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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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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, May 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

Obama’s middle name should be Judas - he has betrayed his own constituency - oddly, his strongest opposition is from within - which speaks eloquently of his studied hypocrisy - He is a worse asshole than Bush or Trump because he pretends to be the Liberal Savior - talking up a storm and practically colluding in the same atrocities required by his Corporate masters. He deserves all the prophetic indignation of a Colonel West he is given - but his lack of integrity and conscience makes him impervious to such properly righteous anger. He is as dangerous as the Right make him out to be - but for very different reasons.

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screamingpalm's avatar

By screamingpalm, May 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

@biznesschic:

Pragmatism is just another word for conformity.

Also, I find it hilarious that you are accusing leftist dissidents of being the “elitists” while you defend the corporacrats like a shill.

Let me clue you in that the only ones that this Obamacare supports is the for-profit health care industry with mandates. Without a public option I am still left without treatment for my multiple sleeping disorders. When I went on FMLA to attempt to get treated, my insurance denied coverage and then my employer fired me (while on FMLA waiting to get seen- paying with my own money). For me to vote for any mainstream corporate puppet, is the equivalent of committing suicide… seriously. So don’t judge me buddy.

Then others complain about Nader supporters who are fed up, and seeing red after Democrats block him off of state ballots across the country. SCREW YOU GUYS! Combine that with the Baucus 8, where single payer advocates weren’t even allowed a seat at the table and it is easy to see how much of an oxymoron “Democrat” is. You blame Nader for Bush, well I blame Gore voters for Bush. You should have joined the growing progressive movement instead of killing it with idiotic rhetoric. It is sad that the Right is more successful with grassroots independent campaigns than the Left.

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entropy2's avatar

By entropy2, May 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

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

-Belittle people with principles…check.
-Accuse those who don’t accept being sold out to corporate masters as elitists…check.
-Paint lipstick on BHO’s pigs…check.
-Praise our betrayal as pragmatism…check.
-Abuse the (previously) most active Dem base…check.
-Throw in a dose of repub fearmongering…check.

Wow…What was I thinking? I can’t wait for 2012 now so I can vote for BHO again. With so many great reasons to support the Dems, how can we go wrong? Yeah, that’s the ticket!

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By mc.murphy, May 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

biznesschic, May 23 at 5:45 pm

“...just because we chose to study and get good grades.”

Good grades reward the type of thinking that brought us fascism, and you
biz..chick will not be spared - far too low on the totem poll, if you get the drift.

If not here’s some of the best clarification of where this ship is heading I’ve come
across, from someone who’s someone, and still alive, evah!
http://mosquitocloud.net/political-economic-reality-vs-247-reality-show/

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By Larry Snider, May 23, 2011 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To CH; Sellouts and Slanderers:

It’s OK to be rude, harsh and capital DC, Downright Cruel when you speak of the extraordinary shortcomings of the liberal class and its less than stelar record in pursuit of justice, human rights and individual values. However, it is unjust to characterize the good will and good works of millions of Americans who put themselves on the line each and everyday on behalf of people stuggling in the streets and on main street from poverty, desperation, mental illness, crime, terrible health issues, veterans of foreign and domestic warfare that have lost their way and find help from a social worker who spends more time than required listening and then acting on someones behalf.
I never believed in a thousand points of light because there are millions of liberals who stand in the rain on behalf of a cause and give their last dollar to buy a cup of coffee for someone without. There is BIG L Liberalism and maybe it is far worse than jaded. But people believed in Obama because people, almost countless people believe that CHANGE is possible and they’ll work their butts off in a campaign or for human rights if somebody just whistles the right tune. It’s been played on radios and TV and your friend Dr. West has done more than his share of motivating. Keep your heart open just enough to be surprised because surprised you will be…

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

A mixed economy and mixed society have so far proved to be longer lasting and less stressful. But there are those who prefer monoculturalism, mon"race"ism and so on. They also want the kind of model for civilization as typified not by the Greek but by the Persians.

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By Penelope, May 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am a huge admirer of both Hedges and West. But I would like to know how West
charging $15,000 for a speaker’s fee fits with anti-capitalist messaging. I’m being
quite serious and respectful in asking for help wrapping my brain around this.

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By biznesschic, May 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

WHY LEFT WING LIBERTARIANS WOULD STILL TRY TO HOLD WATER FOR POVERTY PIMPS SUCH AS CORNEL WEST.

As a Mixed raced-, African Native American who may be “confused” by who I am, let me keep it real on Truthdig!

You pseudo socialist as Dr West can’t wrap your superior intellectual brains around the fact that America will have colonies on the moon, before we resemble anything of the socialist utopia that you try to denounce we “liberals” for not envisioning.  You are not liberals, but idealist, whose only claim to fame is taking to the internet to down we liberals, who actually manage to win elections.

You are the group that would have not supported the civil war, yet would have not accepted the emancipation proclamation either, because it didn’t include giving the slaves full voting rights.  You are the elitist class that would rather 30 million people not have access to health care, because it lacks a public option, although you have great employer paid health insurance.

Being mixed race, I understand too perfectly where poverty pimps such as West are coming from.  He is the same school yard black bully that taunted us in our African American neighborhood, of being “too white”, just because we chose to study and get good grades.  Bad when it comes from a 6th grader, inexcusable when it comes from a professor at Princeton.

You see, our dear brother doctor doesn’t make money from telling African Americans that they are the determination of their own destinies, or, informing poorer neighborhoods how to navigate the system to their own benefit, it is much easier to pull off a negro pity fest once a year, at 50 bucks a ticket, with the sponsorship of Exxon mobile.

Sorry, but you are beginning to sound like the defenders of Russ Limbaugh, attacking those who are exercising the same rights of speech as the good Dr.  There is beginning to be no difference between the rhetoric of the far left, and far right.

So keep it up downing pragmatist liberals, who actually manage to win elections, and bring forth your pitiful left wing libertarian candidates, such as Cynthia McKinney, and let the real liberals re-elect President Obama.  Not for a liberal utopia, but just to keep the republican party from further leading us down the road to fascism.

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By Rudolfo, May 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

@CenterOfMass writes:

“I’m pretty sure Hedges said that corporations are running the show, and that Obama is a Wall Street sock puppet.”

This is news?  Any fool can blame ‘the corporations’, I don’t need Hedges for that.  And, it’s not ‘the corporations, it is individual corporations, it is financiers, I want the names of the corporations, I want to know what they are doing, explicitly.  I want to know the names of the people who are responsible, We know the names of many, the Wall St. barons that should be indicted for crimes.  William Black can name the names. Matt Taibbi names names. 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.  So, it’s doubtful that the problem is solvable, but we need more W. Blacks and M. Taibbis and fewer C. Hedgeses.

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By John Halle, May 23, 2011 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

Katha Pollitt: The Nation, Feb 9, 2009

“It’s inauguration day as I write this, and joy and hope are breaking out all over.
We can do better! Let’s get serious! I feel it too—I can’t help it. Bidding farewell
to Bush and Cheney is huge. Electing an African-American president is
immense. I don’t expect President Obama to set the world to rights
immediately, unlike the 70 percent who, according to an Associated Press poll,
expect him to fix the economy in one year. But there is something that belongs
on that lengthy to-do list of his, along with rolling back Bush’s midnight
regulations, putting the torturers on trial and for God’s sake brokering a fair
and lasting settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.” (Long, irrelevant
discussion of the decline public libraries, which Obama has, of course, done
nothing about, follows.)

How’s that hopey changey stuff working out for you, Katha?

As Hedges writes, the liberal class, of which Pollitt is a fairly typical example,
has effectively permanently discredited itself by remarks such as these. It is
now painfully obvious that new voices are needed, as we pointed out a few
months ago-with Chris Hedges endorsement-at http://www.protestobama.org.

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By mc.murphy, May 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

“Benito Obama”

love it!

2 Million _______, 6 Million ________: Let’s Bomb Libya!

http://mosquitocloud.net/

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By Monk-in-the-ruins, May 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

A couple of years ago, during the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, I saw a clip of young turk Mike Wallace on that vanguard leftist network CBS lecturing Dr. King condescendingly on his refusal to rein in ‘his people’ and, of course, urging the Safe Liberal position that surely liberals had done a great deal for civil rights. American liberals have always been glad to denounce, defame, and destroy anyone who is not “pragmatic” in their sense of the word, anyone who has a greater sense of the ‘fierce urgency of now’ (the line stolen by candidate Obama to suggest that he was one alive to that urgency). Liberalism, as the left 45 years ago recognized, is a position which is reached by bargaining away anything remotely like principles.

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By aacme88, May 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

Although I agree with most of what Chris Hedges has to say, I’m not sure that helping Fox and Limbaugh pile on liberals is the solution. I think Chris confuses “liberals” with “liberal politicians”, who have to face the realities of Citizens United and the lobbyist controlled politics that it codified into law, but were with us long before that. Almost all liberal politicians have knuckled under, rather than fight back. If someone in the position of an Obama, for instance, who has already attained the necessary power, were to use it to restore democracy in the US, he would be supported by most of the people and revered as a hero down through the ages. When he took office in the aftermath of the Bush Administration he had the blessings of the nation to do exactly that, but didn’t. Maybe after he is re-elected, though without my support, or Hedges’ or West’s, maybe he will see that as a chance to reclaim that lost opportunity. It will be the last for some generations.

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katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, May 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

By WarrenMetzler,

“The answer is to recognize that if there are inalienable rights we all possess,
than a successful society will only arise when the majority take serious efforts
toward achieving those rights for themselves.”

And since “the majority” are nationalistic neanderthals and would rather whack someone with a club than teach them how to make a fire (thanks to the thorough brainwash meted out by the conservative owned media), Chris Hedges makes it his job to awaken us to our downfall.

“That having it be okay that
people sit around and wait for others to provide opportunities for them is a
path that only leads to chaos and destruction.”

Aaahhh, the Conservative Celebration, as if conservatives actually had something worth giving.

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By fishy2, May 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cornel West’s was a much needed and courageous take-down. Writers like Adolph Reed, Jr., who knew Obama from the get back in his early political days in Illinois, get credit for seeing this coming. (Reed opined in 2008 that candidate Obama was a mere “vacuous opportunist” (see http://www.progressive.org/mag_reed0508)

But Hedges and others who didn’t get involved in the organizing around diversity and multiculturalism issues should do their homework before assuming they know what that movement did/does and was/is about. Blanket rejection of work that involved courageous challenging of status quo powers (including lots of civil disobedience and direct action and police brutality and institutional repression, usually targeting racial minorities with a tenuous grasp on “middle-class” status, if that) = not helpful, not coalitional, not progressive, and feels like a gratuitous cheap shot.

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By GoldFingerUp, May 23, 2011 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

mc.murphy wrtote:

“As for myself, I’d say that the revolution has been performed on us while we were blissfully slumbering. So now, what is called for is that we awaken and mount a Counter-Revolution!”

==============================================

You’d be needing a few Americans to pull that off, and I’m afraid all the Americans were eliminated over the last few decades thru medicine, food, water and air a Martian wouldn’t swallow, leaving nothing but jelly-fish of various types behind, who find it nearly impossible to leave their TVs long enough to defecate the pre-digested McDoggies Burgers that make up their daily nutrition.

There simply aint enough real Americans left to pull off what must be done and what must be done is exactly what the US paid the Russian Pope to do to Russia to destroy the Politburo there.

100% Civil Disobedience and System Sabotage is needed to take back the nation, and nothin like that is ever gonna come outta the couch potatoes and sportsfans that pass for Americans today.

They aint got the nards, aint never gonna have the nards, and are 100% corporate slave fodder waiting to be assigned their new labors by their new masters, as long as the masters promise not to hurt them too much.

America was a great idea, but the Power Brokers own it now. Might as well get used to being somebody’s Bitch America.

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By mdbaker, May 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

Dr. West is not only courageous, he is an optimist. And the audacity to be both when living in an age of creeping fascism and global repression is to be applauded.

Whether anyone else agrees w/ what he says about the current admin. it is his right to say it-

True democracy is the willingness to speak truth-to everyone- and stand with the consequences.

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By Justin Weleski, May 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

Cornel West committed the mortal sin of refusing to praise the Party Line. 
Deviation from this Line forever brands you as part of the “unrealistic left” [in
the shrill words of Ms. Joan Walsh of Salon].  Thus, any desire to NOT see your
President attempt to assassinate American citizens without adhering to due
process of law, or NOT shower trillions of dollars of subsidies on the very same
Wall Street cunts [er, bankers] who wrecked the global economy means that you
simply don’t understand “pragmatic” politics and are operating in liberal la-la
land.

Apparently, the parameters of debate are now set by our ideological foes and
strictly enforced by “our” side’s highly-paid pundits.  If Benito Obama wishes to
bomb Libya, then step aside and applaud his devotion to humanitarianism (all
the while mumbling a few platitudes about “civilian casualties” and “genocide
averted”). To do otherwise is to be…cough…sniffle…unrealistic!

And there is no greater crime than to be “unrealistic” in the age of three overt
wars [Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya], one increasingly overt war [Pakistan] and God
only knows how many covert operations.  You damned unrealistic fools!

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, May 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

“TEACHER! Leave those kids alone.”

“You well heeled big wheel, ha ha charade you are.”

Hedges is a firebrand, the inciter of renegade wannabe’s, anti-social recluses sitting alone together on the school bus in their surrealistic trench coats. No one is good enough, not Chomsky, not Zinn, all the allies are traitors.

Hedges is a rabble rouser, a fire and brimstone preacher, the anointer of prophets, (or does he fancy himself the over-turner of the moneychanger’s tables?)

He lashes out, he offers nothing, and he will accomplish nothing; will he self-righteously gloat when all has been lost, never acknowledging his guilt, or will he take perverted pleasure when the misery he has prophesied comes to pass?

But he means well, don’t you think?

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By DavidByron, May 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

Kati said,
“Chomsky opined that both parties are actually factions of one Wall Street controlled party but he wrote and this is confirmed by stats, that people in general do better during Democratic administrations than during Republican ones.”

The problem with that statement is that people go on to conclude that voting in more Democratic administrations than Republicans will result in better conditions over the long term.  That statement does NOT follow from the first and some people find that very hard to comprehend.

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By mc.murphy, May 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

smitty8, May 23 at 2:38

Gore would have been Clinton redux, not much there to hang one’s hat on to
begin with. I mean, come on,  Clinton put the Democratic party on the
Neoliberal bullet train, and as for the US foreign policy, it’s bipartisanship
forevah, and dictated by Washington planners, as much as economic policies
are dictated by Wall Street.

And when you consider that the Supreme Court has given a nod to Police
crashing through your door just because one of them is smoking a doobie,
what you’ve got is the definition of Fascism, right here and right now.

http://mosquitocloud.net/political-economic-reality-vs-247-reality-show/

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By Doug1943, May 23, 2011 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.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

Cry me a river! With out to much guesstamating,  this is really about Nader and not about Cornel West. With so many Nader, Nader fawners out their why in hell didn’t Nader win?

Give it a rest morons,... Nader didn’t win, because of the hooks and crooks, so whats new? The whole damn thing is orchestrated to play a cretin way and it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the whole damn thing is rigged, so that if either party wins the main characters pulling the stings win anyway.

Get used to being in the barrel, bunky!

I see almost as many Nader this and Nader thats here on Hedges articles as I used to see honey dos when I was married! Lucky for me I ain’t married to yous clowns!

All I see is constant whining, actually so much whining its got me whining about the whiners,...just by damn association,... yous guys are like herpes except it must have something to do with computers!  More politely,  you remind me of dogs howling when a fire engine goes by, except again its Nader going by!

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By WarrenMetzler, May 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

I object to CH’s assessment. I propose that Cornel West is a professional Black.
A man who believes that being Black is intrinsically superior to being any other
race; who did his best to rise in the system; and who spends most of his time
trying to convince people he and a few others are needed to let us know how
Blacks are really like. And more, is a professional bleeding heart liberal; who
like all his peers in this field, always complain about the poor not being helped,
but never once offering a single viable solution, other than government
handouts, which the war on poverty proved is not a solution.

I ask any person to provide a single Cornel West solution, that is a practical way
to solve any problem in society, that has been tried somewhere long enough
ago to knows it is viable, it works. I consider Ralph Nader in this latter group.
And Chris Hedges needs to be assigned there as well.

Yes, Obama is a scoundrel, and yes he is obviously a hypocrite, not having kept
almost every campaign promise he made and not acting consistently with
almost every pre-election position he claimed to have. But the answer is not to
blame corporations. Because they are populated by people whose world views
are identical to most people in the world.

The answer is to recognize that if there are inalienable rights we all possess,
than a successful society will only arise when the majority take serious efforts
toward achieving those rights for themselves. That having it be okay that
people sit around and wait for others to provide opportunities for them is a
path that only leads to chaos and destruction.

Doesn’t many decades since the programs from the Great Depression, and a
few decades of the “Great Society” programs, not at all working, indicate that
government programs never produce societal change, and only people
themselves creating situations where they advance themselves will work. It may
take a long time before most people act in that manner. But all who want to
inspire others need to begin to promote such approaches. And it is time we
forever put to bed the idea that a government program is going to stimulate a
person to mover toward permanent success and reward. Which I personally
know is possible for everyone.

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By sharonsj, May 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

I read through the article, searching for the names of the liberal sellouts who attacked West.  I found none.  So I came away from this asking myself, “What the hell is Hedges talking about?”  P.S.  This liberal agrees with West.

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By GLS, May 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Once again, Chris Hedges says nothing about West’s
anti-semitic remarks—which is starting to say
something about Chris Hedges.

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By smitty8, May 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

Judging from the number of comments already, Hedges’
excellent column struck some nerves or maybe even guilty
consciences. I never cease to be amazed at how many
stump-broke Obama apologists still exist, moribund
Democratic Party notwithstanding.

It is sad, but not surprising, to hear repeats of the
tired excuse that Nader cost Gore the election. Gore
cost Gore the election. If he had accepted Nader’s
criticism and pushed for the obvious reform he could
have gotten Nader on his side but Nader has too much
integrity to drop his criticism and support the “lesser
of evils.” Even if he had ignored Nader and had not run
such a weak, timid campaign he would still have won even
without Nader.

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By Tobysgirl, May 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

I remember when Katha Pollitt actually had something of value to say. Yes, you all, I was born in a previous geological epoch ...

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By ron hansing, May 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I left the communist party 20 years ago.” Franz Biberkoph…

I did read the original post and my conclusion is that this is the samo marxist rants.

The problem is that Marxist have to continually change it name, because it never works… We have gone from Leninism to neomarxism, to democratic marxism, and today, it’s stealth marxism.

Biberkoph pretty much sums up my belief. Marxism hasn’t worked, won’t work and will only results in the second phase of the movement, the dictatorship of the masses, with the West and the likes members of the elite leadership.

Alas, when one can show me where the third phase of Marxism is achieved, Utopia, than I will again become a beleiver.

The problem is that marxism always get stuck in the second phase.

ron hansing

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By southmpls, May 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the system is so rigged in favor of “supporters only
invited” (the WH holds meetings with the “liberal”
press and tells them to shut up or be disbarred from
the meeting) it’s a fine line everyone must toe.

corporate governance of, by and for the people has
corrupted the 3 branches.  the SCOTUS is completely
bought and paid for by corporatocracy.  the 60-vote
requirement by the automatic (doesn’t even have to be
recorded!) threat of filibuster is sicker than sick. 
if the majority can’t rule, why have the majority
Rule?  the latest defeat that oil companies give up
their tax breaks is proof positive that the Democrats
don’t deserve the name. 

Cornel West injected too much personal pain in his
comments, but his political assessment is spot on. 
it’s too bad that speaking truth to power results in
so much blowback.

there’s something afoot in America and it’s
interesting to watch—personally, my position is
that we’re going to take back our country by putting
up progressive candidates who can articulate the
problem with establishment candidates and put forth
an alternative vision and position.  And win.

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By mc.murphy, May 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

Chriss Hedges, for whatever reason, stops short of naming the solution.

The most clear eyed statement, by Reagan’s Assistant Secretary to The Treasury,
no less, is a direct call for a REVOLUTION. In Greece, Ireland, Spain and here in the
recently minted fascist US: http://mosquitocloud.net/political-economic-reality-
vs-247-reality-show/

As for myself, I’d say that the revolution has been performed on us while we were
blissfully slumbering. So now, what is called for is that we awaken and mount a
Counter-Revolution!

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By Morpheus, May 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

The so called liberal class doesn’t have any answers either. We have a two party dictatorship. What bothers me most is how sheep like we have become. We do nothing but talk and complain about our problems in this country. I’m sick of it. I chose to do otherwise.

Wake up America. It’s time…
“THE REVOLUTION HAS STARTED”
Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )

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By Night-Gaunt, May 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

He obviously thought he deserved to. But for whatever reason, maybe because he is a real Progressive and Obama isn’t might be a factor he should consider as a reason for.

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By Leefeller, May 23, 2011 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Night Guant, I see the two choices as some sort of sock puppet show, (Punch and Judy)? The script is to promote the idea one seems obviously meaner and worse then the other. 

Its like a planed Yin and yan choreographed by the corporations and power brokers behind the curtains, who are becoming more and more blatant as the curtain seems to be disappearing.

So what is Hedges saying,  it not right an left anymore, ...it left and more left, left left, self righteous orthodox left?

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By ElkoJohn, May 23, 2011 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Take a deep breath Chris.

You know corporate, global capitalism will never be defeated.

You know the so-called liberals and their leader Obama believe in corporate capitalism—and that somehow, the federal government will wisely regulate the evil out of it, so that all of humanity benefits from ‘‘tinkle down’’ economics and that the damage to our planet earth and the folks at the bottom of the barrel will be minimal.

So the choice is to go along with the Fairy Tale and feel good, or fight the system knowing we can’t win.

Hopefully, Dr. West and others will continue to fight the status quo until the bitter end.

And in an ironic way, it’s fun to get bashed by both the Republican and Democrat loyalists—perhaps it proves there’s not much difference between the two.

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By savannah43, May 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

Oops! I’ll get the hang of it.

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By savannah43, May 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Votes for Nader were not what put BushCo into office. It was the illegal interference of SCOTUS in the fixed election. The 2004 election was delivered by Diebold, as he promised to do. Some research would be more helpful than a knee-jerk blathering of nonsense. Some math wouldn’t hurt, either.

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By savannah43, May 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

Votes for Nader were not what put BushCo into office. It was the illegal interferece of SCOTUS in the fixed election. The 2004 election was delivered by Diebold, as he promised to do. Some research would be more helpful than a knee-jerk blathering of nonsense. Some math wouldn’t hurt, either.

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By kenfreedomrings, May 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More great insight by Chris Hedges. I only disagree slightly with his characterizations of “unbridled capitalism” as the current state of affairs of corporate fascist America. It is not unbridled capitalism, but crony capitalism that owes its existence to governmental power.

I know that most of the readers of the website disagree, but it is true unbridled-no-protection-under-the-state- laissez-faire capitalism that gives the greatest opportunity to the greatest number to advance economically—and by the way, assures the personal rights of man that have been taken away by both Republican and Democratic institutions throughout the powerful leviathan state.

The only consistent anti-war, pro-freedom ideology is libertarianism. And the only real chance for this is to support Ron Paul for the presidency.

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By BlueHatMan, May 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

OK. West said Obama was running around with no clothes. And that was a good
thing to say. But prophecy? Even re-reading West, prophecy is a big reach. What I
did come away with was thinking if Cornell had only got that ticket instead of
those hotel employee lowlifes he’d be talking a whole other line…

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By papapete, May 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

I think Cornel West is a really smart person with a
good head on his shoulders. I don’t agree with him on
every issue though. That doesn’t mean I am attacking
him. There’s a lot of liberal folks out there who
thought it was a good idea to vote for Ralph Nader in
2000. Cornel West was one of them. He has said as
much.
The votes that Ralph Nader got in 2000 were directly
responsible for putting John Roberts and Samuel Alito
on the Supreme Court. Al Gore may have been just
barely to the left of W, but I feel strongly he would
have appointed someone a WHOLE LOT more liberal than
Roberts and Alito. We’ll be paying a long time for
that debacle.

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By TheHandyman, May 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

After going through the comments it reminded me of something my father used to sau, “when you throw a rock into a pack of dogs the one the yelps is the one you hit.” Hedges hit a lot of dogs apparently given their protests and defenses of the Dims. I worked for, donated, and voted for Ralph Nader. I remember when Ralph called Obama a Black man in a White man’s skin and everyone screamed racist! They didn’t get it and a lot of posters here don’t get it that Cornel West was merely echoing what Nader had said by calling him a Black puppet. Ralph said months ago that real Liberalism is dead in this country and I believe him. Real activism has been replaced by pragmatism, compromise, and bi-partisanship which no matter how you dice it means the People are going to get screwed. When you look at the attacks on the working class at the State level by an ever more dangerous Republiwon’t party and watching the Dimocan’ts aid and abet them one would think that the People would have vision and understanding of what is happening to them and their way of life and they would be willing to do what the people of the Middle East are doing. Instead, they continue to support the Nazi’s who are marching them to the gas chamber saying that it is going to lead to a better way of life. They seem unable to comprehend what is at stake. Nader predicted Obama would sell out. This recent speech about the establishment of the Palestinian State was hailed as a real substantial move on his part when it was in fact nothing new. As long as Israel is given the first right of refusal about everything Palestinian there will never be a Palestinian State. Thirty years from now the only Palestinians will be living in refugee camps in Jordan and other countries and the Jewish State will be a fait accompli! Obama gives good speech, but when it comes to action, the only thing he knows how to do is rollover on his back and wet himself or to open up another front in his war making. I can only imagine that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee must be having nightmares over that blunder. Obama thinks now that the more innocent lives he takes the more Peace there is going to be. It is a horrible thing to say but I can’t wait to hear his response when there is another even worse 9/11 because he helped increase the number of people who have experienced the terrorism of his GWOT!

Obama keeps doing exactly what Nader said he would to the point where Ralph looks like an Old Testament Prophet. West was just one of many who feel betrayed just as Ralph said they would.

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By savannah43, May 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

Now we even have Blue Dog Liberals. Good article. This must be why I get angry when someone calls me a liberal.

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By KathaPollitt, May 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This would have been a stronger piece if CH had engaged with the actual
arguments of West’s critics, or even named at least one, instead of blathering
away in general terms.  It’s kind of odd that he failed to so much as
mention Melissa Harris-Perry, his Nation colleague, whose defense of Obama has
been much discussed.

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By caped amigo, May 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

Thank you once again Chris for your light. You have made me, through your
writings, a bornagain human. I am on fire.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

What they see and aren’t saying is that we are caught in a trap. One carefully laid out so that we have a choice dilemma where neither one will be good but we are told that the other one, Republican, will be “worse” even though the “better” (evil) candidate will do the same things but in a nicer way. And throw a few sops to is that the Republican won’t.

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By gerald lagadec, May 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As usual, the pseudo intellectal gad flies nit pick at Chris with the most obtuse and convoluted reasoning. Because he doesn’t define every detail of tactic, cause, and culprit he is labled as “vague” -and the one I don’t understand- part of the problem. As far as I am concerned, he hits the proverbial nail right on the noggin concerning the “liberal mindset” today. I just retired from teaching at a local University because the general complacency and ignorance among my students was overwhelming. I’ve been fighting this attitude for years, and I couldn’t do it anymore. I’m a veteran both of the Vietnam war and student activism afterwards. Considering how quiet it’s generally been on college campuses over the last decade, not much else can be said for the outrage quotient among the young. Beer pong seems to be more important than The Bill of Rights.Liberals have learned to hide behind their aloofness from the streets where the action is. Too many college professors are cowards and hide behind some ethereal platitudes of non- violence.It doesn’t look good for change at the moment, sorry Mr “pretty Words” Obama, but you’re sucking at the corporate teat like the rest of them, only you know the language of phony resistance…and then cave in when the going really gets rough. Save the “bones” you throw us and develop some of your own, particularly in your spine. Keep on keeping on Chris; you are one of the few voices crying in this wilderness of capitulation and cowardice.

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By Canyon Walker, May 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

Real prophets don’t whine because they didn’t get a ticket to the inauguration.  Real progressives don’t resent that working class people in hotel services DID tickets.  Cornel West’s tirade was childish and counterproductive.  It also had a tinge of antisemitism. 

The real problem isn’t Obama, it is the power the right-wing has over the media and campaign financing.  I’m way to the left of Obama, but I will certainly vote for him again next time.  The alternatives are unthinkable.

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By Kati, May 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, I wonder who you mean by “liberal class”?

Chomsky opined that both parties are actually factions of one Wall Street controlled party but he wrote and this is confirmed by stats, that people in general do better during Democratic administrations than during Republican ones.

So wouldn’t it have been better if Gore had been elected instead of Bush Jr.?  Not only for the US but for the Iraqi people? HOw many lives could have been saved?

Yes, the road to making life better for our fellow humans requires climbing/hanging by our fingernails to a rock.  And, as Sisyphus did, once on top, you fall down and have to start all over again.  So it’s no wonder that super bright idealistic individuals like you get angry…  can’t blame you.

Basically, you have to make do with half way measures.  You have to be content for each lives saved.  You have to be pragmatic and humanitarian all at once.

On a more specific note, ultimately it’s not Obama, or even our financial elite that bears the brunt of the blame.  It’s the people who get brainwashed with the million of ads/propaganda that feeds on their ignorance, gullibility, and the old process of transferance onto a weaker imagined “other”. 

There’s no way they would vote for a Kucinich—I sure would have liked to vote for him but I knew it was a lost cause.  I’ll vote for Obama again.

As for Cornell West, even though I admire much of his writing, he does come on as way too corny for my taste.  I live in a rougher world where friendship only grows after a time of personal acquaintance and mutual help navigating everyday life (rejoicing at the good things, helping with the bad, like taking you to the ER, hiding you from a murderous abusive spouse, etc etc etc.) 

In addition, West’s diatribes against Obama are tainted by personal animus (which might be mutual), so they lose their power.

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By culheath, May 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

It is bad enough that there are criminals who abuse us, but our outrage is even greater when those we have entrusted with powers to protect us from such abuse have themselves become the abusers.

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By BobZ, May 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

West was way over the top in his criticism of Obama. It was actually offensive. I
expect that tone from the extreme right but there is no reason why
liberal/progressives need to attack the president with such vehemence. I don’t
take issue with most of what West said how how he delivered it. He just lost me
about one paragraph into his tirade. I think in hindsight Obama has delivered
about as much as can be expected in a world dominated by big money,
corporate interests,  the military establishment, and a hateful group of
Republican leaders and their base of voters many of whom are still bigoted.
When I see the current crop of Republican presidential candidates and their
Congressional lookalikes, I absolutely cringe. Obama is all that stands between
us and a facist-lite country if they ever got all three branches of government. It
is truly appalling at how reactionaries have taken over the powers of state
government and returning us to the horrible days of yesteryear. Obama is far
from perfect but better than anyone else that I see on the horizon.

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By CenterOfMass, May 23, 2011 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

@Rudolfo: “...Hedges is just doing his part…but never identifying the actual mechanisms of the government or who is running the show.”

I’m pretty sure Hedges said that corporations are running the show, and that Obama is a Wall Street sock puppet.

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By gerard, May 23, 2011 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

i want to consider these words of Chris more carefully for a minute: “Prophets put forward during their day ideas that the mass of people, including the elite, denounce as impractical and yet at the same time sense to be true.” This certainly applies to statements about non-violence, its possibilities, its realities, evidence of its power, etc. 

First, the word “prophets”.  People who write about, think about, talk about, work for and try to practice non-violence are not prophets in the sense of foretelling what is going to happen.  They are more like inventors, discoverers, explorers venturing into relatively new territories of power in the interests of mercy and justice.

The word “prophets” (by its connotations) puts them in a class over and above ordinary, and to that extent isolates them, makes what they say in some way seem “beyond” reality, “more than” possible, etc.
To the degree that the isolation succeeds, nonviolence is prevented from entering the “public mind.”

This isolation (no matter how it is done or who does it, thoughtlessly or otherwise) delays the acceptance of nonviolent strategies and tactics, even
allows them to be misinterpreted as “far out, radical, impractical, hair-brained, dangerous,” etc.

The next step toward preventing them from entering
the commonplace awareness, particularly in Christian
countries”, is to separate them from the teachings of Jesus—and to replace them with preachments of violence, harking back to the Old Testament of vengeance and war. 

Reasons for this twisting and turning are obvious.
The more things (want to) change, the more power
structures (want them to) stay the same. Change
requires effort, experiment, courage and insistence. Deliberately preventing change requires resorting to efforts to establish a “culture” of ignorance, fear, distrust and coercion.

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By Rudolfo, May 23, 2011 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

Prophets like Cornel West?  Is this a joke?  What did he prophesy?  Hedges seems to be degenerating into pure claptrap.

But, the question in my mind is there really a ‘liberal class’, apart from the members of the media who claim to be liberals?  That is, is there really a liberal contingent in the population?  Or a conservative contingent?  I think the whole notion of a politically aware population, interested, informed, active, is entirely wrong headed.  The masses are, if not really stupid, completely disinterested in anything political that does not have an apparent and immediate effect on their own day to day lives.

Thus politics is a pantomime or puppet show played out on the national stage in the media, with positions, disagreements, attacks, scandals, the whole hoopla, but none of it has anything to do with the actual governance of the country.  It certainly has noting to do with foreign policy, and probably very little to do with domestic policy.

In that context Hedges is just doing his part, he is part of the show, to amuse those of us who have some interest, but never identifying the actual mechanisms of the government or who is running the show.

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By Leefeller, May 23, 2011 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

Brother Lew Ciefer, right art thou?

Hair cut, Ha, ha, Haa!...  Harryass funny!

Trumping of another color.

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By Textynn, May 23, 2011 at 11:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama has hurt working people immensely. Unemployed, single mothers, sick without health care rallied, believed and sent money when they had none to elect Obama. We were united. We got the Dems all three houses and a President with a mandate. And what did they do with that mandate. The passed the ball to Baucus who partied with the very health care elite that we busted our butts to save ourselves from and gave them even more power and no cost controls, etc etc. I will never forget how this bastard went around grinning like a hyena the whole time as well. 

Then Pelosi came out and gave a speech that started with an opening that said “We have listened to the American people and we are putting forward a bill that reflects our best values and addresses our greatest challenges.”  Then she blabs along and says this ... in the most obscene BS statement I have ever heard.  This is word for word and makes little sense. ” Here’s what are health insurance reform legislation will mean to American families, workers, and the economy, THANK YOU INSURANCE COMPANIES OF AMERICA. 

Our legislation is going to mean to American families etc , thank you insurance companies???  It was the weirdest thing. The Dems legislation did mean “thank you insurance companies” and nothing to little to the American families and workers.  I hate the Dems for selling us out and Im voting third party and for good people from now on no matter the odds.. period.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9QD1GlWOQQ&feature=channel_video_title

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By Lew Dunbar, May 23, 2011 at 11:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Becoming more politically attuned as the Iraq mess stretched on, I became disillusioned with the current Neo Conservative hold on the Republican party. As a form of protest I seriously looked at the Democratic party and a potential populist uprising that could come out of it. Intead I found what Chris Hedges describes as this:

“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. “

Republican choice vs Democrat is like South Park said, it is choice between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich.

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By September, May 23, 2011 at 11:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

US politics will be much improved when all these icons
of the past (like Hedges and West and Gingrich) are no
longer part of the conversation.

Please go have your culture wars on your own time; the
rest of us have a country to fix.

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By Gzoref, May 23, 2011 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris,
I agree with Cornel West’s pronouncement on economics, as have other Liberal
critics of your interview with him.
That Barack Obama is a Mascot of Wall Street is not at issue. It’s the racial
component that I disagree with. Calling Obama a Black Mascot is where I found
fault. I think that his racial pronouncements are counterproductive to his very
important economic points.
Also, can you say that West didn’t embarrass himself when he told the story of his
indignation over the lowly hotel worker who got a ticket to the inauguration over
himself? How about his ridiculous criticism of Ivy League elitists?

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By Lew Ciefer, May 23, 2011 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

“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.”

Dear Mr. Hedges:

Bwaaaaaaaa! You can’t be serious? You guys are ALL part of the status quo!

Terms like “rebel” and “hero” once indicated persons of selfless feats of valor that carried with them sure and grave consequences. Such terms DO NOT apply to a chronic bellyacher within a good old boy system who risks harsh criticism from peers. A rebellious act is NOT one where the “rebel” in question returns to his tenured job within the ranks of the nation’s elitist system. That’s the act of a malcontent.

Part of the problem is 21st century America’s emasculated and feminized society. Johnny pisses himself and cries like a little twerp ... he’s a hero for showing his emotions, not a crybaby who should know better.

Referring to West as a “rebel” for his criticisms, his calling Obama Wall Street’s mascot, (read Uncle Tom) is akin to calling those who decry capitalism while sitting on thick portfolios, heroes.

Believe me, Mr. West is criticized much more frequently and harshly for that ridiculous hairstyle than any pseudo-criticism he has of his bro Obama. A true friend would take him aside and convince him to get a decent haircut. 

Rebel my ass!

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By Russian Paul, May 23, 2011 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

“It might actually be worse under Obama because the one thing preventing the West from wreaking murder and mayhem on the world at this point is everybody hates Bush. And that’s acting as an impediment, a check on American power, and the moment Barack Obama is elected is when [we’ll see] popular support for him around the world…the opportunity again to be able to worship at the American altar. And Barack will give that opportunity, he has a very nice smile.”

-Norman Finkelstein, May 22, 2008.

now THAT’S prophetic. not cornel west finally stating the obvious 2 years later. i remember in 2008 even chomsky and zinn were both pushing the lesser-of-two-evils garbage.

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By mc.murphy, May 23, 2011 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

thethirdman, May 23 at 10:05 am

I would make the same criticism which you’ve made, except that at this point I’m
not about to pad myself on the back for my own awareness of the miserable
Obama which I’ve gleaned with the help of Paul Street in early 2007.

Cornell West is a gift horse, don’t check out his teeth, and just be glad that an
important voice joined our ranks.

In the meantime, help get this interview out there. It’s one of the most concise
calls to action I’ve come across:

http://mosquitocloud.net/political-economic-reality-vs-247-reality-show/

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By TheGodKiller, May 23, 2011 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

Liberals are conservatives; same animal, different name. A true radical (a word invented to further marginalize people with different ideas) is always going to be a pariah living outside the mainstream. He may even be tried as a criminal. This is the way it has always been.

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By Bri, May 23, 2011 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

When Obama signed off with his last podcast in ‘07 I thought there was nothing different or unique about his ideas.  I wasn’t that impressed but I jumped on the bandwagon driven by his eloquent and passionate speeches.  This came crashing down when he appointed Geithner and Summers and missed the opportunity that Cornel West summarizes so well. This was 2 1/2 years ago!  I disagree with Wests’ comments about the government possibly evolving into “crypto-fascism” when it is already solidly an oligarchy and there is a world of difference!

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By ohiolibgal, May 23, 2011 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

Dead on and we have too many “liberal” talkers on TV, radio, and online who accept too many things on face value without spending time looking under the hood - the health care bill is a prime example.

Obama lost me right off the bat when he hired Wall Street insiders, people who helped spur the meltdown and acquired more wealth because of it, as his financial team. These entitled poster boys pass laws while in office that make it easier for them to get richer while back to Wall Street. A 5th grader could connect those dots.

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By thethirdman, May 23, 2011 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

The title is misleading.  I thought we might find out why everyone attacked West
last week.  All I see here is an attack on “liberals.”  Does anyone even know what
that word means anymore?

“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.”

As mentioned by Kerryrose, no one here attacked West for his “truths.”  We
attacked him for being part of the problem.  Many wonderful minds on this very
site have been pointing out Obama’s shortfalls for years now.  Maybe West
should have been reading the Truthdig commenters.

Why does West get so much credit for coming to the party late?  And why such
a visceral reaction from Hedges?  I find very few on this site who would strike
me as “careerist liberals.”  In fact, many of those who attacked West last week
are the men and women who oppose the shill that the liberal party has
become.  Be careful who you bat for, Mr Hedges.

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By ectoendomezo, May 23, 2011 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While I agree with Hedges 100%..I must say..he too..is a Hypocrite.

I have TRIED..to write mr. Hedges.

I have never received a reply..

Each and every time..I wrote him..It was to express..EXACTLY..EXACTLY what he has just written;

That the “Left”..is LOST.

As a PROGRESSIVE..a real one..I have been stunned..stupefied..my jaw dropping in stunned disbelief..at the sheer MAGNITUDE of the CUBICLE Left Hypocrisy and utter abandonment of their Once Massive Lead in Moral and Intellectual Integrity.

But here’s the rub:

Chris Hedges is ALSO..a Hypocrite.

Yup!

As are the ast majority of YOU out there..even those who are in fact CAPABLE..of refraining from the “Automatic Denial and Rationalization” processes that have so totally inundated the Cubicle Left..or Fake Left..or..as Hedges puts it..“Neo-Liberals”.

And here..is why:

YOU ARE ALL..PAYING..DIRECTLY..FOR..NOT ONLY..THE DESTRUCTION OF YOUR OWN LIBERTY..BUT ALSO:

The “Enhanced Interrogation” umm..“Specialists”..their Salaries..their very “Groceries”.

YOU..pay for EVERY..single Bullet..dug from the CORPSES of Innocent Women and Children by “Special Forces”.

YOU are paying for the Bailouts.

YOU are paying for it ALL.

And worse..infinitely..Worse?

You..are now..not only in Total..PATHOLOGICAL.Denial of this FACT..but the “Left”..Including Mr. Hedges..has come to a point…where even the “Suggestion”..the “Challenge”..of “TAX PROTEST”..is:

CENSORED!

Yup!

Censored.

You cannot..literally..Cannot..acknowledge this IRREFUTABLE..COMPLICITY!

You instead..Pretend..that this is all..Somehow..occurring in a “Vacuum”.

IT…IS…NOT!

YOU..are the Financial Backers of EVERY..single Aspect of this now out of control Corporate Fascist Government. “Gov-Corp”.

YOU..are paying their salaries.

This is..IS..“APPROVAL”.

And “That” as they say..“Is That!”

Mr. Hedges will NOT..admit this fact.

Nor..do you.

In mere MONTHS..a United Front of Real Progressives..UNITED in “A-Social” tax Protest..a real TAX STRIKE..based on 4 “DEMANDS”..could and WOULD..change the course of this “Transition” from Democratic republic to Corporate Authoritarian Regime..so rapidly it would be Paradigm Shifting.

1) Civil Liberties Returned to INVIOLATE STATUS.

2) Revolving Door CLOSED by: a) “Redefining Bribery” to INCLUDE “Post Factum” Bribery in its various forms INCLUDING “Employment”. b) “8 Year Revolving MORATORIUM on ALL Corporate to government/government to corporate Employment”.(This alone would have made Obamas “Most Czar Appointments Ever” of corporate lobbyists like Michael Taylor [monsanto] ILLEGAL)

3) “DE-Consolidation” of ALL MEDIA.

4) “Implementation of a National BALLOT Measure Process”. Such a “Put It To A Vote Nationwide” process..would change..EVERYTHING..by REMOVING issues like “Surveillance” and “ENERGY” (Sales of Park Lands “Leases” etc..)FROM THE COURTS..and putting it in the hands of the PEOPLE..and by proxy..the “Ballot Measure/Signature Process”..would act as a New De Facto “MANDATE” process..expressing the Absolute REALITY..as the People want it. Thus making any “Alternative Decisions”..PLAINLY..“Against the Majority Will” and thus EXPOSING them as the Corruption they are.

This would be our “List Of Demands For Management”..in our “Union Style” TAX STRIKE.

Leaving “Social Issues” out of it for the “Immediate Moment”..would help to unify those “Moderate” Right Wing folks and..AND..“Independents”.

But the POINT..is still the following:

UNTIL MR. HEDGES AND THE REST OF YOU..ADMIT..OPENLY..THAT YOU..ARE PAYING FOR..AND THUS OFFERING OVERT APPROVAL OF..EVERY POLICY..EVERY PROGRAM..EVERY ‘DECISION’..THEN YOU..CANNOT..POINT THE FINGER AT ANYONE ELSE.

Period!

For as long as you PAY..you are a Financial PARTNER in ALL Decisions.

This cannot be “Rebutted”. Only Denied and Rationalized!

Take RESPONSIBILITY for “How And For What” YOUR Money is Spent. Or ACCEPT that YOU TOO..are a HYPOCRITE!

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By phreedom, May 23, 2011 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Sorry long winded today, Part 1

Again, thank you Chris,

It is so very difficult to unearth ignorance, when
the language to be used to do so, is a narrow form of
english.  There is a certain cadence in narrow
english today, that harbors and encourages violence
and narcissism for sure. Chris, I think you do one of
the best jobs of working within this confine and
still able to articulate breakouts. You do not easily
get tangled in the shackles that want to naturally
cling and bind you to this dangerous, tricky and
shallowed coffin of the modern american mind of so
few meaningful words and concepts. 

Heck, if a language is restricted then thinking is
restricted, and if enough people do not know even
that most fundamental fact, we are in big trouble,
oh, and by the way, we are in big trouble. The form
of enlgish today is one for manipulators of narrow
minds, debators of the meaningless, spectators of the
ridiculous, fans of the charismatic, editors of the
whimsical, and for those who believe that to live is
to be fully entertained or at least completely
occupied/distracted.

It’s a little more than a “cult of self”, but
actually a full blown religion based on a
linguistical lie, a horrid miscalculation as to what
actually constitutes, and furthermore, qualifies as a
human identity. The superstition that conjures up an
objective person out of the fallacy of “self”,
presupposes that the language developed to validate,
this heinously psychological indiscretion, be also
somehow objective, and thus righteous.

(part 2 on way)

Rhuen Phreed
11 Marlborough Street, #22
Boston, Ma 02116

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By phreedom, May 23, 2011 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Part 2

So then Chris, as you used, “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.

Can we instead, try to articulate what it would be
like to describe, yes,, the above partial imperative,
but with a balancer to also not make humans being the
center of the universe. This is where it gets tricky,
because though a reasonable man/woman, who is devoted
to waking up, might expand the above imperative
written in Macdonald’s “The Root Is Man”,,,, well,
might expand this imperitive through their own
growing awareness, to include something like,
“because human beings are conscious, the universe is
conscious, or that because human beings can “self”
reflect, the universe is something to be reflected
on”, well, contrarily, the mind trapped in restricted
and superstitionally formed languaging cannot and
will not make such a leap, a progression.

You see, unfortunately, making human beings “just”
the center of concern, is still a viable weight to
keep most people’s eyes tightly shut. Their minds
blinded by the shortsightedness of the restrictions
that are put on their tools of expression, namely,
their thinking and spoken language, especially if
they are confronted with familiar means of
expression. The context may not be made readily
available to them, but the familiar words are.

I do agree very much however, that the banishment of
the socialists, the communists, the anarchist, the
buddhists, love lovers, peace lovers, justice lovers,
awakeners of all sorts, etc… well, have reduced our
vocabulary, our thinking, leaving most unable to
sniff/sift out better ways, better systems.

Best not to call Cornel West a prophet, as I
mentioned, try not to use words that are allowed to
be a double edged sword, exciting a few but also
keeping many asleep, since the sleepy do like a good
prophet. Only those on the road to enlightenment can
actually tolerate the metaphor without taking it
seriously.

So I think the crime of Cornel West, is the
introduction and use of words and concepts that stand
on one side of the divide between the ignorant and
those dedicated, courageously so, to waking up. So if
we compile the jargon/words of professor West’s
expressions, they will not land on the side of the
ignorant, and most likely, in enough cases, stand on
their own, unadulterated or blended or absorbed into
mainstream complicity of the treacherous and
dominated.

I love expressions that give pause, wiggle room to
enact an escape from an imposed(supposed) limitation. 
Maybe Chris, though as I said, you do one of the best
jobs of using much jargon of the asleep, to possibly
wake them up,,, but why not only jargon of the awake,
“single speak” if you would, give the un-mixable to
the dangerously tiresome, something that cannot be
“incorporated”, if you would also.

Rhuen Phreed
11 Marlborough Street, #22
Boston, Ma 02116

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By joentokyo, May 23, 2011 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

By Barry Graham

Mr. Graham, you are the ass in Mr. Fish’s cartoon.

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By DavidByron, May 23, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

MK77, Jon Stewart has at various times said he knows that his comedy could be helping the elites for this reason and also because humor normalises and humanises the elites and their inhuman actions.

I agree he seems sincere but only because he’s not pretending to be anything but a comic.  Maddow for example is pretending to be a lefty quite explicitly.  Stewart, in his own mind if not reality, is not pretending to be anything and he is really quite “centrist” personally, which in America of course means right wing.

quote:
“Stewart: He doesn’t strike me as phony and hypocritical as someone like vanden Heuvel or Maddow, or someone as mean and arrogant as Maher. If he can be taken to task for anything, it’s in not considering in what ways irony can be a baleful influence in the culture. Irony is negational; it doesn’t substitute a good for the bad it identifies, and it contributes greatly to cynicism and social distrust.”

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By mackTN, May 23, 2011 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Well, thanks, Chris Hedges, for speaking truth.  Liberals were once
challenged in the 60s & 70s to risk their comforts and examine
some of the issues coming from such radicals as Martin Luther
King, even Malcom X.  Liiberals were again given a choice in 2000
when Nader put himself forth for the presidency.

Now I wonder if it’s too late.  The wolves are already in the hen
house and consuming them at record speed.  Our democracy is
becoming a memory as all this becomes corporate-sponsored
state. 

Obama’s rhetoric on the campaign trail, his point of view, the
vision he created of what his presidency would be devoted to is
completely different than the reality.  Is Timothy Geithner a liberal?
Larry Summers?  Bill Daley?  What does liberal even mean to them-
-does it take precedence over corporate goals and values?

The backlash against West is sad and disturbing.  Even Ellis Cose in
Newsweek published an article about how happy “young” black
people are as opposed to “old” black people (like West, I suppose). 
Why only about half of the Young Black People believe
discrimination exists, while a little over half of Old Black People
believe so.  On that basis, we can say progress has been made.

Sure, my kid didn’t grow up when I did, during Jim Crow, doesn’t
have the range of experiences and understanding that I’ve
accumulated over a lifetime.  Ask him if he’s happy in 20 years,
when he’s facing being given a voucher for his health care
insurance.  Or when he’s let go for being “older,” and he finds
there are no labor protections or elected officials who are
interested in the unfairness of it.  Ellis Cose ought to be ashamed
of himself. 

The banks have foreclosed on the people they by consequence
kicked out of jobs and they have millions and millions of houses to
sell…cheap.  Fraud involved?  Sure, let’s give them a little fine and
some taxpayer money to help them out. 

What bailout did you get?

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By Anarcissie, May 23, 2011 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

Cornel West, with regard to Mr. O, seems to be a bit too far behind the wave to be considered a prophet.  The ‘prophets’ would be those who identified Mr. O as a corporate liberal well before he started running for president, not after he had been in office for two years.

Anyway, what are you going to do about it?  This is not a rhetorical question.  Calling Mr. O or anyone else bad names may be fun, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

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By JJW, May 23, 2011 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is a corporate tool.  Anyone defending him is not a liberal or progressive.  Dems and Repubs feed at the same pig trough that SCOTUS just exponentially enlarged.

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By DavidByron, May 23, 2011 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

And wtf is Hedges actual attitude towards communism please?  He constantly knee-jerk attacks it, like a good little American, but at the same time he is saying the commies were the moral core of the left—which is surely to say that they were right and the liberals wwere wrong isn’t it?

quote:
“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”

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By DavidByron, May 23, 2011 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is becoming quite incomprehensible these days.  WTF is this?  Some sort of anarchist luddite proto-fascist bullshit????

quote:
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

So does Hedges really think that government is inherently evil now?  WTF?  And apaprently science and technology are evil too.  And so is optimism about the human state.

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By MK77, May 23, 2011 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

Laws,
Your examples are good. Here is how I’d describe them:

1. Maher: Someone who doesn’t seem to know that the State of Israel was founded on the dispossession of an indigenous population, or in any case doesn’t care. He’s in too in love with the sound of his own voice, a bit of an opinionated ass.

2. Maddow: Another identity-politics twerp who has a TV show only because she tries to convince people that there’s a difference between the political parties when in fact there is none. Like Hayes, much of her shtick consists of poking fun at easy Republican targets like Palin. She likes to mock others, sort of like the popular kid in high school who’d snigger at the homely or uncool in order to win the affection of the in-crowd.

3. Stewart: He doesn’t strike me as phony and hypocritical as someone like vanden Heuvel or Maddow, or someone as mean and arrogant as Maher. If he can be taken to task for anything, it’s in not considering in what ways irony can be a baleful influence in the culture. Irony is negational; it doesn’t substitute a good for the bad it identifies, and it contributes greatly to cynicism and social distrust.

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By DavidByron, May 23, 2011 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

Sigh.  And people actually think highly of Hedges.  Call a spade a spade.

quote:
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.”

In other words liberals are conservatives.  Or the people who call themselves liberals are actually just conservatives.  The halmark of conservatism is a complete lack of any principles or values or consistency except loyalty to perceived authority.

Chris is saying vegetarians eat meat these days.  No Chris, if they are eating meat then they are not vegetarians, ok?  Words have meaning.

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By John Halle, May 23, 2011 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

MK77 hits the nail on the head.  A bunch of these folks were targeted in our
“Open Letter to the Left Establishment” which Mr. Hedges helped organize and
which you can find at http://www.protestobama.org.

Among the first indications that Prof. West was headed in this direction was when
he signed the open letter. 

We’re up to 4935 signatures on our way to the goal of 5000.  An appropriate show
of support to Prof. West would be for everyone here to sign on at:

http://www.protestobama.org

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By Lafayette, May 23, 2011 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

CH O-T-T

CH Over-The-Top, yet again.

Instead of this article’s emotional blarney, read this linked report about Campaign Financing - it’s really a sad tale about campaign financing legislation in this beloved land of ours.

Here.

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By DavidByron, May 23, 2011 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

Just commenting on the title (which may not be Chris Hedges fault) but isn’t a prophet supposed to get it right BEFORE sucking up to power for two years and being stabbed in the back for his efforts?  Isn’t a prophet meant to get it right first time not as a result of being conned and then abandoned?  And that’s giving him the benefit of the doubt that he really was conned.

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By Fat Freddy, May 23, 2011 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

Regulate!!!@!!!1!!

We need tro regulate!!11!1!!1!

More regulations to control evel korporashuns!1!!!!1

http://www.naturalnews.com/032476_rabbits_USDA.html

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By Leefeller, May 23, 2011 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

Whine Tasting!

Geebebiz on a cracker!...Hedges poking a stick in the barrel full of baby rattlers? ... I had no idea Cornel West was a prophetess or I would never have said he sounded like he was whining, because everyone know Prophets are incapable of whining and other earthly things.

What does this mean when Hedges suggests;  ‘his liberalism is the only true liberalism’?

Seems to me, self assigning oneself as the Orthodox liberal is one who believes in prophets and bangs their pious lumpy head on the great whining wall?

Even if it taints my liberality, I can identify whining when I see it, especially when Whining appears before me in the minds of those who are so much better at it than I!

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By madisolation, May 23, 2011 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

Laws456 and MK77, I agree with you completely. Ed Schulz, Thom Hartmann, Arriana Huffington, and the head honchos on certain “activist” websites should be on the list, too.

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By Philippe Gagnon, May 23, 2011 at 7:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I enjoy truthdig and find it informative and inspirational at times. But I
respectfully ask you Chris to check yourself. You make your proclamations on a
website where your words are bounded by banner ads for Allstate insurance,
Continental Airlines and who ever else happens to pop up as we refresh our
pages. As one who believes we need to struggle to reclaim the world from the
power of out-of-control corporatism, I also sees the need for commerce and
government. What I search for - every day - here and else where are
CONSTRUCTIVE ways of effecting this change.

All that being said I appreciate your thoughts but remember the media is the
message as well. A webpage that survives by making money off of corporate
web banners where the content talks about liberals who have been co-opeted
sometimes can look a little incongruous.

Maybe we need better ad servers so we are giving money to, and being
supported by, like minded groups and companies.

Thank you for continuing to be a strong voice challenging power.

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, May 23, 2011 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

Thank you, Mr. Hedges, for being what Mr. Obama and his corporate crew are not:  an honest paladin of the commoners.

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By Laws456, May 23, 2011 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

I agree w/MK77, you should have named, names and started a fight. I’ll add a few more to your list MK..

Bill Maher, I like him and watch his show, but he’s another one who prefers the status quo since it’s made him a lot of cash. Jon Stewart, is another one I’d throw in there. Most of the so called liberal hosts on MSNBC too. Including Maddow.

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By balkas, May 23, 2011 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

if one calls or [really] deems self a liberal either 300 yrs ago or today, one puts self in a diff class of people
than that of laboring, repairing, salespeople, et al class.

the swindle begins already by putting self in higher class of people and what nonsense they preach is just
to much to bear for any honest observer.
i put myself in a class of people i call “observers”. and in order to observe [and evaluate sentences for their
instructive value] one needs no schooling [with zero of it more preferable than any].

yes, u do need to arm self with some knowledge in order to observe correctly. u need to know the
difference between descriptive statements and all others. u also need to know some basic historical events.

only to descriptive statements true or false apply. eg, libya is being attacked! true or false?. according to
what i saw and what other people tell me they saw, the statement is true.

calling it “humanitarian intervention” represent a conclusion to which true or false answers do not pertain.

one can evaluate and reevaluate the meanings in the label “humanitarian intervention” all u want, u cannot
ever obtain an elucidation.
and just because of this it wld be explained and reexplained forever if the explainer has a new need for it;
such to repeat another similar event!

invasions of palestine, korea, s.e.asia, afgh’n, iraq had been ‘justified’ solely on rationalization [explaining]
and are very similar to the explanation “humanitarian intervention”. tnx

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By jo6pac, May 23, 2011 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

I second that, thanks Chris and Cornel

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By SoTexGuy, May 23, 2011 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

... and a really great Fish illustration to boot!

Also.. in addition to the thoughtful and powerful comments here about the sellout Democratic Corp. I’d add this.. Don’t be fooled and swayed when these same Democratic leaders and their shills start THE TALK.

It will start (already starting?) when they need your votes. They have a list of hot-button, heart-swaying so important issues.. the downtrodden immigrants and the hated border wall, homosexual’s rights, intrusive airport screenings?, a woman’s right to choose.. and so on.

All important stuff! but no real solutions will be proposed.. these are placard issues to counter THE TALK from the (supposed) opposition..

Neither side will get to the point of solving unemployment, the spectacle of America at war abroad and at home, overall income inequality and lack of social justice, a deteriorating quality of life and environment .. You know, the root causes of why we have abortions and crime and more..

And this too.. good on Hedges for so clearly standing up for his friend.

Adios!

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By grumps, May 23, 2011 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

Our whole globe has become a corporate enterprise, we might as well face it. As capitalism and industrialism has just about depleted our resources, we are left with too many people who will have to be ever more controlled unless the corporations (Monsanto?) or the states can figure out a way to get rid of a few billion of us. It is much too late to make humane changes; the numbers are just too immense. Just because a lot of people achieve some changes (Egypt for ecample) does not mean that they can all find meaningful employment and that they will have enough to eat.

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By Arabian Sinbad, May 23, 2011 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

As usual, Chris Hedges, outstanding, revolutionary, and hitting the nail on the head. I wish there was a way for you to run for office as the head of a new party!

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By entropy2, May 23, 2011 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

The state, now the repository of the hopes and dreams of the liberal class, should always have been seen as the enemy.

Amen!

Statist liberals still cling to the forlorn hope that if only they can get the ignorant unwashed to accept their limitless wisdom, then separate money and politics, then find (and elect) those elusive politicians who are, at once, intelligent, honest and non-power hungry, then enact a one-size-fits-all agenda that represents “The Common Good,” THEN we can finally live in a wonderland of democratic-socialism. (And they call non-statists fuzzy-headed utopians!)

The fact is, concentrated power can only lead to tyranny…the greater the concentration, the worse the abuse. Power cannot be concentrated and distributed at the same time.

The right-wing economic elite does not want any power to reside in hands other than its own, that much is clear. The left-wing technocratc elite is unwilling to give up its domestic version of the “white man’s burden” to “civilize” the individuals of the lower classes before trusting them with self-determination. Thus, the corporate state.

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By pacho, May 23, 2011 at 5:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A prophet? What the hell was he expecting from Obama? You get too chummy with the politicos, you get burnt.

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By john Poole, May 23, 2011 at 5:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The self claimed liberals I’ve known seemed like fascists still in the closet. They
were never willing to jeopardize their own career comforts to make a serious
stand for social justice. Academia seemed nothing more than just another
business like religion.

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By ardee, May 23, 2011 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

I think that kerryrose, May 23 at 2:08 am nailed it quite succinctly.

I believe that this needs repetition:

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.

Far, far too many believe that their obligation to their nation begins and ends on forums like this, whether or not they post only defense of the Democratic Party as some few here seem dedicated to doing. Even those of us who seem to have the truth of our situation but only pen that truth online do themselves, their nation and their children a disservice.

When we see the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Libya, etc. in the streets fighting for their rights we should all be ashamed of the fact that nothing of the kind happens here, in Che Guevarra’s “belly of the beast”.

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By madisolation, May 23, 2011 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

I agree with exploitedimtes.
Thanks, Chris Hedges, for telling it like it is. And to Cornell West:
Wear it as a badge of honor, Mr. West. The mainstream liberal leaders are sell-outs and just as phony and detrimental to America as Obama himself. Their views aren’t worth a plugged nickel these days. The prim and proper liberal leaders deserve our scorn, for they’re the ones without an ounce of integrity or courage.

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By exploitedtimes, May 23, 2011 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

Thank you Chris,

In response to kerryrose, I agree the anecdote regarding the hotel worker having a ticket was petty, but West and his work are not and can’t be summed up by this outburst. West has been more subtly critical of Obama many times and here just blew his top.

Hedges is one of the most radical voices out there - maybe the most with a platform and pedigree - and all he is saying is the truth. It is scary how far the obvious truth has strayed from the body politic and the collective conscience of the civil masses, to the point that it simply has no relevance in political discourse.

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By Andrew Mendes, May 23, 2011 at 3:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What can be done in the meantime? I think only the yolk will be enough to
move people to action, to demand real structural change. But by then, the
losses would overshadow the gains.

Your writing fills me with hope yet so much despair. Is it possible to fix the
system without destroying it—rather, without its self destruction? Ideally, this
movement should precede their slaughtering us. But I fear we only learn the
hard way…. over and over and over again. Not really learning then, are we?

Who do we ask for help and, moreover, who would think to help us? Do we
need Gandhi? Is Gandhi even relevant to people with PSPs and Facebook feeds?

The lack of awareness, outlets and real options frustrates me. Can we do
more than just describe the train wreck mid-train wreck? Dose violence have to
be the catalyst?

Give me the easy answer and I’ll share it on Facebook.

Till then, thanks for your vigilance.

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By Barry Graham, May 23, 2011 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

I wrote this in response:

Chris Hedges’ Hysterical Defense of Cornel West - http://is.gd/vSHW9S

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