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The World Liberal Opportunists Made

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Posted on Oct 25, 2010
AP / Dario Lopez-Mills

Mexican protesters wear Obama masks during the president’s 2009 visit to Mexico. Disenchantment with the hopebringer is not limited to these shores.

By Chris Hedges

The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, which looks set to make sweeping gains in the midterm elections, is the direct result of a collapse of liberalism. It is the product of bankrupt liberal institutions, including the press, the church, universities, labor unions, the arts and the Democratic Party. The legitimate rage being expressed by disenfranchised workers toward the college-educated liberal elite, who abetted or did nothing to halt the corporate assault on the poor and the working class of the last 30 years, is not misplaced. The liberal class is guilty. The liberal class, which continues to speak in the prim and obsolete language of policies and issues, refused to act. It failed to defend traditional liberal values during the long night of corporate assault in exchange for its position of privilege and comfort in the corporate state. The virulent right-wing backlash we now experience is an expression of the liberal class’ flagrant betrayal of the citizenry. 

The liberal class, which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible, functioned traditionally as a safety valve. During the Great Depression, with the collapse of capitalism, it made possible the New Deal. During the turmoil of the 1960s, it provided legitimate channels within the system to express the discontent of African-Americans and the anti-war movement. But the liberal class, in our age of neo-feudalism, is now powerless. It offers nothing but empty rhetoric. It refuses to concede that power has been wrested so efficiently from the hands of citizens by corporations that the Constitution and its guarantees of personal liberty are irrelevant. It does not act to mitigate the suffering of tens of millions of Americans who now make up a growing and desperate permanent underclass. And the disparity between the rhetoric of liberal values and the rapacious system of inverted totalitarianism the liberal class serves makes liberal elites, including Barack Obama, a legitimate source of public ridicule. The liberal class, whether in universities, the press or the Democratic Party, insists on clinging to its privileges and comforts even if this forces it to serve as an apologist for the expanding cruelty and exploitation carried out by the corporate state.

Populations will endure repression from tyrants as long as these rulers continue to effectively manage and wield power. But human history has amply demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet retain the trappings and privileges of power, they are swiftly and brutally discarded. Tocqueville observed that the French, on the eve of their revolution, hated the aristocrats about to lose their power far more than they had ever hated them before. The increased hatred directed at the aristocratic class occurred because as the aristocracy lost real power there was no decline in their fortunes. As long as the liberal class had even limited influence, whether through the press or the legislative process, liberals were tolerated and even respected. But once the liberal class lost all influence it became a class of parasites. The liberal class, like the déclassé French aristocracy, has no real function within the power elite. And the rising right-wing populists, correctly, ask why liberals should be tolerated when their rhetoric bears no relation to reality and their presence has no influence on power. 

The death of the liberal class, however, is catastrophic for our democracy. It means there is no longer any check to a corporate apparatus designed to further enrich the power elite. It means we cannot halt the plundering of the nation by Wall Street speculators and corporations. An ineffectual liberal class, in short, means there is no hope, however remote, of a correction or a reversal through the political system and electoral politics. The liberals’ disintegration ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and the middle class will find expression in a rejection of traditional liberal institutions and the civilities of a liberal democracy. The very forces that co-opted the liberal class and are responsible for the impoverishment of the state will, ironically, reap benefits from the collapse. These corporate manipulators are busy channeling rage away from the corporate and military forces hollowing out the nation from the inside and are turning that anger toward the weak remnants of liberalism. It does not help our cause that liberals indeed turned their backs on the working and middle class.

The corporate state has failed to grasp the vital role the liberal class traditionally plays in sustaining a stable power system. The corporate state, by emasculating the liberal class, has opted for a closed system of polarization, gridlock and political theater in the name of governance. It has ensured a further destruction of state institutions so that government becomes even more ineffectual and despised. The collapse of the constitutional state, presaged by the death of the liberal class, has created a power vacuum that a new class of speculators, war profiteers, gangsters and killers, historically led by charismatic demagogues, will enthusiastically fill. It opens the door to overtly authoritarian and fascist movements. These movements rise to prominence by ridiculing and taunting the liberal class for its weakness, hypocrisy and uselessness. The promises of these proto-fascist movements are fantastic and unrealistic, but their critiques of the liberal class are grounded in truth. 

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kulu's avatar

By kulu, November 8, 2010 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

Lafayette,

It is difficult to be prescriptive about what path to follow if we wish to achieve a just America and consequently a better chance of a just world.

But I have watched the steady decline of the center left parties in the western world. They are creeping ever more to the right while continuing to promise a more just society under their reign. They always disappoint as did that war mongering Blair and Australia’s Rudd governments (my neck of the woods). They then get punished from two sides for not having the guts to even try and follow through on their policies. The mainstream see the failure to address their concerns and switch their votes as punishment while the left withhold their votes or switch to a minor left-wing party.

Post mid-term elections in the US Obama has signaled yet again that he is following the course of appeasement or collaboration in the face of the Republican’s steadfast refusal to give an inch. I think He can’t be as bright as he may appear to be because he will not win back the progressives that way and he will not regain the support of those voters that shifted to the Republicans. He will be seen by them as ineffective by all sides.

If Obama were to seriously try but fail at progressive reform I would forgive him but I don’t forgive dishonesty and an obvious sell-out to the corporate interests. I have reached my breaking point on centre left’s unfulfilled promises.

In fact I think the centre left has no longer anything to offer as the framework has now shifted so far to the right.

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By John Best, November 7, 2010 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ewsheehan, you say, “Hedges will do well to target those who continue to protect the monopolists.”  And who would you put on the short list specifically? 

Generally, my guess would be the press, empowered by advertisers, supported by patronage from the public.  And Politicians, directly empowered by the public.  Am I too simple minded to say we are seeing a result that is the natural outcome of both our aggregate ignorance, and individual ‘greed’?  I am coming to hate that useless term, ‘greed’, I mean the human characteristic to say ‘to hell with everybody else, I’m doing what’s best for me’.  Fully backed by Randian ethos.  Really, what incentive does anyone have to pursue the long-term ‘common good’, especially when it’s at the expense of ones individual prosperity?  We starve, or are run over by others, in the short term.  The problems one with human nature itself, and our behavior relative to sharing, or stealing resources.  Please, by all means, please name those “who continue to protect the monopolists”, but we’ll just arrive in the same state in short order…........there is a new crop of ‘monopolists’ waiting in the wings, and they are us.  WE need a generation of serious preachers as much as anything else….....to that end, I thank Mr. Hedges.

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By ewsheehan, November 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

It’s always hard finding the bad guys in a large
group.  Hedges comes close.  However, conflating the
rich (beneficiaries)of the system with the active bad
guys does not help find a solution.  Nor does
accusing financial opportunists, such as Warren
Buffet and George Soros, help toward a solution.
Hedges says “Capitalist bosses, men such as Warren
Buffett, George Soros and Donald Trump, are treated
bizarrely as sages and celebrities, as if greed and
manipulation had become the highest moral good.” 

Soros, especially, has long attacked the global
capitalist system, pointing out that the political
systems have not kept pace with the multinational
corporations.  On his analysis of the causes of the
decline of the welfare state and social justice,
Soros is two steps ahead of Hedges.

Rather than repudiate all those who have become rich
from the monopoly of corporate capitalism,  Hedges
will do well to target those who continue to protect
the monopolists.

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By John Best, November 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

D. Cyr says..“That’s no accident — no coincidence — because all of the (R)s and (D)s are members of the same one corporate party working together, being close political partners whose differences on tactics provide a sinister synergy to effectively accomplish the shared common neoliberal global strategic goals of their long strong “bipartisan” corporate funded alliance… while they engage in comedic theater of distraction farcically pretending to be enemies that they aren’t.” 

You’re dead spot on the money.  But how to get people to ignore the football game and realize that the team owners have no interest in the People of this country?  They own D&R teams all over the world.  And, it’s not all even real individual human owners.  Institutionalized global banking and investment supports, no requires ROI far, far above any sort of allegiance to the country and People who made their accumulation of wealth possible. 

‘They’ (above) plant in our minds notions that support the laissez faire ideology that allows ‘them’ to use the people of the USA like just another raw material…...like feedlot cattle.  And what I find to be most amazing is that the political supporters buy into the notion that their loyalty will be rewarded.  Hey, if you buy that crap, why not just wait and get your reward in heaven? 

And again, Hedges is right, a HUGE chunk of the liberal class is bought off, including what passes for the press.  I’m sick of pontificating…..somebody suggest some action we can sink our teeth into.  If we’re so G—Damn smart, why do some things.  An example: take back the FCC and unplug peoples rotten minds from the reality shows, corporate advertising, marketing psychology and of course the pundits (right and left) who profit by the ‘obfuscation of division’.

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By PCdragon, November 3, 2010 at 8:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Liberals do not understand the power of evil. Debate with the devil is useless.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, November 3, 2010 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

VOX POPULI AND THE THIRD WAY

kulu: Heaven If, as many suggest here, a vote for anyone else simply hands the elections to the Rs then so be it - in the short term - but in the longer term there is a chance that fewer and fewer people will see that as a waste and and the 3rd parties may gain more influence.

I would like to agree with you. I have similar sentiments. But that faith may not be justified.

Politics is not like war. Short-term battles must be won continuously because the war is perpetual. Obama’s mistake, his sole mistake, was to actually believe the pre-election polls in 2008 that indicated that the American people wanted both parties to “work together” toward common objectives.

He mentioned as much in his campaign speeches. And what happened, once ensconced in the Oval Office? The Replicants shat all over him.

Bipartisan politics rarely work, except at a time of national calamity – like 9/11, when the Dems lined up behind a PotUS they despised. Obama was naïve enough to believe they could work on a higher plane. He has now seen the error of his ways.

And we, the people, were naive enough to think it could as well. But, it can’t. I suspect that this latest electoral Vox Populi indicates that regardless of the personality or party, the American people have “had enough”.

And, frankly, they’ve not seen nuthin’ yet … because that which LaLaLand on the Potomac is heading for is another two years of gridlock in preparation of Boehner’s run at the presidency in 2012.

I believe in Centrist policies, which is a cornerstone of Social Democrat governments in Europe, because they work, they help attain the objective of a Just Society.

They worked rather well under Clinton and very well under Blair in Britain. And yet, both countries are back to conservative politics-as-usual, meaning to hell with Social Justice. Funny enough, it is the difference, nonetheless, between the two countries that is important.

In the US the Replicants fervently stonewalled Public Option Health Care. In the UK, where it has existed since the 1960s, the Conservatives will tweak it but dare not change it. The Brits are not fools. They wouldn’t touch the American system of privatized Health Care with a ten foot pole. (It exists, but only for those who can afford it.)

My point: Before the Body Politic can want a universal policy as important as National Health Care, they must understand its benefits. They must have their eyes opened. And Americans are so introverted culturally that they cannot see beyond the three-mile limit.

Except when someone says “al Qaeda”, which is the only heads-up that seems to startle them - which is out of fear and not foresight.

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kulu's avatar

By kulu, November 3, 2010 at 4:03 am Link to this comment

Diamond 29 Oct 8.43 am

“As to free speech: it’s not free speech that is the problem but that these right wing trolls are going unchallenged and undefeated.”

Which right wing trolls do you mean the Democrats or the Republicans. Just let the evidence shape your views not dogma.

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By diamond, November 3, 2010 at 1:29 am Link to this comment

Cyr, you’re a moron but that’s okay. Most Americans are morons: you fit right in.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, November 1, 2010 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (of denialist of liberal liability, diamond):
“Why don’t you just admit you’re a Republican and be done with it.”
_____________

There’s a particularly perverse logic among some un-profoundly “progressive” liberals. If you urge liberals to stop being indistinguishable (in affect) from the regressive Republicans, as they persistently have been, and suggest that they wake up and responsibly start voting for what they say they want, instead of continuing to vote for what they say they oppose, some “progressive” is sure to hysterically presume (as “diamond” did here on Truthdig) that anyone who isn’t duped by Democrats must be a Republican.

What’s the liberal logical evidence against the accused?

Anyone advocating that people should vote against war and for Single-Payer must surely be a Republican. That’s naturally assumed by loyal Democrats, because they know good Democrats would never (for real… for actual effect) vote against war or for Single-Payer, and they won’t acknowledge the possibility of people sensibly being able to non-corporate vote for natural person candidates, rather than only for corporate party manufactured creatures.

It’s truly pathetic for the self-victimizing liberals to still be believing that any vote for a good non-corporate natural person candidate — for one who really opposes war (i.e. any vote not cast for a competent corporate “electable” war party Democrat) — is therefore a vote for an insufficiently evil corporate war party Republican.

The Congressional legislation and Executive action produced from different election results and different factional majorities verifies that voting for Democrats **IS** voting for Republicans. That’s no accident — no coincidence — because all of the (R)s and (D)s are members of the same one corporate party working together, being close political partners whose differences on tactics provide a sinister synergy to effectively accomplish the shared common neoliberal global strategic goals of their long strong “bipartisan” corporate funded alliance… while they engage in comedic theater of distraction farcically pretending to be enemies that they aren’t.

The fundamental difference between the corporate party’s Republican and Democrat factions is in which millions of fools each fools… all of the time… every time.

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kulu's avatar

By kulu, October 31, 2010 at 6:30 am Link to this comment

DJCyr 26 Oct 1.20pm.

Absolutely right. It does not really matter whether (D) or (R)‘s get your vote. They are the same although their talk may be different.

If, as many suggest here, a vote for anyone else simply hands the elections to the Rs then so be it - in the short term - but in the longer term there is a chance that fewer and fewer people will see that as a waste and and the 3rd parties may gain more influence. There is nothing to lose.

Apart from the vote efforts need urgently to be made to get a constitutional amendment passed to restrict corporate, and in fact all outside financing of elections, probably to replace such with public financing of some sort and to include restrictions on paid advertising.

There is a coalition working towards this constitutional change. It’s called Free Speech for People and was featured on Democracy Now program of 28 Oct.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, October 31, 2010 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

AYN RANDIAN NONSENSE

DHF: Consider that a generation accepted that poverty, as hellish as it is, is merely a “lifestyle choice.”

This is the consequence of an Ayn Randian notion that will is stronger than fate—a wee bit of subjective malarkey.

Regardless, but with the palette of colours in the media today (along with Hollywood’s bent for super-hero role models), Ayn Rand’s notion of the supremacy of the individual is Prevalent Nonsense as well in the US, bastion of the belief. (After all, wasn’t Ayn Rand a refugee of Communist Russia who wrote her book in America?)

Anyway, Bruce Willis admitted that he’d long since forgot how many times he’s saved the world …

And yet, they (the impressionable young) believe the crap. So, one is left to imagine what they are thinking when they get their MBA, are hired by Goldman Sachs and anointed as a Golden Boy (or Girl). They’ve been given the key to the barn where they Milk the Capitalist Cow! Unimaginable Riches! Nirvana!

I had the great good fortune to read, whilst at university, a book that profoundly changed what I thought of life and a career. Of course, when young and impressionable, such is often the case with much that we read.

And yet, first published in 1956, that book has stood the test of time. In fact, it is perhaps more relevant today than ever—after thirty years of Reaganomics. (Of the inane trickle-down kind that doesn’t trickle down but up.)

It is The Organization Man by Wm. White. Here’s a book review (from the University of Penn, its publisher) that will give you an idea of what the book is about.

Unless you’ve already read the book - so the review will serve to refresh your memory.

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By DHFabian, October 29, 2010 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

What we have today is a young generation that grew up under the powerful, pervasive influence of Reaganism.  They are more inclined toward obedience, less inclined toward independent thought. By sheer repetition, this generation has largely been taught to unquestioningly accept what they are told—especially via the mass media. Think of how economic issues are viewed, for example. A parent and child getting by on $20,000 per year is considered poor, a step away from destitution.  Yet that same family, if getting by on $4,000-$5,000 per year in welfare aid, was considered to be living very comfortably—pampered, even.  Consider that a generation accepted that poverty, as hellish as it is, is merely a “lifestyle choice.”  The list goes on, and the final result is that this generation has learned to form its views on the basis of sound bites rather than facts and knowledge. Now combine this with the increased censorship of the media since 1980; the trend has been not to necessarily misinform the public, but to shape public opinion by simply omitting critical pieces of information.  As long as such a large portion of the population remains apathetic, we know things aren’t going to get better.

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By John Best, October 29, 2010 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When we feel we’ve made a contribution by our well intentioned pontification and comment, we demonstrate that we are not capable of leading anymore.  My hat is off to Lauren Valle, a leader.  Words without actions: useless.  Good intention without physical results: useless. 

We’re not people, we’re consumers.  Consumers not worthy of consideration.  Not worthy of truth in advertizing.  Not worthy of clean food or environment.  We are a feed lot animal, sheeple, sure.  “Liberals” have been re-branded as cowardly troublemakers.  Well, half of that characterization is right, as I sit here at my keyboard, cowardly, and making no trouble that requires any effort to control.  We are grumbling consumers….bleeting sheeple.  As long as we bleet without stampeding, there is no real trouble and time continues to favor depletion of our humanity itself.

At the least, we must understand the various forms of corruption and either expel it from the Democratic party, or start a party capable of re-attracting the disenfranchised…..as unpalatable as they are.  All those ‘tea-party, militia, libertarian, gun-totin’ people are indeed the people.  We can’t sit up here and remain distant from them, acting superior.  Like them or not, with all their bigotry, ignorance, and lack of acceptable ‘culture’, we must accept them as countrymen and fight FOR them, with them.  Unpalatable, but we must swallow it if we are going to give up the comforting sterility of game theory, and return to the more human oriented enlightenment thinking.  The problem with this is it requires faith in mankind.  We ‘liberals’ are short on faith.  We threw it out because it requires us to get dirty.

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By John Best, October 29, 2010 at 9:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The ‘proposed solution’, that Liberals simply ‘grow a set and lead on behalf of the common good’, is unlikely for at least two reasons.  The lesser (arguably) being to achieve consensus among intellects and ego’s who have the disadvantage of lacking a binding common ideology to break intellectual logjams.  The other issue, one of motivation, the classic prisoners dilemma.  Who will speak up?  What is to be gained at the level of the individual would-be liberal leader?  There are professional risks that increase over time, and in the present climate, indeed a tipping point has occurred, where we see the should-be benefactors of liberalism committing almost daily acts of low-level violence against ‘perceived liberals’.  A cite the shoving, unlawful detainment, ‘stomping’, and unlawful arrests surrounding the events of Rand Paul, Eric Cantor and other right wing-darlings.  Where is this going to end?

Hedges may be very right, but I think it was necessary for liberals to stomp the ‘hate speech’ which has been foisted upon us as ‘free speech’ for two decades now.  Commercial driven media is a huge factor, but what is to be done now?

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By the worm, October 29, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Layfayette asks rhetorically: “Who showed the most willingness to do the
bidding of the American people?”

The facts are these:

1. Obama expanded a meaningless and fruitless war -  contrary to the wishes
of the American people,
2. Obama burdened taxpayers with trillions of dollars of private sector debt -
contrary to the wishes of the American people,
3. Obama transferred to insurance companies hundreds of thousands of new
premium dollars (20% of which which do not have to be spent to provide health
care) yet all paid for by the taxpayers - contrary to the wishes of the American
people.

You seem to keeping track of Obama’s ‘bi-partisanship efforts’; so, how’s
Obama’s ‘bi-partisanship score’?

May be, as you suggest, Obama “did the bidding of the American people”, but I
don’t think you could persuade a single voter that that is the case (see 1, 2 and
3 above) no matter how many blog entries you fill.

Best,
The Worm

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, October 29, 2010 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (of liberal respondent unwilling to identify shimself, other than as an attempted self-flattering fantasy figure, Lafayette):

“You are accusing us of being “sheeple” and that polemical accusation must not be taken lightly.”
_____________

When sheeple are referred to as being the sheeple that they are, some sheeple within that flock will start bleating.

All sheeple are not created equal. In an aggregate of sheeple there can be some who comprise the “shee” (sheep) component, and some who comprise the “ple” (people) component.

What are the liberals who vigil prayed and marched against “Bush’s War” before they voted for Obama’s wars, in Palestine, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, on into Pakistan… and Obamanably most dumbly on the way now to Iran?

What are the liberals who walked miles to advocate for Medicare for All, before they voted for mandated higher “insurance” profits for increased denial of healthcare?

What are the liberals who biked for climate action, before they voted for a “cap & trade” market scheme for banksters to profit from pollution speculation, while the glaciers all melt?

Are they sheeple, or just sheep… or are they the most diabolical of evil people?

There can be truth in liberals’ bleating, “We’re not sheeple!” It is possible that liberals may no longer be the sheeple that they were. They’ve so habitually robo-voted, like corporate obedient sheep, that they may no longer have any “people” part left in them. Perhaps now they’re simply just panic stricken sheep, when they dutifully flock to vote for the Democrat butchers that slaughter them.

When, in June of 2010, the putrid PDA sought to have the Green Party organizationally collaborate with it, a young Green black woman community organizer, who was outraged by the regressives’ request, stood and firmly responded in the negative, asserting, “You should have to do some kind of public penance for putting that man [Obama] in there!”

Those liberals who are not wholly ignorant of what they do, when they vote for Democrats, are not sheeple. No. Those liberals are consummately evil people.

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By diamond, October 29, 2010 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

Don’t try to reason with Cato, Virginia. All people like that have are catchphrases and slogans. They can’t debate because they’re in the wrong and know they will eventually be shot down in flames. As to free speech: it’s not free speech that is the problem but that these right wing trolls are going unchallenged and undefeated. They are actually very easy to defeat if you gather your facts and explode their distortions one by one. In my experience most conservatives and libertarians either have no idea what they’re talking about or they have a pretty good idea but know their ideas are variations of Nazism so they fly off into spin and distortion or personal abuse because you can’t defend the indefensible. If all those book reviews were removed it’s a sign of poor moderation of the site and a complete lack of respect for free speech. If you want to defeat conservatives you have to get down in the dirt where they live and FIGHT with reason and moderation. They hate that.  Don’t expect manners or honesty: they wear jackboots and fly the swastika flag and they don’t care who knows it.

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By cjackb, October 28, 2010 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with everything except your use of the phrase “liberal class.” Liberals who
are co-opted and corrupted by the corporate state are no longer liberals. I would
use the phrase “Democratic Establishment”, or just “Establishment” for short.
That’s what our DFH forebears called it.

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, October 28, 2010 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

and yes, it is Liberal Opportunists.

liberals who sold out to comfortable, well-paid lifestyles became marshmallows and ignored the clear advance of extremism in America.

they sat back on their tie-died pillows, and declared their outdated Principles, to rule over surveillance and real liberal assessment.

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By Virginia777, October 28, 2010 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

on the contrary, Cato, the book reviews that were removed included books with forwards by Obama, every children’s book comment my friend wrote on on Amazon.com related at all to Obama, was removed.

Wake up liberals, to the huge harm being caused by your blind support of free speech.

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By John Best, October 28, 2010 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My experience supports Hedges.  Here at a major state university, the so-called ‘liberals’ are just part of a cozy club of Democrats who are as obnoxious to the Democracy as they are traditional liberal causes.  One example, our election laws.  These self-described ‘liberals’ are either too fat, happy and lazy, or too ignorant of the traditional role of liberals to be of any use whatever as an agent of positive change.  Obama, even if he had good intentions, is on his own.  But despite the comfort of the ‘liberal cool kids club’, they act so indignant at the erosion of the common good by corporate forces, and yet, they do nothing of consequence.  They waste time.  They ride out their trust funds, book royalties, and other priveledges, yet they stand by, bitching, too damn afraid to act in any effective manner, and it is not that they are intellectually handicapped so as to lack knowledge of what must be done.  An example, they allow commercial driven media to blather on, further debasing the general public, whilst hiding atop the the ivory castle of PBS where they can feel both superior, and of clear conscience. 

I do not want to be associated with them in the final days of the Democracy, as they have proven the right-wing pundits absolutely correct regarding their worthiness to hold power, as it is never, that cowards or hypocrites are judged worthy to hold power by any segment of society.  It is a sad fact that most Americans probably will be happy to see them eventually drug down. 

It is unlikely though that Liberalism will suffer the martyrs demise by death in some final glorious batttle.  Rather, the continued slow erosion, culminating in mockery and laughter at the pathetic shrunken skeleton of the body of corrupt old man Liberal. 

Ha! look at the department of Education in any major university…...passing through morons schooled not in rigorous academics, rather fuzzy methodologies stressing the nurturing of self indulged brats.  The university system itself is served by destroying K-12 education.  Remedial courses are the profit center of the future.  Imagine 25% increase in revenue by requiring that additional first year.  And the profit would be favorable, as even lesser qualified individuals can ‘remediate’.  But what do our liberal professors do?  Complain in cozy circles in upscale coffee shops, driving off in luxury European sedans.  Hedges is right…...these people are worse than right-wing pigs.  The liberal class gives us false hope.  At least with the righties we know where we stand…...every man for himself.

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By Caro, October 28, 2010 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

>> a friend had the right-wing trolls gang up on her
there and have 350 of her comments removed

Hmm. Just like the Obamatons in 2008.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

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By Virginia777, October 28, 2010 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

One way I have personally seen liberals fail, is in their blind support of free speech in the internet age. Liberals have blindly supported free speech in the age of the unregulated Internet, and then, when the massive abuses of free speech have occurred, they have turned a blind eye to it.

It was in total nativity that anyone could imagine that unregulated free speech would someone “balance” itself. Of course it was manipulated, abuse became rampant and is, disinformation trolls abound by the millions and the genuine Comment is under siege.

In just a couple of examples, the libel happening on Topix is out control. Hundreds of thousands of people are having their lives ruined by defamation, yet the left has not even hardly thought to step in, on the contrary, they support what they believe to be free speech on Topix, and then don’t read or acknowledge, the total manipulation of it toward harm by trolls. Entire Topix forums have been taken over by right-wing trolls who are very effectively spreading their message there, unimpeded at all by the left, on the contrary, the left is supporting their existence in its blind adherence to principles of free speech.

Its not free anymore, people, its called “manipulated”.

Trolls aren’t only on Topix. Amazon.com is loaded with them and a friend had the right-wing trolls gang up on her there and have 350 of her comments removed. Guess what her comments were on? children’s book reviews.

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By Weniger Gottquatsch, October 28, 2010 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

Another extraordinary Jeremiad by the prophet.

Thank you, Mr. Hedges. It’s comforting to know I am not alone. It’s useful to draw these sad conclusions, so we have some idea what to expect when the lunatic fringe invades the power vacuum and the cyclic wave of fascism sweeps over.

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By Caro, October 28, 2010 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

>>Obama is the President, not King of the US.

Even kings don’t get their own way any more.

The trouble is, Lafayette, that Obama campaigned more
on change than on working with Republicans. And
people said, when questioned further about that wish,
that they didn’t want Democrats to simply capitulate
to Republican demands.

Which is exactly what Democrats have done.

They haven’t fought for we the people—you know, the
ones they supposedly work for.

We don’t ask that they win every battle on our
behalf, we just ask that they give our issues a good
fight. That’s what Republicans do, and that
willingness is what has moved this country so far to
the right while Democrats shake in their boots.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

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By alturn, October 28, 2010 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

The person that is emerging that will inspire is the World Teacher Maitreya.  Both those on the left and on the right have ignored the potent perspectives of Maitreya and the impact he has had even while having to stay behind the scenes.  The media knows directly about Maitreya yet does not speak.  Those in power whether on the left, the right or in the churches have no interest in bringing the subject up as the effect on discourse of someone as pure and evolved as Maitreya is will erode the power of the old, outworn ideas they use to cling to power.  The Aquarian age is an age of enormous spiritual significance and potency.  Resistance to embracing the concepts of the new - global sharing, justice and cooperation - along with recognizing that power properly belongs to all the people of the world - not a few manipulating the arena for their own benefit - is what is holding back the dawn of the new.  It is time to get over the fear and separation that is projected upon us. It is time to understand that divinity, and those who can demonstrate it, are love.  Love felt within is a far better compass of action than structures found without.

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By Lafayette, October 28, 2010 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

tw: We would be better off today, had Obama and the Democrats listened to the voters rather than their chosen big-money constituencies.

False conclusion and not the least bit substantiated. Particularly your ignorant-of-the-facts supposition that Obama bailed-out Wall Street because he was beholden to the Golden Boys.

In a pre-election 2008 poll the American people showed clearly their preference for the Dems and the Reps to work together on the nation’s problems. Obama made numerous references to that public wish during his election campaign. That same result has occurred again recently in yet another poll, with almost the same numbersresulting.

So, who showed the most willingness to do the bidding of the American people - the Reps or the Dems? And who failed miserably at responding to that call?

You are just one more progressive (if not a Rep plant on this site) who believes that Obama—just because we elected him PotUS—is a miracle worker.

A shame you were disappointed. An even greater shame that you had inflated expectations of what one PotUS could do in two years—given the circumstances of the Greatest Recession since 1929 and a hostile Republican adversary.

Obama is the President, not King of the US.

Some people are never satisfied.

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By the worm, October 28, 2010 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

The American people and Health Reform:

Just sixteen short months ago, in June 2009, a New York Times/CBS poll found:
” 72% of Americans ‘supported a government-administered insurance plan—
something like Medicare for those under 65—that would compete for
customers with private insurers.’

The American people and Afghanistan:

64% of the American people opposed expanding the war in Afghanistan

The American people and the bailout of the Financial Industry:

Don’t have a % on this, but suffice it to say the vast majority of Americans
opposed the transfer of taxpayer wealth to cover private company debt – a la
the bailout.

The American people are clearly not the Democrats’ constituency; the
Democrats constituencies clearly are the:

Financial Industry
Insurance Industry
Military/Mercenary Corporations

We would be better off today, had Obama and the Democrats listened to the
voters rather than their chosen big-money constituencies. We, the Democrats,
would have decisions we could defend and even support. As it is, we Democrats
are in the unenviable situation of having to support the failed Republican
policies embraced by a Democratic President and Democratic Congress. (Bizarre
for a Party and candidate who promised “Change You Can Believe In”. I guess
the change was transforming the Democratic Party into the Republican Party.)

The nadir of American Liberalism has been reached under this Administration –
not because Liberalism failed, but because Liberalism was abandoned.

The American people (i.e. the ever-shrinking middle class) are no longer a
factor in the policy-making or the decision-making of the Democratic Party. It
is time to begin re-building the Democratic Party in the Liberal Tradition of FDR
and LBJ.

Yes, I will vote against the Republicans this year. I pledge, as well, to support an
Liberal Democratic challenger to Obama for the 2012 Democratic nominee for
President.

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By Fat Freddy, October 28, 2010 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

Chris, you are getting warm, but you are still not quite there. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are probably the two most principled members of Congress, but both are treated like ugly step-children by their respective parties. Why? When you can accurately answer that question, you will have a solution to your dilemma.

Hint: Look at the issues that these two have worked on together.

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By omygodnotagain, October 28, 2010 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

I have posted this on another story on truthdig but
I think it is vry relevant to this discussion. The Corruption Perception Index came out this week and US did not make the top 20 of countries with the least corruption, they were 22nd down from 17th, worth noting.
http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results

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By diamond, October 28, 2010 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

And your solution to all this David J. Cyr is:

(a) Don’t vote. Which means the Republicans win.

(b) Vote for a ‘third party’. Which means the Republicans win.

(c) Vote for the Republicans. Which means the Republicans win.

Why don’t you just admit you’re a Republican and be done with it.

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By kulu, October 28, 2010 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

Perhaps we should be looking to South America for answers. They at least for the most part are trying a different approach. Viva Chavez, Morales, Correa, Lula etc. Not all doing the same thing but trying to address inequalities, the environment and the American hegemony.

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By Lafayette, October 28, 2010 at 4:37 am Link to this comment

DEFEND YOURSELF

DC: Those “greatest disenfrachisers of all” are the devious and disingenuous Democrats, who biennially reliably persuade millions of weak minded liberal sheeple to always fearfully vote against what they say they are for, and eagerly vote for what they say they oppose.

This is a bold and generalized accusation, Mr. Cyr, and to my mind wholly incorrect.

Substantiate it. Give an example and be sure it is pertinent—because you will be obliged to defend it.

Yes, that’s “freedom of speech”—both the right to make claims and the duty to defend/substantiate the nonsense one may have employed in doing so. Doing only the first half is what is called propaganda.

NB: You are accusing us of being “sheeple” and that polemical accusation must not be taken lightly.

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By David J. Cyr, October 28, 2010 at 12:09 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (of, perhaps for 5th Amendment reasons, the unwilling to identify shimself, JDmysticDJ): “Hedges and others desire that you effectively disenfranchise yourselves, which will only serve the interests of the greatest disenfranchisers of all.”
_____________

Those “greatest disenfrachisers of all” are the devious and disingenuous Democrats, who biennially reliably persuade millions of weak minded liberal sheeple to always fearfully vote against what they say they are for, and eagerly vote for what they say they oppose.

There’s no creature more uneducable than an “educated” liberal. They can’t cast their votes dependent upon deliberation of issues positions, because they won’t look for solutions beyond (D) corporate brand.

Liberals haven’t had the imagination to perceive that there could ever be an electoral option other than civil obediently supporting the greater of the two corporate pre-selected to be “electable” interchangeable evils manufactured by their corporate (R) & (D) party.

In 2008, there were real grassroots people provided non-corporate POTUS voting options (plural) for anyone actually wanting an end to the (R) & (D) corruption of perpetual war, and a beginning for real healthcare in America. Liberals could have chosen to vote for one or another of those peace candidates, but no. The liberals flocked to sheeple support the corporate astroturfed war candidate, who (YES WE CAN!) campaign promised them more “real” and “necessary” wars… and (NO WE CAN’T!) campaign dismissed any possibility of any real option involving any actual provision of healthcare. The whole world got (D) evil that those liberals disgracefully free-will chose to vote for. They are willing accomplices in all the crimes they voted for.

What if 69,456,897 liberals had voted against war and for Single-Payer in 2008, instead of having committing the heinously cowardly crime those millions of liberals free-will chose to comfortably commit, in their then cravenly voting for only the “progress” of “historically” just having a black POTUS now commit the same highest of all crimes, for liberals (in their name), that only white men were “historically” allowed to commit before?

Liberals have wasted elections! The participation of liberals in elections ensures that elections serve no good purpose.

Here in New York, in the 2010 gubernatorial election, liberals can flock on all fours to corporate compliantly vote for yet another Obamanable corporate creature that’s already been installed by (D) gangster government, Andrew Cuomo… or, they could courageously (for a change) stand up and vote for a natural person, Howie Hawkins.

The “Art of the Possible” liberals dedicate themselves to ensuring that either no change, or the least possible change ever occurs. It is those deceitful liberals who perpetuate perpetual war. It is those depraved liberals who in 2008 performed a partial-birth abortion upon Single-Payer.

The young do not have 40 or 50 years left to waste upon Democrats who never do what good they could when they can.

“Politics is not the art of the possible.
True politics is the art of the impossible.”
— Slavoj Zizek

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By shreve, October 27, 2010 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

This is one of the most baffling things I’ve ever
read on this site. In what world is the church a
liberal institution? Or universities that teach free
market capitalism?

Why would “liberals” not include someone like
Chomsky? The term liberal doesn’t describe a fixed
set of individuals; if there are some that are
further to the left than the liberal elite that
Hedges describes, why would they remain some fringe
element? The types of people that come to fill the
set that is ‘liberal’ changes with time.

From the sound of this article, Hedges is more
interested in mashing together liberals and neo-
liberals (free market and labor unions in the same
box?) into some abomination that’s easy to ridicule
than doing anything useful.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 27, 2010 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

I’ll offer that Chomsky and Zinn have been the most profound, cogent, and rational social critics of our era, and that the impetus of their criticisms has been to advocate for social justice, and to point out hypocrisy, and to combat destructive nationalist thinking. I’ll propose that these two great minds will only be mere footnotes in future historical analysis, providing there is a future allowing for historical analysis. It’s my belief that Hedges will be some distance lower on hierarchical scale of social critics, and that there are very distinct differences between the likes of Chomsky and Zinn, and the likes of Hedges. Unlike Hedges, neither of the two aforementioned great minds have used their criticisms to advocate for a particular ideological perspective. I once heard Amy Goodman directly ask Chomsky for an ideological perspective; he mumbled something about anarcho-syndicalism and quickly added that anarcho-syndicalism would be unworkable in the modern world.

To further point out the distinguishing factors between the likes of Chomsky and Zinn, and the likes of Hedges, I’ll point out that Chomsky publicly stated that if he were in the U.S. Congress he would hold his nose and vote for the inadequate Health Care Reform Bill, much like the progressives in Congress who fought tooth and nail to improve the bill, but in the end voted for the Bill. Those progressives have been vilified by Hedges and his like. Many on the Left are like recalcitrant children hysterically throwing a tantrum because their demands have not been met. “I hate you!” they scream at their guardians.

Using further metaphor, I’ll suggest that Hedges and his like are like the proverbial loose cannon on high seas that threatened the ship and crew. With measured empathy, I’ll point out that loose cannon frequently ended up in the salty brine, with no cross attached, and no virgins waiting on the sea floor.

Hedges and others desire that you effectively disenfranchise yourselves, which will only serve the interests of the greatest disenfranchisers of all. The stench that may momentarily fill your olfactory passages, may one day lead to a cleaner, less polluted air.

Use it, or lose it.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, October 27, 2010 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

Just to clear up the Chomsky misunderstanding on this thread, Hedges is saying
that Chomsky is the enemy of the liberal class because he exposes their (the
liberal class’) ineptitude, hypocrisy, cowardice, cynical politicking and selling out.

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By Valatius, October 27, 2010 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

Chris, I am not so pessimistic as you, but I am concerned about the mood of the country, especially after dropping in at my local GOP/Tea Party HQ which is all worked up about supporting a war hero in this CD. It got me thinking…
In 1952, Eisenhower reluctantly stepped forward to save the country (or at least the Republican party) from the destructive isolationism of Robert Taft, the paranoia of Joe McCarthy and the irrational belligerence of Douglas MacArthur. In 1958 Charles DeGaulle claimed power in France to block the fascism of the French right enraged over parliamentary chaos and a string of military defeats. Both were conservatives by temperament but acted to preserve the stability and prosperity from which all classes benefited. Sometimes when people get too worked up to listen to reason, they want a father figure. I hope we are not at that point yet because such types are rarely as benign as Eisenhower or DeGaulle.

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By TAO Walker, October 27, 2010 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

The lost “language” Chris Hedges is looking so desperately for is that of Organic Functional Integrity. The Living Way through the predicament he describes so floridly is that of what some of us Turtle Island Natives call Tiyoshpaye….genuine Living Organic Human Community is about as close as we can get to it in impoverished and co-opted “English.” 

The commenter below who said the CONdition decried by this article’s author, and many responding to it here, is a disease (with the entirety of the sub-species homo domesticus infected) is absolutely correct.  The Medicine specific to its cure is simply for people to get together where they live and breathe everyday, and all together clean up the part of the mess that is right there in front of them….certainly including its many manifestations in their Personal lives.

It cannot and will not be “voted” out-of-existence.  In-fact, “voting” (along with “thinking,” shooting, and buying) has introduced and sustains the damned thing from its inception here in our Living Arrangement to the present moment.

Clean-up the mess! Get well while you’re doing it, tame Sisters and Brothers.  The “party” is so over.  Now is the time for all Persons of good will to come together in aid of our Mother Earth.

Everything else is bullshit.

HokaHey!

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By severed2009, October 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

We dont know what we want (it doesnt sound like we want is something more like
Canada or Sweden).  We dont know how to get there.  And we dont even know how
to figure out what we want.  Chris has some sort of romanticized past of struggle
between the good guys and the bad guys, and a betrayal of this struggle by the
perfidious liberals.  Change some of the players and keep the style of analysis the
same and you get Glenn Beck.

We have to be more willing to live with where we do not know what to do about a
situation we do not like, one that is becoming worse, and not be seduced into
escaping from our uncertainty by ideological battles, romanticizing the past,
looking for bad guys and good guys, or dreaming of a simple apocalyptic solution
or final showdown.

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By glider, October 27, 2010 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

A reasonable answer is in front of our faces, so don’t bitch about the results if you vote Democrat/New GOP again this cycle.  See the Green party platform PDF here, http://www.gp.org/platform.shtml , and have a look at page 8 of their election reform agenda.  Just what the doctor ordered IMO.  MDGR pooh poohs the Green Party as being too idealistic.  I contend that is a strong positive.  The biggest concern with any rising party is corruption by money interests and not the party being too idealistic.

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By RayLan, October 27, 2010 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

“What if all the liberals, who keep saying they really, really want progress, started to sincerely actually vote for progress (for a change), and therefore never voted for any Democrat ever again? “
Six of one, half a dozen of the other. There are no real liberals running for office. The idea that the dichotomy of Liberal/Conservative matches the dichotomy of Reps/Dems is delusional. It fuels the political machine. The ‘real’ conservatives are some of the wacko Tea Party candidates - who are about to do away with government all together - except of course the bloated military. The financially absurd claim that we got into this hole because of the last two years of government spending is a {R}eactionary wet dream. (R)eagan began the (D)e(R)egulation that caused the slippery slope that empowered Wall Street to destroy economic stability. No doubt Clinton only enabled this pathology, so its not a Dem vs Rep real choice.

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By Lafayette, October 27, 2010 at 3:35 am Link to this comment

MODERN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY

What if all the liberals, who keep saying they really, really want progress, started to sincerely actually vote for progress (for a change), and therefore never voted for any Democrat ever again?

Then for whom who should they vote?. The above poses the question but does not answer it, which is incomplete discourse.

Liberal = noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.

Progressive = making progress toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc.: a progressive community.

What party demonstrates the above characteristics. What faction of either party indicate the above?

What party has a charter showing clear ends and objectives for the country, in terms that are precise yet attainable? Neither current party, in any case.

For the moment, all political parties ask you to believe in the “haze”—this pap for the masses that promises a “better way of doing things”, but never a precise road-map. They are, simply put, power grabs to not only run the country but control it—such that nothing much changes.

Moreover, typical of American negative electoral campaign habits, politicians take us for fools. By defaming their opponents, the inference is that they are better. Which is never ever a guaranty, as we have seen so well.

POST SCRIPTUM: A bit of history

American socialism was torn apart in the 1930 and swept away by FDR’s New Deal. It tried to recuperate by federating disassociate elements in 1937 and did so by means of a charter that explained some founding principles. See them here.

One can easily agree on the first two principles, but the third is a no-go. Meaning that it issued (at the time) from the socialist notion that it is necessary to control the means of production in order to assure income fairness. In fact, today’s social theory believes it is necessary to control taxation to assure income fairness.

All of us do not share equally in the economic rewards, but equitably - meaning fairly and impartially.

Meaning this: One can leave the Capitalist Cash-cow as it is. The objective is simply to control how it is milked and where the milk is delivered.

And the charter must refuse to adhere to the principle of “employing all means necessary to achieve its ends”, which sank the American socialist party.

Any effort to achieve political advocacy of modern Social Democrat principles must do so in the manner Europe accomplished that objective – by means of the ballot box. The movement must be grassroots in nature.

What remains, therefore, is a charter that at least shows some broad guidelines that, I submit, most in Americans could adhere to today. If they weren’t so afraid of being tagged “socialist”? But, pray tell, what is wrong with a modern version of socialism that gives back to a person his/her personal dignity?

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By PhreedomPhan, October 27, 2010 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

I apologize for the duplicate post.  I was having some trouble and I didn’t think it was accepted.  There was what seemed a considerable delay and I thought it didn’t take.  I guess there’s no way for me to remove a duplicate.

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By David J. Cyr, October 27, 2010 at 2:26 am Link to this comment

Liberals say they want to do good, but then they vote for Democrats.

Imagine this:

What if all the liberal (D)upes stopped being (D)isgraceful, (D)elusional, (D)isingenuous, (D)ishonest, (D)evious, (D)eceitful, (D)ecadent, (D)espicable, (D)epraved, (D)egenerates?

What if all the liberals stopped being (D) Evil?

What if all the liberals, who keep saying they really, really want progress, started to sincerely actually vote for progress (for a change), and therefore never voted for any Democrat ever again?

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By PhreedomPhan, October 27, 2010 at 2:22 am Link to this comment

Some interesting views and questions here.  Just who did bring on the plagues that have created the mess?  Was it Clinton?  Bush?  Or does it fall entirely in Obama’s lap?

Maybe other possibilities?  Was it Jimmy Carter, who turned over government to the Trilateral Commission global elitists?  Maybe Richard Nixon, the great “opponent” of communism who made the trek to China and opened the path to transfer our industry to Asia?

Can we leave out the B-actor whose only Academy worthy performance was as the “Conservative?”  How about Truman who ushered in the Atomic Age and set the precedent for administrative war by-passing Congress and paving the way for a long line of war mongering presidents, possibly broken only by Ford.

Certainly FDR can’t be left out of the mix.  He kept us in the depression for almost eight years giving lots of time for the upward transfer of the middle class wealth.  His duplicity in the Pearl Harbor attack brought us into another European war and places him among the worst warmongers.

Woodrow Wilson deserves credit for his part in bringing us down.  On his watch the Senate was taken from the States and put into popular election, destroying an important check against the cancerous growth of the federal government.  Control of our money supply was given to the bankers in perpetuity along with the mechanism to put us in debt borrowing banker created money.  A means had to be conjured to pay the interest on the debt.  Voila!  The graduated income tax with its loopholes for those who would be enriched by the debt and the tax.  Only a stimulus to begin the debt in earnest was missing.  Dragging us into the first great European war fit perfectly.
 
Since we’ve gone back that far consider Emperor Teddy.  He took the American Empire beyond the continental boundaries to begin the intertwining of our affairs with the world.  This process has continued until we’ve become inextricably entangled in foreign intrigue.  Still further, we have Lincoln who anticipated the “Age of Dictators” by almost a century.

All of the above deserve consideration, but now I’ll give my opinion of who planted the seeds of destruction of American liberty and prosperity.  I’ll cheat a little and not assign responsibility to one man, at least not at first.

I blame the men who wrote the Constitution.  I know this will be seen as heresy by many who see themselves as good patriots and probably are.  It just isn’t nice to belittle the “founding fathers,” but the document as it was reported out of the Convention was a blueprint for an unlimited, centralized tyranny.  Only the alertness of men like Lee, Smith, and Jefferson to the dangers inherent in the new Constitution forced the first ten Amendments delaying the power grab.

No more cheating.  The president I see as most responsible for creating the mess we’re in is George Washington.  When Washington let economic royalist Hamilton persuade him to charter our first national bank, the European Root of All Evil was transplanted to American soil and the end began.

Had Washington listened to Jefferson, we might still be a free and prosperous people.  His warning was ignored. I think most of the people commenting here have the intelligence to see the fulfillment of his prophecies in conditions today and probably the only means to correct them.

“If the American People ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied. [Sometimes quoted as “conquered.”]

The issuing power of money should be taken from the bankers and restored to Congress and the people to whom it belongs.

I sincerely believe the banking institutions having the issuing power of money are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies.”

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By PhreedomPhan, October 27, 2010 at 2:14 am Link to this comment

Some interesting views and questions here.  Just who did bring on the plagues that have created the mess?  Was it Clinton?  Bush?  Or does it fall entirely in Obama’s lap?

Maybe other possibilities?  Was it Jimmy Carter, who turned over government to the Trilateral Commission global elitists?  Maybe Richard Nixon, the great “opponent” of communism who made the trek to China and opened the path to transfer our industry to Asia?

Can we leave out the B-actor whose only Academy worthy performance was as the “Conservative?”  How about Truman who ushered in the Atomic Age and set the precedent for administrative war by-passing Congress and paving the way for a long line of war mongering presidents, possibly broken only by Ford.

Certainly FDR can’t be left out of the mix.  He kept us in the depression for almost eight years giving lots of time for the upward transfer of middle class wealth.  His duplicity in the Pearl Harbor attack brought us into another European war and places him among the worst warmongers.

Woodrow Wilson deserves credit for his part in bringing us down.  On his watch the Senate was taken from the States and put into popular election, destroying an important check against the cancerous growth of the federal government.  Control of our money supply was given to the bankers in perpetuity along with the mechanism to put us in debt borrowing banker created money.  A means had to be conjured to pay the interest on the debt.  Voila!  The graduated income tax with its loopholes for those who would be enriched by the debt and the tax.  Only a stimulus to begin the debt in earnest was missing.  Dragging us into the first great European war fit perfectly.
 
Since we’ve gone back that far consider Emperor Teddy.  He took the American Empire beyond the continental boundaries to begin the intertwining of our affairs with the world.  This process has continued until we’ve become inextricably entangled in foreign intrigue.  Still further back, we have Lincoln who anticipated the “Age of Dictators” by almost a century.

All of the above deserve consideration, but now I’ll give my opinion of who planted the seeds of destruction of American liberty and prosperity.  I’ll cheat a little and not assign responsibility to one man, at least not at first.
 
I blame the men who wrote the Constitution.  I know this will be seen as heresy by many who see themselves as good patriots and probably are.  It just isn’t nice to belittle the “founding fathers,” but the document as it was reported out of the Convention was a blueprint for an unlimited, centralized tyranny.  Only the alertness of men like Lee, Smith, and Jefferson to the dangers inherent in the new Constitution forced the first ten Amendments delaying the power grab.

No more cheating.  The president I see as most responsible for creating the mess we’re in is George Washington.  When Washington let economic royalist Hamilton persuade him to charter our first national bank, the European Root of All Evil was transplanted to American soil and the end began.

Had Washington listened to Jefferson, we might still be a free and prosperous people.  His warning was ignored. I think most of the people commenting here have the intelligence to see the fulfillment of his prophecies in conditions today and probably the only means to correct them.

“If the American People ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied. [Sometimes quoted as “conquered.”]

The issuing power of money should be taken from the bankers and restored to Congress and the people to whom it belongs.

I sincerely believe the banking institutions having the issuing power of money are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies.”

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By gerard, October 27, 2010 at 12:21 am Link to this comment

Nick Egnatz:  So what happened to my request to Nick Egnatz to set up his suggestions in a briefer, more simplified form so it could be clearer and more useable?
  For instance, set up items in order of their importance, first, second, thire.
  Suggest ways each goal could be worked on, by whom, how, specifically.
  Suggest who would be allies, and who enemies and what to do to negate enemies.
  Suggest minimum goals for each effort.
  Suggest where recruits could be found for various efforts.
  Any other practical suggestions.  I am interested in the suggestions but need help in seeing how they could be implemented, politically, socially, psychologically. 
  Have you set this all out in print somewhere on line that it could be copied?
  I put this request up reviously, but it has disappeared for some reason.

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By jonathonk99, October 26, 2010 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette:  Clinton did not neuter the oversight agencies, which is what Lead-head
did.

Ok, but after Glass-Steagall there was no need for regulatory oversight because
there simply were no rules.  That’s what Clinton did.  That’s what the Dembots
did.

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By Kevin Hornbuckle, October 26, 2010 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is nearly a perfect statement on current nature of things. Liberals are
generally spineless cowards who help the corporate class keep its boot on our
necks. The antiwar rallies are Democrat get out the vote parties in disguise. Fake
democracy requires a fake resistance and that’s what the liberals do. Hedges is
telling it like it is, and I’m sure plenty of liberals are very upset about it. I
personally know hundreds of instances that liberals intervene to prevent radicals
from simply telling what is, much less doing anything to stop the wars and the
hand outs to the rich. Obama is a fraud. Obamamania was/is a mass drug happily
chugged down by the sheeple. The public schools and universities produce just
about nothing but self important fake intellectuals. Hedges is right on. I hope
that book really sells. The libs will probably hold book burning parties to warm
their craven hearts by the glow of fascism.

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By FiftyGigs, October 26, 2010 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

“I do not pretend the President has done a good job.”

No. You’re pretending that Bush did a good job.

Almost every anti-Obama reactionary I’ve run across is a Bush apologist.

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By omygodnotagain, October 26, 2010 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette
“It indicates clearly, however, that the individual does not have the moral courage to say “No, I won’t go!”. Which does not mean that they have no moral principles, or ideals, which are based upon our morality. It just means that they do not follow or apply them”

I have for your benefit got the definition of what a pragmatist is below. The expression “go with the flow” means to chose practical consequences. Morals right and wrong are derived from dogma (mostly religious dogma, such as Thou Shalt Not Kill”). Hmmmmm

World English Dictionary
pragmatism (?præ?m??t?z?m) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]

— n
1.    action or policy dictated by consideration of the immediate practical consequences rather than by theory or dogma
2.    philosophy
    a. the doctrine that the content of a concept consists only in its practical applicability

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By Seth, October 26, 2010 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s amazing the number of little dictators here, all with their own unitary solutions that they are ready to impose on everyone. They have no problem with dictatorial authority, with forcing people to live under an iron fist, they just want it to be their fist rather than someone else’s. I have no truck with that. You sirs, are frauds. You are not true liberals. The root of liberal is the Latin word liber, meaning free, unrestricted, unrestrained, which was derived from libarare, liberavi, liberatus, which means to set free. The modern political equivalent is liberty, or its political manifestation libertarianism. Sadly, the word liberal, which should be included there, has been co-opted by the little dictators of the modern era to represent their various versions of authoritarianism, be it communism, socialism, national socialism, or corporate-statism. Until the word liberal is restored to its rightful place in the pantheon of words meaning to set free rather than to bind together (that’s another Latin, fascia) we should all think very carefully about whether or not to call ourselves liberals, or to given credence to those who do.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 26, 2010 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

A thoughtful person must ask who it is that is being opportunistic in terms of advancing, or promoting, personal ideology, and if that promotion is quasi religious extremism.
******************

You’re being logical and rational again, so, as Jack Benny used to say “Now cut that out!”

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By the worm, October 26, 2010 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

Dear Lafayette,

Perhaps, I am an idiot; perhaps, I am ignorant.
However, I do not pretend the President has done a good job.
Any criticism of Obama is treated by some as an attack by the
right, by the ignorant, by the racists, by the looney fringe, etc.

It would be much healthier for Democrats (among whom I count
myself) to acknowledge that they have been treated to an extension
of Republican policies in foreign affairs, in the economy, in the
financial bailouts, in the non-reform of health care and the
continuation of the “War on Terror”.

It is only by acknowledging what Obama has done that we can get
on with electing candidates who represent traditional Democratic
policies, rather than warmed-over Republican policies.

The non-health reform was simply a sop to the insurance industry -
it is a disaster for the American people. The bailout was doubled-
down by Obama; through it the American people basically picked
up the debt of the private sector; the private sector escaped without
consequences and two years later the financial industry is posting
record profits and receiving record bonuses (in the state I live in,
the unemployment rate is higher today than a year ago). Obama
escalated a ‘dumb war’ following on Bush’s ‘dumb war’.

In short, Obama’s policies have served to accelerate the shift of wealth
from the middle class to the wealthy.

Histrionics, name calling, etc, does not change any of this.

Seeing the situation and acknowledging it as it is is the first step in recovery -
take it.

Regards,
The Worm

PS I dont intend to “run to the Republicans”. I intend to vote against the
Republicans (and have donated to several Democratic candidates). But I
will support an alternative to an Obama candidacy in 2012.

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By Seth, October 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s amazing the number of little dictators here, all with their own unitary
solutions that they are ready to impose on everyone. They have no problem with
dictatorial authority, with forcing people to live under an iron fist, they just
want it to be their fist rather then someone else’s. I have no truck with that. You
sirs, are frauds. You are not true liberals. The root of liberal is the Latin word
libber, meaning free, unrestricted, unrestrained, which was derived from
libarare, liberavi, liberatus, which means to set free. The modern political
equivalent is liberty, or its political manifestation libertarianism. Sadly, the
word liberal, which should be included there, has been co-opted by the little
dictators of the modern era to represent their various versions of socialism, be
it communism, national socialism, or corporate-statism. Until the word liberal
is restored to its rightful place in the pantheon of word meaning to set free
rather than to bind together (that’s another Latin, fascia) we should all think
very carefully about whether or not to call ourselves liberals, or to given
credence to those who do.

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By gerard, October 26, 2010 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

NickEgnatz: In the interests of nonUtopian but perhaps practical action, would oy be willing to:
1.  Arrange your proposals in a timeline order, 1 to 10 etc.?
2.  Take the first one and lay out the practical steps of action that would be necessary—in order of importance.

I find much of what you say interesting and worthwhile but think people need to see it progressively, in order of importance and possibility.  Of course an indication of general methods—recruitment. possible cooperative orgs., etc. would be helpful in grasping possibilities.

Have you perhaps written this all up in detail somewhere?  Thanks.

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By Flummox, October 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

Cruxpuppy, I think your first sentence is more relevant than the rest of your post. What “the point of this article” is a good thing for you to try to answer, because obviously you’ve missed it.

Hedges isn’t calling the middle class “contemptible”, nor the liberal class - and yes, there is a difference between the middle class and liberal class, even in Hedge’s definition in the first few paragraphs of the article.

What Hedges is saying is in part what you said yourself:

“We have slightly over half a thousand individuals claiming to represent the voice of the people. And each one of these so-called representatives is owned by one ideological oligarch or another, with some exceptions.”

And yet you go on to label Hedges as “part of the problem”. What makes Hedges “part of the problem” and you not? Is it because he sees the rise of “these so-called representatives”, “owned by one ideological oligarch or another” as partially a failure of the liberal class? Can you answer that and respond to Hedges article as it was written, not as the argument you wish to condemn (whatever that is)?

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By REDHORSE, October 26, 2010 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

Scared? Iam. A lot turns on this election. You can always “—lose a little more.” And, what ever your phlosophical bent, mindless greed and exploitation at the expense of human social moral decency has engendered a societal/political/environmental disintegration approaching cataclysm. It’s a disease of the Soul and we’re all ill. Suprised that “Liberals” are infected? Few here seem to have had any actual experience of the open murder of men, women and children, the destruction of familes or awareness of those now doing life behind bars for their political actions or belief in America. King, Evers and the Kennedys were not the only ones destroyed. It was a street fight and they’re still kickin’ in doors. The 60’s are still alive and well. Fight or snivel. The choice is yours.

  Thats how Hitler won. As long as you believe the ones being “taken away” are evil “others” and it can’t happen to you, you feel safe. But now, you’re starting to feel the heat of the “ovens” in your own life. America is so full of convenient “others”. Do you see the damage apparent in the poor people who appear on “Cops” or “Springer” or"Povich” or do you think it’s entertainment? Obviously, most can’t discern the moral difference.

    I found TRUTHDIG searching for Chris Hedges after seeing him in some Michael Moore interviews. (You do realize they were both Seminary students.) I continue to be amazed at posters who demand he provide solution and leadership. I gotta tell ya, the cavalry ain’t comin’!!

    Here’s the reality.

    The greedy little real estate hustlers and financial loansharks who make up the Chamber of Commerce have seized control of the Church and the Newspaper Office, tied that beautiful girl we call America to the railroad tracks and illegally seized the deed to the Ranch. It ain’t rocket science. When was the last time you watched “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence”? It’s that simple.

    Do you remember the sense of National Unity we felt when Obama was elected? Where did that go and where did this sense of such absolute defeat come from. They’ve already told you they intend to gut what remains of the social safety net. So, go ahead, cut off your nose to spite your political face. Vote Rethuglican. Or don’t vote, or whine some more.

    I enjoy you guys. Lets not give up on ourselves—or each other. Keep ROCKIN’!! (LAFAYETTE: Ol’ Glory is the Flag. Ol’Betsy was Davy Crocketts rifle. LOL)

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By Nick Egnatz, October 26, 2010 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

continued
  * End the wars for U.S. Empire overseas. Close our 700 overseas military bases. Cut the total military budget (now in excess of $1 trillion) in half and then half again.

  * Disband the Central Intelligence Agency and apologize to the people of all the countries in which our CIA engineered coups to overthrow democratically elected governments. A partial list would include Chile, Brazil, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela, Greece, Congo and Iran.

  * End military aid to Israel and break off diplomatic relations with them until such time as they agree to abandon all the illegal settlements in the West Bank, tear down the apartheid wall, end the criminal blockade of Gaza and finally allow the Palestinian people a free and independent state based on the 1967 borders that are recognized by the international community of nations.

  * The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Democratic Minority Report in 2005 declared that there was a prima facie case that the Bush Administration broke at least seven federal and international laws in taking us into war in Iraq. If we are to be a country of laws, Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell etc. must be investigated and prosecuted.

  * Those responsible at the highest level for our policy of torture must be prosecuted.

  * Equal diligence should be given to investigating and prosecuting the financial machinations behind the mortgage derivative bundling and trading scams. If they agree to reduce all mortgages by the local percentage drop in value, rework terms for those facing foreclosure, put already foreclosed families back in their homes and donate the rest of their ill gotten gain to charity, we might want to consider not prosecuting.

  * The 9/11 Commission Investigation and Report was a complete whitewash. How can there be independence in the investigation when the President is allowed to appoint all the members of the commission? The American people are owed the truth and an independent investigation is absolutely necessary if we are to call ourselves a nation of laws.

  * A democracy cannot exist without an informed citizenry. Media purveyors must be required to present the full spectrum of news and opinion.

Politicians from both political parties will avoid these issues like the plague. The question is, should you? Or are you content to support politicians who use soaring rhetoric in describing the plight of our people and then line up in support of corporate friendly legislation that continues the race to the bottom for the poor and working class of America? Will your vote for Congress and the U.S. Senate go to a Democratic candidate who supports not a single one of the above proposals? If the answer is yes and you consider yourself a progressive or liberal, what exactly does that mean?

We can’t fix this system by voting, petitioning, marching or lobbying. We have to change the system. The first step is to call the system what it is; monstrous, criminal and undemocratic. The next step is to refuse to participate in elections and to not be bashful in telling others why. This won’t save the world now, but it’s the only hope for the future.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 26, 2010 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind

“JD: You are wasting your time using trivialities like facts and logic.  We have here a movement of faith just like a religious movement—and it’s gonna help the OTHER faith, the one that believes the Teaparty bullshit, impose their American Taliban on all of us.”

Your above paragraph is, I believe, factual and logical; and I personally don’t see it as trivial or a waste of time. In the final analysis, I believe, this religious like movement you descibe will serve the interests of Taliban like extremists from within our midst, and will have a nihilistic outcome.

Having heard excerpts from Hedges’ latest criticism of U.S. policy in Pakistan and Afghanistan I find his criticism to be based on facts, logic, and more, but Hedges doesn’t stop with facts, logic, and humanitarian concerns, he carries on into extremist irrationality, with religious zeal and fervor. For example, Hedges doesn’t simply believe that our policies in those countries are horribly misguided and counter productive. He asserts that those policies are intentionally counter productive with the intent of creating enemies and prolonging war.

Suppose that one is involved in a self perceived noble endeavor that is in reality horribly counter productive and ignoble. If someone were to make false accusations asserting the most vile intentional villainess behavior, would one be inclined to listen to those accusations and modify or cease his misguided endeavor? Hedges’ extremism is counter productive, and will retard, rather than advance the goals he claims aspirations for. Hedges needs to focus on persuasion, and not on making wild unsupported accusations of intentional villainy. Admittedly, the results are the same regardless of intention, but a rational, passionate and heartfelt, rather than irrational and hateful, approach to eliminating those abhorrent results provides the best potential for eliminating them.

Whether Hedges’ condemnation of liberals is self perceived as being productive in achieving humanitarian or other goals, the reality is that that condemnation will serve the interests of our very real worst enemies, and I believe, will only lead to a continuation of, or an increase in atrocities.

A thoughtful person must ask who it is that is being opportunistic in terms of advancing, or promoting, personal ideology, and if that promotion is quasi religious extremism.

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By Nick Egnatz, October 26, 2010 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

continued

  * Give workers a seat at the table on all corporate boards with veto privileges as a protection for the American people from corporate dominance.

  * Do away with the minimum wage and institute a living wage guaranteeing all workers a wage allowing for basic necessities. This will vary with the cost of living in different areas and individual family commitments, but for a single worker with no other dependents in an average area it would presently be about $15/hour.

  * Institute a massive program similar to the WPA to put all the unemployed to work at a living wage. There is much work to do, let us do it. Our cities need rebuilding, seniors need care, single parents need parenting help, homes need to be made energy efficient, infrastructure needs repair.

  * For small businesses that show through their tax returns an inability to pay their workers the living wage, have the federal government make up the difference until such time as the small business can support its workers on its own.

  * Abolish the Federal Reserve Bank and institute a national bank with the power to create money presently given to the Federal Reserve. As the population and economy grows there is a need to create money. If this is not done, it causes deflation and things get progressively cheaper. While that might sound nice at first glance, not creating money would be every bit the disaster that high inflation can be. Imagine buying a home with a mortgage and watching the price drop every year. That’s deflation. We now have that with home prices, but for other reasons. Anyway, the new national bank will have the power to create money and the profit from creating this money will benefit all the people instead of the present banking class.

  * The mortgage crisis must be addressed. The megabanks and Wall Street brought it on and should be required to adjust all mortgage balances down by the local percentage that home prices have dropped. The federal government might then consider not prosecuting those responsible for the crisis.

  * Capitalism requires continual growth. This is at odds with the earth’s environment. We need to create a sustainable economy which does not wreak havoc with the earth’s delicate ecosystems. Economic growth is good only when it is environmentally sustainable.

  * Just as the poor and working class are required to pay social security tax on all their income, require the wealthy to do the same.

  * Recognize that healthcare is a human right and immediately institute either 100 percent government single payer healthcare for all or have government take over the healthcare apparatus and be both the employer and the payer of all healthcare bills. I was fortunate enough to have such socialized government healthcare for my four years spent in the U.S. military. I found it top notch and my care included an emergency appendectomy and later a prolonged hospitalization upon returning from Vietnam.

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By Nick Egnatz, October 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

For those who rail on that Mr Hedges fails to offer solutions I will take it upon myself to offer some.  While I can’t speak for Mr Hedges, I believe he would go along with this list.  Many have offered similar ideas but until we deconstruct our present system, they will not be considered.  That is the service Mr Hedges is providing.
“The Progressive Dilemma”
http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_6342.shtml
This socialist utopian will instead give specific plans for a new birth of democracy in America:

  * 100 percent federal funding for all national elections. Under the proposal below this figure will become miniscule.

  * No election commercials allowed. This just allows money to pollute politics. Instead require all media outlets to publish and broadcast periodic side by side statements of all the candidates positions on the various issues. Mandate debates in which all the candidates get a chance to state their positions on the issues.

  * Require run-off elections if no candidate polls more than 50 percent of vote. This will facilitate the growth of alternative parties.

  * Either eliminate the anti democratic U.S. Senate or require it to do away with the filibuster rule which allows 41 Senators from the smallest states, representing only 11 percent of the U.S. population to halt all legislation with the exception of certain budget votes.

  * Return U.S. income tax rate on the most wealthy Americans to 90 percent for their excess income over $1 million. For 45 years (1935-1980) the top tax rate was between 70-94 percent. It is now 35 percent and the ever widening gap between rich and poor has made the U.S. the equivalent of a banana republic.

  * Institute a financial transaction tax on all financial transactions such as stock sales.

  * Cancel all free trade agreements and renegotiate into fair trade agreements in which tariffs are reinstituted to even the playing field when dealing with nations with substandard wages and environmental regulations. This is in line with the policy instituted by the first Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, done at the behest of George Washington and carried forward for almost two centuries. That is until the neo liberal globalization crowd made their first appearance after WWII and in the last three decades especially have managed to lower tariffs to an average of 2 percent. The rationale behind tariffs is to level the playing field for our workers. If country A has the same wage rate and basic environmental safeguards as we do a free trade agreement with them is in order. But if country B has a wage rate much lower than ours and pays little attention to environmental safeguards, then we should have tariffs reflecting these differences. Free trade is fine with equal trading partners, but not with countries paying slave wages and polluting the environment like China.

to be continued

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By entropy2, October 26, 2010 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

@Chilli—You’re absolutely right about the futility in relying on the state to set things right against the elite…they are one and the same!

I’ve been a fan of all-left.net for a while. Also, a great fan of Kevin Carson, c4ss.com, etc. So I guess I’m closer to being a Mutualist as anything else. Anyway, if you haven’t checked out “Homebrew Industrial Revolution” or “The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand” yet, they’re well worth a read.

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By sharonsj, October 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Clinton did not specifically repeal Glass-Steagall; he signed a massive budget which included that piece of crap—but it was Republican Phil Gramm who stuck the repeal into the budget.

Liberalism is not dead.  But our voices have been drowned out by the massive conservative corporate media.  For decades, all you got on radio were conservative talk show hosts.  I can drive for five hours across three states and NEVER hear a liberal.  Nor does corporate TV give us any real news—they’ve turned the news into entertainment instead.  Where was Hedges when Air America was struggling to stay alive?

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By Inherit The Wind, October 26, 2010 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette:

Please feel free to scroll past anything I post.  In fact, stop right now and scroll by the rest of this…..


I am getting tired of your childish pretense that I don’t make cogent arguments, or that my response to YOUR ad hominem attack is “an ad hominem attack!” 

What is this, a playground “It’s not fair! Mean old ITW won’t let me cheat unless he can too! Not fair!”

Right.  I’ve been here long enough and seen enough posters like you come and go to know that, to you, a “cogent argument” can only be one that agrees with whatever unsupported POV you have taken.

So, scroll on by my posts and every other post that takes you out of your little comfort zone.  Find your own version of people who say “yup, Lafayette, you are right, that’s pretty smart” whether you are making sense or nonsense.

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By Lafayette, October 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

ITW: But like all the other self-styled “progressives” here at TD, you say I’m not being truthful when, in fact, I’m simply saying what you don’t like to hear.

Oh, bollocks to that notion. You’re pissing into the wind. PITW.

I am challenging you to make a cogent argument without recourse to ad hominems. Which you are quite incapable of doing.

But, I have a solution for those who comment like you. It is called SOB—Scroll On By.

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By bakari45, October 26, 2010 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

Chris, I just finished reading your latest book, and while I
agree with much of what it says, my biggest question is, Why
do you never talk about real solutions?

You go on and on about the problem, just as Chomsky does,
but you rarely write anything about solutions. You’re not a
member of a political organization or party that I know of, and
thus you can’t lead people to fight for real change.

You should know by now that you cannot have real justice
under the political economic system that has historically
existed in this country. The liberal class cannot bring about
that revolution. But again, what kind of change (dare I say,
revolution) do you seek, Chris?

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By msMonk, October 26, 2010 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As far as rallying around an important issue, what ever happened to Democracy?  KISS- Keep It Simple S________fill in the blankety blank bank.
One man/one vote.  What do we get if we throw out electoral votes and corporate donors?  Probably
some public servants who would owe us a favor for voting them in, serving our needs, furthering our dreams for our children—we need to fight for public funding for all elections.

All that money being spent on the campaigns of our
‘bought and paid for’ elected officials could be better spent..,you think?              Did we ever study that in our schooldays?  A government of the people, by the people and for the people—not some organization with their own greedy agenda, not some profit driven corporation that pays less taxes than we do, or even a non-profit group masking itself as liberty central.  Can you recollect your first lesson about democracy or have these words become hollow and mishapen?  It’s staring us in the face…how long has Common Cause advocated public funding of all elections?  We are real people out here, unlike corporations.  If we all have a vote let’s get more bang for the bucks as they say..the only thang we have to fear is________?  lol.
No special interests, no corporate donors -or go to the slammer.

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By Dagdasondrp, October 26, 2010 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am sure I will get flamed for this one, but I do
have to chime in.
There is quite a bit being said about the root of the
problem (oh yes it is a problem not just an issue)
and quite a bit of nothing said about rectifying the
wrong that has been perpetrated upon the American
public by the political and academic elite and their
plutocrat handlers.
The free market is no longer free to just anyone, you
have to pay off regulators and compete unfairly with
mega-corporations that write the rules for their own
benefit.
Media is littered with placating rhetoric and mind-
numbing nonsense. Those that do speak out of turn
with truth are shut down or vilified, while others
are allowed to spew their hate filled and irrelevant
prose that only manages to fire up an ignorant and
philosophically stunted audience.
Most politicians are tools of the power elite and are
only adept at placating their constituency through
minor giveaways or cult like extravagances that
enchant and distract.
Judiciaries are the idiot savants of academia that
are enamored with their own narrowly tooled intellect
and lack true insight when it comes to their
position; most are about procedure rather than
substance of the law.
Religious leaders have become pseudo self-help
advocates, captivated by their own self-importance
and demagoguery. They are less about tuning in to the
spiritual universe and more about stunting the
philosophical growth of their followers so they can
lead them like sheep; signs of services replaced by
political rhetoric or church edict (vote prolife,
etc).
So how do we correct this? Well it can only be
corrected if the people of this planet care to have
it corrected and so far every few people have acted
like they care. As the 18th century populations did
in an effort to bring social and economic justice to
their day, so should we. We have no problem fighting
a war for the cause of the plutocrats in the 21st
century; we then should have no issue using the same
methodology to tear down the walls of this economic
Jericho. WAR (aka We Are Right) is a perfectly
acceptable means to an end when it comes to resolving
oppressive socio-economic injustice. Especially since
peaceful, proactive pronouncements of our displeasure
have been met with forceful repression by the police
that are bought and paid for by corporations.

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By S. Barksdale, October 26, 2010 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Whoa…., Chris!  You’ve left me lost for but a few words.

No, we’re not dead by a long shot.  Indeed, we are ailing but it isn’t a sickness we can’t recover from.  There is an undercurrant alive in America that is readying itself to rise like a tidal wave of the likes never before seen.  It includes neither conservative or liberal, neither republican or democrat.

I appreciate your view, as always, but you’ve cut the average man short in this one.

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By levinpsy, October 26, 2010 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges simply speaks the truth.  He is like the character in Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’ who came back from the front to warn his hometown about the concentration camps.  The townspeople ignored him of course, because the truth was too terrible to contemplate.

As to what we can do, how about just joining Mr. Hedges in speaking and knowing the truth?  Only the truth, no matter how terrible, can ultimately set us free.  The truth is dark, yes, but it is best to know it.  It allows us to see what’s happening.  It keeps us sane.  It makes us adults, free of illusions.  And it allows us to preserve our integrity, dignity, and courage in the face of tyranny, oppression, and a rapidly deteriorating country. 

There is no real change without first knowing and confronting the extent and depth of a problem.  That’s all Chris is doing, telling us that things are even worse than we think, and why.  He is a radical in the best sense, if radical means to get to the root of a problem.  IMHO, He is the very best thinker and writer we’ve got. 

Daniel Levin, Ph.D.

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By Chilli, October 26, 2010 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real liberals are out there, they pretty much have been for at least a
century. The challenge has been that for many decades the Left has smeared
them as being part of the Right, and the Right has smeared them as being the
Wacko Fringe, and as a result no one truly considers the power of their ideas to
fight this leviathan—which is exactly the corporate elite’s aim. The real
liberals are, of course, the anarcho-libertarians. Whining that a real alternative
doesn’t exist, when it is as close as mises.com, thedailybell.com ,
hanshoppe.com, lewrockwell.com and wendymcelroy.com is somewhat
disingenuous, or at least misinformed. A good directory page can be food at
all-left.net .

Please don’t cry to me about how real liberalism requires a worker’s state,
because a worker’s state requires guns and government, and that inherently
establishes a power class of those who have the guns and the power, and those
who don’t. Only the anarcho-libertarians offer a society in which all individuals
are free to achieve their best and in which no governments OR corporations can
set themselves up as the favored few. Only the libertarians offer a world in
which everyone is their own state and those who fail to take the responsibility
for being so responsibly pay the consequences (and yes, that includes taking
care of those who can’t take care for themselves—that is simply human
nature, and if you don’t get that, then you are probably one of those who
wouldn’t act responsibly).

So, until real progressives, as opposed the faux-Obama progressives, are
willing to get onboard with the real anarchy-libertarians, as opposed to the
faux-corporatist (Orange Line) libertarians, and form a substantial educational
and political movement to oppose the growth of the unitary corporate-state,
what is the point of all this blame placing? If you want change, check your
premises, set aside your assumptions, and find an anarcho-libertarian to start
building a coalition with. To borrow a very appropriate phrase, you’ve nothing
to lose but your chains.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 26, 2010 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

Lafayette:

I never claimed to quoting.  I claim to be distilling Hedges turgid and overblown dramatic rhetoric down to its essentials, which is nothing more than mid-20th Century Marxism.  And I claim this is the same tired emotional vomitus he spews out about once a month or so.

I really don’t give a shit if you like or don’t like what I post.  But like all the other self-styled “progressives” here at TD, you say I’m not being truthful when, in fact, I’m simply saying what you don’t like to hear.  Funny thing, the right-wing nuts say the same thing. Very few on either side can tolerate rational analysis and iconoclastic observances on their sacred cows.

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By Lafayette, October 26, 2010 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

jt: It was Bill Clinton, a Demhead, who “neutered market oversight by Federal agencies that provoked the sub-prime mess and, thus, the Great Recession of 2009”

When you rebut, substantiate your claim.

All Clinton did was to repeal the Glass-Steagal Act. He did not neuter the oversight agencies, which is what Lead-head did. Greenspan had told Lead-head a bit of idiocy that fitted perfectly into his own notion of government—that markets are self-regulating.

Where was the application of TILA (The Truth In Lending Act, passed in 1968) during Lead-head’s tenure? If applied, there would have been far fewer Toxic Waste loans.

And I wont blame it all on Lead-head. Once upon a time, on Wall Street, there was a standard called the Prudent Man Rule, a notion that goes back to the 1830s—whereby (and I quote from that linked text):

The prudent man rule directs trustees “to observe how men of prudence, discretion and intelligence manage their own affairs, not in regard to speculation, but in regard to the permanent disposition of their funds, considering the probable income, as well as the probable safety of the capital to be invested.

Whatever happened to that rule? Washed down the tubes by a country crazed by quite another ethic, the one that goes “Get Rich Quick And Don’t Give A Damn How”.

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By smendler, October 26, 2010 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

I don’t see how we can get political improvement in this country as long as the existing “duopoly” setup remains in place.  But, of course, we can’t expect the present holders of power to make the changes necessary to install a true multiparty democracy, either.

Unless - maybe - the people can use the power of the ballot box to make it clear that they are sick of BOTH parties, and disapprove of BOTH their records.

The way to do that is to VOTE OTHER.

If we can bring about election results where the Dems and Reps TOGETHER gain less than 50% of the vote,  that would be a clear and unambiguous signal to the Powers That Be - you know, the folks who use BOTH parties to further their interests - that we are fed up with the ENTIRE RULING CLASS.

See http://www.voteother.us for more.

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By doughboy, October 26, 2010 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges makes a strong argument about the demise of liberals.  However,
he fails to take into account that the conservatives were not sitting quietly on
the side line while the liberals self-destructed.  The 1960’s may appear to have
been the high point of liberals, but a closer look would see that the
conservatives were really on the rise.

Nixon may have been a crook, but he knew politics.  His appeal to patriotism
won the blue collar vote in 1972—think of the Teamsters.  His political acumen
is also in his moving the Republican Party from the north and east to the south
and west.  He laid the ground work for the “populist” movement of using social
issues to exploit white fears.

A cursory glance at the presidential elections would see how effectively Nixon
did his work.  When the public felt revulsion over Nixon’s actions, they turned
to a Georgia governor—Carter—for relief.  Ignoring the results of Nixon
policies, the public turned quickly on Carter for both foreign and domestic
troubles.  The oil crisis at home hurt families as well as businesses.  Carter
challenged the public to alter their wasteful consumption, and turn to
alternative energy sources—this in the late 1970s.  The backing of the Shah of
Iran and failure to end the Arab-Israeli War in the aftermath of the 1973 War
handed Carter time bombs that exploded with the fall of the shah and the
hostage crisis.  Decrying Carter’s “failures,” Reagan rode into town with
promises of no sacrifices and expansion of American power.

That Reagan pursued policies that were anti-union and liberal busting were
ignored as he talked tough and abetted the rise of corporate power in American
politics.  His name is still used as a mantra for Republicans.

After Reagan we got Bush 1.  Only when the economic situation could no longer
be ignored need the country turn to the governor from Arkansas—Clinton. 
Clinton was not your Roosevelt Democrat.  He pointed the way for Democrats to
win by being friendly to corporate America.  The traditional base of the
Democrats eroded.  Clinton did not stem the tide of America economic malaise,
but gave free reign to the corporations.  Those old time Democrats that were
still around were relegated to the “fringe” as their liberal ideas were
emphasized as out of the “norm.”

Liberals cannot compete with conservatives as they play the social cards—
sexual orientation, abortion, illegal immigration, Islamophobia, etc.  The
conservatives use the flag and the cross quite effectively.  Inconvenient facts
are ignored by the followers of the conservatives.  It is really remarkable that
Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid even got passed the first time.  When they
are gone, the conservatives will distract the masses with other “pressing
issues.”

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By Lafayette, October 26, 2010 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

OLD GLORY

TRULY SAD QUOTE: “We ‘ve got to look beyond now, and seek a Democrat to run as a Democrat.”

This demonstrates an ignorance of the facts. Even FDR could not have done better.

First change the Congressional make-up, particularly in the Senate where it is acutely Conservative, to be more progressive—then things will change.

One man or one woman cannot do everything and all at once. Even Hillary failed with her Clinton-care.

We are asking for too much from just one President in a country that has a tri-partite governmental makeup (meaning Legislative, Executive and Judical). That balance in power, which we now think is a great weakness, has saved our sorry asses more than once.

POST SCRIPTUM: It’s party time!

The work of progressive evolution, only the electorate can bring it about at the ballot box—and our country is far, far, far away from the sort of collective unity that could pull it off.

A political cacophony has settled itself upon the land of Old Glory—and it is not about to go away any time soon.

So, how about starting a political movement at the grassroots, because that is what it will take to effect any serious changes in our political landscape. The task of political education and radicalization is long and difficult.

A Social Democrat Party, anyone?

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By jonathonk99, October 26, 2010 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Sorry to say it, Lafayette, but it is both the Replicants and the Deadheads to blame
for the economic downturn.

It was Bill Clinton, a Demhead, who “neutered market oversight by Federal
agencies that provoked the sub-prime mess and, thus, the Great Recession of
2009” in 1999 when he revoked the financial regulations in GS.  Nine years later,
George Bush, the Replicant, further accelerated the nanny-state with the TARP
thingy.

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By jonathonk99, October 26, 2010 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

We don’t have a choice!  We don’t have a choice of who we vote for.  The liberal
and conservative media decide that by focusing the lens on two parties, two
parties only,  and a handful of corporate candidates.  The majority of people
probably don’t know that folks like Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul even
exist.  Of course there are other options, but one is told to vote “smart” because a
vote for “Raplh Nader” would equal a vote for Sarah Palin and that would be a
nightmare!

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By Lafayette, October 26, 2010 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

BLINDERS

tw: If we continue to ‘support’ Obama, we are simply deepening the wound and extending the pain.

What pathetic idiocy. Because backing the Replicants would be better? Don’t you understand where we are coming from, or have you put on blinders that go back only two years?

Have you no sense of our historical legacy since 2000?

Rather than a litany of what Obama supposedly did not do, please list why we should abandom him and go—heart and soul—over to the Replicants. How would we be better off? What will they do that BO & Co could not do to improve our lot? (Give us a Public Option Health Care System? ;^)

Iow: Put up some highly cogent reasons for changing horses in mid-stream ... or shut up.

POST SCRIPTUM: Answer these questions

Who got us into this mess in the first place by (1) a useless and one trillion dollar war over in the dessert to find the WMD-mirage and (2) neutered market oversight by Federal agencies that provoked the sub-prime mess and, thus, the Great Recession of 2009? The Replicant Lead-head, that’s who.

Who was the last PotUS to balance the national budget—a Replicant or a Dem? (It was Clinton.)

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By David J. Cyr, October 26, 2010 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

TRULY SAD QUOTE: “We ‘ve got to look beyond now, and seek a Democrat to run as a Democrat.”

Democrats shield the corporate state from all people wanting democracy to develop. Democrats protect the corporate state from anyone and everyone having any good intentions. That’s what Democrats have always been. It’s the job that Democrats were created for.

Democrats are what disingenuous Democrats deviously do. People who voted for Obama got done what he promised them they’d get if they faith-based voted for him.

People who keep voting for Democrats are either consummately evil, or dumber than cows.

Always vote, but never ever vote for any of the corporate (R) & (D) party’s “electable” candidates.

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By the worm, October 26, 2010 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

As long as we’re ‘being clear’, let’s also acknowledge that Obama never led this
country. He simply sat there and let the special interests have what they
wanted.

Obama accelerated the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the
wealthy.

Obama followed one ‘dumb war’ with another dumb war.

Obama did not support meaningful reforms in the financial sector.

Obama signaled early in his Presidency that he was going to support Republican
policies, not liberal policies.

Obama signaled early that he was not going to bring “Change You Can Believe
In”, but continue Bush era policies.

The most telling of his early decisions was to keep Bush advisors in the two key
areas where people most wanted change - the Economy and the “War on
Terror”.

If we’re ‘clear and honest’ , as Fifty Gigs advises us to be, we have to admit we
elected a Republican who ran as Democrat.

In 2012, we need a Democrat to run as the Democratic nominee.

If we continue to ‘support’ Obama, we are simply deepening the wound and
extending the pain.

Obama has:

1. Gutted real financial reform (no Glass-Steagle, no ‘too big too fail)
2. Rejected the only health care option that would simultaneously extend
coverage and cut costs (single payer)
3. Supported a stingy stimulus (one-third tax breaks)
4. Doubled-down & accelerated the Bush bailouts
5. Escalated a fruitless war in Afghanistan
6. Not helped people in bankruptcy & needing mortgage remediation
7. Not passed a jobs bill & had trouble extending unemployment compensation
8. Ignored previous Republican profligacy, crimes, misdemeanors
9. Used “Heck of a Job, Timmy” to promote low taxes for the wealthy on capital
gains, dividends and ‘carried interest’
10. Sandbagged his “Budget Commission” with Max Baucus clones to accelerate
the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy.

The damage this President has done is extensive, and it will take a long time for
the Democrats (among whom I number myself) to come back from it. But we
must start now to find candidates to run in the Democratic primary and defeat
the Republican we now have as President.

When you look at the list above, it is staggering what has happened to the
middle class under this administration - just in the last sixteen months.
Look at the White House exodus; it confirms the architects of the last sixteen
months are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship. They know they’ve gotten for
their constituencies (Health insurers, the financial industry) what they can get.
And - significantly- these constituencies know they have to move to the
Republicans now to get even more: e.g. to avoid investigations into their
actions leading up to the bailout and to get a green light to define more
profitable terms for health insurers - how to bilk the government that is going
to be paying them premiums from taxpayer funds.

It is a disgrace what this President has either done or let happen.

For the sake of the small and declining middle class, we must begin to elect
Democrats who believe in traditional Democratic principles. We were sold a
pig-in-a-poke and given the bum’s rush by Obama. We ‘ve got to look beyond
now, and seek a Democrat to run as a Democrat.

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By Lafayette, October 26, 2010 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

This belief that people have some ideological purity tied to a morality is fantasy. Most people are pragmatists, they go with the flow.

People, ogna, have moral principals inculcated by society, from which they derive ideals, which guide our behaviour. When that behaviour is wrong, then we have corrupted our moral principles and we should accept the consequences of our acts.

The notion as cited above is believable only if you want to believe it. Pragmatists go with the flow because “everybody is doing it” – which is no justification whatsoever for doing so.

It indicates clearly, however, that the individual does not have the moral courage to say “No, I won’t go!”. Which does not mean that they have no moral principles, or ideals, which are based upon our morality. It just means that they do not follow or apply them.

The citation above remains hogwash.

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By J Splarf, October 26, 2010 at 8:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One could just as easily see all of this as a collapse of modern “conservatism,” as well.  If/when Tea Baggers try to impose their distorted realities on a more liberal (and largely apathetic) public, they and their christian-right lunacy could very well be so badly discredited, (FINALLY!), that the Republican party will never recover, as they should have after Bush.  Tea Party might be a desperate last gasp.  Hedges is right on the “liberal class” being next to worthless, though.  They sold out to Wall St. decades ago.  Academia has its collective head so far up its own rear-end, it is astounding.  They claim to have concern for working class, minorities, etc., but write and communicate in ways that the average person cannot even understand.  There is no excuse for this.

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By FiftyGigs, October 26, 2010 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

“... nothing would have been more satisfying than an FDR-style progressive blitz…”

Let’s be clear and honest about this. The facts are that we have a President who moved a progressive agenda. We have a House that moved a progressive agenda.

We only have 59 Senators.

What stopped the “blitz” was a minority Republican Party, marching in goose step, committed to destructivism, confident in its control of the machinery of communication, and therefore its ability to “sell” destructivism.

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By omygodnotagain, October 26, 2010 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Lafayette
This belief that people have some ideological purity tied to a morality is fantasy. Most people are pragmatists, they go with the flow.

The logic from the above statement leads one to think that moral people are, therefore, not pragmatists—which is nonsense. You need a course in moral philosophy.  You are using words idly and thus incorrectly
——————————————————————————-
No Lafayette you have drawn a conclusion I did not state, nor is it evident from what I wrote. It’s your logic not the words used “idly and incorrectly”.
I suggest you reflect more on the meaning of what people write rather than imputing meanings.

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By Mark Ulyseas, October 26, 2010 at 6:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hi Chris,
I understand where you are coming from. I have just re read one of your books - War is a force that gives us meaning. I intend to read more. Please keep writing about what is happening in the USA today. It would be in order to say that the USA has been founded on violence and occupation - the native American tribes corralled in reservations like animals…A nation that is founded on violence and capitalism will reflect this in politics and other spheres of society. I love the USA for it has given the world many great writers, poets, paints and philosophers. But it is time now to reevaluate what it truly stands for. What was disappointing was President Obama accepting the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing. What was disheartening was his acceptance speech where he justified the war as a means to an end - Peace (the increase in troops in Afghanistan). Keep writing my friend for you represent the harsh truth of USA. A country that has given so much to the world, including Martin Luther King. My best wishes and love to the people of USA who are struggling to keep their jobs, live peacefully and follow their faith. God Bless America.

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By RayLan, October 26, 2010 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

The party and the Empire is over:

“The writer Paul Craig Roverts warns: “When hubris sent America in pursuit of overseas empire, the venture coincided with the offshoring of American manufacturing, industrial, and professional service jobs and the corresponding erosion of the government’s tax base, with the advent of massive budget and trade deficits, with the erosion of the fiat paper currency’s value, and with America’s dependence on foreign creditors and puppet rulers. The Roman Empire lasted for centuries. The American one collapsed overnight. Rome’s corruption became the strength of her enemies, and the Western Empire was overrun. America’s collapse occurred when government ceased to represent the people and became the instrument of a private oligarchy. Decisions were made in behalf of short-term profits for the few at the expense of unmanageable liabilities for the many.”
http://www.soxfirst.com/50226711/the_decline_and_fall_of_the_american_empire.php

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By Lafayette, October 26, 2010 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

AD HOMINEM

ITW: ... how Liberalism is no damn different than Conservatism, and how the only thing that will work is a Marxist revolution

Can you quote anybody without distorting what they say?

Methinks not, you do it so often. You are incapable of pursuing a debate based upon its intrinsic merits and demerits and you continually posit your remarks as ad hominems.

Hint: Rebut the arguments and not the person making them. Otherwise your comments are just sophistry.

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By Lafayette, October 26, 2010 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

WORD CONFUSION

This belief that people have some ideological purity tied to a morality is fantasy. Most people are pragmatists, they go with the flow.

The logic from the above statement leads one to think that moral people are, therefore, not pragmatists—which is nonsense. You need a course in moral philosophy.  You are using words idly and thus incorrectly.

*Pragmatism = an approach that evaluates theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application
*Morality = principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.

There is nothing in the meanings of the above words that even remotely indicates that pragmatists cannot be moral persons as well. The choice between good and bad has always been difficult – but we have forgot (in these past two generations) that what is Good for us, as individuals, may be Bad for the collectivity (society as a whole).

In fact, what is good for all of us is usually best for each of us. But individuals will believe the opposite – that what is best for them is all that matters and to hell with the rest; who are, anyway, only road-kill on the Highway of Life.

This latter notion is clearly immoral. As regards the dignity of man, no one deserves to be disregarded in a wholly unfair manner. Which does not mean, I insist, that the economy should treat us all equally.

That is where “fairness” comes into the debate.  Fairness is a just sharing of the economic wealth that an economy generates. It is not an equal sharing, but an undistorted distribution of the rewards. At present, our economy distributes the rewards with an extremely high distortion towards the top; which is unfair. (Read further on that fact here.)

How does a nation correct income unfairness? By taxation, which is why our debate (before the mid-terms) comes down to a simple question: Do we want for ourselves and our children a fair or an unfair society?

The present debate is being confused by outrageous verbiage—like “Socialism is the Devil”, and other such inanities that equate high taxes with socialism.

One can equate high taxation (and redistribution of income by means of government spending) with Social Democracy, yes. But, for purposes of propaganda, the Right wants you to believe it is “unfair handout to those who are lazy”. Which is both a factoid and pure, unadulterated nonsense.

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By Alphysicist, October 26, 2010 at 4:02 am Link to this comment

Dear vicente carranza and Devamitta,

  Thank you for your kind words regarding my posting.

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By omygodnotagain, October 26, 2010 at 3:44 am Link to this comment

If the US were a Soviet State Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton would have occupied the same roles they occupied in our present system. This belief that people have some ideological purity tied to a morality is fantasy. Most people are pragmatists, they go with the flow.

In the movie Dr Zhivago, Rod Steiger plays a character Komarovsky. Early in the movie as a wealthy well connected capitalist he rapes Julie Christie (Lara, a daughter of a seamstress and she becomes his mistress). Many years later after the revolution he shows up at Lara’s place to warn her that her association with Dr Zhivago (Omar Sharif) who has deserted the Red Army puts her and her child in danger. Steiger has connections and works with the Bolsheviks.
That is just the point, A Liberal Professor in a University may listen to Jazz, obscure artists from Brazil, be a vegetarian practise yoga and travel to conferences overseas, express the most open minded and politically correct ideas. But, if those ideas threatened his lifestyle and position, he would abandon them. What matters to him/her is his life which is a Professor with perks at a University.

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By omygodnotagain, October 26, 2010 at 2:42 am Link to this comment

I think its unfair to just blame Liberals, in the Soviet Union the communist apparatchiks had their dacha at the Black Sea, all the time spouting Marx and power of the people. Chris its not Liberals, Tea Partiers, Conservatives, Corporatists, the fact is it is people. Most people want the Middle Class dream, University Professors want it, so do single Mom’s, so do Bible Belt Christians. The ends justify the means, and all the political debate is about how the means get people to the ends. That is true of Marxists and Socialists too, its probably true of Noam Chomsky just as much as Mitch McConnell.

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By MrWebster, October 26, 2010 at 2:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Provocative and insightful thoughts. Yes, what looks like liberal elites have failed.  But I am not overly clear what it means to be a liberal.  Was Clinton a liberal because that is what he has been labeled by the media, right wing, and even many Democrats.  But terms aside, I think it is more the case that the Left has been beaten by a number of forces, or more simply the Left is badly losing the class war.  Some factors:

Cultural hegemony. The right wing ruling classes have gripped control of the foundational ideas that we base our economic and political actions on.  For example, Americans see nothing wrong horrid income disparities.  Why?  For decades schools, colleges, magazines, economic reporters, textbooks, etc have driven home that idea that only a certain small class of people (CEOs, etc.) are responsible for setting and creating the conditions of productivity.  And as a result, they should then get all the generated wealth.  Or heck, when Clinton lackies re-echoed the themes Clinton himself took from Reagan about welfare and race.

Democratic party elites have lost connection to the middle and working classes and the poor.  Poor Edwards was mocked off the national political stage for advocating for the poor.  I remember one big name on dailykos wrote about the need for an immediate imposition of a punative tax on gas in effort to raise gas as high as possible.  This would of course devastate the working classes in the suburbs and rural areas.  Not one creative idea to avoid this while reducing gas consumption.  Nope no clue.  Carbon reduction totally on the back of the working classes.

The marginalization of Nader and third party movements.  The left basically stayed with a corrupt Democratic Party whose elites either marginalized it or if in a good mood, threw it a few bones while they under the guise of liberalism supported corporate control.  Otherwise, a strong Green Party type of organization may have emerged.  Caught a bit of Tom Hartmann who apparently is no longer advocating reforming the Dems, but rather joining local Green Party movements while supporting Dems nationally.

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By Sackett, October 26, 2010 at 2:07 am Link to this comment

The influence of Hannah Arendt on Hedges’ analysis is very apparent here.  Arendt tracked the rise of antisemitism and the fall of bourgeoisie in “Origins of Totalitarianism”.  The essential point is the hostility provoked by a group or class that appears to be both privileged and useless.  Hedges has brought Arendt’s insights to bear on the contemporary political scene in a stunning and insightful manner.

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By glider, October 26, 2010 at 1:46 am Link to this comment

Adding to my point Hedges argument is too intellectual and inaccessible to make an impact on the public at large (but very worthwhile as a critic of the hypocrites in office).  It really is a more fundamental matter of adopting a real democracy by getting money out of politics and media, and moving to multi-party based runoff elections.  The base of the argument, that the U.S. Constitution is a failed document, is supported by the fact the central tenant of the Corporate Astroturf Tea Party is a “return” to U.S. Constitution basics that is their enabler.  Basically they are focused on protecting the rules of the game that keep us in their status quo.  Instead, our founding fathers would be saying “Oh shit, we really f***ed that up, we need to fix this…”.  How absolutely shocking that the Constitution might need to adapt to 200+ years of change, isn’t it?

In the mean time I vote Green.

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By Jon Olsen, October 26, 2010 at 1:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While fully concurring with Hedges’ analysis, I must note that his praise of Chomsky omits the fact that the latter refuses to acknowledge the now obvious fact that the three (not two) buildings that came down on 9/11 HAD to be done by internal explosions. We know this now because over 1200 architects and engineers have studied that matter and have risked their careers by asserting that the laws of physics would have to be invalid for the government’s own conspiracy theory about airplane fuel to have been true.
  The liberal as well as the conservative media,as well as most of those considered “left” of liberal have refused to be honest about the EVIDENCE. If anyone reading this has doubts, read any of the profoundly logical and evidence-based works of David Ray Griffin. Then, to understand WHY all presidents since Kennedy have utterly succumbed to the corporate calling, read the new book by James W Douglass called “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters.”

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By David J. Cyr, October 26, 2010 at 12:44 am Link to this comment

Rehabilitating this recidivist criminal society cannot possibly begin until its citizens first stop being free-will complicit, as they are whenever they choose to be willing accomplices-before-the-fact, in all the crimes of this criminal society. Fully culpable accomplices is what people become whenever they vote for any of the corporate party’s “electable” candidates. Those who vote for (R)s or (D)s add leverage to the regularly provided popular mandates for a continuum of gangster government crimes to be committed for and by those corporate party voters.

If people refuse to pay their taxes, or open a vein in a recruitment center they will be fined, prosecuted and perhaps imprisoned. Too few might do that. But it does not take such personal courage, nor any reckless disregard for self, to simply exercise one’s free-will when voting, by affirmatively voting in a manner that does not condone the (R) & (D) corporate government’s crimes… by always voting, but never ever voting for any (R) nor (D) on any of the many ballot lines they might occupy.

No amount of million whatever polite police moderated marches could ever possibly compete with the effectiveness of an election result wherein something like a third or more of those who voted refused to vote for any Republicans or Democrats. A “progressive” liberal’s vigil praying, street marching, getting arrested, or even a fiery self-immolation can’t counter balance the highly regressive act of their criminally voting for Democrats. That’s a crime of the highest degree against both humanity and Nature.

Note that, in U.S. elections, approximately half of those who are eligible to vote do not. The always duplicitous liberals long waged a most viciously successful voter suppression campaign. It was those “Don’t waste your vote!” liberals (by say, non-corporate actually voting against war, and for Single-Payer and a responsible climate change response) who have convinced people wanting elections to serve the good purpose they could have to instead stay home on Election Day, because liberals having their deepest desires conjoined with conservatives (as routinely proven by election results) ensure that elections won’t serve any good purpose.

Fascist nations that allow elections are fascist because their electorates are fascist.

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By glider, October 26, 2010 at 12:42 am Link to this comment

While agreeing with Hedges main points, I view the phenomena through a different lens.  The problem is less a “liberal class” failure and more the logical result of a poorly written U.S. Constitution ultimately incapable of protecting its citizens from the power of Corporate forces (the new super-elite).  It is our system that is rotten and not the “liberal class”.  Any dissenting political class subject to a fake democracy in which less evil 2-party outcomes and available public information is sold to the highest bidder can not survive.  The only solution lies in amendments to the constitution to fix our failed core system.  Anything less and our toast just gets darker.

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