt, lebanon, burma for at least for 7 millennia.
and US would, i assert, do this forever—or until world ends—as long as a majority of US citizens [seems 95% of
them] accept not only personal supremacism as an infallible ideology [worth dying and killing for at home and
abroad], but also religious, cultural, ethnic, jurisprudential supremacisms.
but even liberals seem to accept this ideology [thinking] and nevertheless think that by complaining about what US
govts do, they can move the people owners to abandon such privileges, ‘rights’, etc.
sorry, folks, i do not expect that that wld ever happen as long as we only harp on it.

Report this

By Michael Cavlan RN, March 27, 2012 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

Ardee

I agree with you.

As our civil liberties slip away, it is our own fault. If we do not get more people joining in the fight then the fight is indeed lost. Although having said this, resistance to the corporate state will ALWAYS continue.

As for the point of the one money party, maquarading as two political parties aiding in the demise, obviously I agree. People who support the current corporate corrupted political structure, as it is now are in fact complicit in the death of the democratic Republic. It is that stark, that black and white and it is that undeniably real.

I include all those “progressive” blogs, TV, radio, “progressive” groups which are under the influence of what can only be called the 501c3 Industrial Complex.

Which explains why so few people know about Rocky Anderson, Jill Stein, Roseanne Barr, Alexander and any of the others running for president. All noble people fighting for democracy and integrity who deserve better.

But the 501c3 Industrial Complex does not want you to know about them. Can ya dig it? As in TruthDig it? Please refer to my article Censorship- A Liberal Value which firedoglake “allowed” to be posted there.

It is up to us to let people know. It is up to those who know to find out and then pass the word on.

Michael Cavlan
Candidate US Senate 2012
Minnesota Open Progressives

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By Alan MacDonald, March 27, 2012 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Yes, Chris is absolutely right that “Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost” through the application of ‘Laws’ is an apt analogy to what is going on here in our former democratic Republic of a country.

The ‘Law’, and particularly the laws as they are interpreted through that special power of the unspeakably honored ‘Constitution’ of the United States, have a power to quiet the debate, the public discourse, even the discussion of what people agree on, simply because the august and hierarchical power of those quiet polite conference rooms where legal scholars meet, where even Supreme Court Justices politely debate issues in light of the honored Constitution, and where normal people fear to tread, are beyond question—- when carrying out the ‘word’ of the Constitution in our former country, which was based on the laws of a democratic Republic of government by consent of the people.

But as Ron Suskind famously reported, in “The One Percent Doctrine”, of the words of a high official in the Bush administration talking about the current regime of our now former country which once observed laws, including the honored ‘Constitutional Law’ in a “reality-based world”, “That’s not how it works today. We’re an Empire now, and when we act we create our own reality.”

But while that Bush high official revealed much about our former country having been secretly and purposely turned into an Empire, what he failed to mention is the harsh truth that when that Empire, which has subsumed and controls all the levers of power in this two-party “Vichy” sham of democratic government—- including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches—- politely and quietly interprets Constitutional (and all) laws in those “conference rooms” that Chris so accurately describes, that after handing down the decisions of the Empire on the meaning of the laws that now are in the sole possession of the Empire, that they dispense with the too obvious act of ‘washing their hands’ like Pontius Pilate because it might make it too obvious to the populus that the law is now being administered by an EMPIRE.

Yes, Chris, there is a compelling need to keep those “conference rooms” both quiet and superficially “polite” now that the rooms and our whole existence is being ruled by laws of the unseen Empire—- not by our formerly honored democratic Republic and its unquestionable Constitution.

The populus can’t revolt against the sacred memory of their own democratic Republic of self-government without being guilty of treason.

However, they not only could, but have a duty to, revolt against an Empire that killed their country—- if they ever understand the killing that Empires always do to revolutionaries and their ideas, both secular and spiritual.

Best luck and love to Occupy Empire.

Liberty, democracy, justice, & equality
Over
Violent/Vichy
Empire,

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

Signage and chant:

“What do we aspire?
Occupy the Empire!”

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By heterochromatic, March 27, 2012 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

Laffy——  “NATIONAL REFERENDUMS”———


and if we could vote by calling a 1-800 number when Letterman tells us to, it
would be even better.

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By cjburch, March 27, 2012 at 4:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Chris for being the face of the resistance to NDAA!

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By ardee, March 27, 2012 at 3:26 am Link to this comment

We have been witnessing the erosion of our guaranteed liberties for decades, and with apathy and indifference. Democracy is a participatory sport to say the least and, if we do not fight this erosion we do not deserve our freedoms.

I have taken umbrage with those who display unthinking and unrealistic support for Barack Obama and the Democratic party in the face of fact after fact, instance after instance where our President proves himself every bit as objectionable, every bit an opponent of our way of life as was the previous administration.

Neither major party will save this nation’s liberty. It is past time for the electorate to consider alternatives.

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By Lafayette, March 27, 2012 at 1:54 am Link to this comment

The question of Habeus Corpus is very complex. Here is the article in WikiP here.

Anyone looking for a simple explanation need not read it.

I repeat, the ability to petition a national referendum to recall the law would effectively permit the government to rewrite parts of the text, which would also be put to vote in the very same referendum.

The point being this: We, the sheeple, would have the right to have a say about a law that, more than most, has a direct effect upon the ability of the DoD to incarcerate us on American soil. 

The ability to recall laws to which we, the sheeple, object is the ultimate liberty in a truly free democracy.

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By Lafayette, March 27, 2012 at 1:42 am Link to this comment

NATIONAL REFERENDUMS

Just another example of how, if Americans had the right to petition a national referendum the purpose of which was to recall a law passed by Congress, we would have the right to show both the PotUS and Congress that they cannot behave with impunity.

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By EmileZ, March 27, 2012 at 1:11 am Link to this comment

I can’t get over that photo.

There is something very warm and cozy about it, cute even.

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By EmileZ, March 26, 2012 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment

@ ChavistKing

I tried to watch it, but I was afraid I would wind up with disturbing images of The Boss ardently lip-syncing his newest 3 minute endeavor(electric guitar in hand like a penis) at connecting with the working class, pop-culture saturated uninformed morons who just want to feel good about the way they are holding up in this complicated world kind of thing, and it would drive me further into my nihilistic despair, effectively paralyzing me from contemplating any solution to the human question that did not involve nuclear armegeddon or an enlightened ruler (myself) with the ability to disintegrate all undesirable elements as a Star Trek phaser might without even having to consciously identify them.

Zappa - Spider Of Destiny

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxfNVC9HCTE

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By ChaviztaKing, March 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment

One of the main impediments for the creation and
formation of a united socialist pole, united leftist
front in the USA is the behaviour patterns of most
regular americans.  The USA is a country of
introverted, social-phobics, agoraphobics, avoidant,
shy, narcissists, apathetic, unfriendly, pessimists,
skeptical, closed-minded, negative, group-
narcissists, family-narcissists, very sectarian
people. As opposed to the venezuelans, the cubans,
the haitians, the people of spain, the italians,
argentinians, the chinese, the russians and people
from other societies who are extroverted, friendlier,
more communicative, more open minded toward
strangers, more curious about knew knowledge and are
totally different from the social-phobic, avoidant,
anti-social, narcissist, negative, pessimist spirit
and behaviour patterns of americans.  Maybe the
excess of nationalism of the manifest destiny
ingrained in the brains of americans, the lies of the
pledge allegiance, the ultra-patriotism, the extreme
love for the american way of life, while hating other
ways of lives of other societies

As long as americans continue with their “self
defeating personality disorder”, this country will
never see people supporting any leftist movement.
Heck in America don’t even support Ron Paul

Living in the USA surrounded by so many negative
people with suicidal tendencies, feels like being
inside the sinking Titanic, with only a few who would
love to be saved from sinking. While the majority is
waiting to sink and collapse with the Titanic waiting
for their death.

I don;‘t know if its the media, the movies, the
education system, but there has to be something in
the USA that makes people real negative and real
suicidal.  Because not rebelling, not revolting and
not supporting any anti-war option, anti-corporate
option and supporting the mainstream politicians such
as Obama, Rick Santorium and Mitt Romney in America
is being suicidal.

So I think that people have to experience a
metamorphosis and radical change from their self-
defeating personality disorder, and pessimism toward
an active-nihilist, optimist, positive outlook on
life. There has to be a spiritual, psychologic
revival in USA maybe with the help of progressive
artists like Tom Morello, Rage Against The Machine,
Calle 13, Bruce Springsteen etc.

WATCH THE NEW SOCIALIST VIDEO OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkEU3JjNARs

.

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By ChaviztaKing, March 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

Indeed, Obama is evil, The Democratic Party is evil,
and all of those who support Obama and who are thinking
to vote for Obama are evil.  The only solution for USA
is Ron Paul, or Stewart Alexander and Alejandron
Mendoza of The Socialist Party of USA !!

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By heterochromatic, March 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

sorry, Flick, thought that i had read thousands.

3 CO’s beaten is plenty. i would like to read about it, and if you have a link or
some additional info, I would appreciate it.

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By Flickford, March 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

I never said “thousands” were tortured and killed under the EA. How many do you
require heterochromatic?
The 3 Cos were hung with ropes and beaten with rubber hoses. OK?
The only public execution under EA was the Rosenseberg’s - still pretty
controversial. It could be argued Sacco and Vanzetti were executed for being
anarchists, though it was a criminal murder case.
The deaths of IWW’s Everett and an American Legion leader resulted in 11
Wobblies going to jail and no one for the killing of Everett. Everett was hung had
his genitals cut off and was burned by the Legion mob. The IWW was striking over
a leader thrown in jail for “obstructing the war effort.”
The EA was used to stop dissent: put an end to the Socialist Party, the Communist
Party, organized labor, pacifist movements and crush the anti-draft movement.
Almost 100 years later the rights of US citizens are still nil when confronting the
war machine. And the war and plunder goes on as planned.
Will there be thousands of Americans tortured and killed under NDAA? Possibly.
Will you or I ever know how many? Will we even know what they are being accused
of? Never.
Then as now there is very little threat from home-grown espionage and domestic
terrorism. There is a very real threat to the establishment and the masters of war
from people who know the score. And then as now it will be dealt with in a way
that makes your perceived rights a cruel joke. WE have none, not in this country,
and its been that way for a long long time.

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By ControlledDemolition, March 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

Chris, love ya bro.  It seems obvious to me that anyone trying to subvert our U.S. Constitution is “engaged in hostilities against the United States.”  In comment, you wrote, “I said it was coverage that challenged the official narrative.”  Well, what about the growing number who deem the evidence clear enough to affirm that 911 was a false-flag operation?  That pre-planned tragedy is/was/will be the rationale for the oozing terrorism and surveillance laws which enact the looming militarized dark cloud that you report upon so astutely.  But it was a setup and a patsy was named in the first hours, jumpstarting a world where “terrorism” preempts our liberties.  Of course, who, what, where, when and why needs to be investigated in detail—with subpoena power.  Such an examination has not yet happened, except for, second-handedly, scientists and others outside the party line.  But, then again, that’s “coverage that challenge(s) the official narrative”—you need to revisit the evidence, like Bldg 7, thermite at the Towers, the stand-down, and on and on…  Just saying. Get to the root.

In peace,
(you can call me CD but not seedy)

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By Palindromedary, March 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

The new movie The Hunger Games had a very appropriate theme and is, if you think about it, not very far off from what we have now in real life. The ridiculous hair styles and color and comical dress of the upper classes salivating at the thought of the coming attraction is likely trying to portray these people as being not exactly sane. This too is reflected, I believe, in our current real world…not many of these upper echelon leeches, maggots and cockroaches (Koch-Roaches?)are very sane.

In the movie, young people between the age of 12 and 18 are to register to be drafted for some ridiculous show of patriotism every year. A male and a female is selected out of each sector to participate in the battle to the death (Gladiator)contest while the whole nation watches them slaughter each other. The single winning contestant is celebrated and held in very high esteem and aired on the national TV talk show.

Of course, so far, our country has only been culpable in committing war crimes and atrocities in other countries and has submitted the canon fodder of our young soldiers (albeit not yet as young as 12) to kill or be killed (but mostly kill innocent civilians and children). And our idiot warmonger muppeteers play up the patriotism and sacrifice drivel for all to marvel at. But the ridiculous patriotic theme and under the table Gladiator theme is still extant in our current realities which seemed to be reflected in the movie.

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By tolstoy, March 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

Thank you for these EA examples coming forward nearly 100 years. They dramatically emphasize the need for clarity and definition of terms in all legal documents. For example, in terms of the “support” question the document’s language at this time is so inadequate it could apply—at least in part—to Senator McCain and President Obama. That is, if “aiding” and “support” can include influence to go to war, aiding al Qaeda militia, in the recent overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya, and suggestions to do the same in Syria, might be construed as “aiding” and “support” to that designated enemy. The distinction is that the support is not directed at an attack on the U.S. Does this mean,then, we are looking at what is permissible “aiding” and “support” as long as al Qaeda is attacking some other country? Could the document itself be construed as “aiding” and “support”? If it promotes turmoil and confusion amongst citizens this might be construed as “aiding.” If it promotes the multiplication of radical militias seizing on the document as weakness this too might be construed as “aiding.” Concepts need to be laid out very clearly unless the intention is not to clarify but legalize into vague little clouds and dreams, and mostly nonsense. So, here, yes, THIS is Kafka. Now we’re getting there.

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By Textynn, March 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

NDAA effectively ends Free Speech without a finger lifted.  The rest, of course, is a Fascist State.  A complete fulfillment of the definition has absolutely been met.

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By heterochromatic, March 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

Flickford—thank you and could you tell me about the
thousands tortured and killed under the EA, especially
those 3 COs ?

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By Flickford, March 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

The EA was used primarily to target those who opposed the draft. Charles Schenck
was arrested and imprisoned for printing and distributing leaflets that denounced
the law that said, “involuntary servitude… monstrous deed against humanity in the
interests of the financiers of Wall Street.” He got 6 months. How things never
change…
Eugene Debs said, “The master class has always declared the wars; the subject
class has always fought the battles.” He got 32 months. All in all about 900 people
went to jail under the EA. Three men from Fort Arkansas, conscientious objectors,
were tortured for failing to perform military duties, victims of the fervor the EA
provoked.
At this moment the EA is being invoked against whistleblowers, the most notable
ex-NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake facing possibly 37 years for exposing waste
and fraudulent contracting practice at the NSA. So much for being fiscally
responsible…
It remains the scariest law on the books for dissenters. The Sedition Act of 1918
was an extension of the EA with many amendments, sort of repealed in 1931 but
like the NDAA vague enough for you or me to get put away.

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By Cliff Carson, March 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

Lumpenproletarier, March 26 at 2:37 pm

OK, please accept my apology.  It was the “Lupen” modifier that got me to be ugly.

You are correct that the Proletariat are the lowest among us.  But those Proletariat who fight back against their mistreatment by becoming criminals and preying on their fellow Proletariat is what earns them the identification of “Lupenproletariat”.

Did you see the news clip of Obama and Medved and the open Mike?  Now that’s scary but something much more scary would be to bring back the opposition.  I for the life of me cannot understand the number one goal of the opposition:  To defeat Obama.

In that Goal is no promise to the American people to not repeat the havoc they wrought during their 8 years plus no apology for resisting any initiative to help the American people during the Obama term.

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By heterochromatic, March 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

I had thought that most of those imprisoned went in
under the Sedition Act of ‘18 rather than the
original…..


and who were the thousands tortured under the EA?

hadn’t heard about them.

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By Flickford, March 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Nothing new as far as the USA is concerned. The Espionage Act of 1917 did
imprison, torture and kill US citizens speaking out against the US getting into WW1
and even for just speaking out against the US. Almost 100 years later and we’re
still in the same fix. Pathetic. The only question is why we keep thinking we’re
losing our rights. What rights? We’ve never had any against the war machine.

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By Lumpenproletarier, March 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

Cliff Carson

The “Ragedy Proletariat”, the ones even Karl Marx despised, are the lowest class. His disregard and contempt for these people is proof of the falacy of a classless society.

I am at the very bottom, but I am no thief, and I have a sharp mind and intellect, and I know truth when I hear it.

Hedges, and Truthdig, are not about truth. They are about making money, preying upon, and manipulating the visceral responses which they themselves create in the masses of sheep who call themselves liberal.

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By Artsy, March 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

I too, thank you Mr. Hedges! What you are doing with this lawsuit is bringing more attention to the total disregard of our Constitution and The Bill of Rights. This president and several others preceding him have completely ignored those documents as though they were never written. If our leaders do not obey the law of the land then how can the people continue to subscribe to our government?

* Footnote in response to Tony V: My travel companion and I were treated like suspects when returning to the Fort Lauderdale airport from a short vacation in Mexico. Most of the people who worked the screening jobs at the airport were obviously NOT born in the US. They treated us disrespectfully and they were openly rude and pushy. Obviously, they held no real allegiance to us, only the employer. Perhaps it was planned that way? I have traveled quite a bit during my lifetime and always felt protected as an American and glad to get home. That was the first time I ever felt like an enemy. WE PAY FOR THAT!

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By moonraven, March 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Special newsflash to the site’s virtual rotting corpse>  I AM in the U.S., gringo.

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By JDmysticDJ, March 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

Ronald Thomas West is correct about two things. I did misspell Franklin Roosevelt’s first name and Franklin Roosevelt did do “a few good things.”

Ronald Thomas West mentions” reputable sources” but does not name those “reputable sources.” Having much interest in the allegations made by phantom “reputable sources” I would greatly appreciate the identification of said “reputable sources” so I would be able to access for myself how reputable these phantom “reputable sources” are.

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By Cliff Carson, March 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

Lumpenproletarier, March 26 at 11:46 am

I took your advice and looked up the meaning of your chosen description of yourself.  I copied the description below:

“Despite the fact that most lumpen proletarians are drawn from the ranks of the displaced proletariat, the way in which they make their living is completely different from that of the proletariat, and they therefore have a very different, and in many ways opposite, world view. The lumpen lives off the proletariat, which serves as the primary prey for its thievery and a market for its illicit trade. Thus, the lumpen proletariat shares with the bourgeoisie the common trait of being a parasitic class which lives off the labor of the others.”

Go back and see what I thought you might be because of what you wrote.

And if you read further into the description you will find that the lumpen proletariat described as nothing but a criminal.

I had posted my impression of you as follows:

“We need to fear those like you - not the idiots, the lazy, or the unabled because I suspect that you are one of those who treats the least of us as “marks”.

Will you admit that my first impression was right on?  If this is not what you meant would you explain to me what you did mean?

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By Dave Schwab, March 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has strongly criticized Obama’s moves towards dictatorial powers. When I saw Dr. Stein speak in Schenectady and Troy this weekend, she devoted a good amount of time to educating the audience about the NDAA and HR 347, a little-publicized bill that is a huge attack on our first amendment right to assembly.

To learn more about Jill Stein and her platform, check out http://www.jillstein.org/

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By Ronald Thomas West, March 26, 2012 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ wrote: “Obama has committed himself to ending our military
involvement in Afghanistan before the year 2014”

This flies in the face of reality, and is also known as a ‘political lie’ when
Afghanistan is being set up by ‘Commander-in-Chief’ Obama’s generals for the
anti-Taliban effort to be taken over by special operations forces post 2014 under
the auspices of the CIA [which enables ‘denial’ or claiming he had ended the war] ..
if you’d been paying attention to any number of reputable sources.

I’ve no idea who “Franklyn” Roosevelt was but Franklin Roosevelt did a few good
things-

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By it's only Scott, March 26, 2012 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

The uncertainty that bothers me the most these days is whether or not our “system” truly reflects the rule of law.  If we were truly a nation of laws, then all of the laws would apply equally to all people, all the time.  This is not the case, as some people, particularly those in government, are apparently above the law, and routinely distort or ignore the law when it suits them.  This aberration is non-partisan, and Presidents, especially, have increasingly granted themselves wider power to subjectively interpret laws to suit their purpose, whether any of us regular folks even know it, much less agree with it.  Waiting for an objective (so to speak) interpretation and opinion from SOTUS as to constitutionality won’t do any good if a questionable and purposefully vague law has been, and is being, applied.  NDAA needs to be challenged and examined now, as Hedges is doing.

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By tolstoy, March 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

To Lumpenproletarier

Thanks for the advice and the link to information about the NDAA you have provided. I note that that information does not answer the questions raised on key terms CH’s article or my previous response in my earlier question to you.

Further, concern for clarity surely needs attention beyond appealing to representatives and the process you indicate. The leadership of the current and previous administrations has done nothing to clarify key concerns expressed repeatedly by the citizenry. The same is true now with this need for definition of key terms in this NDAA document.

To enlighten needs concentrated effort to be clear and specific language versus soundbite and propaganda. If “support” means a citizen’s being critical of the government, which heartens an enemy, we have a problem and a need for clarification. In this respect I would ask you to take another look at your comments demonizing “Liberals” which do neither yourself nor anybody else much good in terms of being clear and reliable as information.

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By ginaann, March 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We need more people like Chris Hedges to step up. More citizens and more attorneys to question the LANGUAGE being used to REVISE our SYSTEM.

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By JDmysticDJ, March 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

I have a great deal of respect for Hedges’ social and political commentary. I agree with nearly everything Hedges writes and I wish him every success with his litigation. That being said I am concerned with the semantics of propaganda here. As far as I can tell, the term “Homeland Battlefield Bill” was an invention of a writer for “Mother Jones Magazine.” The term “Homeland Battlefield Bill” might have some legitimacy but it is not legitimate. The use of this term is reminiscent of the Right’s use of terms and descriptions such as “Death Panels” “and “Government takeover of health care, the auto industry etc.” Such terms and descriptions illustrate the semantics of propaganda. The use of such terms and descriptions smacks of demagoguery.

Hedges and others have placed themselves in opposition to U.S. Government policies and legislation designed to promote “Homeland Security.” Is it surprising that those tasked with the responsibility of “Homeland Security,” from President Obama to Homeland Security officials would oppose the opposition of Hedges and others. It should be noted that Hedges and others have not been silenced or placed in indefinite detention. Apparently the fear here is that government suppression will escalate to point where all critics will be silenced and subjected to indefinite detention. Somewhere between this irrational fear and Obama’s signing statement attached to the “National Defense Authorization Act” (“I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists”) lies the truth.

Yes I have great respect for Hedges but I am also a person who prefers Democrats to Republicans. I would concur that there are many valid reasons to be critical of Obama but I will also assert that there are many, many, many, more reasons to fear Obama’s Republican opponents. The nihilistic view is that if Obama does not ascribe to my views in every respect then he must be defeated without giving consideration for what will be the consequences of that defeat. The lesser of evils theory here is often disparaged as if the greater evil would somehow be preferable. The sad fact is that we are limited in our viable options at the present time.

Another sad fact is that astute students of history will be aware that virtually all our former presidents made mistakes and are subject to legitimate criticisms but mistakes vary from having horrific consequences to being merely harmful or unjust. Obama has committed himself to ending our military involvement in Afghanistan before the year 2014 while the consensus of his Republican opponents is an adamant opposition to that commitment. Obama has stated, “We can not ‘countenance’ a nuclear weapon in Iran” while his Republican opponents have stated we can not ‘allow’ the possession of a nuclear weapon by Iran; there is a distinct difference between those two perspectives.

Article 1, section 9, paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that Habeas Corpus may be suspended in order to protect the “Public Safety.” Personally I do not give credence to the U.S. Constitution as being a blueprint for government. According to my appraisal the U.S. Constitution bears more resemblance to a rough draft than a blueprint. Presidents such as Obama, Bush, Franklyn Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were wrong in suspending Habeas Corpus but I also believe that Abraham Lincoln and Franklyn Roosevelt taken in their totality were among the best presidents this nation has seen, and furthermore, I believe that Barak Obama is superior to, or the equal of, any president this nation has seen in over 60 years.

Hindsight is not 20/20 especially when that hindsight is veiled by revisionist history but I dare say a painful hindsight will be the reality if Obama and the Democrats are removed from political power.

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By Lumpenproletarier, March 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

To Cliff Carson

Wikipedia “Lumpenproletariat” to learn what my name means, and how I think about the “lower 50%”

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By Cliff Carson, March 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

Lumpenproletarier, March 26 at 10:14 am

“It is not totalitarianism that we need fear.”

Lumpenproletarier, surely you jest.  Why would any rational thinking person not fear the possibility of a Totalitarian Government?

Let me guess - you think our current Government is bad because it is not Republican, is Liberal, and that the 1% is chosen and the only fit to lead.

You don’t feel that the lower 50% is worthy because they are obviously lazy or belong to the - lower caste.

We need to fear those like you - not the idiots, the lazy, or the unabled because I suspect that you are one of those who treats the least of us as “marks”.

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By Lee Oates, March 26, 2012 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Chris.  To sum it up in a short, to the point comment.  The US is drifting into a Fascist police state that supports the 1% against the 99%. Freedom in the US is fading quickly.

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By Lee Oates, March 26, 2012 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Chris.  To sum it up in a short, to the point comment.  The US is drifting into a Fascist police state that supports the 1% against the 99%. Freedom in the US is fading quickly.

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By heterochromatic, March 26, 2012 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

moonie—-it probably stinks anywhere you are, but it’s good to see that you
survived your trip to the US

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By heterochromatic, March 26, 2012 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

Lump—-thanks for the link..it’s a pretty good site.

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By moonraven, March 26, 2012 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Still stinks here.

How long does it take a dead virtual identity to decompose, anyway?

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By Lumpenproletarier, March 26, 2012 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

To Larry A, March, unregistered.

“Not to be offensive, but to suggest that citizens follow “the correct path” in the current hopelessly corrupted congress is naive beyond “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”.  Do you honestly think that our system is so transparent and our citizens so engaged that the “correct” path is a realistic option?  Personally, I think the U.S. march toward totalitarianism has progressed much further than you think.

Have a good day!”

No, I think that our citizens are not engaged very much at all, in part because the Liberals in this country have sold out. They constantly tell us that the system is too far gone already. That if it weren’t for them standing bravely against the establishment, we would have no hope whatsoever (Oh and by the way, you can support me by buying all the stuff on this website)

Look closely at the Truthdig site. What do they really care about? Not government. Not justice. Not democracy. What they care about is driving traffic to their site, so the advertisers will give them money.

To do that, they need a compliant, and loyal, and dependant fan base. They need you to log in every day to get your does of “truth”, and keep their visitor counter clicking up high numbers. Don’t think, Don’t reason, to question what they tell you is akin to treason.

As I posted previously, if totalitarianism was as near as you claim, Hedges and his ilk would be in prison or dead by now.

It is not totalitarianism that we need fear. It is idiotic, irrational, thinking and behaviors, and peoples eagerness to follow a Messiah to the promised land which threatens our freedoms the most.

And I will still have a nice day, thankyou.

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By Lumpenproletarier, March 26, 2012 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Before anyone wastes any more time wringing their hands over NDAA, please read the following:

http://www.lawfareblog.com/2011/12/ndaa-faq-a-guide-for-the-perplexed/

Notice that there are no ads on this site, nor quasi-celbrities, no solicitations to buy books or other services. Just the facts.

It explains what is good and bad about NDAA.

It’s so refreshing.

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By balkas, March 26, 2012 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

i’d like to say that i have never got personal with CH. it makes no diff to
me whether he makes money from his books/speeches, wins a fan base
for own glory, or get’s publicity.
only what he writes should be evaluated and commented on as to its
validity and instructive/elucidatory value.
from what CH has written thus far and done, i conclude that he
underestimates what the TWENTY PERCENT is capable of doing to anyone
or any country that is not of it, with it, and for it—let alone disobeys it.
today, in US, in order to be left in peace, one—and a journalist with a
name afortiori so—MUST be with, of, and for the ONE PERCENT or the
20%, as the case may be in actualities.
whoever misses this fact, misses it all.

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By heterochromatic, March 26, 2012 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

@ tolstoy—- good comments, good questions.

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By Larry A, March 26, 2012 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Lumpenproletarier,
Regarding your statement that “the correct path to do that is to lobby congress to amend the law. I believe that the NDAA bills are drafted every two years. If you want the language of the law to change, start writing to your representatives now. Build a campaign, solicit support, enlist the help of others. I don’t read about Hedges encouraging people to do any of these things.”

Not to be offensive, but to suggest that citizens follow “the correct path” in the current hopelessly corrupted congress is naive beyond “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”.  Do you honestly think that our system is so transparent and our citizens so engaged that the “correct” path is a realistic option?  Personally, I think the U.S. march toward totalitarianism has progressed much further than you think.

Have a good day!

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By heterochromatic, March 26, 2012 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

——“Glenn Greenwald, the columnist and constitutional lawyer, has done the most
detailed analysis of the NDAA bill. He has pointed out that the crucial phrases are
“substantially supported” and “associated forces.” These two phrases, he writes,
allow the government to expand the definition of terrorism to include groups that
were not involved in the 9/11 attacks and may not have existed when those
attacks took place.”——


GG is correct…..that does allow the govt to go after not only those involved in the
9/11 attacks but also those who have joined in terrorism since then.
it doesn’t expand the definition of terrorism as much as include the newer crop of
terrorists.

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By Lumpenproletarier, March 26, 2012 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

To tolstoy,

If you want to change a law before it goes to court, the correct path to do that is to lobby congress to amend the law. I believe that the NDAA bills are drafted every two years. If you want the language of the law to change, start writing to your representatives now. Build a campaign, solicit support, enlist the help of others. I don’t read about Hedges encouraging people to do any of these things.

Instead, he chooses to make a big splash for himself by suing the President of the United States, and circumventing the entire legislative and judicial process. It’s all good for him; he gets publicity, builds his fan base, sells his books, and makes money from his writing and speaking engagements.

Meanwhile, the actual mechanisms which are in place to effect change go untended, because our “heroes” advise us to chant and carry signs in a park, and then we complain about how screwed up the government is. As for Government, we get what we deserve.

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By felicity, March 26, 2012 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Obviously, in America it’s not what you are but who you
are which determines your rights - Nixon, in his
careening toward terminal mendacity, informed the
American people, “If the president does it, it’s not
illegal.”

That said, since we seem to believe that it is our
right to bomb, invade and occupy any country that does
not meet our standard of a democracy, isn’t it about
time that some country bomb, invade and occupy us?

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Mairead's avatar

By Mairead, March 26, 2012 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

Dominick J. wrote: “Mr. Hedges and several others here have made a couple of comments about “our” Democracy and how damaging this law is to it.  I always thought we were a Republic, though I think they are pretty close, but doesn’t that make a bit of a difference as how we address this issue?”

They’re not at all close, really—“republic” and “democracy” are on two different continuua, like “apple” and “red”. 

A democracy is any political entity ruled by the people (i.e., the people are self-ruled).  The US is not a democracy, and barely even has the form of one.  Hedges speaks of what we were told we would get by the Federalists, and what we should have got, but not what we did get.

A republic is simply a political entity that’s not a monarchy or similar.  It might be a dictatorship, it might be a democracy, it might be an oligarchy, or something else.  The only thing we know about a republic is that the titular head of government isn’t entitled to wear a crown.

Hope that helps.

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tolstoy's avatar

By tolstoy, March 26, 2012 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

To Lumpenproletarier

The key language is “substantial support” for “associated forces” related to Al Qaeda attack. Is it too much to expect definition of these terms vs. waiting for a specific for instance? The issue is critical views of government policies and actions as possibly “substantial support.” Is it possible to interpret critical views, as expressed in this comment thread, as “substantial support”?

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Palindromedary's avatar

By Palindromedary, March 26, 2012 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

We, the people, certainly do have “internal enemies” and those “internal enemies”, Democrats and Republicans…and their ruling elite puppet masters, are currently in control of our government. They are also the world’s worst “terrorists” that have committed the world’s worst “war crimes”. I wish Mr. Hedges lots of luck because with a such a corrupt and broken system of government he will need it!

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By balkas, March 26, 2012 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

correction: torture s’mone who wld even refuse to EAT [not “AT”]
american apple pie.

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By Lumpenproletarier, March 26, 2012 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

Robert Christie-

Hedges entire case is built on the vagueness of the law, about how it might be interpretted at some point in the future. Until it is interpretted and applied by a court, no determination can be made if said future interpretation is Constitutional or not. You can’t complain about something being unconstitional, if that something hasn’t happened yet. Bascially, he has put the cart before the horse, based on fear of what might happen. I predict that his case will be dismissed by the courts. Such dismissal will likely trigger another wave of indignation by the 99%, but the truth is, if you want rule of law, this is how the system works.

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By tolstoy, March 26, 2012 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

One of our increasing problems today is maintaining civil discourse reflective of thought and clarity versus attack and self-justification. Even so seasoned a commentator as Chris Hedges can be guilty of lending to the obfuscation, as in this article with his extensive reference to Kafka’s The Trial at the end of his article. His record of what took place does not support the implication that the questioning and response reflected anything like the surrealistic and bizarre symbolism in Kafka’s novel. He may be fond of this analogy based on many harrowing experiences during his career.

Understandably, Chris Hedges is nervous over the vagueness in the NDAA legislation. Understandably, we are all nervous over lack of clarity from official sources and inadequate investigation, which lends to emotional thinking and conspiracy theories. We need a call for clarification, which his action here in the court suit is attempting to get. In turn, as support, we need to work on the clearest thinking and conclusions. The NDAA appears “totalitarian.” Where are the clarifiers, what are the clarifications, to tell us it is not?

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By Ronald Thomas West, March 26, 2012 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

Robert Christie wrote:

“while the previous commentator dismisses the Hedges lawsuit as “not
‘challenging the official narrative’ here but tacitly supporting it,” though he
does not bother to explain how the legal challenge somehow supports the law
it challenges”

The explanation is implicit in the context but it was my mistake not to be more
clear. Simply put, there is noting in the article that challenges the ‘official
narrative’ of the government as put forward in the law relating to responsibility
for 9/11. Giving a ‘pass’ on that point is irresponsible in light of the mass of
growing evidence contrary to the USA position:

“A covered person under this section is any person as follows: (1) A
person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that
occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those
attacks”

When in fact the ‘terrorists’ as defined should cover Bush associated people
having ‘aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001’ at the
least according to a growing body of evidence, most recently detailed in a very
well researched and detailed report provided in the 1st link of my comment:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/NC21Dj05.html

There you have it. Furthermore it would take genuine courage to raise the topic
but this could have been done in the article easily, and put on record in the
deposition if only to be objected to by the USA. It would have been profound
and powerful challenge of the ‘official narrative’ but as no one is willing to put
themselves on the line in the matter, this case strikes me as how ‘liberties are
lost’ .. in the conference room.

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By balkas, March 26, 2012 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

d’etat, c’est moi, said one of the louises.
i am the country, says the tier of americans who own 99% of it. it means it also owns
the laws. i am the law, says obama, jefferson, adams, clinton, bush.
which means i can also rewrite, annul any law or even ignore my own laws and go
ahead and torture anyone for refusing to even at american apple pie or giving
s’mone a dirty look.
you’re with us or against us, said bush on behalf of the 20% who own 99.99% of
america and probably one third of the world.
i am the constitution says obama. and i damn well can burn, change, or interpret it
as i see fit.
so, are you against me? if you are i’ll be against you!

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By Sodium-Na, March 26, 2012 at 8:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Anar,

My feeling about your integrity has never dimmed. You have just proven that my profound respect for you has been,as I held so dearly,so correct,inspite of past disagreement about the writings of Hedges.

Thank you for not disappointing me in the present case. I will remember it.

Chris Hedges is as honest as you are honest in calling a Spade a Spade for the cowards.

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By balkas, March 26, 2012 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

most of the wars US had waged to date were not waged against enemies of US. most or almost all US wars were waged
against peoples who were actually either neutral or even friendly to americans.
eg, germans, austrians had no grievance against america or americans until ‘17 when US aggressed against germany and
austro-hungarian empire.
but even in ww2, germany was not an enemy to a degree that it represented a casus belli for US.
this fact alone justifies annulling NDAA.
in addition, all terrorists acts are already illegal. i am no lawyer, but i have a hunch that no further legislation is needed to
deal with assassins, bridge or building upblowers, et al.
but regardless how ndaa plays out, it has no bearing on future US wars against its nonenemies.
for, to be an enemy US or US/nato, is to be suicidal or totally loco.
and if that were the case, only a leadership wld be suicidal or loco and not 99% of their serfs/slaves.

that’s the point of it all: US or, rather, layer of people who own it, manufactures enemies. and anyone who says that will be
eventually in some ways punished, harassed, threateneed, or even tortured—ndaa or no ndaa. thanks bozhidar b, planet
earth!

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By Anarcissie, March 26, 2012 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

What definitions of ‘democracy’ and ‘republic’ are you using, and how do they relate to the liberal rights, such as due process, which Mr. Hedges is concerned with here?

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By Robert Christie, March 26, 2012 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

It strikes me as odd, yet too typical, that one commentator dismisses Chris Hedges’ lawsuit as irrelevant, asserting that “there is rule of law in the United States,” totally ignoring his clear explanation of how totalitarian states use law to oppress, while the previous commentator dismisses the Hedges lawsuit as “not ‘challenging the official narrative’ here but tacitly supporting it,” though he does not bother to explain how the legal challenge somehow supports the law it challenges.

While Chris Hedges has done more than anyone I can think of to bring awareness to the American people of the increasingly totalitarian characteristics of the corporate state, and the effective end of any meaningful role of the liberal class that once counterbalanced it, he is attacked from the apparent left for “tacitly supporting” it and from the apparent right for asserting its existence.

I am troubled by the thought that any genuine democratic resistance to the growing totalitarian tendencies of the increasingly unconstitutionally operated corporate state can be effectively conducted in the context of a political culture where making ideological points by sniping at contributions to the discourse that are not even honestly read, is such a dominant focus of so many commentaries.  I fear that too many are intimidated by Hedges depth of understanding and historical awareness and perspective, and react by attacking rather than learning.

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By Dominick J., March 26, 2012 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

Hum I guess my original comment wasn’t posted.  So I
guess I’ll ask it again here again.  I have noticed Mr.
Hedges and several others here have made a couple of
comments about “our” Democracy and how damaging this
law is to it.  I always thought we were a Republic,
though I think they are pretty close, but doesn’t that
make a bit of a difference as how we address this
issue?

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By gregorylkruse, March 26, 2012 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

I’m not a particularly courageous person, but I do comment on this and other sites regularly, even though I assume that anyone associated with Chris Hedges even in the most obscure way is putting himself in danger of having to face repression some time in the future.  It is not too soon to make your position known, and that is all Hedges is doing, and what I am doing in support of his position.  To wait until all avenues are closed before protesting is one of the ways cowards avoid taking a stand.  Once it’s too late to do or say anything, the coward is safe, but also despicable.  On the positive side, the despicable cowards are usually the ones who survive under a totalitarian society.

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