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Why Liberal Sellouts Attack Prophets Like Cornel West

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Posted on May 22, 2011
Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

The liberal class, which attempted last week to discredit the words my friend Cornel West spoke about Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, prefers comfort and privilege to justice, truth and confrontation. Its guiding ideological stance is determined by what is most expedient to the careers of its members. It refuses to challenge, in a meaningful way, the decaying structures of democracy or the ascendancy of the corporate state. It glosses over the relentless assault on working men and women and the imperial wars that are bankrupting the nation. It proclaims its adherence to traditional liberal values while defending and promoting systems of power that mock these values.The pillars of the liberal establishment—the press, the church, culture, the university, labor and the Democratic Party—all honor an unwritten quid pro quo with corporations and the power elite, as well as our masters of war, on whom they depend for money, access and positions of influence. Those who expose this moral cowardice and collaboration with corporate power are always ruthlessly thrust aside.

The capitulation of the liberal class to corporate capitalism, as Irving Howe once noted, has “bleached out all political tendencies.” The liberal class has become, Howe wrote, “a loose shelter, a poncho rather than a program; to call oneself a liberal one doesn’t really have to believe in anything.” The decision to subordinate ethics to political expediency has led liberals to steadily surrender their moral autonomy, voice and beliefs to the dictates of the corporate state. As Dwight Macdonald wrote in “The Root Is Man,” those who do not make human beings the center of their concern soon lose the capacity to make any ethical choices, for they willingly sacrifice others in the name of the politically expedient and practical.

By extolling the power of the state as an agent of change, as well as measuring human progress through the advances of science, technology and consumption, liberals abetted the cult of the self and the ascendancy of the corporate state. The liberal class placed its faith in the inevitability of human progress and abandoned the human values that should have remained at the core of its activism. The state, now the repository of the hopes and dreams of the liberal class, should always have been seen as the enemy. The destruction of the old radical and militant movements—the communists, socialists and anarchists—has left liberals without a source of new ideas. The link between an effective liberal class and a more radical left was always essential to the health of the former. The liberal class, by allowing radical movements to be dismembered through Red baiting and by banishing those within its ranks who had moral autonomy, gradually deformed basic liberal tenets to support unfettered capitalism, the national security state, globalization and permanent war. Liberalism, cut off from the radical roots of creative and bold thought, merged completely with the corporate power elite. The liberal class at once was betrayed and betrayed itself. And it now functions like a commercial brand, giving a different flavor, face or spin to the ruthless mechanisms of corporate power. This, indeed, is the primary function of Barack Obama.

The liberal class, despite becoming an object of widespread public scorn, prefers the choreographed charade. It will decry the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or call for universal health care, but continue to defend and support a Democratic Party that has no intention of disrupting the corporate machine. As long as the charade is played, the liberal class can hold itself up as the conscience of the nation without having to act. It can maintain its privileged economic status. It can continue to live in an imaginary world where democratic reform and responsible government exist. It can pretend it has a voice and influence in the corridors of power. But the uselessness and irrelevancy of the liberal class are not lost on the tens of millions of Americans who suffer the indignities of the corporate state. And this is why liberals are rightly despised by the working class and the poor.

The liberal class is incapable of reforming itself. It does not hold within its ranks the rebels and iconoclasts who have the moral or physical courage to defy the corporate state and power elite. And when someone such as Cornel West speaks out, packs of careerist liberals—or perhaps one should call them neoliberals—descend on the apostate like hellhounds, never addressing the truths that are expressed but instead engaging in vicious character assassination. The same thing happened to Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, Jeremiah Wright and others who defied the political orthodoxy of corporate capitalism. The corporate forces, which have taken control of the press and which break unions, run the universities, fund the arts and own the Democratic Party, demand the banishment of all who question the good intentions of the powerful. Liberals who comply are tolerated within the system. They are permitted to busy themselves with the boutique activism of political correctness, inclusiveness or multiculturalism. If they attempt to fight for the primacy of justice, they become pariahs.

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By mc.murphy, May 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette, May 25 at 1:55 pm

You, being an aficionado, and proponent of a self asphyxiating system, might
want to tell US, what’s YOU think will, or should replace it.

There is a reason, you know, why the world is becomming peppered with
rebellions, and revolutions.

Here’s a map:http://mosquitocloud.net/map-of-global-rebellion-hot-spots/

and here but two of the latest:http://mosquitocloud.net/thousands-in-greece-
protest-austerity/, http://mosquitocloud.net/spains-ellection-mass-
dissatisfaction/

I doubt your fave system will stand five years hence.

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By Lafayette, May 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

DB: The only people who actually believe in capitalism are the dupes.

OK, so what would you replace it with?,C’mon, think hard ...

I’d like to know, because (sure as hell) I don’t want to be around.

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By Lafayette, May 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

ISMs

RL: One can just as easily say that an enconomy cannot be rid of socialism.

Agreed,  but so what?

Capitalism and Socialism, when they cohabit, are called Centrism. Which means milking the Cash-Cow and distributing the milk by means of Public Services for all citizens.

It does not mean reserving 94% of the milk for 20% of the population.

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By Lafayette, May 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

ks: 10) What did I miss?

Everything from 1 to 9.

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By gerard, May 25, 2011 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Anarchissie:  Do you know a good general up-to-date reference on cooperatives—philosophy or purposes and way of functioning, how to begin, problems and solutions, brief history, current successes, reasons when failure occurs, encouragement etc.? 

Years ago we used to belong to one in California, but it was a struggle to make ends meet financially - and interpersonally.  Former Congressman George Brown (now deceased) had a lot of experience and was a strong advocate.  (Good old days?  A lot has happened on our way to successive but unsuccessful wars—not that wars are ever successful!) 

I’m so sick of defeatism and seeing all of the worst and none of the best that I badly need some soul-food.  Anyway thanks.

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By katsteevns, May 25, 2011 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

@ Leefeller

Yeah, the aliens will be here soon to whisk them all off to La La Land and the rest of us will be “stuck” at the airport. One the up side, we won’t see them again for another ten thousand years.

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By TAO Walker, May 25, 2011 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

All this noise and CONfusion, Sisters and Brothers, all this grasping at ideological/institutional/technological straws, all this degenerative obsessing over the mere make-believe of “money” and “power,” all this entrapment in toxic triviality (as limned ceaselessly here on “truthscratch-the-surface” and most everywhere) is but a small part of the fate suffered by Persons and Peoples who lose what The Ancients called “THE TAO OF HUMANITY.”  The atomized “huddled masses” of the sub-species homo domesticus, bereft of the Living Virtue of Organic Functional Integrity which abides only in our Natural Organic Form (Call this Genuine Living Human Community.  Distinguish it carefully from all those random collections of the ersatz “individual” foisted-off as equivalent.), are even now in the terminal throes of that delusional delirium ALWAYS symptomatic of the “civilization” disease fever-dream.

Humanity, as such (despite the “self”-glorifying CONtrary CONceit CONcocted to co-opt and despoil us), is NOT “the brains” of Her Living Arrangement.  Right now, as a matter of basic biological fact, the massive horde of (at-best) half-alive tame two-leggeds IS a mostly severely dysfunctional component in Her immune system.  To get well they need only get-over their sickening “self.”

Yes, that’s sure-as-hell a helluvalot easier said than done….especially since the “choice” is only between perishing miserably (all alone) in the virtual world-‘o’-hurt, or living (all together) altogether within The Vision fleshed-out in Her Actual Living Arrangement. 

“The Dream” is over, Girls and Boys, so better wake-up and grow-up.

HokaHey!

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By WARNING, May 25, 2011 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The recent GALLUP POLL is the real reason for the lengthy discussion of the matter.  President Obama’s African American support is dropping fast. It has gone from 96% to 84%. He can not win re-election if Blacks continue to drop him “like he’s hot”.

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By DavidByron, May 25, 2011 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

Lmao at Doug:
“Since everyone really agrees that capitalism is the best system”

Well its basically a fable used to keep the slaves pacified.  Like Christianity was in previous centuries.  Sure I can point out it is “wrong” or a “failure” but that’s not the point since the advocates of it don’t believe in it themselves.  It’s just a smokescreen for them to hide their huge theft of wealth behind.

The only people who actually believe in capitalism are the dupes.

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By Leefeller, May 25, 2011 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

Kat stevens, you missed the one about space aliens beaming up people in key political positions like Michelle Bachman and great news people like Hannity at FOX news, where space aliens wisked them away and gave them anal probes, thus injecting one our two new euphonious thoughts into their ingrained miopic brains. So titians in their own minds like Bachman and Hannity,  can have visions like the prophetic Dr. West. Instead of just whining about most things, their new vision will be to keep on whining about Obama, but will also include their a revelation for the Replucian/Tea Bags of adding electronic anal probes at airports.

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By DavidByron, May 25, 2011 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Virginia777 (replying to MK77 saying Democratic voters are the problem):
“If there is any group that can be singled out, it is the extremists who have invaded the Republican Party. The Wrecking Crew, who have worked to dismantle our government, tear away social service, infiltrated our media… the list goes on and on and on.”

How is it that such a tiny minority rule over such a great majority?  We will always have the mentally ill and psychotic among us.  But we don’t have to make some of them our rulers.  Thus MK77 is correct to say the fault lies with the great majority who carry out the psychotic orders of the tiny minority.

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By DavidByron, May 25, 2011 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie:
“I’m questioning whether voting for Nader did anything.  In 2000, it was said to have had the effect of denying a margin of victory to Gore.  That’s quite a significant outcome, one would think, and so should have had some effect on at least the Democratic Party establishment.  Did it?”

The flaw in your logic is that you assume the Democrats want to win elections (at least more than they want to deny a real voice to the people).

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By Anarcissie, May 25, 2011 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

You’ve probably got about a 50-50 chance with orthodox medicine, or shamanism, or flapdoodle.

However, that’s not like capitalism, because orthodox medicine, shamanism, and flapdoodle all coexist, whereas there is no longer any outside to capitalism.  On the large scale, the goddess TINA rules, for better or worse.  Probably worse, judging by the way things are going.

There are people trying to construct alternatives, but as yet they’re quite marginal; the largest worker-owned cooperative I know about has 85,000 members, and it is unique in size and robustness.

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By JDmysticDJ, May 25, 2011 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

Lafayette

Let me suggest that you change your nom de plume and picture to something like Joe Normal and a piece of artwork from Norman Rockwell. Your current nom de plume and picture is annoyingly ostentatious and off putting. I feel confident in saying that you would have more credibility by making these changes. Also your writing voice and style strike me as being snooty. If you are not able to change your voice and style, maybe you should consider changing your non de plume to “Snooty.”

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By Doug1943, May 25, 2011 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

McMurphy: You say you don’t think capitalism is the
best system? That means you know of a better system.
Please describe how it would work.

If I get ill, I go to a doctor, and submit to
whatever regimen he or she prescribes: usually some
combination of chemicals, radiation, and/or surgery.
I’m not wild about these things, but they are better,
for curing illness, than the alternatives: prayer,
magic, New Age flapdoodle.

There are plenty of things wrong with capitalism. I
didn’t say it was wonderful, just the best of the
existing possibilities.

But you say you know another possibility. What is it?
How would it work?

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By katsteevns, May 25, 2011 at 4:09 am Link to this comment

@ Lafayette

good luck waking up the middle class….NOT GONNA HAPPEN!!!

How can you change the minds of those who know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that:
1) FDR had no warning about 12/7/1941
2) JFK was shot by a lone assassin
3) LBJ did not fabricate Tonkin Gulf
4) Nixon was not a mass murderer
5) Reagan did not let the Iran Hostages remain in their cage a few more months.
6) Bush Sr. had nothing to do with JFK’s death.
7) The Clintons are not drug dealers
8) Bush Jr. had nothing to do with JFK, Jr.‘s death and did not steal the 2004 election
9) 911 was not an inside job
10) What did I miss?

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By mc.murphy, May 25, 2011 at 4:08 am Link to this comment

Doug1943, May 25 at 1:41 am

“Since everyone really agrees that capitalism is the best system”

hold on, there, Doug

The system may be the only game in town, but suggesting that “everyone really
agrees that capitalism is the best system” is valid only if you happen to be living
off of your—often inherited—capital gains and investment; if you’re a gambler
in the grand casino, and bigger than the fish in your path.

For the rest of us, things have been getting steadily worse. We have become
wage slaves and rentiers, most people, when they consider their monthly
expenditures realize that they in fact work over to days for the Banker on Wall
Street already.

If you look at what’s happening, mergers and acquisitions, and have a
smidgeon of imagination to move this trend forward in time; what you’ll find is
a collapse of the system which relies on 3.5 percent growth, ad infinitum, in a
finite world…

So, please, count me out of your sweeping, all encompassing gestures, okey?!

http://mosquitocloud.net/

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By katsteevns, May 25, 2011 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

@ IcanDealwithHippiesbutThisGuy?

Excellent post!

@ thims

I think the majority of those who voted for Obama felt/hoped he possessed the heart and experience of the most exploited portion of this countries population. They felt this way mainly because of his skin color and who can blame them? They voted for an idea instead of the man. Similarly, FDR won his 3rd term by promising that ” We will not send our armed forces to fight in lands across the sea.” And look what happened there!

@ Pookiedog

Excellent post!!

@ Arouete

It is difficult to disagree with you.

@ skyeallen

LOL!!

@ Anarcissie,

I don’t know if that is a good enough reason not to make the effort to elect a 3rd party candidate. Anyway, I blame Bush/Repubs for stopping the vote count(among other shenanigans) . Otherwise, I think Gore would have won.

@ Litl Bludot

Damn Straight!!....despite what Lafayette said. Obama is a tool for those who hide their agenda.

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By Lafayette, May 25, 2011 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

THE LIBERAL CLASS AND INCOME FAIRNESS

Excerpted from a review of Death Of The Liberal Class (by CH) here:

... he (CH) realised that in fact not just the press but all the pillars of the Liberal establishment have gradually collapsed over recent decades (the other pillars he identifies are the liberal church, universities, culture and the Democratic Party).  This matters, Hedges asserts, because the Liberal class play the vital role of a safety valve and creates a mechanism by which reform within the system is possible – for instance the New Deal, Civil Rights legislation and so on.

As the saying goes. Reports of death are sometimes slightly exaggerated. Some call it “journalistic license”. Others call it hogwash.

If CH wants to attribute such advances in our sociey, as named above, to a Liberal Class, then why should he not? His word is as good as yours of mine.

But to call that class Dead On Arrival to the New Millennium is hogwash.

It maybe be snoozing somewhere in our collective psyche waiting for a Wakey-wakey!, but it is far from deceased. It gave off a few premature scintillations at the election of BO & Co. But promptly went back to sleep as the Great Recession pulled The Sandman’s blanket over us.

I sense, out of historical prospective, that Reaganomics is coming to the Ignominious End it so richly deserves (pun intended). You can fool some of the people some of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Which is the greatest faculty of a functional democracy that transcends any given period of leadership to bring forth yet another.

And, Lord knows, after the wild exaggerations of the past decade, we do need another. One that is centrally focused at giving America the Income Fairness it so richly deserves (pun intended yet again). One that will pull in its warlike nature allowing our society to mend and then move on.

That Income Fairness is brought about by measures that stop the pillaging of the Economic Pie by a plutocrat class at the very top as well as the Higher Class in general. To both of these classes are attributed nearly 93% of the Total Financial Wealth of our nation, whilst the remaining 80% of us share the measly remaining 7%. (See that sad fact justified by research here.)

How can the Liberal Class bring this about? Not alone. The Liberal Class can lead but if the grassroots of America does not follow, no reform is possible. Reformation must come from legislation and that means the Ballot Box. We must have a broad-based renewal of our political class - and that is the hard part.

So, it must not be dead. We cannot afford that the Liberal Class be dead. And damn those who say it is.

We need that respondent Progressive Chord that will awaken Middle-Class America from its sleep. Let’s not get mad - let’s get even.

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By screamingpalm, May 25, 2011 at 2:04 am Link to this comment

@gerard:

Sure I’d love to see Hadges’ articles reach more people, but he would have to both sell out with some level of conformity and water down/dumb down his articles before that would ever happen. I’d love to see Chomsky reach more of the mainstream as well, but it’s not going to happen. I wouldn’t rely on youtube either. Although I see they currently have independent views on there, they banned all third party candidate videos (and all related material) during the lead-up to the last presidential elections (the only time Main Street even cares).

Changing his style and content will not enable anyone to hear what he has to say anyway. :D As for the “get from here to there”, I don’t think anyone has the answer. Not even Chomsky tells you that (at least from the times I’ve listened to him speak). That is more the style of people like Nader or Kucinich etc. Hedges and Chomsky are more political philosophers in my opinion.

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By Doug1943, May 25, 2011 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

It seems to me that almost everyone posting here is agreed that capitalism, with all its faults, is the only game in town. Some want to regulate it—“bridle it”—a bit more, others not so much. But there really is not a great difference between those who want capitalism to be relatively free of controls, and those who want some controls, even though these fairly small differences create great heat.

Since everyone really agrees that capitalism is the best system (except for the poor fellow who thinks Cuba is happy and prosperous, evidently an escapee from the Camping Cult), surely we can see why President Obama is, indeed, not that different from George Bush. Bush and Obama agree, just as most of us   agree, that capitalism is the best system. Once you understand that, there are limits on how you can act, if you have power.

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By truedigger3, May 25, 2011 at 1:24 am Link to this comment

Re: By mc.murphy, May 24 at 11:47 pm

I agree with you 100%.
Lafayatte is a TROLL whose mission is to mislead and bullshit.
He IS NOT French, he IS NOT living in France as he claims. This claim coupled with his rediculous uniform is part of his game to give the impression of far and consequently “objective neutrallity and opinions”.

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By mc.murphy, May 24, 2011 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette, May 24 at 11:34 pm

More odious than Bush because he was elected as a Democrat on the hopes that
Wars would end, Patriot Act would not be extended, Bush Taxes would not be
extended, Wall Street banksters would be frogmarched, etc…

What’s so difficult to understand unless you are, just like O, a Fascist in sheep’s
drag?

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By Lafayette, May 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm Link to this comment

LB: What is most disturbing is that Obama, factually, is more odious than Bush, is more amoral than Bush, is dismantling our freedoms more effectively than Bush, is a more cold blooded killer than Bush.

More unsubstantiated commentary from the Unwashed Masses? Or is just uninformed vituperation - more bitching-in-a-blog? Do you feel better now that you have slandered a PotUS?

Dubya was, by most intelligent measures, one of the worst presidents of current memory. And to state the BO is worse is an indication of sheer stupidity.

Back up your claim with fact. Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts. Leave the unsubstantiated libel in the toilet bowl where it belongs.

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By Litl Bludot, May 24, 2011 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment

Hedges describes the situation well, as usual.  Comments here illustrate exactly
what he said.

What is most disturbing is that Obama, factually, is more odious than Bush, is
more amoral than Bush, is dismantling our freedoms more effectively than Bush, is
a more cold blooded killer than Bush.  Yet, those of us who point these facts out,
are slandered and vilified.  Soon, perhaps, we will be disappeared, as Obama has
taken the authority to kill us at anytime, anywhere.

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By Lafayette, May 24, 2011 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

POLITICAL ECONOMY

ardee: I am further puzzled by how he then contradicts himself with the second sentence

Yes, you are puzzled from incomprehension and no understanding of historical facts. Go here to understand the etymological origins of the word Capitalism and its derivative Capitalist.

These words were used only by financiers and economists up to and including the 18th century, they were common theme sof Engel’s and Marx’s works in the mid-19th century. It was, in fact, Communism that made Capitalism a common word in the discussion of Political Economy, since they are juxtaposed antonyms.

Political Economy is what we are speaking of when the subject is Capitalism versus Socialism versus Communism - common subjects throughout the 20th century - when “capital” and “profit” became common words of our vocabulary.

MY POINT: Questions, questions, questions

The questions before us in the 21st century are ones Americans refuse to entertain. That is, just when does Enough Profit become Too Much Profit? And directly, therefore, when does Enough Wealth become Too Much Wealth?

At the heart of the answer is yet another question: Are we a nation of individuals or is our nation a collective of individuals? In the former, the rights of individuals prevail (and capital accumulation is not hindered). In the latter, capital accumulation is regulated by taxation for purposes of public spending - such that all citizens might benefit in the economic pie generated and to which they all contribute in the making.

For the moment, it is the former notion that best represents our socioeconomic construct, with the resulting Income Unfairness that is characteristic of our nation. To which we owe the origin of much of our economic misery of the moment.

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By mc.murphy, May 24, 2011 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment

Virginia777, May 24 at 10:20

No it’s not!

It’s the Democrat aristocrats in the Senate voting to extend Bush taxes, and
voting to extend The Patriot act, who manage to infallibly go along with the
Republican agenda, that democrats should ruthlessly be attacking whenever
they go astray. What are those who voted for Democrats, in order to stop the
Republicans, supposed to do? Applaud and spout apologia?  Isn’t that ‘ceteris
paribus’ the same as voting for the Republican agenda? Why bother voting at
all, if with or without them the Republican’s will will be done? Why not just
accept a Totalitarian reality and be done with it. Why are you so eager to defend
the indefensible — are you a Republican who sees an opportunity to promote
their agenda by insisting that the opposition to it’s implementation, just roll
over, and go away?

You are Republican, aren’t you?

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/05/23/bipartisan
ship/index.html

http://mosquitocloud.net/

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By Virginia777, May 24, 2011 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

ardee:

“Sit up, Mr. Walker, roll over, play dead.”

Spoken like a true troll.

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By Virginia777, May 24, 2011 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

MK77:

“If there is any one group that can be singled out for holding this country back, it’s the legions of smug, dopey Democratic Party apologists who peddle “the lesser of two evils” crap every four years”

No, you are very wrong here.

How stupid of you.

If there is any group that can be singled out, it is the extremists who have invaded the Republican Party. The Wrecking Crew, who have worked to dismantle our government, tear away social service, infiltrated our media… the list goes on and on and on.

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By gerard, May 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

skyeallen:  What’s your PhD. field, if you don’t mind my asking.  If I knew, I might have a suggestion.

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By MK77, May 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

The question is not “whether voting for Nader did anything.”

It’s whether rejecting a good man like Nader has contributed mightily to the ossification of a mean and fraudulent electoral process, and the answer is very clearly yes.

If there is any one group that can be singled out for holding this country back, it’s the legions of smug, dopey Democratic Party apologists who peddle “the lesser of two evils” crap every four years—the types who demand nothing of their representatives other than (of course) pledging their support for a “woman’s right to choose.”

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By JimBob, May 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

Hedges isn’t defending a point of view, he’s defending his friend.

Nice, but…nah.  West is wrong; he expects Obama to act like a Soul Brotha and the Prez simply isn’t a Soul Brotha.

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By Anarcissie, May 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

I’m questioning whether voting for Nader did anything.  In 2000, it was said to have had the effect of denying a margin of victory to Gore.  That’s quite a significant outcome, one would think, and so should have had some effect on at least the Democratic Party establishment.  Did it?  It seems to me Democrats just kept on nominating fairly conservative establishment candidates, to wit, Kerry and Obama, although I suppose Obama’s being Black was stepping out a little.

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By marie, May 24, 2011 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris is right.

When I found myself in a shelter bed I did not curse the Republican Party.

I cursed myself and other like me who never bothered to demand justice
for all but yapped on and on about liberal values but did nothing more.

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By skyeallen, May 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

To all you haters out there…you’re just proving Chris’s point about prophets. Grow up.
Face the facts. Start REALLY putting people before profits.

And Chris, you’re a prophet, too. Time to find a bigger podium.

And if you have any ideas how a starving humanities PhD can make a difference, let
me know!

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By gerard, May 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

screamingpalm:  Quoting you, and responding: 
  1….  “I don’t think his style is going to attract “Joe the Plumber” types though.” My point: What he says, Joe needs to hear to counteract the trash Joe does hear.
  2… ” His is a more thought provoking, intermediate style of critical thinking that is perhaps trying to motivate a dying progressive base,”,, My point:  But “the dying progressive base” is dying, whereas Joe is not. Further, the progessive base is dying because they don’t want to know what Chris is saying.
  3…“which you cannot do with the sensationalist and shallow type of writing that “influences” the mainstream.” My question:  So just leave the “mainstream” to its (shallow) ignorance?
  4…” He is probably hoping to motivate his readers to influence the mainstream.” Sorry, but by this time we’ve circled right around the entire issue. Chris might be just the guy to influence them. He has far more knowledge, experience and ability than most of his readers, who, as you say, “already have a basic grasp” and still are not “motivated”—probably because they are all too old, too fat or too comfortable to get into anything up over their ankles.
  5.  Chris has access, and access is a vital resource. With access (to print media, YouTube, TV and radio interviews, contact with liberal leadership—wherever that is, and publishers and editors, liberal organizations. He might have to change his style and content, but frankly, I want more people to know what he has to say, and in order to do that, I think he needs to cut back on the generalizing and get into specifics:  Exactly how can ordinary people who care about human decency and fairness get from here to there? There are millions of them who need to hear the content of what he has to say—preferably without the broadbrush critism of “liberals.”
  My suspicion is that Christ is dissatisfied because he’s not working with the people he knows
need him the most.  I could be wrong, of course.

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By Arouete, May 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges you got it bass ackwards. It’s Cornell West (not his critics) who is the gutless liberal who sold out to Obamania. It is HE who drank the kool-aid and is now a crybaby who savages his ‘brother’ like a rebuffed lover.

I don’t disagree with West’s criticisms of Obama but I’m ONLY be surprised he is surprised.  It is HE who marched behind the Pied Piper, but the hurleyburly stopped and the rats still infest. who lined up and drank the Kool-Aid and allowed HIMSELF to be used as a sycophant dupe for Obama. 

!st: West asked FROM THE BEGINNING “BROTHER BARACK… WHERE DID YOU GET THE MONEY?”  That he’s the darling of Wall Street, the globalist investment bankers, and the corporate oligarchy and that was NO secret. So West is surprised that Obama et. al. then stacked the deck and dealt from the bottom? Pulease! Cornell West, like all the disappointed liberal sycophants who now cry ‘victim’ and ‘betrayal’ can not cry foul when he remained silent and actually fed into the very deceits he now complains of.

Prophet? Really? He actually thought Obama was going to pick up the torch for Krugman and Stiglitz?  Have another glass of Kool-Aid professor. So much for prophecy!

2nd: The instant a so-called “Harvard civil rights lawyer” (this might have been the first good place to vomit) stood up and said (1) ‘separate but equal’ is acceptable because (2) ‘marriage has religious connotations’ and (3) the only difference between marriage and civil unions is a matter of “semantics” (front of the bus back of the bus ... and what the heck all water fountains are equal right?) and then claims that (4) ‘fundamental’ civil rights are a matter of ‘state’s rights’ (classic segregationist claptrap!) and, to top it off, (5) people actually get to vote on such matters, well sir, if you have a legal IQ above moronic (‘retard’ indeed!), then you have got to know the speaker is a shyster, charlatan and a pettifogger who speaks Ketman and is surely out to screw somebody as he panders to ignorance and leads sheep to a fleecing.

And where was your “prophet” then sir? Did West call him out on such intellectual legal rubbish? No. Tribalism ruled the day. Screw ‘fundamental’ civil rights that got both Obama and West entre into Harvard. This is what passes for ‘strategy’ in the civil right arena. It’s a disgrace.

Sorry, West is two years late and a 10 trillion dollars short. This was stuff no second year law student should be ignorant of. But West, a Harvard professor, was silent and by that gutless silence he (like all the courtiers you rail against) disgraced HIMSELF. West never raised his voice in protest. West never called Obama out. Indeed, West capitulated. West collaborated.  West fed the beast. West pandered to a pettifog and his disingenuous complaint is right out of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous poem. But, oh yes, we see, that was THEN when somebody else’s ox was being gored wasn’t it? Do not cry victim to us! He should be begging for forgiveness! Cornell West is NO victim but a disgruntled collaborator.

West is precisely the kind the sycophant courtier you have been railing against for two years. So please give us all a break. Now he does not like the bitter taste the pettifog- tainted Kool-Aid has left in his mouth and so he savages Obama like a jilted lover - perhaps because Al Sharpton is the new courtier-of-color who adds a sleazy layer to the White House? Cornell West dumped for Al Sharpton?! “Yes Virginia there is a Santa Clause.”

This so-called “prophet” was WILLINGLY duped by propaganda and spin. He facilitated it. He capitulated. He collaborated. Like the very sycophant courtiers you have been railing against he lined up to guzzle the Kool-Aid.  Your snaggletooth “prophet” can keep his crocodile tears and go rant on the heath like King Lear who swapped his crown for a cockscomb.

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By DavidByron, May 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

Talking of prophetic here’s a diary I wrote upon the election of Obama in 2008.  (At the time Pwoggies were all talking about how they would hold Obama’s feet to the fire and make sure he did his job etc)
====================================================


Holding their feet to the fire
by: DavidByron
Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 12:50:51 PM EST

It’s happening already.  Feet are being held to the fire.

The feet being held to the fire are those of the pwoggies who supported Obama.  They will now come under intense pressure from their betters in the corporate hierarchy to endorse a new lurch to the right.

The media narrative is already fully formed.  Obama “must” govern to the center (ie to the far right).  The talking fucks have declared that ‘the people” hunger for “bipartisanship” and that Obama must bravely reject the troublemakers that haunt the left of his party to do what is right.

Clinton, we are told, made the mistake of pandering to the left and as a result the country threw the Democrats out of congress.

Pwoggies will come under tremendous pressure to support this corporate narrative which has been building for a while now and is supported by Obama himself with his constant refrain of “bipartisanship’ and of “No Red States, no Blue States but the United States” as if a total rejection of Bush was actually a demand for more reconciliation with Bush.

The elites are scared.  They don’t have much reason to be in my opinion, but maybe, just maybe, the emotions that Obama has stirred up will prove difficult for him to channel harmlessly and control.  That is what he needs to do.  So far he’s been incredibly successful in getting America to eat shit and call it honey.  In getting him elected there was no principle that pwoggies were not prepared to sacrifice.  Support for war, support for FISA, support for the attacks on the constitution and civil rights, support for the huge giveaway for the ultra-rich.  none dared blink.  All must be sacrificed for “the one”.

Now that hero worship must be channeled into useless paths and the compromise made complete.  You can bet the Democrats and the elites will be holding feet to the fire and almost all the Pwoggies will continue to compromise their alleged beliefs.

But it didn’t have to be that way.  This is an emotional time for America.  As with FDR Obama could have been forced by the pressure of emotions to make real concessions.  The smallest number of concessions he thinks he can possibly get away with of course, as with FDR.  This is a dangerous time for the elites.  It will require a steady hand and in Obam they have it (thank god they must be thinking, we didn’t get McCain volatility).

The reason is that they must give some concessions but by its nature concessions just breed the demand for yet more concessions.  The people begin to feel their power to effect change.  Once that happens you hit a vicious circle of demands for yet more.  A steady hand is necessary to dampen enthusiasms and make people believe they have no power here, but what their hero Obama (or FDR) gives to them.

Which way will things go?

I look at the pwoggies and there’s little doubt.  Obama can pull the elites fat out of the fire.  He can do it.  Yes he can.  He can corral the pwoggies and any talk of real change for his masters. he will be able to hold their feet to the fire and ensure that none break ranks and demand ... anything.

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By Lafayette, May 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

CHANGING AMERICA

CH: By extolling the power of the state as an agent of change, as well as measuring human progress through the advances of science, technology and consumption, liberals abetted the cult of the self and the ascendancy of the corporate state.

Stop blaming the state as the central force of corporate evil. It is so mindbogglingly boring as an excuse. CH does not live in a country in which the government spends a great deal of its tax revenue on Public Services.

It’s not about the state, I keep repeating. It’s about the people we elect to represent us that matters. Our representatives must decide how budgets are spent - how much and for what or for whom.

Which is why any reform of the nation to correct its inherent Economic Unfairness must come from the grassroots of the nation. For as long as Jack ‘n Jill Sixpack buy the maniacal dogma of the Right - that Might is Right and Wealth is Power - then besides emigrating there is not much that can be done to help ourselves or change America.

MY POINT

In the mid-term elections, Americans decided to punish BO because he proved that he was not the miracle worker we expected of him and neither did he walk on water. America was and still is in Deep DooDoo, not because of BO & Co, but because of our own political myopia. Two years will have been wasted.

We will have a chance to correct that error. But, there is also the possibility, a strong one, that we will opt for the other side and bring back to the Oval Office the same idiots that got us into this mess in the first place.

We can change America ... at the ballot box. But, not out of some sacrosanct Liberal Conscience - rather by convincing the grassroots that a progressive agenda can build fairness back into the American way of life.

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By CenterOfMass, May 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

@Rudolfo: “The people running the should be investigated, and exposed, over and over, until it sinks in with the general public.  But wait, the general public doesn’t give a damn.”

You and I agree on the root causes and necessary actions.

For my part, I prefer to regard Hedges’ writings as “corruption 101”, and writings by the other authors as more detailed material.  As such, I think his stuff has value.  It’s true that the general public is mostly clueless about these issues.  They have to get their education from somewhere, and Hedges is useful. 

Two months ago I was discussing the crash with some friends, and I laid out the involvement of Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street suspects.  I had to start with the fundamentals, and work up from there.  I needed to provide increasing levels of detail to get the points across.  Some of my material was based on Hedges.  It worked, and they acquired a new awareness.

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By screamingpalm, May 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

If the “it-getters” already “get it”
he doesn’t need to speak to them.  Meanwhile, it’s the “others” that are the problem, so maybe he should be speaking to them?  Using specifics so they can be sure of what he means?  Well, that’s hard.  But somebody’s got to do it.  Otherwise we can’t win any friends and influence any people—if that is what we want to do?

Chris Hedges’ articles aren’t progressive politics 101 though- they are more advanced. It would be full of redundency to list all of the examples and bios in his article. I suppose it is a personal preference, but I quite enjoy his writing style. I don’t think his style is going to attract “Joe the Plumber” types though. His is a more thought provoking, intermediate style of critical thinking that is perhaps trying to motivate a dying progressive base, which you cannot do with the sensationalist and shallow type of writing that “influences” the mainstream. He is probably hoping to motivate his readers to influence the mainstream. Just my opinions, of course.

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By Steve E, May 24, 2011 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

Excellent article Mr. Hedges, you have obviously attracted the wrath of many of the
same useless swarthy liberal class that you write about. They feel very
uncomfortable and threatened as they wallow in their own denial and hypocrisy.
Aside from their attacks on Mr. West, they cling to Obama, hoping a second term
of the sorcerer’s apprentice will bring about something good from the ashes of
“hope and change”. Instead, I,m afraid their deeper inner expectations will bear
fruit and produce even more vile disappointments, backstabbing and pathetic
spineless governing from the aforementioned corporate stooge.

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By Pookiedog, May 24, 2011 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Brother X, I agree with your position that Dr. West comments about Obama’s blackness was kind of “petty” and did make him seem like a “jilted lover”.

Dr. West was wrong to direct his critique of Obama in that manner.  What Dr. West should have pointed out is that Obama is on the verge of being the Jack Johnson of black presidents because there won’t be another one for another fifty years or more, if he does not change his political direction towards a more progressive one.

Steve O, my homeboy, he feels the same way as you do that “black folks like Dr. West should not jump on the bandwagon of white folks bashing the president”. He says its a shame when they do…  However, Steve O refuses to make the distinction between the birther issue or a legitimate gripe against the president for not being progressive enough on issues.  Steve O feels regardless of that…black folks should just keep quiet about it.

But I disagree with that wholeheartedly for many reasons I think black people should and continue to speak up (not for personal vendettas) but to motivate the president to live up to they’re hopes and HIS promises. If the president begins to see that he’s in jeopardy of losing his “street cred” *his black base* for not being more progressive on issues that would help black folks and the poor and middle class as a whole…You never know, he might change direction on many of his policies…Granted, Obama became president during the worst time anyone could have become head of state. However, since that time he has continued many of Bush II policies in which many had hoped that he would have reversed or changed after taking office. 

Furthermore, we have to stop voting for the “best alternative” between Dems and Repubs and vote for the candidate that has our best interests at heart.  Its stupid to vote for someone because he’s black, white or whatever. Its a class issue not a race issue and yes, I will vote for the candidate who TRULY shares my belief that the poor and middle class is more important to protect than Wall Street and corporate interests.

Personally, I want a president with a Secret Service mentality, who is willing take a (magic) bullet for the majority of the people in America that wants Universal Healthcare and Higher Education, the ending of unjust wars of aggression, ban on mountain top coal mining,  better regulation of the oil industry (lower gas prices) and financial markets, and the restoration of habeas corpus…and the list goes on and on…

And if Ralph Nader is the closet thing to that presidential candidate then so be it, because no Dem or Repub has such a mentality nor do they care to have it…Kuncinch? Naw, he got punked on Healthcare.

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By thims, May 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The point of views expressed merely questions Prof West’s truthfulness. He is not being attacked rather he attacked the President on a personal basis because he was overlooked/not invited to the inauguration so he chose not to acknowledge what has been accomplished in two and half years. Failure to acknowledge this in his treaties should be seen as derisory work. The good Professor should enumerated what has been done and then indicated what he perceived to be ‘ the great shortfall as he sees it‘ then state that it needs immediate attention. That was not the case. Per your title he went BALLISTIC; going ballistic does not generate thoughtful/rational behavior.  By all accounts he was/is IRRATIONAL. 

The President was faced with very challenging issues that by all accounts he has handled reasonably well. The outcome has not reached its expected potential yet. Irrespective those challenges needed immediate attention. If the good professor does not see this basic fact then it stand to reason that he is not RATIONAL and thus deserve to be treated as such.  HE WHO KNOWS……… (the poem)

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By IcanDealwithHippiesbutThisGuy?, May 24, 2011 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

What’s so elitist? O it’s viewing an entire city in the mid-west completely destroyed while in the tech-noir establishment of New Ireland - Obama come back! A President is a Leader, he may not pull all the strings; but he/she is nonetheless a leader of this nation. They need to at least act like it too. The further he stays away - the further everyone will realize that something is amiss. 

I can see where a lot of comments on this post are excellent and a lot are hate filled(sadly). We are all simply human, leave the personal attacks on someone at the door, especially when they are attempting to establish reason and logic into a system! I am glad there is at least a form for this as well.

We as a people must work towards solutions and justly so learn from one another on how to make ourselves better through each other. So does that mean working the corporate system to better all? Steering those systems in the “right” way? Or does it mean feeding that beast until it grows further out of control? Or wind up yelling at traffic on the offramp?

Hedges’ does ruffle feathers - we need people in this world to do that - I myself have learned a great deal from his writings. I don’t always agree, but the challenges to make things better within us and around us all are spelled out. He makes sense with bare facts and doesn’t really meld his own “truth”, but writes as he (all five senses) is gifted it. I consider him one of the few remaining folks who at least can stand up and shout - and have a POSITIVE solution towards what we can salvage from Amerika..I mean America. Spade is a spade right?

There are tons of inherit qualities that make us all human, don’t let the devils of the details rob that from us. As far as I can see we can only go upwards from here - the bottom has hit, the lines are laid, the sides are taken, the proverbial s*** has hit, and millions of us are lost in the fray of this almost impossible situation. Don’t let that make each one of us work in the negative, the doors are all open now, let’s choose wisely this time. Choose one another - only love can fight hate. Solutions folks, solutions!

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By Gary Mont, May 24, 2011 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

Anne:Proverb says: good intentions lead to hell. So does anarchism.

And you know this because you have studied all the hundreds of anarchist societies that have flourished on earth for hundreds of years. right.

Or is it because your minister told you so and you simply believe every word that falls out of his mouth, without question.

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By truedigger3, May 24, 2011 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Re: By Canyon Walker, May 24 at 1:34 am


Canyon Water wrote:
Let’s face it:  There’s no revolution coming - at least not from our side.  Most working-class white people hate us. We won’t win them back by running off into liberal la-la land.
—————————————————————————-
Canyon Water,
Most working-class white poeple hate you because of your eliticism and total neglect of their current plight.
All you, and your ilk, talk and care about is gay issues, abortion, multiculturalism, glass ceiling etc etc which does not resonate and relate to their current plight.
If you and your ilk of phony liberals, return to true liberalism with its devotion to protecting the common people and the working class from abuse and exploitation and call for limiting offshoring of jobs, call for living wage jobs, universal health care , secure and decent retirment, good public education etc etc, I am sure that most of the workig-class white people will love you and elect you and give you TRUE POLITICAL CAPITAL that can be used effectively for TRUE social and economic justice.

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By gerard, May 24, 2011 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

screamingpalm:  If the “it-getters” already “get it”
he doesn’t need to speak to them.  Meanwhile, it’s the “others” that are the problem, so maybe he should be speaking to them?  Using specifics so they can be sure of what he means?  Well, that’s hard.  But somebody’s got to do it.  Otherwise we can’t win any friends and influence any people—if that is what we want to do?

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By katsteevns, May 24, 2011 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

@ Anarcissie,

Are we not all aware that ending the Federal Reserve and closing down the 400 bases around the globe is where the bulk of our “responses to dealing with the situation” should direct their energy?
    Either one believes the hype of the “war on terror” or rejects it outright. You can not ride the fence on this issue. Yes, there will be consequences, but it is our only way out. I think that Chris hedges should be galvanizing us to take direct action on these issues and lead….or find someone who will lead and back them. He possesses the notoriety to do so.
    If we can not stir the pot with Nader, we must be diligent to find another way and ACT on it until we “get it done”. The world is waiting.

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By reid, May 24, 2011 at 9:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kucinich, Sanders, and West can go on ranting forever to no avail. Nothing will change until the American people turn off the boob tube and fight back. And why don’t they? They prefer comfort, safety, and American Idol.

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By Anarcissie, May 24, 2011 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Yes, but did voting for Nader save lives?

This isn’t a rhetorical question.  We see that we are powerless, so we have different responses to dealing with that situation.

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By katsteevns, May 24, 2011 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

By ardee:

“I agree with this , many do leap to insult and criticisms of those who think working within the system to be a sell out. I do not.”

You might be outnumbered here, Ardee, at least on the grand scale. For instance, let us start with those on the receiving end of the drone missiles today and work backwards to Iraq with it’s hundred thousand dead. What would they say if they could dislodge the Tomahawk from their chest cavity, put out the burning phosphorous sticking to their skin, or get out from under the rubble of their home? Then we can move back to proxy wars, campaigns and supplying weapons and training in Israel, Afghanistan, Africa, South America and Asia. Did I miss anyone?
All in the name of “national security” or more correctly “capitalism with a window dressing of democracy”

Kind of makes Canyon Walker’s words sound exceptionally silly at this stage of the game:

“I have chosen to work within the system to try to nudge the system ever-so-slightly and ever-so-gradually towards the just and compassionate society…..I know that my efforts may fail.”

CW is living in the dreamworld bubble so many here are suckling.
    Can we afford to fail? Is it worth the sacrifice of the lives of those who “are not like us” in skin color and beliefs? How can one be sympathetic to 3000 victims of 911 and care not a smidgen that we leveled a whole country with a culture that dates back far beyond most of our imaginations?

Screw the system that only works for a few. We have expended enough of the worlds resources on our “experiment”, it’s time to save lives.

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By DavidByron, May 24, 2011 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

The actual science has shown that capitalism is fundamentally wrong.  People do NOT generally seek their own benefit exclusively and, to take a specific example, offering people higher monetary reward as motivation leads to a reduced productivity in anything but the simplest physical tasks (where it works).

Capitalism is the philosophy of greedy assholes who love to pretend that everyone else is as bad as they are so as to deny their culpability.

Why do they care about being seen as greedy?  Because money is not their main motivation either.

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By DavidByron, May 24, 2011 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

“Electing an African-American president is
immense.”

LOL.
Oh yeah Obama’s half black isn’t he?  lets hope the American pseudo-left got that conceit out of their system.  What would be really ground breaking is if they elected a non-psychotic or someone who wasn’t rich.

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By Carolyn LaDelle Bennett, May 24, 2011 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

I hope that “The liberal class, which attempted last week to discredit the words my friend Cornel West spoke about Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, prefers comfort and privilege to justice, truth and confrontation”—does not refer to me, Chris. I am none of these: not liberal class or privileged; and never an obstructionist to justice, truth and confrontation. I am a Progressivist (as distinguished from merely “progressive”) who loves my country and who believes the likes of Cornel West are narrow minded; and, worse, they are too often handed an “experts”  microphone to spread narrow-mindedness. They are as troubling as the Limbaughs. All of this is, of course, in my not-so-humble, civilly submitted, confrontational opinion.Bennett’s study: todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com

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By Anne, May 24, 2011 at 6:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Proverb says: good intentions lead to hell. So does anarchism.

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By ardee, May 24, 2011 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

An economy cannot get rid of capitalism, it is in the nature of mankind to seek profit/benefit. It is only since the invention of money that “capitalism” per se has come into being.

I have torn this statement apart, read it several times in fact, and still cannot understand how Lafayette turns evolution on its head by claiming a “gene” for profit motive. I am further puzzled by how he then contradicts himself with the second sentence.

Oh well, in fairness I cite F. Scott Fitzgerald:
“The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function”.

I have taken no polls but I suggest that the majority understand that the future of our nation lies with the strong regulation of capitalism while adopting socialism where it is strongest; the administration of social programs et al. As in the example of Scandinavian nations.

Canyon Walker, May 24 at 1:34 am Link to this comment

I resent being called a liberal sell-out simply because I have chosen to work within the system to try to nudge the system ever-so-slightly and ever-so-gradually towards the just and compassionate society both Chris Hedges and I believe in.  I know that my efforts may fail.  I know that I may not see the results I want in my lifetime.

I agree with this , many do leap to insult and criticisms of those who think working within the system to be a sell out. I do not.

I think it is foolish to just drop our and vote for Ralph Nader.  It’s the easy way out.  It’s the irresponsible way out.  All it does is help the Republican Party, which has marched off to the far right.  Anyone who thinks there is no difference between Obama and the Republicans is a fool.  Does anyone think a Republican would have asked Elizabeth Warren to set up a consumer protection agency?

Why did I expect your path lay over the cliff? You equate voting for Nader, or any non Duopoly party candidate as dropping out. Casting a vote is, obviously, the opposite of dropping out I offer. Further, if one exercises a little bit of brain power one might notice that ,time and again, the Obama agenda is different from the Obama speeches. In fact, Obama has extended the programs and directions we saw in the Shrubya Presidency.

To dismiss the criticisms of so many folks who see this fact, one you refuse to grapple with, instead using a rather tenuous argument about the appointment of one person whose efforts are yet to bear fruit and whose presence might be seen as throwing a bone to a starving dog and expecting that dog to be sated and happy.

Sit up, Mr. Walker, roll over, play dead.

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By katsteevns, May 24, 2011 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

@ Lafayette

This might be CH’s response to your DISSONANT EMOTIONALISM comment:

“Do not expect them to take care of us when it starts to unravel. We will have to take care of ourselves. We will have to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and culture values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global, corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.” - The Corporate State Wins Again
http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/the_corporate_state_wins_again_20110425/

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By virtual, May 24, 2011 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

link -

White House Adds New Position to Deal with Unfavorable Online Media

The White House has named Jesse Lee to a new position within its communications department titled Director of Progressive Media & Online Response. According to The Huffington Post, Lee will essentially be responsible for building up Obama’s online presence as he prepares for his reelection bid, and squashing any negative stories…

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By katsteevns, May 24, 2011 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

By gerard,
  “Even when he references “non-
violence” (in which he is much interested and which he advocates) he seems not to care to go into specifics, so that the very term remains an “empty container” which the reader is left free to fill with his or her own prejudices and/or ignorance.”

I agree with you there, gerard.

For instance, when the torturer pulls out a scalpel and tells Chris which toe he will remove first, what will Chris do when he realizes that he himself has access to a baseball bat??  :D Be nonviolent? I don’t think so.

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By virtual, May 24, 2011 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

entropy2 -

“@biznesschic—Hey, way to go. You covered all the corporate Dems koolaid points in one post.”

biznesschic is likely one of Obama’s “rapid response team”:

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration has created and staffed a new position tucked inside their communications shop for helping coordinate rapid response to unfavorable stories and fostering and improving relations with the progressive online community.

For “Improving relations” read “Authoritarian mindset hellbent on stifling free speech and disseminating propganda instead of truth.”

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By EmileZ, May 24, 2011 at 3:57 am Link to this comment

OK, maybe that was just wishful thinking about being more relaxed. One thing I noticed about your prophets that I would like to point out, except for the guy I never heard of (I am uneducated), Chomsky, West, and even Nader at times (and I’ll throw in Norman G. Finkelstein to help me make my point), have a sense of humor (sarcastic though it may be) that peeks through every now and then.

I don’t know if my point has any value, maybe it is just an observation, but there it is.

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By RayLan, May 24, 2011 at 3:35 am Link to this comment

Lafayette
“An economy cannot get rid of capitalism, it is in the nature of mankind to seek profit/benefit. It is only since the invention of money that “capitalism” per se has come into being. “
That is historically false. Free enterprise capitalism is a fiction. There have always been social constraints on individual greed. It’s about the ownership of the means of production. In feudal societies, the lords owned the mills and farms on which the peasants worked. There have been tribal societies that were entirely communal without resources owned by any one person. One can just as easily say that an enconomy cannot be rid of socialism.

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By PatrickHenry, May 24, 2011 at 3:21 am Link to this comment

I have always liked Cornel West, he makes many fine points when I’ve seen him and by appearance isn’t owned by anyone. 

This alone will bring out his detractors.

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By EmileZ, May 24, 2011 at 2:41 am Link to this comment

I usually read your articles and always appreciate them.

For some reason I particularly liked this one.

I think it was because you brang (is that a word? perhaps I should say added or supplemented… brought) to your usual theme with language involving basic moral principles, which to my mind has a lot to do with common sense, or maybe just good sense.

I also liked “By extolling the power of the state as an agent of change, as well as measuring human progress through the advances of science, technology and consumption, liberals abetted the cult of the self and the ascendancy of the corporate state. The liberal class placed its faith in the inevitability of human progress and abandoned the human values that should have remained at the core of its activism.”

Good Stuff!!!!

I also liked the bit about prophets. In a way, I feel you might be finding your stride, or coming into your own, or something like that. It seemed more relaxed.

I dunno

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By booneavenueboy, May 24, 2011 at 2:11 am Link to this comment

You don’t have to be a Liberal Sell-out to criticize Cornel West, but I suppose
West’s attack on Obama is better late than never. Going after Obama today is much
like attacking Bush. It’s easy. Still, I’d wager that West will support Obama when it
counts, during the 2012 elections. The trendy West will figure that there is “no
place else to go”.

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By screamingpalm, May 24, 2011 at 2:08 am Link to this comment

...claims of overwhelming conspiracy between elite plutocrats and our Congressional Representatives.

Claims? Not sure if you’re being serious, or?

Also pretty funny how circular your argument is, when the last line in your post directly relates to the original quote by Chris Hedges. And during this journey, you fail to mention Clinton’s signing of NAFTA as a contributing factor of jobs moving overseas. But, “we must not lament”(easy to say for those that are not unemployed and without health insurance huh?), and fail to credit Nader for being the only candidate that had a strong platform of bringing new, green jobs and expanding workers’ rights.

In case you forgot where the candidates stood on various issues, allow me to refresh your memory:

http://www.votenader.org/issues/

I really don’t understand why some of you corporacrats are trolling a progressive site, and especially a Chris Hedges article.

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By Mike, May 24, 2011 at 2:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Most of what Dr. West says is no more than parroting delivered with a folksy joviality.  On very few occasions have I heard a thoughtful comment on the subject of discussion. In my opinion he’s a hack.

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By Lafayette, May 24, 2011 at 1:34 am Link to this comment

BRIDLED CAPITALISM

dwd: Are they therefore for “bridled capitalism”? Are we just arguing over different variants of capitalism?

An economy cannot get rid of capitalism, it is in the nature of mankind to seek profit/benefit. It is only since the invention of money that “capitalism” per se has come into being.

In fact, the word itself does not go back that far in time. It has come to mean the private ownership of the means of production (for profit from the sale of goods/services) in a free-market economy.

Which differentiates itself from Communism, which was the public ownership of the means of production.

The word “bridled” is important since, whilst one can accept that ownership is private, on need not necessarily accept that profit is unlimited. Taxes have always been set upon the means of production, even in medieval times. They were employed to hire and train standing armies that protected the realm against foreign invaders.

Has that changed much? Well, a bit. Because the controversy of our societal structure has been a contention between unlimited individualism versus unlimited collectivism. This tussel has become known as Capitalims Versus Communism.

Supposedly, Capitalims won. At least for Americans. But not everywhere in the world. In fact, where socialism was well-implanted political notion, in Europe, there was born the notion of Centrism. That is, the use of taxed profits as a benefit to the collective (or community, town, city, state, nation).

Where did that notion come from? From the fact that hitherto the state had only taxes as revenue that supported various functions (police, firemen, administration and national defense). But the more social needs were neglected until of course poor-houses were established to take care of those less well-off. Charity and philanthropy were expected to pay for them.

The notion of Social Services however expanded in the 19th and 20th centuries to the point where more was expected of governments and therefore why not progressive taxation?

Why not, one might ask. We’ve been trying to answer that question in the US ever since. But we haven’t.

MY POINT

And this, to my mind, is the essence of the Liberal Conscience. The ability to allow a “level playing field” by assuring certain Public Services.

Bridling Capitalism thus means, firstly, to assure there is no excessive accumulation of the benefits of a Market Economy and, secondly, to assure also that those benefits are shared by all by means of taxation.

POST SCRIPTUM

There is no viable argument for doing away with Capitalism. There are several good arguments to making it serve a larger part of the population particularly when such is not the case. Which is the foundation of what was once meant by the “Common Wealth”.

As in, for instance, the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts”?

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By Canyon Walker, May 24, 2011 at 1:34 am Link to this comment

I resent being called a liberal sell-out simply because I have chosen to work within the system to try to nudge the system ever-so-slightly and ever-so-gradually towards the just and compassionate society both Chris Hedges and I believe in.  I know that my efforts may fail.  I know that I may not see the results I want in my lifetime.

I think it is foolish to just drop our and vote for Ralph Nader.  It’s the easy way out.  It’s the irresponsible way out.  All it does is help the Republican Party, which has marched off to the far right.  Anyone who thinks there is no difference between Obama and the Republicans is a fool.  Does anyone think a Republican would have asked Elizabeth Warren to set up a consumer protection agency?

Obama is a moderate who leans slightly left.  That’s the best we can hope for right now.  The wisest thing we on the left can do is join with moderate Democrats in protecting Medicare, Social Security, and the entire social safety net.  I’m not interested in a Quixotic un-winnable battle with corporate America.  They are strong and we are weak.  We have to be clever.  We have to be as wise as serpents.  We have to be as patient as conservatives were when they set up the think tanks that are destroying us.

Let’s face it:  There’s no revolution coming - at least not from our side.  Most working-class white people hate us. We won’t win them back by running off into liberal la-la land.

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By Lafayette, May 24, 2011 at 1:12 am Link to this comment

DISSONANT EMOTIONALISM

CH: The liberal class is incapable of reforming itself. It does not hold within its ranks the rebels and iconoclasts who have the moral or physical courage to defy the corporate state and power elite.

Cockamamie claptrap.

Who wants, anyway, a “liberal class” ala CH, with all its dissonant emotionalism and finger-pointing, its claims of overwhelming conspiracy between elite plutocrats and our Congressional Representatives. And particularly its sense of victimization.

I dislike immensely the way My Country is being run and I am not alone. At the same time I know that nothing can change if it is not at the grassroots and the ballot box. The Progressive Left will bend its ways to whichever way the prevailing wind is blowing from below.

The challenge is at once simple and complex. The grassroots of this country is the Silent Majority of the Nixon era. That middle-class that is eking out a living in the northern rust-belt, where the glory days of economic activity have long since left. The grassroots are also in the southeast of the US where textile employment has long since been uprooted, first to go to Mexico and now onward to China.

It is also in California, the cradle of New Technologies, many of which have also left for India. California with its cyclical boom ‘n bust Hi-tech Go-Go Economy, now a fiscal wreckage.

Why this litany of dislocated jobs? Because that is the challenge with which we must contend. By not lamenting that they have left, but by understanding what must be done to replace them.

It ain’t easy and there is no Quick Fix, in which middle-America likes to believe. The Job Dislocations started in the 1970s - I remember well, because my parents had just retired from the Plastics Industry in central Massachusetts. Right after, throughout the remainder of the 1970s and 1980s, the plastic factories closed inexorably and the jobs moved out and abroad. The old production buildings remain shuttered to this day, a stark reminder of the ruthlessness of global trade.

Uncle Sam is no longer the Masters of the Universe except, perhaps, in Finance - and just look at what that has brought us.

But enough of the wailing and gnashing of teeth. We need an Industrial Strategy for the 21st Century. One that does not consist of making a megabuck by flipping condos or cheap hamburgers.

MY POINT

It is simple: By lowering tax schedules, we motivated both management and capital to look for quick returns wherever they could be found. It helped prompt the Job Dislocation because management was fixated on the Quick Buck that it could obtain either as remuneration or bonuses or stock-options.

These forces have eviscerated our economy, for the profit of just a few.

We all got swept up in the frenzy for the Asset-Value Quick-Buck that equity markets seemed to provide. We jumped in willy-nilly and many lost their shirts.

Let’s presume that the Great American Asset Frenzy of this past decade has come to an end. Perhaps then we can get back to basics and start thinking about how our economy will create Durable Jobs for us and particularly our children.

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By dwdallam, May 24, 2011 at 12:02 am Link to this comment

Reply to: Doug1943, May 23 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A simple question: a number of people here have talked about the evils of “unbridled capitalism”. Are they therefore for “bridled capitalism”? Are we just arguing over different variants of capitalism?

If not, they should explain what the alternative to capitalism is, and how it would work, and how it would be different from the systems of oppression, misery and poverty that all the previous “alternatives to capitalism” have created.


—————-dwdallam start reply———

This is a good question. For one, if there cannot be a profit made of an adventure, then the government should run it. This will stop people like Dick Cheney from profiting from tax payer money running private prisons that actually cost the tax payer more than if the government ran them.

Anytime the government can run a business better than private enterprise, it should do so. For instance, if a community wishes to use its tax money to run a municipal high speed internet system and do it more cheaply than private enterprise without a loss of quality, it should be able to do that—until private enterprise can run it better and more cheaply.

Currently, private enterprise says it’s not fair for the people to organize ventures like this because they can do it more cheaply than private enterprise. Question: If that’s true, and it is, why should we pay more for the same, or even less?

If any venture is public and private enterprise wants to take it over, they must demonstrate how the economy as a whole will benefit over public ownership. This is called—yeah, uh, competition? Corporations hate competition, really.

Last, any resource that is a necessary condition of human survival should maintain as close to possible zero profit. This includes food, healthcare, shelter, clothing. We’re talking bare minimums here. Think Public Utilities, Food Coops (free cheese), communications, some sort of transportation (definitely not necessarily a car). People could opt out if they are not willing to work when needed a minimum hourly week, if needed (Think New Zealand).

Crap, don’t get me started.

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By mc.murphy, May 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm Link to this comment

Elroy, May 23 at 10:52 pm

What the elections show, imo, are the last vestiges of hope clinging to
hopelessness. Should Zapatero fail to change course, the Republicans will be
mandated to change course in turn, and should they fail, the Spanish public will
mount an uprising. That’s if conditions don’t deteriorate any further in the
meantime.

The conditions of Spain, and much of Europe rest in the hands of the Greek
public, which is not going to look kindly on the privatization of their industries
via a yard sale, which in any case won’t raise sufficient funds to change much of
anything:

A stake in state-controlled telecom firm OTE Telecom
A stake in state-controlled Hellenic Postbacnk
A 17% stake in power company PPC.
A reduction in holdings in ports Piraeus and Thessaloniki.
Holdings in Thessaloniki water company (EYATH).

Greece is a zombie Nation. They will default one way or another, and when they
do, all bets are off on Spain and thus on the whole of the the EU nouveau
Empire. The German and French Banks whose stakes in Greece and Spain are
enormous, will then have to fail, and the consequences will reverberate
globally.

There is no way global neoliberal capitalism can squeeze all it ‘must’ out of the
workers…

http://mosquitocloud.net/

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By Brother x, May 23, 2011 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

The West Critique: The Folly of Puffed-Up Self-Importance_Part 2

During the 2008 presidential campaign, many of us waxed teary-eyed as we fell asleep and dreamed that we were witnessing the second coming of the Messiah, only to emerge from our celestial bliss awakened to the earthly reality that we were once again in the presence of yet another Caesar. The image of the messianic figure, the heroic charismatic champion of the poor and downtrodden has undergone an alchemic transmutation into a kind of clay-footed figurine idol, a consummate political pragmatist. Such is the landscape of American politics, a landscape seeded with unrealistic delusions that inevitably mature into crops of realistic disillusionment. No one should be surprised, least of all such career public intellectuals as Dr. West.
  Part of the angst Dr. West must feel certainly derives from his own disillusionment with Mr. Obama; the other part of that angst arises from the sobering realization that his wounds are self-inflicted. After all, it was he who allowed his judgment to become impaired by the seductive allure and the intoxicating prospect of gaining proximity to the power that resides in a newly minted African American president. He saw himself assuming the exalted role of De Facto Counselor to the President, a role which has been usurped by the Reverend Al Sharpton. He saw himself as a twenty-first century version of Frederick Douglass to Mr. Obama—the presumed twenty-first century version of Abraham Lincoln. In spite of all the personal campaigning he did on behalf of Mr. Obama, he couldn’t even score a ticket to the inaugural dance or even a presidential courtesy call. No wonder he is frustrated. His instinctive reaction was to misinterpret Mr. Obama’s stiff-arming as a personal insult, rather than as part of a broader calculus of political expediency similar to the stratagem employed during the stiff-arming of Reverend Wright.
Like a jilted lover who has been inexplicably kicked to the curb, Dr. West, through his questioning of Mr. Obama’s “blackness”, has sought retribution on a very petty level by targeting personal attacks on what may be the soft underbelly of Mr. Obama’s psyche, his sense of racial identity. Such pettiness on the part of Dr. West is not only unbecoming of someone of his stature, it undermines the strength of his argument; while at the same time, it threatens to fracture the political solidarity of the African American community and the prospect of a second term Obama Presidency. And let’s be clear, the prospect of a second term Obama Presidency, a prospect which admittedly lacks the “audacity of hope” luster of the first, is still a far more attractive alternative to any version that the neo-fascist Tea Party Republicans would offer. Dr. West should hold his fire until the advent of a more appropriate time.

Brother X

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By Brother x, May 23, 2011 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment

The West Critique: The Folly of Puffed-Up Self-Importance_Part 1

Apparently, Professor Cornel West has a love-hate relationship with President Obama. Scalding criticism of the President coming from the mouth of Dr. West stands in stark contrast to the visual imagery of a fawning Dr. West that immerges whenever he is in the actual presence of Mr. Obama. The incongruity of these two versions of Dr. West merits a close reading of the article “The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic” by Chris Hedges of Truthdig.com. According to that article, the major premise of Dr. West’s argument is that Mr. Obama has made a Faustian bargain with the Wall Street oligarchs and the corporate plutocrats for the sole purpose of holding on to the reigns of presidential power, and Mr. Obama lacks the requisite vertebrae to stand up to these powerful predatory economic forces that are inflicting pain on the vulnerable masses. While Dr. West’s scathing critique of Mr. Obama bears some verisimilitude, the timing and the tone of his critique is indiscreet, and judging from the internecine nature of his critique, it causes one to question whether Dr. West is motivated by his professed concern for the dismal plight of the suffering masses or by hubris and a desire to get even for what he perceives as a personal presidential slight.
  The inherent weakness in Dr. West’s critique of Mr. Obama rests not in any defect in his argument; its weakness lies in the presentation of that argument; its validity has been challenged primarily because it is an argument couched in vitriolic personal rhetoric. As a case in point, Dr. West’s references to Mr. Obama as a “puppet” and a “black mascot” are not criticisms of Mr. Obama’s policies; they are criticisms of Mr. Obama’s character. This approach is no way to gain Mr. Obama’s trust and confidence in the wisdom of Dr. West’s counsel. Although, it is certainly true Mr. Obama has veered away from many of the popular stances that propelled then candidate Obama into the White House, and furthermore, he has also resorted to consolidating his grip on the presidency by courting the very same Wall Street oligarchy he once vilified. Who can blame him? In the true spirit of American democracy, it is campaign time and there are alliances to be formed and contributions to be had from the corporate plutocracy.

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By robertcol, May 23, 2011 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cornel West, Amy Goodman, Nader,  Kucinich, Chomsky. Are these
prophets? Or wealthy people who make big money by posing as champions
of the poor?

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By Virginia777, May 23, 2011 at 10:57 pm Link to this comment

Elroy:

“There seems no way to shake the establishment - or the
general public.”

Sure there is, just keep on speaking out and don’t give up.

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By Virginia777, May 23, 2011 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment

biznesschic:

“Has anyone noticed but myself, that Nader has become a commentator on Fox News, bashing “liberal” better than Glen Beck ever could?”

YES, I have.

the fcking sell-out.

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By mc.murphy, May 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

By Copeland, May 23 at 10:35 pm

Thanks, Copeland,

it’s fixed and ready to post, but for a title. I’d rather it be yours.

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By Elroy, May 23, 2011 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment

I wish I could agree with Copeland (9:03) that protests
in Madrid (and other spanish cities) “shake up the
establishmen”, but local local and regional elections on
Sunday showed the opposite is true.

But no matter how you analyze the results - record,
overwhelming victories for the conservatives - there is
no indication that voters were listening to the younger
generations in the streets. Two examples: (1) Although
protestors denounced widespread corruption in politics, 
conservative candidates (most notoriously in Valencia)
implicated in corruption charges were returned to power
with stronger majorities; (2) although the protestors’
repudiation of the entire political process should, you
would imagine, have led to at least strong abstention at
the polls, the opposite was true: voter particpation was
high, actually rose one point above last elections.

There seems no way to shake the establishment - or the
general public.

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By Virginia777, May 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment

WAKE UP LIBERALS

We have an extremist invasion on the scale never before seen in our Country.

So what, you are going to WASTE time trashing Obama?

MORONS.

Grow up.

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By Virginia777, May 23, 2011 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

The liberal sell-out, is you Chris Hedges.

Cornel West is not a prophet. He has said some wise things, but he is arrogant. Hence, unwise.

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By maitri, May 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a reply to Katha Pollitt. 
Chris Hedges doesn’t need your condescending editorial advice about how he could write a “stronger piece.”  His piece is as strong as it gets.  Your tone-deaf condescension toward Hedge’s and West’s condemnation of Barack Obama’s capitulation to Wall Street epitomizes what’s wrong with the The Nation magazine these days.
Week after week the superb investigative reporters published in The Nation are documenting in excruciating detail the barbarous corporate-led assault on the American people, but never has the editor-in-chief condemned the Democratic Party and its leader Barack Obama for colluding in this coutry’s destruction.
As Nation intern Kevin Gosztola said of Katrina vanden Heuvel, in a comment to a piece he felt compelled to write at Firedoglake, “Is she too accepting of Obama?  I think so.”  But as an establishment liberal in good standing, she refuses to tell the truth.  She hasn’t got West’s or Hedge’s courage.  She doesn’t want to become a pariah.
The national security and surveillance state, dedicated to shredding the Bill of Rights, fighting endless wars, and to making the wealthy wealthier on the backs of the rest of us, has total bipartisan support. 
Obama appoints deficit-hawk Bowles and social security scourge Simpson as co-chairs of the deficit commission.  He presides over more prosecutions of whistleblowers than all prior Presidents combined.  Presidential policy favors drone attacks that cause the death of hundreds of civilians and new wars of aggression are begun. 
Democrats take over the executive and legislative branches for two full years, and their only substantive achievement is a wretched healthcare bill written by a corporate lobbyist. There is no investigation into or prosecution of the war crimes of the Bush administration, crimes which include a presidential torture policy. All this and more is reported in The Nation magazine week after week and you, Ms. Pollitt, still don’t get it?
You criticize Hedges for not naming names, but the highly personal outrage against Cornel West in both the mainstream and “progressive” media was unanimous and widespread, not limited to a few people. Typical of this universal outrage were the comments by Jonathan Capehart and Dylan Ratigan on Ratigan’s MSNBC show.  They both dismissed West as a racist without once addressing his core criticisms of Obama.
Chris Hedges gets it—anyone will get busted by the liberal establishment if they speak the truth.  They will become pariahs and an example to others of what happens when you step outside the established parameters of political discourse. 
The hysteria and hyperbole in the attacks on West indicate he had violated some sacred, tacit social norm of the liberal tribe.  He had hit a nerve in the establishment and it reacted en masse.
As someone who had read Hedges book, The Death Of The Liberal Class, I should not have been surprised that West was dismissed and insulted in this way, but I was.  It was like an experiment that proved an hypothesis.

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By Copeland, May 23, 2011 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment

@ mc.murphy

By all means, it would please me if you reposted it. Thank you.
There is a typo in the Cornel West paragraph,in the last sentence, where it seems I typed “his support” twice. If you edit that for me it will scan better. I took a look at your mosquitocloud.net and it’s a really well put together place.

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By mc.murphy, May 23, 2011 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

Copeland, May 23 at 9:03 pm

Thank you for your calm and incisive analysis.
I’d like to repost it with permission here:

http://mosquitocloud.net/

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By rootless_e, May 23, 2011 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment

You have it scrupulously and exquisitely backwards. Obama has millions of working class supporters. You and West - not so much. Exploited workers at Imomkalee or in Massey mines or at Boeing can look to Obama’s Department of Labor for support - and what can they get from you and West? As long as the charade is played, the purity class can hold itself up as the conscience of the nation without having to act. Give some talks at the New School and write another book or two while the despised centrists get health care rights for the poor and prosecute police murderers in New Orleans.

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By Copeland, May 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

I saw the other day a story about the protests in Madrid. These are real protests
that shake up the establishment. When Hedges writes that liberals have become pragmatists about the choice of lesser evils, that they fancy themselves as a
respectable liberal class, it is on condition that they comply with the
narrow parameters of political discourse, as it is permitted. The morally courageous are viewed with alarm as soon as they reveal too much. This is the sense I take from what he suggests is prophetic. This is painful in a personal sense because our commitment to justice does not compare favorably with that of protesters on the streets in Tahrir Square or in Madrid.

Nader was vilified in an irrational welter of emotion where it is endlessly claimed
that he cost Gore and the country the election; this is the default position
because either this is true or there was coup d’etat that was the beginning of
the end of the rule of law in this country. It is too dangerous from a
psychological viewpoint to accept responsibility for what happened. Much safer
and more comfortable by far to shift the blame.

Reverend Wright was demonized of course for denigrating the idea that God
reflexively blesses America. Every US president ends an oration with the words
“May God Bless the United States of America”. Many in this country go all clammy and dread the uncomfortable topics whenever conversation turns to our own imperial slaughters abroad, the CIA’s political assassinations, torture, and other of America’s chronic crimes against peace.

Cornel West is revealing the betrayal. And he is attacked as hysterical and
trivialized and is accused of petty spite. One would think from the moralizing
language of some of his detractors that they suggest that he is like a rejected,
wounded suitor. Is it too much to confront the implications of betrayal that is
at once personal and political? No we have to go on believing in Obama’s good
intentions. In the end the servants and courtiers in the liberal class will rally to
his support his support and will recommend this course of action; moreover they
will be crying that the system can still represent the people.

In Madrid,  the masses have figured out that the Spanish government doesn’t
represent the people. Winner-take-all parties want to bar smaller parties from
representation. Voices of the people have been pushed into a place of obscurity,
where no elected official hears or responds to them. And the representatives
are seen now as wholly owned by corporate powers.

Liberals as a political class have participated in their own moral uprooting,
as Chris Hedges has consistently warned us. This is the prophetic part and the
sounding of an alarm. All this fiddling with designer politics and “boutique activism of
political correctness” distracts us. Those who are committed to the primacy of justice can
often be vilified, and have been vilified. We have to be clear about the warning
signs in this country; just as a people can civilize themselves and defend what
is just, they can also lose sight of justice, and can even debase themselves in the
long run, and effectively censor the subjects which are considered unsafe to discuss.
They can walk carelessly over virtues they once possessed and be uncivilized.

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By mc.murphy, May 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

biznesschic, May 23 at 7:12 pm

socialists bad, libertarians bad, socialist libertarian Chomsky the worst and
Liberals just right, eh?

2 million african women have been and continue being sexually violated, 6
million have died. Benito Obama bombs Libya!  -  Wonderful…

http://mosquitocloud.net/

As an African American female you’re just not going to bother your beautiful
mind with that. Good grades presented in a system that has created blind
obedience to authoritarian fascism, they’ve certainly succeeded with you.

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By John Kace, May 23, 2011 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

Sorry to any of you nerds who dont like a drunk persons opinion. Based on the political ideology of the parties. My head goes to the republicans, my heart goes to the democrats and my soul belongs with the libertarians. Since my head and heart can be sold in a world controlled by democrats and republicans I vote libertarian.

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By dwdallam, May 23, 2011 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

Welcome to a New World Order. It’s called Corporate Fascism. No bullets will be fired. It is controlled by sociopaths and megalomaniacs or a combination of both who make up the rules as they go. The weapon of mass destruction is called “The Economy.”  You can either get with the program, or starve. The masses support it.

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By biznesschic, May 23, 2011 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

TO Larry Snyder.  You should get out more:

You see, the average voter is not democratic or republican voter.  They are the guys who watch Gunsmoke on Sundays, instead of Meet the press.  They are more interested in the guy who quickly gave them a job, after 6 months of unemployment, and that they can finally keep their college age children on their health insurance, and that thanks to the middle class tax cut in which our president kept in place, they can buy a pizza once a month.  They have no idea of who is Larry Summers, or that you, being a comfortable left wing Libertarian, thinks that they are being naive politically.

This site is Truthdig, and I am giving it you honestly.

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By Cellis, May 23, 2011 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am amused reading many of these comments.  All of this idealism that is being spewed, but not one person seems to care about the average person.  President Obama is a “sellout, corporate puppet, etc.”  Are you kidding me?  How many of you helped 31 million people to obtain health insurance including my son with a pre-existing condition?  How many of you helped my friend, a single mother, receive an 8k tax credit as a first time homeowner?  How many of you helped my other friend who was unemployed to pay for 65% of her COBRA costs?  How many of you ended DADT and the Iraq War?  Saved the jobs of other teachers like myself?  Last time I checked these were real changes that happened in real people’s lives.  So while you wait on the pie in the sky, praise Brother West who hasn’t done sheesh for anybody in the Black Community but add hot air to melting the polar ice caps, I will take my hopey changey President Obama anyday and everyday.  Yes I am a bleeding heart LIBERAL!  I work for the change that I want to see rather than waiting for others and complaining about what this person is not doing or how they’re selling out.  It is wonderful to have beliefs and ideals, but turning them into reality takes work and yes, compromise.  I am an activist and leader who will be registering voters, continuing to organize in my community, engaging voters, rallying for causes, phone banking, canvassing and GOTV.  I live in the real world with real problems and will work to make a difference while you idealists continue to dream and squawk.

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By screamingpalm, May 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

And so, Try to get Russ Finegold, Denis K, or Ralph Nader elected.  Until then, you are just blowing smoke up our collective liberal arses.

I’ve done volunteer work for Nader in the past… what have you done besides tell his supporters that their effort is futile?

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By biznesschic, May 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

Has anyone noticed but myself, that Nader has become a commentator on Fox News, bashing “liberal” better than Glen Beck ever could?

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By MollyJ, May 23, 2011 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

I really liked it where Hedges spoke about “prophets”.  It was precisely this feeling that when Hedges writes, you are hearing something that sounds a lot like the truth.  But then you take his ideas to some sort of natural next step and it’s just horrifying.  But you back off, and then there it is again.  What he says makes sense.  And you start to see the natural consequences come to be.

It’s all difficult.  Our job is to be a voice for the marginalized voices.

Look how many people write off Chomsky, Hedges, West etc etc as nuts.  But listen to the totality of what is said.  It’s a lot more logical than a constitutional lawyer who doesn’t even stand up for the constitution.

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By biznesschic, May 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

And so, Try to get Russ Finegold, Denis K, or Ralph Nader elected.  Until then, you are just blowing smoke up our collective liberal arses.

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By screamingpalm, May 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

@gerard:

I think Chris Hedges assumes his readers are already aware and informed on some level of detail. For example, Nader’s prophecies about many things such as the Great Recession. For him to go into detail about things people should already have a basic grasp of, would be redundant and unnecessary in my opinion. He speaks to the “it- getters” and not the sheep.

It presumes a common understanding when there is little or none.

Unfortunately true, but that is part of the problem isn’t it?

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By jasmine311, May 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Katha Politt said:“It’s kind of odd that [CH] failed to so much as mention Melissa Harris-Perry, his Nation colleague, whose defense of Obama has
been much discussed.”

I assume Harris-Perry WAS mentioned in the title under the general term “sellouts,” which is all the attention people in such a category should merit.

The business of sellouts being discussed by other sellouts will never translate into anything noteworthy in the real world.  Be that as it may, Harris-Perry is mentioned plentifully enough in the comments section of Joan Walsh’s Salon column on Doctor West, although it may not be to Ms. Politt’s liking.

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By biznesschic, May 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

Ha.  I was just told by the Libertarian left, that getting good grades as an African American was akin to
Fascism.  So do you now understand why I believe that there is no discerning line between the libertarian, left, and Sarah Palin?

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By gerard, May 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

I usually agree with much of what I think Chris Hedges is saying, but my problem comes with how he says it.  He over-generalizes—perhaps his worst fault.  This particular piece is notable for this tendency.  Sentence after sentence starts with “the liberals” or “the liberal class” presuming there is such a thing and that everyone agrees on what or who it is. 

Political conversation is rife with this tendency, but, at the same time it is a more convenient way of speaking than specifying in detail what is meant, it also has its difficulties—the main one being that it divides by class, and defines with a very broad brush.  It lacks exceptions, and therefore lacks accuracy. It presumes a common understanding when there is little or none.

The fact is that people with a liberal cast of mind vary a lot, some more, some less, and as a label the word has little meaning.  It connotes a class, the detailed definition of which depends largely on how readers interpret it from their own various points of view. 

When he turns to defending prophets, he does the same thing, generalizing that prophets “do this” or
“don’t do that.” 

It is hard to come away from his pieces with anything specific, particularly so far as practical
suggestions go.  Even when he references “non-
violence” (in which he is much interested and which he advocates) he seems not to care to go into specifics, so that the very term remains an “empty container” which the reader is left free to fill with his or her own prejudices and/or ignorance.

Of course some generalizing is inevitable, but when it is too profuse, writing loses its specific relevance and becomes empthy rhetoric.

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