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Where Liberals Go to Feel Good

Posted on Jan 24, 2011
AP / Jae C. Hong

By Chris Hedges

Barack Obama is another stock character in the cyclical political theater embraced by the liberal class. Act I is the burst of enthusiasm for a Democratic candidate who, through clever branding and public relations, appears finally to stand up for the interests of citizens rather than corporations. Act II is the flurry of euphoria and excitement. Act III begins with befuddled confusion and gnawing disappointment, humiliating appeals to the elected official to correct “mistakes,” and pleading with the officeholder to return to his or her true self. Act IV is the thunder and lightning scene. Liberals strut across the stage in faux moral outrage, delivering empty threats of vengeance. And then there is Act V. This act is the most pathetic. It is as much farce as tragedy. Liberals—frightened back into submission by the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party or the call to be practical—begin the drama all over again. 

We are now in Act IV, the one where the liberal class postures like the cowardly policemen in “The Pirates of Penzance.” Liberals promise battle. They talk of glory and honor. They vow not to abandon their core liberal values. They rouse themselves, like the terrified policemen who have no intention of fighting the pirates, with the bugle call of “Tarantara!” This scene is the most painful to watch. It is a window into how hollow, vacuous and powerless liberals and liberal institutions including labor, the liberal church, the press, the arts, universities and the Democratic Party have become. They fight for nothing. They stand for nothing. And at a moment when we desperately need citizens and institutions willing to stand up against corporate forces for the core liberal values, values that make a democracy possible, we get the ridiculous chatter and noise of the liberal class.

The moral outrage of the liberal class, a specialty of MSNBC, groups such as Progressives for Obama and, is built around the absurd language of personal narrative—as if Barack Obama ever wanted to or could defy the interests of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase or General Electric. The liberal class refuses to directly confront the dead hand of corporate power that is rapidly transforming America into a brutal feudal state. To name this power, to admit that it has a death grip on our political process, our systems of information, our artistic and religious expression, our education, and has successfully emasculated popular movements, including labor, is to admit that the only weapons we have left are acts of civil disobedience. And civil disobedience is difficult, uncomfortable and lonely. It requires us to step outside the formal systems of power and trust in acts that are marginal, often unrecognized and have no hope of immediate success.

The liberal class’ solution to the bleak political landscape is the conference. This, along with letters and cries of outrage circulated on the Internet, is its preferred form of expression. Conferences, whether organized by Left Forum, Rabbi Michael Lerner’s Tikkun or figures such as Ted Glick—who is touting a plan to lure progressives, including members of the Democratic Party, into something he calls a “third force”—are where liberals go to feel good about themselves again. These conferences are not fundamentally about change. They are designed to elevate self-appointed liberal apologists who seek to become advisers and courtiers within the Democratic Party. The conferences produce resolutions no one reads. They build networks no one uses. But with each conference liberals get to do what they do best—applaud their own moral probity. They make passionate appeals to work within systems, such as electoral politics, that have been gamed by the corporate state. And the result is to spur well-meaning people toward useless and ultimately self-defeating activity.

“What we need is an alliance which consciously incorporates elected Democrats as well as elected Greens and independents, as well as groups, or individual leaders and members of groups, like Progressive Democrats of America and the Green Party,” Glick proposes. “More than that, this alliance eventually needs to support and work to elect candidates running both as Democrats and progressive independents, and maybe even an occasional Republican.”


Square, Site wide
The Tikkun Conference held in Washington last June was another pathetic display of liberal apologists begging Obama to be Obama. The organizers called on those participating to “Support Obama to BE the Obama We Voted For—Not the Inside-the-Beltway Pragmatist/Realist whose compromises have led to a decrease in his popularity and opened the door for a revival of the just-recently-discredited Right wing.”

Good luck.

The organizers of the Left Forum conference scheduled for this March at Pace University in New York City also communicate in the amorphous, high-blown moral rhetoric that is unmoored from the actual and real. The upcoming Left Forum conference, which has the vacuous title “Towards a Politics of Solidarity,” promises to “focus on the age-old theme of solidarity: the moral act of imagination underpinning working-class victories everywhere. It will undertake to examine the new forms of far-reaching solidarity that are both necessary and possible in an increasingly global world.” The organizers posit that “the potential for transformative struggles in the 21st century depends on new chains of solidarity—between workers in the rich world and workers in the global south, indigenous peasants and more affluent consumers, students and pensioners, villagers in the Niger Delta and environmental campaigners in the Gulf of Mexico, marchers and rioters in Greece and Spain, and unionists in the United States and China.” The conference “will contribute to the intellectual underpinnings of new and tighter forms of world-wide solidarity upon which all successful emancipatory struggles of the future will depend.”

Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, By Chris Hedges, Truthdig Columnist and Winner of the Pulitzer Prize -- Get Your Autographed Copy Today Also Available! Truthdig Exclusive DVD of Chris Hedges' Wages of Rebellion Lecture The World As It Is: 
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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, March 20, 2011 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

Having a real institutionalized neutral 3rd Political
Party equal with the Republican Party and the
Democratic Party with its own representatives
would be a benefit to the populace, because the
majority populace could use a real 3rd political party
to their benefit.

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By john polifronio, March 20, 2011 at 11:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I cannot emphasize enough the need for a third party that exists for the sole purpose of clarifying an issue of major importance, namely, where we all stand politically.  At present, merely calling yourself a democrat means close to nothing.  We ought to be able to make the choice of Left, or,  Independent/moderate/undecided, etc., or, Right.  In this manner, the customary deceits and frauds perpetrated by poseurs among democrats would be close to impossible.  If you’re a leftist, you would have a party, your party, since people generally have less trouble distinguishing leftists from all other political affiiations, with considerably less ambiguity if democrats were henceforth the party of the Left, rather than the mishmash it currently has come, and is rapidly growing, to be.  As things are, candidates for office, campaign without political commitment, a situation that suits perfectly those whose intent is to deceive the voter.  Let the Left come forward, claiming the democratic party as its own, and let the “moderates,” the “indecisive,” the non-commital, etc., have a party appropriately named, and let the Right claim the republicans for their own.  I have no agenda here, except to clarify obfuscations and manipulations perpetrated on the people, by political opportunists, mostly by so-called democrats.  Let us take a stand and fight for it, or, withdraw from that fight, without nonsense.

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By ardee, March 20, 2011 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

john polifronio, March 5 at 8:25 am,

“Give me a third party, not one that competes with the democrats for the right to call itself liberal, but one that exists for the purpose of, more or less, isolating itself from the Democrats and the Rrepublicans so that these latter two parties can call themselves the Left and the Right.  This third party would constitute the Middle, the Undecided, i.e. those that cannot commit to either
Right or Left.

I find no way to progress in this call for all centrists to come together in a proposed party that pulls or pushes in no direction. Further when we consider that both our major political parties currently stand right of center and pull basically in the same direction with only nuanced differences between them I think we need a party that clearly espouses the progressive agenda, which is ignored and neglected currently.

To those who criticize Chris Hedges.

At least do him, and yourselves, the courtesy of reading his biography. Far from being a denizen of a “cubicle”, a rather spurious and shallow criticism,Hedges has a history of both activism, recently being arrested in a demonstration ( I assume that he wasn’t doing such in his “cubicle”) and covering wars first hand.

From Wiki, not for the shallow who criticize when they themselves might consider getting their fat behinds off the couch themselves, but to present a more balanced view of this author:

Chris Hedges is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than fifty countries, and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News, and The New York Times, where he was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years (1990–2005).

In 2002, Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He also received in 2002 the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University and Princeton University. He is currently the F. Ross Johnson-Connaught Distinguished Visitor in American Studies, Centre for the Study of the United States at The University of Toronto. He writes a weekly column on Mondays for Truthdig and is married to the Canadian actress Eunice Wong.

Gee, all that from the safety of his cubicle….How like Fox News some here behave.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, March 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

john polifronio, March 5 at 8:25 am,

“Give me a third party, not one that competes with the democrats
for the right to call itself liberal, but one that exists for the purpose
of, more or less, isolating itself from the democrats and the
republicans so that these latter two parties can call themselves
the Left and the Right.  This third party would constitute the
Middle, the Undecided, i.e. those that cannot commit to either
Right or Left.  Suddenly, there’s considerably less deceit or
confusion.  I don’t know if such a party is possible, but I do know
that the outcome would be devastating to the status quo,
which is probably why such a party is out of the question.” —john
polifronio, March 5 at 8:25 am

Such a party is possible when enough people demand it be so and
march and rally for it like Martin Luther Kind, Jr. did for equality for
the black population or women did for the right to vote.  It needs
to happen and it will happen when the people in mass relentlessly
demand it be so.

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By Saccade, March 6, 2011 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

Here’s an interview with Left Forum’s conference coordinator, Seth Adler, who
responds to some of Chris’ criticisms:

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By john polifronio, March 5, 2011 at 3:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Give me a third party, not one that competes with the democrats for the right to call itself liberal, but one that exists for the purpose of, more or less, isolating itself from the democrats and the republicans so that these latter two parties can call themselves the Left and the Right.  This third party would constitute the Middle, the Undecided, i.e. those that cannot commit to either Right or Left.  Suddenly, there’s considerably less deceit or confusion.  I don’t know if such a party is possible, but I do know that the outcome would be devastating to the status quo, which is probably why such a party is out of the question.

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By ThomasG, February 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

John Best, February 21 at 1:46 pm,

John Best said:  “I’ll take issue with the 70%,” ———- ““Majority Common Population”  is so ignorant as not to be able to effectively organize into much more than an unruly mob.” —John Best, February 21 at 1:46 pm

Isn’t it interesting that the Nobles and the Nearly Nobles, the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class, both emerged from the mean, vile, and vulgar Common Population, the American Populace, and that in your perception of political representation that the Nobles and Nearly Nobles are only noble and nearly noble subsequent to emergence and separation from the American Populace; what do you suppose would be the reason why the Nobles and Nearly Nobles would be less noble or more noble prior to separation from the American Populace?

With regard to the makeup of the American Populace, do you suppose that the American Populace would be either more, or less, stratified or homogeneous than the Nobles or the Nearly Nobles, the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class, and if so, why?

With regard to the relative ratios that have constituted the makeup of society for the past five hundred years and more, do you contend for greater or lesser ratios in the subdivisions of society than the 1/10th, 2/10ths, and 7/10ths ratios that I have indicated for the Nobles, Nearly Nobles, and Populace?

So far as I can determine, the societal ratios of 1/10th, 2/10ths,  and 7/10ths for the Nobles, Nearly Nobles, and Populace have not substantially changed for hundreds of years and the ratios in the United States at the present time in the 21st Century are in line with the 1/10th, 2/10ths, and 7/10ths ratios that have existed for centuries prior to the 21st Century through the world in other societies.

If you have data to the contrary that will refute the 1/10th, 2/10ths, and 7/10ths ratios that I have indicated for the Nobles, Nearly Nobles, and Populace, share it with everyone here on Truthdig and we will have a look at the validity of your assertions.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, February 21, 2011 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

ThomasG, I think you have misconceptoins about who the
“70% Majority Common Population” is.  I’ll take issue with the 70%, and I’d also say that once you eliminate the “..............neoliberals, the New Class, the DLC, the PPI, the 3rd Way, New Democrats, Middle Class and Moderates of the Democratic Party;”  the (<70%) “Majority Common Population”  is so ignorant as not to be able to effectively organize into much more than an unruly mob.  Ironically, Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin will be their leaders. 

We can thank all those who contributed to our century old “culture of ignorance”, to keep the working class in their place.

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By ThomasG, February 20, 2011 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment

When members of the political Left get serious about rebuilding the Political Left that isn’t being represented politically as a class and culture, they will be about building a new political party for that class and culture— there won’t be any rubbish about where Liberals go to feel good, Liberals will be working together to build an EQUAL political party for the Left’s Common Populace Class and Culture that is representative of the 70% Majority Common Population as a class and culture, which is the True Majority, the true Left, which will NOT INCLUDE neoliberals, the New Class, the DLC, the PPI, the 3rd Way, New Democrats, Middle Class and Moderates of the Democratic Party; as these folks are conservatives on the liberal side of the spectrum that divided out of the common population, and are not liberals in any way, but are members of the 20% NEW CLASS of conservatives, the Corporate Middle Class, a NEW CLASS and CULTURE that chose to help the Corporate Elite Capitalists rule the 70% Majority Common Populace;  therefore the NEW Middle CLASS does not belong in the LEFT’s new Political Party that must be formed to represent the 70% Majority Common Population, the American Common Populace, that has not had representation since the New Middle Class was formed in the 1980’s.

In order to have a New Left, there has to be a NEW Political Party and the True Majority needs to be about working on getting a NEW political party EQUAL with the other TWO political parties off the ground that will be representative of all members of the 70% Majority Common Population, which will require marches like Martin Luther King, Jr. did and like has happened in Egypt and is happening in Wisconsin, but for representation in law and order for the 70% Majority Common Population as a class and culture, which would encompass the Wisconsin representation and much more for the benefit of the 70% Majority Common Population, the American Common Populace.

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By Shenonymous, February 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

Moaning once again, Hedges continues his usual generalization of
including the “all” when only some are involved when he inductively
concludes, rhetorically, “Conferences, whether organized by Left
Forum, Rabbi Michael Lerner’s Tikkun or figures such as Ted Glick—
who is touting a plan to lure progressives, including members of the
Democratic Party, into something he calls a “third force”—are where
liberals go to feel good about themselves again.”

We seek company in our struggles because there is magic in numbers. 
This liberal, me, I always feel good about myself.  And so do all the
liberals I know.  If you don’t feel good about yourself, then take stock
and see where it is you are deficient. 

While it might be a fact that [Glick] has “a plan to lure progressives,
including members of the Democratic Party, into something he calls a
“third force,..” that does not mean liberals of all stars, stripes, and
colors flock to rightfully desperate conferences in unlimited numbers. 
And it is an intentional deception to portray liberals of all stars, stripes,
and colors as inclusive congregations.  Sans the conferences, and at the
least, and their accused indolence or lethargy in instigating action, they
do give voice to the concerns that in fact concern throngs of Americans. 
To not do so, is to capitulate to the self-indulged nazi Republicans who
believed that George W. Bush was the returned rapturous savior of the
US… and rest of the world. Right-wingnuts usually are identified when
using the word “liberal” in a negative tone in every spoken or written
sentence very much like some of the commenters on this forum. 

Glick is right, in spite of the possible ineffectuality of his and Lerner’s
conferences, that alliances among various political leaders is needed
except it is not simply the “elected” officials but ordinary Democrats as
well as Greens and independents, to work together to satisfy their
particular interests but as an aggregate to work towards building the
kind of country that serves the people and not the corporate and elite
powerful politicians who make the rules and run the government.

Agreed, most of the public verbiage is high-blown moral rhetoric,
but there has to be discussion of what is moral before moral action
can be actuated since it is the emotion fired up through words,
rhetorical or not, that fires up action. That is why rhetoric has become
an art for the last three thousand years!  It is learning to decipher sheer
propaganda from sincerity and justice that is the imperative.  Denigrate
the conferences if you and Hedges must, but to squelch all discussion
about the same topics is doing Americans more disservice than
anything Republicans can do.

So in the end, has Hedges’ article here instigated any action in any of
the readers and commenters on the forum?  I highly doubt it for their
rhetoric is just as ineffective as is his.

As deficient as one of the current tribes of liberals seems to be, even
without their voice, and there are other voices if the blinding gloss of
cranks like Hedges doesn’t get in the way, without those voices then
the only voices left are those like the Greens and hard progressives that
have not captured the imagination of enough of the voters yet, and the
Republicans whose voices are screeching all over the media that gets to
those same voters who then inherit their votes. But Beware: voices like
the violently distressed PRGP and drewzufer are a most dangerous
element in this American society, dangerous for liberals, progressives
and everyone alike.

It is true unions of today are impotent and fell into corruption.  But all
groups do at some point or other.  That is not to excuse them but to
situate them in society and habits of mankind.  It appears they are
redeveloping and this time around taking steps to prevent such abuse
of their power. Humans can hope… and act.

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By mswede, January 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

The analysis is spot on. The concluding action is not. As detached as ‘liberals’ are from the real struggles of real suffering human beings in this country, so is much of the civil disobedience crowd. Once I moved out of the DC area after 25 years doing human rights and peace and justice work, I realized how detached all of that is from the real folks back here in the Midwest, the ones who lost their jobs at Harley Davidson or Kohler.

I got tired of all of it. It fails to change anything because it is not embedded in the very challenging multiple cultures of working folks, church-goers, sincerely motivated patriots, war vets, poor people, victims of violence of all kinds, unemployed, and more. The liberal think tanks and conferences and much of the direct action stuff is in a world that most of these folks do not connect with at all and don’t find representing them.

Direct action is too easy. Things will not change until there is the hard work of human community organizing - think the coal-mining communities in Appalachia. It will not change until the elite educated liberals begin to surrender their comfortable lives for the sake of those whose every day is becoming a struggle for survival, those who cannot pay to go to conferences at nice hotels.

It will not change until direct action does not spring from a progressive’s conscience but from the real movements of people struggling for their own rights, as in the civil rights struggle, or the Central America solidarity movement, the best expression of which sprung from the organized Central American peoples themselves.

Think sacrifice. Think long unsatisfying work of organizing. Think long slow cultural change. Think solidarity as actually living like and with the folks with whom one claims to be in solidarity.

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By smchris, January 30, 2011 at 9:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The only gatherings worth attending from now on are acts that organize civil disobedience, which is why I will be at Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., at noon March 19 to protest”

Hee, hee, hee.  Man, Hedges had me going there until he got to this.  BIG man—Ooooh, he’s going to MARCH in a PARK on a SATURDAY.  To, you know, “protest.”  How, like, really disobedientey.  Yeah, that’ll stick it to the man.

Sounds like he’s still living in the 60s.  Power doesn’t care what sort of exercise you partake in during your weekend time off.  If anything, a little walking will just make you more fit for work Monday morning.  It takes serious strike action and blockades for power to sit up and take notice.  You want to know the sad truth?  Even that hasn’t been working out very well in France lately.  Maybe that’s why countries like Tunisia and Egypt are in chaos.  Chaos is the final breakdown when all efforts for a sane and sustainable society are blocked.

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By MarthaA, January 29, 2011 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

hgovernick, January 29 at 5:32 pm,

The biggie is for the American Populace to realize they are the American Common Populace, a 70% majority class and cultural population of the United States, though diverse, still in the same class and culture and work together toward a desired end of representation of the class and culture of the American Populace—American Populace loners, not representing the class and culture as a whole, will be criminalized

Thanks to “Zeitgeist” and all similar documentary type movies like The Bush-Nazi Connection and Capitalism: A Love Story by Michael Moore, more and more people are becoming aware and Conservative Right-Wing Republican EXTREMIST sophistry and propaganda is hitting a brick wall instead of leading them against their best interest, and as more and more of the propagandized become aware, there will be a remarkable cut in the Jared Loughner type loner killers, with the exception of the <a href=“”>MK Ultra type, as an aware American Populace will know that individuals can’t do anything political as individuals, but have to use the power of their entire class and culture, the American Common Populace’s Class and Culture, NOT the American Middle Class and Culture that separated in the 1980’s from the American Common Populace’s Class and Culture when the <a href=“”>Democratic Leadership Council, DLC, was originated as their representation in cooperation with the, the American Aristocracy.

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By hgovernick, January 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

If chaining oneself to the fence in front of the White House is what the author considers civil disobedience, the author is not much different from the symbolic grunting of those liberal organizations he criticizes in his article.

What is gained by this action?  A few - very few - moments of press coverage offered to a nation - liberal and conservatives alike - who at present is much too comfortable with its enslavement to the material rewards of the so-called American Dream to risk real civil disobedience.

Until we reach a point where, for example, 10 million people can launch a consumer strike against Wal-Mart for a year, nothing will change (a REAL strike includes making it extremely difficult for non-striking consumers to shop at any Wal-Mart).  This kind of action is REAL civil disobedience, and affect corporations and their 3rd world slave labor forces where they most feel it.

You are on the right track, Mr. Hedges, but your call for civil disobedience seems to me as weak and ineffective as any described in your article.  We have too many in this country who are too comfortable to take us seriously.

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By MarthaA, January 28, 2011 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment

Matt, January 28 at 2:34 am,

Thank you Matt for the Zeitgeist Movie.  which should be shown in its entirety ever year to children in school from 4th grade through college to help gain understanding, because it is the best educational movie I have seen relative to the Private Ponzi Scheme Capitalist Economics in the United States, money, markets, science, human nature and human life on planet earth.

Even though it starts off really slow in a seemingly never ending white fog and I at first I gave up on it, thinking something was wrong with it, but I’m glad I tried again and waited long enough for it to get started, because this movie is a treasure for the American Populace.   

The ‘Zeitgeist’ movie is truth and truth is an absolute necessity if our nation as a whole is to survive.  The Conservative Right-Wing’s deceitful blinders that are being put on the American Populace is destructive without constructive purpose, which is evil.  Thanks again.  Here again is the link:

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By TAO Walker, January 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

For all its otherwise quite accurate descriptions of the condition our CONdition is in, the fatal flaw in the “Zeitgeist” movie linked below by “Matt” shows-up starkly right at its end.  It is revealed in the cliched and essentially moronic homo-centric claim bannered across the screen that:  “THIS IS OUR WORLD!”

The Natural Fact is:  We are HERS!



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By Matt, January 27, 2011 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you want change, real change, watch the new Zeitgeist film on youtube. It goes beyond the left/right paradigm and gives us a solution for the crises the world is facing.

I would love to hear Chris Hedges opinion on it. He’s always complaining about how bad things are. Well, why not try this on for size and see how well it fits?

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By Malihe, January 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with you 100%

But groups like ANSWER support regimes like Iranian government. They supported Saddam Hussein. So besides organizing annual protests, what else do they do? And why should they be a supported? Liberalism is a disease but so is a left whose tactics is at best misguided.  I do not believe in pure politics but we should behave in an ethical and principled way and they are not!

So I guess, that makes it 99.9999999%

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By TAO Walker, January 26, 2011 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

The “truth-to-power” cliche has already showed-up a couple times among the comments following Robert Scheer’s demolition of last night’s big talk.  So “gerard” should not feel so all alone….at-least over that. 

If “gerard” is in an apologetic mood, though, maybe some is in-order for her repeated mis-characterizations of what this Old Savage offers as a specific remedy for the dire condition her and her fella ‘n’ gal captives (of the “global” maximum security regime) CONdition is in.  When she says (implying it comes from this Person’s actual words here) that the Medicine, the Living Virtue of Organic Functional Integrity, could only be effective for “limited numbers of people,” who “live in and close to nature,” that is entirely her own myopic formulation.  This Old Man has said several times, in so many words, that any number of Natural Persons ORGANized in Living Human Communities, functioning as vital components in Earth’s immune system, have as good of chances as there are these Days to get through this together.

On the other hand, random collections of “individuals,” (how “civilization” has “shaped” the “‘civilized’ people”) have no chance at all.  So…....



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By philipnich, January 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

Dear Chris: You can’t justly have it both ways.  You write, at least recently (though hardly ever when you were being paid by the NYT), that the power elite have been crushing the Left, including Liberals, since the 20s. Then you complain, sometimes ad nauseam, that the Left is ineffectual. Well surprise, surprise. We started as a suspect nation, girdered by extermination of the natives and slavery. And much of our so-called greatness resulted from these sins, as well as being in the right place while Europe and the colonial world were ravaged by war. Our elites never learned to share, largely because they never had to share.  Why share when you can just steal more?  Or when you can keep the plebes docile with just a few real crumbs laden with a bunch of mostly phoney religion and pseudo-science (i.e., eugenics, self-help nonsense, etc.) that keeps them fighting among themselves? So now the crumbs are harder to come by, and the elite still don’t want to share. In fact, they prefer to double-down: first paying themselves bonuses based on phoney profits, and then bonuses from taxpayer subsidies to cover their real losses, while leaving us the debt and foreclosed homes. Like many, I wish that there were more true activism coming from the Left, and sooner than later. But it’s not the true Liberals who are the problem, and certainly not those who attend the Left Forum. Do you mean to say that Cornel West or Barbara Ehrenreich are the problem? I think not. You’re right about Obama—though he attempted to project otherwise, he is ultimately a song and dance man for the elite. Query whether we should have known better given that his primary economic advisor from day one was Austan Goolsbee, another University of Chicago economist, the same school that gave us Leo Strauss and Milton Friedman. But Bill Clinton never even proclaimed himself a liberal, certainly not during the 92-campaign. Liberal doesn’t mean just individual rights, though ending “DADT” was important. It means challenging power, mostly capital and the military. And right now, the only institutions even remotely capable of challenging such power, the media and our government are, not surprisingly, mostly owned by capital. But this dilemma has been long in coming and, at least indirectly, supported by significant portions of the so-called people whom you claim to be championing as against the Liberals.  In fact, tens of millions of Americans continue to support, sometimes violently, policies that increase their own oppression—witness the recent election results. In closing, Liberals have become too complacent and ultimately even complicit. But they didn’t create our historical problems, even if many now are more part of the problem than the solution. P.s. Check out some of Gabriel Kolko’s writings on U.S. history, particularly as it pertains to divisions among our working classes, or former U.S. Senator Dick Clark’s bio of Henry Wallace. Our elite have almost always been evil. And we’ve not only tolerated them, we’ve permitted ourselves to benefit from their evil. Perhaps it’s time to pay the piper.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

By David J. Cyr, January 26 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment
“QUOTE (of an avatar… being a painting in many shades of the (D)evious Right’s blue):
“I wonder why Hedges writes that Liberals are ‘Our worst traitors.’””

Not being a Hindu, and not being much of a movie goer, your constant references to avatars escape me. I’ve done a little research on this matter, but the term is still a little vague to me. As far as I can tell the term refers to: The incarnation of a Hindu God, a movie, a body controlled by an external mind, a phantasmagorical character or characters from a movie, a consulting firm, or either one of two European death metal bands. Some clarification would be nice; I hate to be out of the loop.

Regarding your contention that I am a shade[s] of blue from the right; there are regular posters here at truthdig who would find your colored shading of me laughable, and would argue that I am a very dark Left shade of blue. I guess it all depends on one’s perspective.

I went to your link and read a few paragraphs; it only made me more curious. Are you a Nader shade of green or more of a German Beider Manhoff Gang shade of green?

As you may recall, I’m also curious about the picture that accompanies your posts. I am now starting to believe that picture itself may be an avatar.

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By Kevin Quinn, January 26, 2011 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

FEMA Camps For the Homeless!

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By ThomasG, January 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

Where do Liberals who represent the American Populace come from and where do they go, not just to feel good about themselves, but with regard to objective existence in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order for the American Populace as a class and culture in the United States?

I know where the Liberals come from and “go to” that represent the American Middle Class as a singularity, the Liberals come from the American Middle Class as a class and cultural singularity and go to the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate and U.S. Government to make and enforce class and cultural law and order for themselves, the American Middle Class, and the American Aristocracy, and, therefore, the answer to the question is:  American Middle Class Liberals go to the U.S. House of Representatives,  the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. Government to feel good, because there they can make and enforce legislated law and order by way of the U.S. Government to represent the class and cultural interests of American Middle Class Liberals and that is a good reason for American Middle Class Liberals to feel good.

But, what about American Populace Liberals, where do the American Populace Liberals go to feel good, because American Populace Liberals are excluded from representation by both a political party and in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order in the U.S. House of Representatives, in the U.S. Senate and in the U.S. Government?

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By Inherit The Wind, January 26, 2011 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

I have a similar problem with Hedges. He lives in his ivory-tower type world and, like most radicals advocating revolution, I wonder if he ever ACTUALLY was a worker, working with his hands, or even in a cubicle.

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By gerard, January 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

One and all, forgive me a thousand times for ever using that tired cliche “speak truth to power” again.  I’ve been sick of it for years, but it just keeps popping out because I’m not sufficiently on guard and get carried away.  More like “go around, through, over,  under, into power”—and that kind of “power” limited to mean “governmental, institutionalized” power and habituated definitions of “power” as money, etc. 
  What we need is to discover nonviolent methods to work with moral power, the power of truth and vision, knowledge and compassion.
  This latter is what is missing, in my opinion. It is what we are all looking for, trying to claim, reclaim—whatever.  It’s the kind of integrity that blooms in the natural world naturally. (Other things bloom in the natural world as well, but I exclude them for the sake of brevity.)
  My hope, thought, belief is that that kind of “integrity” has not been entirely “bred out of” human beings.  And that we can use it to both reclaim old knowledge and discover new. (I just think that, for practical reasons, this discovery and action based on it should occur non-violently.)
  While I completely agree with TaoWalker that “civilization” as we “civilized” people have shaped it, is moving toward disaster, I do not concede that the only solution is a return to small communities living in and close to Nature. That’s one way and can work for a limited number of people.
(I’m not big on one answer to multi-complex problems, generally speaking.)
  I hope this helps to clarify things, not wind them up tighter.

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By David J. Cyr, January 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an avatar… being a painting in many shades of the (D)evious Right’s blue):

“I wonder why Hedges writes that Liberals are ‘Our worst traitors.’”

Because Hedges is placing blame where blame is due.

The conservative Republicans, who say they want the wars that they vote for, are not traitors to those who oppose war. The liberal Democrats, who keep saying they oppose war, but always vote for more war every chance they get, are the people who betray the good, to service Evil.

It is the liberals, who waged their successful “wasted vote” voter suppression campaign to convince people that only votes for more war were ever worth casting, who have caused elections to no longer possibly serve any good purpose.

The blood of the alternatives required will be on the hands of the liberals who have made massively violent means for change the only possibly effective available option left.

The treachery of liberals is nothing new. Treachery is what they were designed to do.

The Violence of “Nonviolence” :

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By Yuvid 1, January 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

The only media that will report on these marches will be Glen Beck and his ilk who will somehow make them look like traitors.

There are many who worship these pundits and take their word as Gospel.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, January 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps Hedges ‘fixates’ on Liberals because he sees them as salvageable?  Why waste time on those who are so corrupted by the cancer of the “security through tribing with self-ish sadists illusion”, that they are beyond any hope of rational behavior?

In any event, he points out the major problems along the way as he censures those who facilitate the demented.  See through the lines.  Write On Chris.

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By Sean01, January 26, 2011 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

I like reading Chris Hedges.  And you can feel his frustration.  It’s a frustration a lot of us share.

But he’s misdirecting his frustration. 

The real failure is our ‘representative’ democracy: no matter who we elect they fall victim to the corporate control that is the very real power in Washington.  There is no escaping it.  The change that needs to take place - and ultimately it’s the only real solution in bypassing corporate control - is direct democracy.  Over at they talk about that a lot. There is no other way to circumvent the kind of money that truly controls this country…

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By johncp, January 26, 2011 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Comparing Obama to FDR, is as preposterous, as comical, as utterly absurd, , as is, comparing Biden to FDR.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 26, 2011 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

Hedges is, and has been an enigma to me. I wonder about him. I sometimes wonder if Hedges comes from a conservative background, but was traumatized into radicalism by some sort of stark epiphany, while retaining his animosity towards Liberals. I wonder if Hedges believes Liberals are charlatans, or if he believes Liberals have failed in their social responsibility because of lack of commitment. I wonder why Hedges writes that Liberals are “Our worst traitors.” I wonder why Hedges doesn’t blame Jews, Blacks, Hispanics or any of the other groups usually blamed for society’s ills.

I respect Hedges for his apparent concern for humanity, and for much of his social analysis, but I must reluctantly say that I believe that Hedges demonstrates a lack of integrity. Surely Hedges must know that he is exaggerating and being disingenuous as he writes and edits his diatribes. Surely Hedges must realize that he sometimes distorts reality in order to make his anti-Liberal dialectic more persuasive.

Not only do I wonder about Hedges, I am also concerned about his mental health. Hedges seems to suffer from an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. His tautological condemnations of the Liberal Class seem to consume him. Nearly every article he writes has to do with his attribution of guilt directed at the Liberal Class. No one can accuse Hedges of a lack of commitment.

Back to wondering, I wonder if Hedges is suffering from a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that he picked up somehow when he was a Foreign Correspondent in the Balkans or elsewhere.

Like I said, he’s an enigma to me. Aside from his obvious lack of integrity, I can only wonder.

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By rtb61, January 26, 2011 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

Where the liberals go to feel good, Australia.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, January 26, 2011 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

Sure is a lot of meaningless chatter, bloviating and talk. Deep and meaningful
discussions on just how many progrssive angels dance on the head of a libertarian


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By TAO Walker, January 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment

The “power” that “gerard” would have “truth” spoken-to used to be called, by earlier generations, “the money power.”  It already has its own “truth,” however, and is stone-deaf to anything else.

The Natural Truth ABOUT “power” is that it’s a crippling delusion, rendering those possessed (not ‘of,’ but) BY it utterly incapable of engaging the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth to mutually beneficial (i.e.; for ALL-concerned) effect.  “Power” is the driving CONceit at the psycho-/sociopathic core of the insanely idiotic ‘dominance’ paradigm.  Its near-irresistibly seductive attraction, to “individual”-ized Humans, is in its false promise of overcoming the inherently fatal disadvantages in that (not merely un-, but entirely) anti-Natural CONdition by the forceful (usually violent) subjugation of everything NOT the too-precious, faux-sacred “self.”

A consistently exhibited misunderstanding among many participating here, including even the (5th?) columnists, is a woefully insufficient grasp of both the real essential nature and the truly “global” magnitude of the disease ‘agent’ generating all the symptomatic debilities so reflexively but erroneously blamed on “abuses-of-‘power’.”  What we face here is an actual Biological ‘deficit’ in our Living Arrangement….a disease CONdition enabled by the massive organic dysfunction of most of Humanity.  All the hectoring lectures “to power” in the virtual world-o’-hurt will do absolutely nothing to address the now terminal-stage process of the sickness.

Only the Living Virtue of Organic Functional Integrity can have any therapeutic efficacy here.  It is found only in the Organic Form of Natural Persons ORGANized as genuine Living Human Communities….vital components in Her natural immune system.

Our curently captive Sisters and Brothers can talk ‘til they’re blue-in-the-face, but can only talk their “self” always deeper into the death-trap….and never out of it.


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By bonobo65, January 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment

Hedges is both truthful and prophetic.  I’m glad to
hear his voice and other voices like his.  I hope there
will be someone who will step from the shadows and take
up the progressive cause in candidacy for the big office. I can only hope….that’s all
there seems to be.

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By unknowntous, January 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In a corporatocracy it is sheer folly to undertake some sort of rebellion against the Corporate State. The majority WORK for corporations and so Hedges advice to us is to bite the hand that feeds us? It won’t do the majority any good to be totally Ass Out as we rebel against the corporate state. Aside from that, you will NEVER get any substantial amount of numbers to pursue such efforts; too many people bought into the status quo and are too comfy with the “it hasn’t happened to me” mentality, and approach life as it exists today with Schadenfreude. Rebirth must come from nothingness, America must collapse before it can be reborn. Until then, “stock up” and pay attention to as much as you can—things will be worse before they are better.

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By gerard, January 25, 2011 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

zagostino:  Regarding the last paragraphs of your previoius pose:  “Religion is dead. Long live Religion. It used to,
and still does in some areas of the world, provide
an outlet for people to plug into,a weltanschauung
that gave one a context and a purpose.

Where is that going to come from now? Not from a
call to take a day off from work and handcuff
myself to the White House fence, laudable though
that may be. Need to do more stategizing….?

1. A new process is at work in the world—the development of an internationally shared “weltanschauung” that will give context and purpose to human activities.
2. It comes from the necessity for its existence, old ways and ideas having failed. Handcuffing oneself to the White House fence is only one of many manifestations of the search for methods that are non-violent—not only to counteract the violence of wars, but to speak truth to power in a way that makes it very difficult for power to strike back with violence.  Not impossible, I said, but very difficult.  Governmental power does not look good when it shoots its own non-violent people—if it comes to that. Hence non-violence tends to rob power of its power in a sort of moral jiu-jitsu.  Those who do not see that, do not understand non-violence
  But nonviolence is a learned skill in which both tactics and strategy are important.  Organisation comes only after thorough understanding and confidence.
  WikiLeaks is itself a kind of venture in nonviolent resistence, using open information as a “weapon” to overcome secrecy.

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By zagostino, January 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

The first principle of political science is that in
any society that has reached any degree of
civilization is composed of those who govern and
those governed; those who rule and those ruled. The
dynamic is such that the larger the political
community, the smaller will the proportion of the
governing minority to the governed majority, and
the more difficult will it be for the majority to
organize for reaction against the minority. Whether
the form of government is a monarchy, aristocracy,
democracy or a blend of the three, does not alter
this unalterable dynamic.

Another principle of political science has to do
with the formation, maintenance, and control of
political parties and the creation of political
leaders. It is only within an organized party that
individual force can coalesce to impart lasting
change to public policy. And, it is within the
structure of a political party that individual
leaders emerge.

A third principle is the varying dynamic interplay
between the financial/economic privileged class and
the political parties. It is not necessary for this
class to have their own party. It is more effective
to create a balance between contending parties by
using their resources to support one side, against
the other or both simultaneously to create an
acceptable outcome on public policies that impact
their particular interest.

A fourth principle is the formation, maintenance
and general acceptance of a legal/moral basis that
legitimizes the existing order.

Obviously these principles or historically
observable tendencies of human societies if you
prefer, are not exhaustive and co-exist in a
dynamic interplay. But they are as real as the
observable effects of gravity.

Who can weave these into a coherent narrative that
will be intuitively understood by the vast majority
of people with minimal education and in the throes
of just trying to keep their home from being
foreclosed? Who can bring these people together
with all those who are on the edge of slipping into
poverty and despair?

I have great admiration and respect for C.Hedges
and try and read all he writes. However, I find it
odd that he doesn’t focus more on the dynamics of
what used to be a specialty of sociologist when
sociology meant something. And that is Human
Collective Behavior: Gustave LeBon, Freud, Herbert
Marcuse, Robert Park, Herbert Blumer….etc.

C. Hedges should translate what Sheldon Wolin, whom
he often refers to, into a meaningful “praxis.”
Talking about civil disobedience when I have to go
to work and support my family tomorrow won’t cut
it. There is too much at risk. You have to give me
something that I am willing to bet on. And, that
means something that has a possibility of
succeeding. Otherwise, I am just throwing my body
against a machine that will chew me up and spit me
out without any rational expectation that it was
for some “greater good”.

Religion is dead. Long live Religion. It used to,
and still does in some areas of the world, provide
an outlet for people to plug into,a weltanschauung
that gave one a context and a purpose.

Where is that going to come from now? Not from a
call to take a day off from work and handcuff
myself to the White House fence, laudable though
that may be. Need to do more stategizing….

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By thebeerdoctor, January 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

Yes the term liberal is an exercise of dead language. The only thing that really matters is whether or not you accept the dogma of the ownership class and give your personal allegiance to that idea of what life is suppose to be about. President Obama embraces that so-called order. Did he not reveal this when he said he did not begrudge the Wall Street bonuses? “That’s how our system works,” the President said. Never mind that that there are millions upon millions of citizens who have no stake in that glorious system. The ownership elite decided a long time ago that their interests are the only ones that matter. President Obama, despite some claiming him to be a bright bulb, is in awe of that wealth. Just look at the people he seeks counsel from. When it comes to the wealthy elite, the President is more than happy to oblige them. Does it ever occur to the “liberal” pundits that Obama, the man and the brand, does not give a shit about them? The war mongering executive branch continues unabated, while demanding that the have-not citizenry shoulder the burden of the ownership class excesses. “This is our Sputnik moment,” Obama will claim, while boasting of how Wall Street has come roaring back.
If this was not so tragic, it would be truly laughable.

Meanwhile ordinary people, not caught up in all the political bullshit tell me that they are not angry at President Obama, because they know he is just the latest example of political four-flushers, saying one thing and doing quite the opposite. People who only know the pressure of simply trying to muddle through somehow, are well aware that POTUS and the rest of the government ilk, have an agenda that has nothing to do with them.

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By REDHORSE, January 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

It’s good to see GERARD with her back up!!

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By gmknobl, January 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Speak for your self in blaming liberals for being stupid or at least ignorant.  I found that I did indeed have power to get one compromising corporate Democrat kicked out of office and I told Rick Boucher as much.  Of course, he didn’t listen to me and continued to vote corporate so I voted for a local real liberal Democrat instead and now we have a neocon representing my region in the House. 

The power that I do have, to write on blogs, to email, to call, to vote, to send actual letters and to occasionally attend rallies, I use.

I refuse to give up all hope.  Eventually, if one stands up of good moral quality, a real liberal will find themselves in high office again.  Then wherever they are located, good things will happen.

But do not blame me or all liberals for having the wool pulled over our eyes.  We have hope, for certain, without which none can live.  We have desire AND numbers.  What we have been systematically removed from as a general rule, along with the majority of the populace, is money and power.  But that does not mean we will eventually prevail, even if briefly, again.  And when that happens, good things will happen for America too.

Many of us knew Obama was a Centrist from day one, just as Bill Clinton was.  And many of us knew Jimmy Carter, while socially liberal on many issues was an economic conservative.  So, you see, we’re not blind.  We see.  It is people who chatter that a centrist is a liberal that we know are easily lead around by the nose.  Those people are not politically educated nor astute.  But even they are allowed one mess up.  Twice is ridiculous.

So, if you are a liberal and have the ability and inclination to run for political office, do so.  Speak out boldly, speak liberally, and speak consistently.  Act intelligently and with wisdom.  We Will Follow.

But honestly, with the media controlled like automatons, do you expect someone like Kucinich to be called anything but a kook regardless of how many times they call a spade a spade, predict exactly what happens or call out an official for perverting democracy?  No.  You see, we are in it deep right now.  The loss of fairness doctrine combined with corruption of the FCC and those with similar oversight has gotten us in a big hole that will be very hard to dig ourselves out of. 

What it takes it the breakup of corporate media.  What it takes is the purchasing of local media outlets by liberals en-mass.  By current rules, it will take a very rich corporation run by liberals to take purchase radio, tv, print and internet media and consistently spread truth.  That is hard and somewhat contrary to what a good liberal Christian view of what America should be is about.  Yes, I say Christian for Christ was a liberal and would hate what has been done by “conservative” religion in our country.  True Christian vision has everyone treated well and the least helped before the highest regardless of anything else, whether it be religion, sex, sexual orientation, politics, or any other discriminatory factor you can think of.

Well, that’s a ramble but my main point stands.  Don’t cast stones at those who are liberal when real liberals not only are aware of what’s happened in the past and in the present but actually have done something about it, at least locally.  I don’t like the neocon we have in my area now but I figure if someone corrupt or selfish like a neocon gets into office it may in fact have a better affect by showing people just how horrible these jerks are.  It may take a complete tanking of the political system before the mass of people revolt for real and insist on truly moral people with liberal values again.

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By REDHORSE, January 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

If Tin Whistles are made out of tin—what are Fog Horns made out of?  Moral bankruptcy, no matter what “ism” or “political/social label” you wish to apply is still Moral Bankruptcy. Avaricious greed is exactly that—avaricious greed. If you are confronted by a narcissistic megalomaniacal psychopath convinced he is Napolean, you are as insane as he, if you ignore the reality and pretend he isn’t. Likewise, pretending that your life hasn’t fallen under the control of criminal moral bankrupts is insane. Turds are not Gold Bullion and Washington D.C. does not represent Constitutional Democracy. The good news is that it only holds the power over you you allow it to possess. A dead horse, no matter what the pedigree, is no longer a race horse. Walk away.

      See how you feel looking into your Presidents face tonight. I don’t know if I can even look at him. It is a Theatre of Evil, tickets bought and paid for by the ruined lives and dreams of millions of Americans.

      Actions speak louder than words.

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By mark day, January 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My theory is that since Chris Hedges is the son of a
Protestant minister, he is imbued with a deep streak
of Calvinism.  The old version of that is all things
religious are good—all things not religious,
including sex, fun, governments etc. are wordly and
evil, because essentially the world is an evil place. 
The modern version, for left leaning Calvinists, is
that the evil world can never be changed by moderate
liberal forces, e.g.,, but only by the
direct action of old testament like prophets, who
engage in direct action, even if they are a greying
bunch and in small numbers. the important thing to
remember is that they are right (righteous) and
everyone else, including the liberals are wrong. and
the conservates—well, they are going to hell. If you
understand this, then you really get it.  Okay?

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By Louis Proyect, January 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

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By kass, January 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To battle corporations you must monetize your dissent. The only person who
seems to know how to get wall street and the oligarchy where it hurts is Max
Keiser. One example….  you can hurt JP Morgan simply by buying physical silver,
because of their major short position.  Check it out. (

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By gerard, January 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

connect the dots:  What will you do all day if you can’t write comments to Truthdig?  “Surveillance” is about to take another big bite out of Freedom of Speech by forcing private information out of ISPs.
People who can’t make the connections between this and that will stare slack-jawed into space while they lose what rights we have left.  Defend Manning and Assange (understand why) and stand up for internet freedom.
  Hedges is okay, but he apparently isn’t aware of the significance of current events.  Otherwise, he would have said something.

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By LW, January 25, 2011 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Miko, the question of state-socialism is too complicated to discuss here. My point is this: Socialists in this country are not going to accomplish anything working alone; they must work together as a political party, and it seems to me that if Chris is going to call himself a socialist and claim that he wants to see “socialism,” then he must address the question of a political party, otherwise his “socialist” politics don’t mean much. I’m not saying he needs to pick a party and join it. Hell, I’m not even saying that he has to agree with me that a political party is necessary. But the issue is there, it is the elephant in the living room, and unless I’ve missed a crucial column, Hedges does not seem to have any interest whatsoever in addressing it. And as a socialist, I find that both disappointing and bewildering. Given the size of his audience, it’s a lost opportunity. He seems to be content with peace rallies, bullhorns and chaining himself to fences. That was tried in the 1960s; look where we are.

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By Wits End, January 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

A painful but astute analysis, Mr. Hedges.  I have been observing the futility of
activism on climate change for some time and have made myself quite
obnoxious by pointing out that most of the organizations (never mind
government agencies which are nothing but revolving doors for industry) are
paralyzed by the following considerations:

1.  a leader who is convinced, by the adulation of his followers, that he is
actually being effective in stopping the global warming trainwreck and

2.  paid staff who are more concerned about maintaining and expanding the
funding base which pays their salaries, so they step back from imparting the
really bad information they have access to for fear of offending their corporate

And what you said about conferences made be laugh because last fall I went to
the Pricing Carbon Conference at Wesleyen U with the intention of challenging
exactly the mindset you describe and quite enjoyed being a tree for a day:

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By Michael Cavlan RN, January 25, 2011 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges For President

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By felicity, January 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

DavidB - for the record, Lenin hated liberals.  To
understand how far afield American political
discourse has strayed, liberals (think Obama? maybe)
today are called socialists.  (Lenin is probably
saying to himself what the fuck happened.)

Liberals, as advertised at least, are supposed to
believe in political, social and economic justice -
for all.  Conservatives, as being practiced at least,
believe in political, social and economic justice -
for some.

And these basic beliefs seem to have ended up with
socialists believing that government should control
business while capitalists (and fascists, by the way)
believe business should control government.

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By, January 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

A message of hope for Liberals and Progressives in America.

Protest the companies that give money to conservatives in both parties. These companies fund conservatives and allow conservatives to inflict punishment on the less fortunate so let us hold those companies accountable by boycotting them until we get the legislation we want.

Sign this petition at http://WWW.DEMOCRATZ.ORG if you want to get congress to enact a $10 an hour minimum wage, The Employee Free Choice act, a real prescription drug benefit for Medicare in part B, an End to 2 expensive wars, a single payer government health insurance plan, Tier 5 unemployment benefits extension and the women’s freedom of choice act into law. Post this message on facebook groups, pages and profiles. Thank you.

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By RayLan, January 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

“Show me one communist or socialist country that isn’t spied upon, starved, death paneled, restricted in travel, education, class, wealth, where the “leaders” have done anything but continue to scare the pants off the people they suck off.”
Try most of Western (Socialist) Europe

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By RayLan, January 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

‘Communism is a form of democracy”
From the authors of the communist manifestos like Marx Communism is distinguised from capitalism, hence an economic system. There many political ways of implementing that system. The Soviet Union was not a democracy but it was communist.

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By David J. Cyr, January 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (David Byron):

I wish Hedges would stop using old and ambiguous terms like “liberal”.  Does that word have any meaning at all now?

From my observation of those creatures, I’ve defined what “liberals” are thusly:

“A liberal is a person whose moral compass points North, when s/he’s heading South.”

“Liberal is as deceitfulness does.”

“Liberals get what they want, whenever they’ve gotten what they said they didn’t want.”

“The purpose of liberals is to ensure that elections serve no good purpose.”

“Liberals are the most highly effective people in regularly getting for everyone the shit they say they don’t want for themselves.”

“Liberals are the greater evil, because it is they who ensure that evil always wins.”

“Liberals believe because they’ve raised their consciousness that it’s acceptable for them to do the things unconscionable.”

“A liberal is someone who’s reluctant to murder any masses that could more profitably be enslaved.”

“Liberals are the perfect enemy of all the good that could be, because they ensure that every best possibility becomes an impossibility.”

“The ‘conservatives’ don’t care how sloppy any evil is done, but the liberals insist that every evil must be well done.”

“The liberal “progressives” get whatever greater evil done that the conservatives can’t.”

“Liberals don’t oppose any evil. They strive to perfect every evil.”

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By tropicgirl, January 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

Show me one communist or socialist country that isn’t spied upon, starved, death paneled, restricted in travel, education, class, wealth, where the “leaders” have done anything but continue to scare the pants off the people they suck off.

And show me a communist country that isn’t policed to death by its leaders. If it was so great, why do the people need to live in a virtual police state?

You are ever lovin’, fuckn’ dreamin’.

Socalism only works in church.

(And, maybe, temporarily during war. But they never want people to come out of it, to the point of perpetuating falsities, Britain being the prime example. The most spied upon, victimized, cowardly country in the world).

This is what I mean about living in a dream world. Take the damn red pill.

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By DavidByron, January 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

“We are a minority”

If we are a minority then why do politicians like Obama constantly pretend to believe in left wing ideals to get themselves elected?  Why all the deception and lies from corporate politicians all the time?  If a majority of the country supported them there’d be no need.

In fact folks like Obama who serve the rich as agents are a tiny minority.

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By DavidByron, January 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Communism is a form of democracy—a word which means that the people rule.  That is the object of communism, and its debatable whether electoral representation should count as democracy, certainly the US version doesn’t.  That is what Hedges concedes when he despises US elections is it not?  He assumes there’s no route for the people to have power through the US electoral system.  That may be true but it’s not like it has really been tried.  Instead what happens is that the election system is captured by a corporate monopoly.  Hedges doesn’t seem to think that you could simply get people to not vote corporate (that’s pretty much already done - about half Americans don’t vote) and instead vote for some socialist party like the Greens.

IMO were that to happen we would see the electoral system changed to deny the people that power and reveal the US democracy as a farce in full, however, before that is tried, you can’t say for sure.

I wish Hedges would stop using old and ambiguous terms like “liberal”.  Does that word have any meaning at all now?  He uses it in different ways.  He uses it to describe obviously right wing institutions like the media, and then again as a rally for “people like us”.  It’s a really bad idea because part of building a movement is building a brand image.  “Liberal” is a very poor brand image on all sorts of bases.  Honestly he comes across as very confused and from an older generation when he goes on about “liberal” this and that.

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By Alan, January 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

(Yet Another Conference)
Talk is cheap.  As Chris Hedges points out,
liberals go to conferences and create new
monikers, and new clarion calls, but talk
is where it all ends.  Corporate fascism
is chewing up the entire society, yet the
response of liberals is YAC (yet another

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, January 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

We are a minority, and it does not surprise that O’s popularity—if you’re to believe the latest pollutedstream media polls—is rising even as he more closely sucks up to the Republicans.  Most Americans grumble, but they do nothing to change the status quo.  To this point, they are not motivated to do more than kvetch. 

What does a minority do?  For progressives, this is our Valley Forge.  It is lonely, and there appears little immediate reason to be hopeful.  Still, I recall something Mother Theresa (of all people) said:  We are not called to be successful; we are called to be faithful. 

So, we can keep faith by being clear in our values and thinking, and doing the little bit that Mr. Hedges reminds us we can do.  Until and unless the apathetic majority becomes less accepting of the ongoing dismantling of our standard of living at home and the nonstop killing machine we have become abroad, that is all we can do.

Keep the faith, and stay active.

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By DavidByron, January 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

ardee, “Perhaps the looming battle over the Health Care Law will rally Democrats, will force them to stand before the public and ,finally, speak truth to the lies from the right. But I wouldn’t count on it.”

The battle is a fake.  Both sides are far right as was the health care bill that was passed and as is Obama.

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By DavidByron, January 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Hedges needs to ramp it up a bit.  Cuffing yourself to the White House fence when you have a job as a professional activist is pretty safe territory.  And although I love that he gives credit to ANSWER instead of knee-jerk attacking them as every other liberal does, he should know that the most important purpose of the marches is not to put pressure of the government.  That sort of polite “civil disobedience” isn’t going to worry anyone in power, and won’t be reported by the corporate media.  Maybe one paragraph with fake “equal time” for 100 counter protesters.  No, the march is a way to encourage people to see themselves as part of a movement—which is the same function that the conferences serve (but more cost effective).

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By RayLan, January 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

“Communists like Hedges”
LOL - just because Hedges doesn’t partake in the Corporate Sacrament doesn’t make him a communist.
He is socialist - which is an economic system - not political one - democracy is the political system.
Democracy is as compatible with socialism as it is incompatible with unregulated capitalism - which is why the democratic freedoms in the US have been trampled by the monied interests.

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By RayLan, January 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Hamlet succeeded in screwing himself - as indeed the so-called Liberal Class.

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By tropicgirl, January 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

Emile—I know how you can feel better right now and take that weight off your back.

Join the real fight and stop putting in with Hedges-types that manufacture what the fight is about.

Its about fighting globalism, saving our physical country and the future of our kids from global gangsters, and preserving our ability to self rule. (and No, I am not quoting Beck).

Communists like Hedges don’t believe that is possible and “things” need to be done for our own good. Like getting into a car with a drunk driver.

When you work for globalists, you work for all parties that agree with them, whether a “green”, neocon, neoliberal, progressive or just plain liar. Listen today at noon. You may not agree with everything but I guarantee, if you are honest, you will breathe a sigh of relief, even today. There IS a war on for your mind.

Take the red pill for gods sake and stop suffering…

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By tropicgirl, January 25, 2011 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

I can’t find a single reason why liberals SHOULD feel good.

You, included, Mr. Hedges. You had the platform during the entire Obama Deception. More of a platform than you have now. And what did you do with it?

The liberal movement is dead. It allowed itself to be swallowed up in progressive ideals, with vague slogans that only added up to increased globalism, “for our own good”. And where were you?

The antiwar movement is dead, except from the tea party libertarians. Its dead from the liberals. Obama killed it. How do I know? There isn’t a single liberal lawmaker willing to take a stand. Got something to say about that, Hedges?

Liberals will not be trusted, in our lifetime, by the general public. They refuse to renounce communism, slave-trafficking and globalism. What are they for? No one knows. Certainly not America.

And Hedges… there WILL BE NO MORE “TAKING TO THE STREETS” BY THE LIBERALS, without appearing to be a freak show. We will now do things, legally, through our government, even if it takes many years. Thuggery is over with everyone, except the thugs.

So, the upshot of your article is that we should be after the big energy companies? Really? The big villains? The biggest you can think of?

God knows I have tried, but one is at a total loss as to the coherency and relevance of anything you are saying.

I seriously suggest you take a year off, travel to other countries, pray, and think a lot. Maybe travel to some commie countries, like Chinky Com. Maybe you could explain to the downtrodden Chinese people why communism is so good and their murderous leaders so great?

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By tdbach, January 25, 2011 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

Hedges is a tireless and tiresome scold. But his shrill, discordant denouncement of every liberal institution or impulse that starts from an assumption that our political system can accommodate real progressive change with enough hard, grassroots work and patience sounds like Mahler to his choir here in Truthdig.

Sing along with Chris…

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By M L, January 25, 2011 at 10:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I normally protest with small donations and the power of the pen but it’s time that I step out of my comfort zone. I will attend your rally March 19th to protest the Iraq War
Thank you

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By RayLan, January 25, 2011 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

” But he dismisses meetings like the Left Forum too quickly. Yes, there is a sizable liberal, as opposed to radical, element among the organizers of the Forum. But, except for the plenary sessions, the individual sessions are organized by the participants, not the forum organizers, and they are quite varied.”

But that is what the Lefties do best - evolve grand speeches about grand ideas like marshes evolve methane - soothe themselves in the blog fog of all-inclusive complacent meaningless agreement and worse - passivity. The idealistic ineffectual high is endemic to the liberal character.
It’s what Shakespeare meant when he Hamlet say:

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

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By sewra, January 25, 2011 at 8:36 am Link to this comment


I have a different take on the “solidarity project”, as far-fetched as it may seem. I think it’s silly to expect people in the countries that benefit the most from exploiting the rest of the world to be the ones that *change* the world. I think it’s a lot more likely that we will be the last to come on board, that Americans will end up being dragged kicking and screaming to the changed world that few of them (including the middle class) actually want. The people at this point that seem most likely to lead the way are in Latin America or maybe in the factories in southern China or in cooperatives in India.

Under these circumstances, the best we can do is make it easier for those people to change the world by (1) doing what we can to undermine our own system and (2) acting in solidarity with them, whenever this is possible.

In any case, given how powerful the forces are that we’re up against, the way forward has to be global in character. Solidarity is a big part of this.

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By sewra, January 25, 2011 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Thanks, Emile. Yes, I also believe Hedges is on the right track (and his militancy is especially refreshing for someone who’s a fellow of the Nation Institute, a bastion of the wimpy “liberal class”).

And I agree that actions are places to meet like-minded activists. But there also needs to a place for discussion, for planning. To some extent this can happen online (like what we’re doing here). But there’s something to be said for the face-to-face meetings. In my opinion there need to be many more of them, local as well as regional and national. I’m talking about meetings that start from the left-of-liberal stance that people like Hedges take.

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By sewra, January 25, 2011 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

I agree with Hedges that liberals have nothing to offer when it comes to the real change we need and that it is through concrete action outside of the electoral framework that the change will come. But he dismisses meetings like the Left Forum too quickly. Yes, there is a sizable liberal, as opposed to radical, element among the organizers of the Forum. But, except for the plenary sessions, the individual sessions are organized by the participants, not the forum organizers, and they are quite varied.
What happens in the street will fail if it does not coincide with some sort of coherent organizing strategy. Yes, it’s true that no such strategy has emerged from meetings like the Left Forum, the ISO’s Socialism conferences, and the US Social Forum, but in my book those are the places it’s most likely to happen.

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By colin2626262, January 25, 2011 at 4:29 am Link to this comment

As for writing things that “no one reads,” it might be a fair question to ask how many people in America have read books or articles by Chris Hedges.  Michael Lerner of Tikkun is very hard on Obama, more so than Hedges makes it seem in this article.  In fact, I know Lerner looks up to Hedges and basically shares the same ideas.  The difference is that Lerner has a distinct religious goal for the country that probably isn’t shared by Hedges because it may seem too utopian.  Lerner wants people not necessarily to change their politicians but to change their own lives, to live better, more caring lives, not directed toward making money or other materiarlistic desires.  One thing they share is a stress on empathy.  It would seem to me that Hedges should be making friends with his allies instead of making enemies.  But that’s just an opinion.

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By drewzifer, January 25, 2011 at 3:00 am Link to this comment

fuck non-violence

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By Rabbi Michael Lerner, January 25, 2011 at 1:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Instead of attacking each other for not being radical enough, we at Tikkun and our Network of Spiritual Progressives suggest that we get together those who feel disgusted at the Obama capitulation to corporate power to develop together a strategy for 2011-2020 that could mount a serious challenge to the powerful that went beyond symbolic acts of protest like those suggested by Chris Hedges.
    We at Tikkun believe that one central aspect of that struggle will be the ESRA—Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the US Constitution which would not only overturn Citizens’ United but also require large corporations to get a new corporate charter every five years which they could only obtain by proving a satisfactory history of environmental and social responsibility to a jury of ordinary citizens (hence getting around the rotating chairs of so called regulatory agencies). It would also prohibit private money in elections, require media to give free and equal time to candidates, prohibit any political advertising in the 3 months before an election and the 2 months before a primary, and require schools to teach environmental responsibility and challenges to public policies that are not environmentally responsible—at every grade level from k through college and graduate or professional schools. You can read and join our campaign for the ESRA at
    This, of course, is only one part of what we need to campaign for. We are also calling for a campaign for a Global Marshall Plan that would replace the “strategy of domination” which is the current favorite of both Dems and Republicans about how to achieve “homeland security” (i.e. through war or economic or diplomatic manipulation) with a “strategy of generosity” in which the US takes the lead in dedicating 1-2% of our gross domestic product each year for the next twenty to once and for all eliminate global poverty, homelessness, hunger, inadequate education,and inadequate health care. A congressional resolutions supporting the Global Marshall Plan will soon be introduced into Congress by Hon. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis. If you want to read and join this effort, go to
  If you have noticed that the media has managed to ignore actions like those proposed by Chris Hedges, and you are wanting to help develop a more sustained campaign to change America, let me know by emailing me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Should we try to run a candidacy against Obama in the Democratic primary? Certainly such a candidacy will give us more of a chance to present our progressive worldview than the momentary attention given to most demonstrations by the media, though the two need not be counterposed. Or is there some other strategy that you have for transforming the consciousness of the American people? If so, we need to make sure that all those who want fundamental change and are willing to work cooperatively get together with each other rather than simply issuing their statements of despair or radical individualism.
  Meanwhile, please read Noam Chomsky’s statements on these issues in the Spring issue of Tikkun which will be on the newsstands at the beginning of March, right around the time that we at Tikkun will celebrate our 25th anniversary by giving the Tikkun Award to Justice Richard Goldstone whose powerful report on Israel’s human rights abuses in Gaza blew the cover from those who have always defended Israel’s government no matter how immoral and self-destructive and hurtful to the Palestinian people its policies have become.
—Rabbi Michael Lerner Editor, Tikkun Magazine

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By Virgin Isle, January 25, 2011 at 1:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amen, brother!

It is time the liberal class and its institutons end its nonsensical, self-defeating admixture
relationship with the powers and principalities like GE, JP Morgan-Chase, electoral
politics, celebrity culture, gross materialism, etc.

Thanks for speaking the truth, as difficult as it is, Chris. If I didn’t have your voice, I
would feel even more alone.  Thank you very much for your books, speeches, and this
truthdig blog. It is a balm in Gilead for me here in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Keep fighting. I am with you, my brother!

“Only when it’s dark enough, can you (we) see the stars.” - Dr. King, “I’ve been to the
mountain top”

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By SteveL, January 25, 2011 at 1:03 am Link to this comment

The Green Party and the Peace and Freedom might get together with one candidate.  Ralph Nader and Ron Paul might combine on Trade issues.  Obama might not find it easy to ignore liberals in 2012.  We will see.

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By velcro2, January 25, 2011 at 12:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I doubt any sort of organizing against the lawless exercise of power can be terribly effective when essentially all telecommunication is being monitored by a huge and unaccountable surveillance infrastructure that is largely under the direction of people with hard-right sympathies. Perhaps the widespread adoption of something like the secure Tor conferencing system that Wikileaks employs for its internal communications is in order.

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By Mark Myword, January 25, 2011 at 12:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Remember The French were at overt starvation before the finally revolted. 

To the point that it’s a wonder they had the strength for it.  And then by OVER-
WAITING, they then OVER-REACTED, there-by subverting a speedy resurrection.

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By Textynn, January 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is a lost cause for progressives. Every minute we waste trying to get him to be the president he promised to be is wasted time and effort. Obama is completely married to Wall Street and that is not changing with criticism . Obama has made it clear that the base’s usefulness has past. Like the celebrity whose old wife is just not cutting it, he’s got younger tail to chase, or in this situation, richer tail to chase.

If Progressives really meant to do anything, they would have a candidate out stumping this very minute.  Even if that candidate was no threat, he could stand for the progressive voter that is being ignored and he would get momentum against this Wall Street run WH as the country is a captive victim for the financial elite and the ForProfit War Biz.

I believe we can stand against all the crap that the elite are serving up. We can question the right of criminals to run the country. We can take our business anywhere else we can and we can protest, but until we have a candidate out there giving us a place to hang our hat, the Dems and Obama that have abandoned us will not hear or see us, as they have richer tail to chase.

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By RayLan, January 24, 2011 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment

Big B
“Monopoly is the ultimate goal of, and logical course for capitalism. “

It’s a mathematical certainty. As surely as the law of gravity.
The greedy don’t want to admit it of course clawing their way to the top of the dung heap.

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By balkas, January 24, 2011 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

i a duopolic system of thinking, such as god aaaand the devil [yes,
clergy believes or says there is also devil out there and not just god] 
god tortures u until s/he gets tired or ceases to be amused by it and
the devil then takes over.
aaand that cld go on forever.

such duopolic thinking builds churches aaaaand jails. the jails r for
those who cannot adjust to the duopoly and governmental unipoly.

china, on other hand builds only jails—but only for duopolic thinkers;
i.e., those that believe in god aaand the devil.

in fact, there is no duopoly in u.s. or china, both r ruled by monopolic
goddevil or devilgod power and by one party.

clergy only thinks there is god and devil. but in fact, clergy had
invented also sin and not only god, devil, angels, etc.

it just so happens that the modern sorcerers-shamans have either
forgotten or never new that it had been people like them who
invented. say, devil-et al.

while they were inventing spooks, peasants invented plows, spears,
spoons, and the like. u know, s’mthing of some use.
aren’t u glad my story [post] had a beginning and an end—clerical
story or mystory, on the other hand, has no end nor beginning.

don’t now throw ur shoe at me just yet. wait till my next post, please!

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By balkas, January 24, 2011 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment

i a duopolic system of thinking, such as god aaaand the devil [yes,
clergy believes or says there is also devil out there and not just god] 
god tortures u until s/he gets tired or ceases to be amused by it and
the devil then takes over.
aaand that cld go on forever.

such duopolic thinking builds churches aaaaand jails. the jails r for
those who cannot adjust to the duopoly and governmental unipoly.

china, on other hand builds only jails—but only for duopolic thinkers;
i.e., those that believe in god aaand the devil.

in fact, there is no duopoly in u.s. or china, both r ruled by monopolic
goddevil or devilgod power and by one party.

clergy only thinks there is god and devil. but in fact, clergy had
invented also sin and not only god, devil, angels, etc.

it just so happens that the modern sorcerers-shamans have either
forgotten or never new that it had been people like them who
invented. say, devil-et al.

while they were inventing spooks, peasants invented plows, spears,
spoons, and the like. u know, s’mthing actual of use.
aren’t u glad my story [post] had a beginning and an end—clerical
story or mystory, on the other hand, has no end nor beginning.

don’t now throw ur shoe at me just yet. wait till my next post, please!

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By Fat Freddy, January 24, 2011 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment


Yes. My Great Grandfather that was a Sandhog was from Austria. They told him he would have to change his name if he wanted to be a foreman.

Like I said, there was a time when unions were necessary, but what they are today, is a disgrace to what they once were. Unions are not as necessary as they were back then, and the union bosses need new ways to maintain their power. Courts now respect the right of workers to sue their employers, and in most states, employers are required to carry Workers Comp insurance, and if they are not required, they would be wise to carry it. So, that means, the insurance company has a vested interest in workplace safety. If a worker gets hurt, they get sued, not the union.

As far as not being able to run the family business as well as your father, that’s nothing new. Things are a lot different now, then they were he started it. It is much more difficult to run a business, and I believe, that is by design. Nobody, and I mean nobody, will do, or can do anything anymore, without some sort of government involvement by some rent-seeking politician. Nowadays, you have to grease the politicians. It’s no longer an option. There’s no other way to stay in business, it seems, and it is destroying the base, and the very nature, of our economy. That’s why I want free markets. I want the politicians out of the way. I don’t want to “do business” or “play ball” with them. It’s too fucking corrupt. And many people are fooled into believing that the politicians are there to “help”.

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By Alan MacDonald, January 24, 2011 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Hedges notes that in terms of liberals’ “political theater”, “Act V is the most pathetic. It is as much farce as tragedy. Liberals—frightened back into submission … —begin the drama all over again.” 

This observation caused me to think of the following repeat performance of an excuse that we’ve already seen ‘played out’ before.

A recent article on a serious progressive site by a well known liberal, about Obama’s meeting with Hu, ended with this conclusion:

“Obama’s record on human rights shows that even a relatively clear-minded leadership won’t stray from the established course until pushed from below.”

Give me a break. This phony excuse, of “needing to push Obama” is now being used again, a second time, to make-up for his deceit and lack of conviction in supporting democracy over economic empire—- and a second such failure of Obama in matching FDR’s two major decision points could bring even more damage than his perfidy in not facing-up to the 2008 Wall Street caused ‘financial crisis’.

Quite simply, FDR twice stood-up to looming empire; first, on the economic front, and then the political front—- and now Obama appears unready to stand-up for democracy over Empire on either front.

Let me explain:

The first important difference between Obama and FDR, who never really “needed to be pushed”, was the issue of how differently they handled their respective Great Depression/Recession.

The US, and all non-elite Americans, were indeed fortunate to have maintained a level of political democracy under a strong FDR,  when the economic/financial empire was soundly put in its place during the Great Depression and FDR’s presidency.

While the second came years later, and on the far more important stand of how they handled their business elite wanting to deal with the respective authoritarian economic powers of Germany and China.

The US based multinational corporations and banks strongly lobbied the US government to overlook the authoritarian political aspects of Nazi Germany then, and China now, because in both cases the corporate empires liked the economic benefits of dealing with repressive regimes that would accrue almost exclusively to a tiny minority of corporate elite power brokers. However,  in both cases, of FDR and Obama, and of Nazi Germany and Communist China, the uglier aspects of such deals need to be based on the best democratic interests of the broader populace rather than elitist preferences.

FDR ultimately confronted and disciplined US based multi-national corporations, which had to be forced to put political loyalty and democratic government above their preferences for economic loyalty and authoritarian government—- a decision that Obama has so-far avoided.

One pessimistic prediction that could well flow from this analogy is that Obama, who, unlike FDR, did not stand-up first to the economic/financial empire that caused the Great Recession, might also not stand-up now to a less chastened business empire that has already ‘rolled him’ once, and particularly when this increasingly overt corporate/financial/militarist Empire in the US wants to meld its authoritarian economic structure with the Chinese model of a political structure along the same authoritarian lines.

I have not yet seen any articles comparing Obama with FDR on this far more important second point, and ‘hope’ that Obama and the gutless/complicit, so-called liberal left Democrats will not be able to ‘roll the American public’ for a second time by parroting their old chestnut, “Well, we have to help him by pushing him” to avoid overt authoritarianism also.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine
“Democracy over Empire” party

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By Fat Freddy, January 24, 2011 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

Big B

Name me one monopoly that has ever existed, for a sustained period of time, that wasn’t created by the government. Please, I’ll wait. If you were to take a US History class beyond a freshman elective level, you’ll probably coma across a required reading of a book called The Myth of the Robber Barons, by Prof. Burton W. Folsom.

People in Philadelphia break the law and drive over the Ben Franklin Bridge, to buy their booze at Canal’s liquor store in Pennsauken, NJ. Why?

John Wanamaker was the inventor of the Department Store, in Philadelphia, PA. You confuse free markets with what we have now, a mixed economy. We never really had truly free markets, but there was a time when they were much more free than they are now. There are several reasons for this. The biggest, is the government’s manipulation of the money supply. Another is regulations. And the third is, of course, taxation through coercion.

I am a market and individualist anarchist as defined by people like Lysander Spooner, Ben Tucker, Murray Rothbard, and Samuel E. Konkin III, to name a few. Perhaps you need to do some in-depth research before jumping to any conclusions about my views. I certainly respect the right of individuals to form groups to pursue common interests, but modern labor unions are not anywhere near that. The are collectivist, and coercive, and rob people of their freedom, just as much as the monopolistic corporations. The government helped create both. And both need to go.

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By Fat Freddy, January 24, 2011 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment


Are liberals really touting that system?

Without realizing it, yes. Many liberals want to “control” the market place with “public/private partnerships”. That is nothing more than “special privilege”. Whether it is the federal government trying to develop green energy or new weapons, or local governments trying to “revitalize” the downtown area, it’s all special privilege to a select, few companies, at the expense of free and fair competition. That’s Mercantilism in a nutshell. Just because the motives are different, and I’ll assume some intentions are admirable, the outcome will always be the same. Public/private partnerships and favoritism created Haliburton, Exxon/Mobile, and many others that are now mega-corporations. Just because the intentions are different, doesn’t mean the outcome will be different. We’ll just have different mega-corps that will eventually be no different than Exxon/Mobile. You certainly can’t trust the government to properly regulate a company that they helped create, can you?

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By kerryrose, January 24, 2011 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy

My grandfather was an immigrant from Ireland.  The only job he could get was a union job. This was in Boston where anti-Irish sentiment was rampant.  He could not save money until he had earned it.  My father was self-employed, and unfortunately I have followed in his footsteps (he was better at it than me.)

I respect your self-reliant attitude,but you cannot dismiss socio-economic limitations and prejudices for many citizens.

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By Big B, January 24, 2011 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

You still need to wake the fuck up, Freddy. Capitalism and monopoly have always gone hand in hand. Don’t you remember history class, the “Trusts” that brought the nations working poor to its knees.

Monopoly is the ultimate goal of, and logical course for capitalism. Many may start out in the game, but through competition, nearly all are eliminated, leaving only the largest most agressive company standing. That is the way it is in a free market system. That is the way it will always be. You as a libertarian should know that. (anybody in east remember Hills dept stores, or Ames, or Woolworths, or GC Murphys? All we have now Wal-marts and the occasional Target. That’s competition for ya. But hey, if you don’t like it, go live in China or Somalia, commie)

Unfortunatley, we have mistakenly made capitalism our system of government, and not our economics. A few big corporations have created a dog-eat-dog darwinian USA, and we in the working class are wearing pork chop pants.

While I am no fan of PA’s state run booze monopoly, prices are actually cheaper in PA than in WVA or MD. And yes, the union workers make good wages, have good benefits, and spend their money in the local economy. That’s how it’s all supposed to work. that’s how it used to work. That’s why we are all fucked now.

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By Fat Freddy, January 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment


The town I live in, and most of rural South Jersey was built on the spirit of entrepreneurship. Small farms, small businesses, medium size factories. People chose to start their own businesses as a way of serving their communities by providing a quality good or service, at a reasonable cost. When my Great Uncle decided to become a mechanic, he didn’t go join a union, he saved his money from working on a farm, and bought a house, and built a garage on it, and put a sign on it “Carli’s Garage”, and people came. But you can’t do that today, can you? My Grandfather saved his money working at the clothing factory, which was non-union, and went into a partnership with one of his co-workers, and they opened up a tailor shop. My Great Grandfather came to this country from Abruzzi Italy, dirt poor, and was able to buy a small farm from the town’s founder, Charles K Landis, and became a successful farmer. Two brothers, the Galletta brothers, bought a small tract of land in Hammonton, NJ, and started growing blueberries, and selling the plants to local farmers. They now own the largest blueberry farm in the World, (well, the sons do, now) and it is still privately owned by the family, not some giant mega-corporation. I could go on and on about all of small business success stories. They didn’t need unions. They worked hard, saved their money, and sacrificed. Something people don’t know how to do, today. So, they rely on unions, or they did.

These are the stories you don’t hear about in schools. Students aren’t even taught the basics of personal finance, let alone, any type of business finance. This country was founded on the principles of freedom that allow people to own property, and start their own businesses. Why more people don’t take advantage of it, and why so many people hate free enterprise is a mystery to me, when there are so many success stories. I could sit here all day, and name one poor European immigrant family after another that came here and became successful by owning a business. I can’t name one family that was successful by joining a union.

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By Fat Freddy, January 24, 2011 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

Why is the Philadelphia Convention Center losing business? We don’t need unions, and we don’t need corporations. What we need is entrepreneurship, free banking, as defined by Vera C Smith, and NO government intervention.

The City of Camden just laid off half of their police force, and 1/3 of their firefighters. Why???? The Camden port just lost Dole to the Gloucester City port. Why????

Competition is good for workers as well as consumers. You don’t need unions when there is competition. During WWII, there was a shortage of workers, because everybody was either fighting the war in Europe, or the South Pacific. FDR enacted wage controls. Why???? Because when there’s a high demand for workers, wages go up. Companies compete for qualified workers, and workers benefit. your skills, as a worker, are marketable, just like any other good or service. Unions trap people into one job, and discourage the mobility of the worker. As you develop skills, you can move from one company to another, seeking out the best wages and benefits. It costs companies a lot of time and money to replace workers. I’ve been in a union, I’ve worked alongside union construction workers in Delaware, when it was a “Right-To-Work” state. I had an opportunity to join a construction union. I turned it down, because I wanted the freedom to choose for whom and where I worked. It paid off, because now, I own a business. Those union guys are being shuffled from one job to another, and when there’s no work, like now, they pay them $5 a day and a bologna sandwich to protest non-union sites with a giant inflatable rat, and guess what? I’m working now, on my own terms, not some corrupt union boss’s. If I can do it, anybody can do it, and everybody should.

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By TAO Walker, January 24, 2011 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

All of the crooked ‘politics’ and stacked-deck ‘poker’ that is the subject of Chris Hedges latest piece, and also of virtually all of the comments on it below, is nothing but make-believe….a cruel illusion.  Yet the “individual”-ized people caught-up in this “global” horror movie remain fatally obsessed with its carefully CONtrived ‘special-effects.’

The systematic destruction of our actual Living Arrangement, however, by the relentlessly “self”-referential death-dealing apparatus of the politico/eCONomy, is absolutely as REAL as things get.  Yet billions of “self”-absorbed Humans wallow in (at-least partially willful) ignorance about it….which is, even-so, becoming less-and-less “bliss”-ful every Day. 

In a Way it’s a damn good thing there’s a lot more going-on here than the bubble-world’s illusory seductions of “money” and “power.”  Biology trumps mere CONviction (however religiossified and institutionalized) every time.

Natural Persons ORGANized as Living Human Communities have the Organic Functional Integrity of Humanity’s given place here.  This Natural Virtue is THE Medicine for ALL the essentially superficial (and only symptomatic anyhow) virtual-ills lamented incessantly by Chris Hedges and others here presently CONfined to the incredibly-shrinking-world of their artifactual “self.”  This Natural Virtue is the only genuine Medicine for the truly Life-threatening ravages of the “civilization” disease….which is already well-into the terminal stage of its process here.

Genuine Human Communities have all they need, including our natural access to the support of All Our Relations, to get all together through a ‘fast’ of forty Days and Nights from all eCONomic activity….for when our currently captive Sisters and Brothers finally get sick-and-tired of being sick….and tired.


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By kerryrose, January 24, 2011 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy

The unions did create the middle class in the 1950’s when 70% of the workforce belonged to a union.  Job security, good wages, pensions… even a guy with a ‘shithole’ job could afford a house, children, and one income family.

I do not disagree that (especially in Jersey) there is now a corruption problem with the union bosses.

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By Fat Freddy, January 24, 2011 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

Big B,

You mentioned Pennsylvania. I’ll assume you are from Pennsylvania. Are you aware of the “deregulation” of beer and wine? They want to sell beer and wine in grocery stores. Guess who is against it? The beer distributors and the unions they employ.

You are the one that needs to wake up. If you had read my comments, you would see that I am against monopolistic corporations, as well. Monopolistic corporations are formed by special favors by the government. That is Mercantilism, not free market Capitalism. Learn the difference.

If all you aspire to, is to be a working stiff in some shithole factory, then you deserve the unions, and their corrupt bosses, like George Norcross III and his brother Donny, and his partner in crime Steve Sweeney. I live in NJ, and I know first hand how corrupt the union bosses are. Deal with it, or step aside.

I’ve got mine, huh? Is that what you think? Let me ask you a question, if you had a choice of working in a Union, or owning your own business, which would you choose? I want everybody to own a business. Learn what Voluntarism and Agorism are before making dumb ass remarks like that. Hell, even the Mutualists want free markets.

The labor unions did not “create” the Middle Class. That is bullshit union propaganda. Entrepreneurship and free enterprise created the Middle Class. It is the free enterprise system that has lifted more people out of poverty than any other system ever known to man.

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By V, January 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just got back from a three day conference of people who are actually
mobilizing around the core issue of corporatism—made up of many activists
who don’t have blinders on and who have achieved many victories in other

The movement is growing, and we need voices like Chris’ to be involved,
educational, motivating and supportive. These hysterical pieces are just not
helping at this point.

I brought Chris Hedges to my community some years ago to speak on his book
“War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning.” We put together a big lecture for him.

I appreciate his intelligence and honesty, and I think he’s written some brilliant
pieces recently that are important. But at the same time he seems locked into
an almost blind rage, and his calls for militarism are not matched by calls for
reforms in the real world.

He repeatedly states that democracy is dead, that electoral reform is
impossible, all the while calling for direct action.

Why does he not call for direct action to restore democracy?

Why does he not understand that democracy is dead for a reason, and that
reason can and should be directly addressed?

Corporate money controls our representatives in specific ways, and our
elections are a farce for specific reasons. If we can’t understand this and get
control of the system, then we should admit that representative democracy
doesn’t work at all, and never will. Is that what he’s saying? And if he is, what is
the alternative?

I feel he fails intellectually and realistically and it seems from laziness.

I’ve thought about writing to him over the years about this but I haven’t done it.

Does he just want rioting in the streets? Hasn’t he seen what happens? The riot
police come out, we’re all tear-gassed—and there are many other weapons of
crowd control they haven’t had to break out yet, but they will.

The revolution needs to be powered by his kind of passion, but with more
strategic intelligence.

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By RL, January 24, 2011 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with George Joseph.  Hedges lives near
Philadelphia - he should come see how the Green Party
is seriously organizing there.  We’ve got an
antiforeclosure candidate for sheriff, we’re
recruiting candidates from unions to run for city
council, and we got 23% in our last run for state
rep, seriously threatening the Democrat’s standing. 
As much as civil disobedience is sorely needed, we
also need, like George Joseph said, “good old
fashioned organizing.”  That’s what got the country
out of the Gilded Age and that’s what could free us
from this corporatism now - the major difference
being the simultaneous ecological disaster that’s
going on, but that’s a more long term discussion, I

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By Trojan Horus, January 24, 2011 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

Chris’s sense of despair and pessimism is tangible and one can sympathize - especially when he’s a heavy-weight thinker of the left with the ability to apply a spot of critical analysis and an overview of the hi-jacking of democracy that has indeed taken place.

However, when the activism called for is Daniel Ellsberg and a handful of aging, male intellectuals getting arrested in the vain hope that some obscure Internet TV channel might bother to take notice, it isn’t necessarily headline grabbing stuff.

Activism is certainly an important, though certainly not exclusive, part of the Democratic process but we don’t necessarily have to run with the philosophical musings of a 19th Century leftie for guidance.

When I see young students, and young working people saying “enough is enough and up with this we will no longer put” I might feel more persuaded that something is happening here but you don’t know what it is… However, right now America, unlike Europe, is showing almost no inclination to get organized to stop the pain. It may ultimately happen in concrete protests about concrete injustices as and where they arise… or it may not.

Meanwhile I’ll stay in my armchair, out of the snow Chris, and wait for a few younger heads than my own to be raised above the parapet to give the Establishment something indigestible to address that they have decided is worth their trouble, before I put mine stiff old neck on the block, for a cause that as yet no one but a handful of elderly, disaffected, white, male, educated writers in the margins have even given a name to.

But love your polemics all the same

In short “activism” happens or it doesn’t… willing it to make an appearance in a vacuum is as futile a waiting for a Second Coming from a Messiah for rescue

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By marco, January 24, 2011 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i agree with the article’s main points—though it’s worth noting that university and writers’ conferences are even worse.

for the sake of intellectual honesty, Hedges should mention or note the party politics behind Answer (a group i continue to work in solidarity with, despite fundamental disagreements with the remarkable small group behind their large and effective mobilizations and attractive yellow signs)

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By RayLan, January 24, 2011 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

Careful PRGP - it’s dangerous to be posting such threats on the internet.

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By Kanomi Blake, January 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

Liberalism is not so much a coherent political philosophy as it is an extremely powerful, soothing, psychological defense mechanism that helps the professional classes—Jeff Schmidt’s Disciplined Minds—cope with their day to day complicity in bloody empire.

Given the grim realities of our civilization—the prison industrial complex, the increasingly brutal police state, the rampant banking fraud, the reckless poisoning of the Gulf, the strip-mining, the chemically tainted food, the ceaselessly blaring propaganda, these prostitute politicians, the ongoing looting of the treasury, this brazen imperialism and monstrous war profiteering—given the whole panoply of crimes in which the elite running the global crime state engage in while draped behind a facade of politics and economic “science”, even the most rational, moral individual must deny that the very system of civilization itself is programmed to turn life into hell, and instead will almost always choose to redefine reality through willful self-deception in an attempt to stay sane.

All the classic defense mechanisms are on display in liberal posturing: Denial (“it could be worse, next time it will be different”); Repression (“We bombed Serbia, when?, Guantanamo is still open, what?”); Displacement (“it’s the poor’s fault for listening to Rush Limbaugh and shopping at Wal-Mart!”); and above all Projection (“it’s all the fault of the Tea Party and their guns!”).

In other words, if religion is the opium of the masses, then liberalism is the cocaine of the bourgeoisie, the feelgood drug for those of means. Just don’t think about the bloody price of that luxury.

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By Henry Lloyd, January 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“And civil disobedience is difficult, uncomfortable and lonely.”

Three characteristics that will not be endured until they have to be endured.

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