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Posted on Apr 28, 2008
Obama
Flickr / Joe Crimmings Photography

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

Obama, as you will see if you examine his voting record, has repeatedly rewarded those who reward him. As a senator he has promoted nuclear energy as “green.” He has been lauded by the nuclear power industry, which is determined to resume building nuclear power plants across the country. He has voted to continue to fund the Iraq war. He opposed Rep. John Murtha’s call for immediate withdrawal. He refused to join the 13 senators who voted against confirming Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. He voted in July 2005 to reauthorize the Patriot Act. He did not support an amendment that was part of a bankruptcy bill that would have capped credit card interest rates at 30 percent. He opposed a bill that would have reformed the notorious Mining Law of 1872. He did not support the single-payer health care bill HR676, sponsored by Reps. Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers. He supports the death penalty. He worked tirelessly in the Senate in 2005 to pass a class-action “reform” bill that was part of a large lobbying effort by financial firms, which make up Obama’s second-biggest single bloc of donors. The law, with the Orwellian title the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), would effectively shut down state courts as a venue to hear most class-action lawsuits. This has long been a cherished goal of large corporations as well as the Bush administration. It effectively denies redress in many of the courts where these cases have a chance of defying powerful corporate challenges. It moves these cases into corporate-friendly federal courts dominated by Republican judges. Even Hillary Clinton voted against this naked effort to allow corporations to carry out flagrant discrimination, consumer fraud and wage-and-hour violations.

Obama likes to paint himself as an opponent of the war. He reminds voters of his one—and only one—speech opposing it. But he swiftly changed his mind. Obama told the Chicago Tribune on July 27, 2004, that “there’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage. The difference, in my mind, is who’s in a position to execute.” Obama added that he “now believes U.S. forces must remain to stabilize the war-ravaged nation, a policy not dissimilar to the current approach of the Bush administration.” Obama wants to leave an estimated 50,000 troops in Iraq to protect our superbases and the Green Zone, our imperial city, to fight terrorism, and to train Iraqi forces. He traveled to Connecticut to campaign on behalf of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a leading proponent of the war and an advocate of airstrikes against Iran, when Lieberman was challenged by the anti-war candidate Ned Lamont. And when Obama talks about the Palestinians he reads dutifully from the script handed to him by Lieberman and the Israel lobbying group AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Obama’s policy director is Karen Kornbluh, who as a senior aide to Robert Rubin, the head of the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration, pushed through NAFTA and other free-trade policies that unleashed the assault on organized labor and devastated the country’s manufacturing sector. And Obama’s senior economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, who teaches economics at the University of Chicago, privately assured Canada’s consul general in Chicago in February that Obama’s NAFTA-bashing “should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans,” according to a leaked memo of the meeting. Most of Obama’s senior advisers, including Penny Pritzker, a member of one of America’s richest families and the current finance chair of the campaign, have a long history of oiling the government apparatus for corporate interests and personal enrichment. Pritzker was the chair of Superior Bank of Chicago. The bank collapsed in 2001 with over $1 billion in insured and uninsured deposits, and 1,406 people lost nearly all their savings. The bank owners, who fabricated profit reports, made much of their money promoting risky subprime home mortgages. Those around Obama are as wedded to corporate interests as those around Clinton and McCain. 

Obama is an articulate, intelligent and attractive politician, but he is also a corporate figurehead. A vote for Obama is a vote for the corporate state. Under an Obama administration, the corporations would continue their ruthless drive to disempower the citizens, to protect an entrenched American oligarchy and to subvert what is left of our faltering democracy. 

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By James Everitt, October 21, 2008 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

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By olenska, May 1, 2008 at 12:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

- write in John Edwards or Dennis Kucinich? I would like to read a piece on Clinton’s corporate donors. obama’s corporate connections are a small fraction of the clinton’s . and please, Nader is not an option.

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By Fewkes, April 30, 2008 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

Chris,  I have been a fan of yours for a long time and I feel that your comments about corporate influence in our government are very accurate.  Is there an alternative?  Is there any hope?  Why are ordinary non-wealthy citizens in the position of having to buy or force OUR representatives to represent us when our constitution and our American mythology guarantees that representation to us???

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By Allen Wood, April 30, 2008 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Speaking of Owls-WHAT A HOOT!!! One of the best posts I’ve read in a long time. I couldn’t agree more!!! You have made the day for me… Thanks

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By TDoff, April 30, 2008 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges, you are full of s**t.

The corporate state is not our ‘shadow government’. The doofusses they install in D.C. are our shadow government.

The corporate state is our real government.

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By Barney S., April 30, 2008 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I PERSONALLY BELIEVE THE CURRENT SCENARIO HAS BEEN PURPOSELY CONJURED BY BOTH WRIGHT AND OBAMA.  WITH THE SUDDEN ERUPTION OF PASTOR WRIGHTS VITRIOLIC REMARKS TO DERAIL OBAMA’S ELECTION IS MERELY A DEVIOUS AND CLEVERLY ORCHESTRATED   PLOY BY BOTH PARTIES TO BRING ABOUT A WAVE OF SYMPATHY AND MORE VOTERS OUT FOR OBAMA.  THIS IS ONLY MY PERSONAL OPINION WHICH COULD EITHER BE ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGEOUS RIDICULOUS OR RIGHT ON TARGET.  HOW IT CONTINUES TO PLAY OUT IN THE WEEKS TO COME WILL EITHER PROVE I’M A CERTIFIED IDIOT OR A PROGNOSTICATER.  AS FOR THE ELECTION ITSELF I AM STILL NEUTRAL, AND JUST STATING AN OPINION THAT COULD EASILY BE DISMISSED AS FOOLISH OR BE GIVEN THOUGHTFUL CONSIDERATION THAT SOMETHING MAY BE ROTTEN IN DENMARK.

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By Sarah Swanson, April 30, 2008 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

This article only confirms what I suspected since I saw a very slick Obama magazine, not a Time, Newsweek…but a magazine entirely devoted to Obama at the newsstand at my local grocery store.  Now, I wonder who is paying for that I thought.  That was summer 2007.  Since then a lot has happened, my candidate got the brush off and sent packing.  So I started listening to Obama, I mean Jimmy Carter’s family is going to vote for him right?  I liked what I heard, I wanted to be deceived because when I think about the alternative, well there isn’t one. If the corporate state is our “shadow government” and we have a shadow economy the United States essentially is a house of cards and no “electable” candidate has a plan for when that collapses.  Somewhere between deregulation and pandering to corporate interest you’ll find this sneaky thing they call politics which has nothing to do with me, you or anyone else unless your name is Exxon Mobile, Monsanto, or Rupert Murdoch.  Keep the truth coming Chris Hedges, we need it now more than ever!

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By cann4ing, April 30, 2008 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Yeah, I love you too, Max.

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By Max Shields, April 30, 2008 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Ernest Canning you are a pol (law degrees do that) going around telling folks their posts are excellent, referring to others “Commissars”. Does TD have a prize for most fatuous poster? Where’s the ballot, or should I simply write in Ernest Canning.

Leefeller, I didn’t mean to respond to your post. You’re still finding yourself. Good luck and keep us posted.

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By cann4ing, April 30, 2008 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

Hey.  If you got a hit record, why not play it?

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By RX, April 30, 2008 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

You say you want a third party? I wouldn’t worry about it. If Clinton succeeds in stealing the nomination, an act which should be enough to cause the volcanic destruction of the Democratic party, we’ll have that third party. Of course, this may result in the presidency of Big Bad John McCain, but, hey!, it has to start somewhere.

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By Expat, April 30, 2008 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

^ are correct.  No one could turn this around in one administration. 
The only solution I can think of is to begin the formation of a “viable” third party.  Actually, given I fail to see a tangible difference between Dems and Repubs, it would really be a second and separate party.  Kidding aside; there needs to be the beginnings of the formation of a third party and it needs to start now!  There are only 4 years until the next election.  Whoever the candidate is can’t wait until 9 months before the GE to declare.  This will take money, lots of money and organization, so; can it be done?  This could/may be the only light in this very dark tunnel.  If the answer is no; then we are lost!

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By Leefeller, April 30, 2008 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

Outraged,

Right on, some of us see the hand writing on the wall.

Seems the pandering is going full blast now, with Hillary on the Oreally show, Russ Limbaugh is probably next.

Obama is talking to fox not the news this is pandering almost in desperation, especially now that Wright is doing a Ferriao road show, maybe they can work together and excite the bigots even more. 

Next we will hear from Hillary’s shoe sales person about her foot size and Obama’s paper boy about what kind of tipper he is.  McCain is doing his straight talk express, we can hear from his bus driver how often they have to dump the toilet.  Real TV on real issues of American flag pin politics.

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By HeevenSteven, April 30, 2008 at 5:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, so why did Kucinich support Obama?

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By Max Shields, April 30, 2008 at 4:26 am Link to this comment

I agree that there is no president that can turn this around because to be president you must be of the system.

The Dems have convinced many that Nader was a spoiler. The facts tell a different story. But the Congress will definitely check any progressive moves. So, yes the congress is what needs to be seeded, but again, with two parties, you don’t get a whole lot of real change. What do I mean? First that we have instant run off voting and proporational reprsentation. Those would open up the system to grass-roots movements and a number of viable parties that would build coalitions.

But again, how do you do that with Dems and Repubs? It’s not in their interest. So it needs to be a deeper movement, locally and state-wide.

I like Nader. No he can’t win. And even if that were possible, he’d be looking out at a Congress ready to undermine him each step of the way.

Just looking for a little honesty. “Supporting” any of these candidates says you think you can make the two party system work. Voting for one over another because you think they’ll do the least harm is, I suppose, understandable.

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By Outraged, April 29, 2008 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment

I find it odd to say the least, that ANYONE would think that even the BEST of progressive candidates could TOTALLY turn this thing around in one term as president, and maybe not in two terms.  Even if Kucinich had been able to stay in the race and then went on to win the general, that he would have been able to just undo all the wrongs is foolish.

Of course it’s going to be an uphill battle.  Personally, I think a person of Kucinich’s integrity would have been able to accomplish much.  However, to think that the best of the best short of rounding all the laisse-faire crooks up and throwing their asses in jail would be able to TOTALLY remake government is a pipe dream.

WHOEVER is in, even with the best of intentions, it’s still going to be a battle.  Has NO ONE been listening….?  They(the maniacal psychos) have had these plans in the works for a LONG TIME.  They have been undermining ALL efforts to stop them.  (As noticed by “certain” posters here, yep they spread the shit like it’s going out of style)  If you think this thing is going to turn around with the snap of the fingers, you don’t know who you’re dealing with.  These guys, the neocons and big oil(among other less than savory characters) KILL people to attain their goal.  Their goal…MONEY.  What does money give them, aside from some luxuries…POWER.  It’s that simple and it’s been going on for ages with these maniacal types who think they’re Lex Luther.  They’re nucking futs, don’t you know..?

I for one am not convinced Obama’s one of them. If he is and I vote for him, I’ve lost NOTHING.  The reality is:  I like Nader A LOT, but he’s not going to win and the other two are one and the same.  Watch the Senate and House races vote in good people. End of story.

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By Max Shields, April 29, 2008 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

This crowd stuff sounds like high school.


By the way, Ernest, I’ve only been posting here for a couple of days. Some of the threads have proven me wrong. It’s good to see some folks still have some spunk. Just kinda sad to see how things have turned out for you.

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By Leefeller, April 29, 2008 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

Find this new tactic by the Hillary crowd calling Obama a Rock Star, must be the newest necessary approach, because the kitchen sink did not work.  Guess we are in for this next exciting phase of Hillary O Rama to be reverse toxicology, we all get sick in our stomachs, from over the top complements of Obama, by the Hillary crowd. 

Well we would not expect Hillary and company to discuss issues, that would be a stretch. Call Obama a Rock Star, thats it, so Rock Star it is.  Flatter them with bull shit, then pick Obama apart,  something one can hang their hat on. 

Let’s see, how about this on:  well poster A, you used to be the great Hodini of TD posts, but now you are a slime bag Hypocrite, because I have an agenda that is way ahead and much smarter than yours. Now this approach to winning friends and influencing people seems unique.

Our exciting world of TD is not what it used to be, I find this one usually from folks who want to change TD to Fox not the news. 

Obama the Rock Star, don’t you love it, we have name calling or is it reverse Psychology?

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By cann4ing, April 29, 2008 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

Good idea, Max.  Enjoy your nuclear winter.

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By Max Shields, April 29, 2008 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

Ernest, you can’t support your guy with anything more than threats of “mad dog McCain”. That’s some candidate you got there.

I’ll stick with choice while you stick to the mainstream corporate candidate. You can keep the numbers if it makes you feel better on that melting iceberg.

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By cann4ing, April 29, 2008 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Oh, by the way, Max.  Who says I’m angry?  I thought I was being funny.  Guess I better call up Michael Moore to see if he can give me a refresher course on humor.

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By cann4ing, April 29, 2008 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

So let me get this right, Max.  You’ve spent the past week at Truthdig criticizing a former Kucinich supporter for not backing a candidate, Nader, whom you concede “does not have a snowball’s chance in Hell.”  Better bring the icebergs with you, because that is precisely where this nation is going to go if Mad Dog McCain is elected and gets his itchy fingers on the nuclear trigger.

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By cann4ing, April 29, 2008 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

It’s okay, Leefeller.  I don’t really mind.  Max is like a little puppy.  He keeps following me from post to post in the hopes that one of his non-sequiturs will eventually land him a bone.

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By Leefeller, April 29, 2008 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

Expat, yep no light at the end of the tunnel, thanks for the weather report.  Maybe we should try to stay outside of the tunnel, by moving to Oklahoma were the rednecks roam?

Gloomy it is.

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By Max Shields, April 29, 2008 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

I agree jackpine savage and Expat,

I don’t think it scales, but Expat has hit the other dimension to his problem (and ours), while Obama is clearly a corporate candidate, he’s trying to split the baby and he’s no Solomon. You can’t bring grass-roots change as a presidential candidate. So, talk of bottom up is disingenuous. And what’s more it is fatal.

This system is deeply flawed in terms of democracy and representative government. It doesn’t calibrate to bottom up when you’re on the presidential hunt.

Obama is a distration. Hillary’s a little closer to the corporate nod. She’s tough as hell.

In any case, we’re the losers if we think any of these party candidates provides the direction away from the unraveling of American Empire. And that’s the only real change.

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By Leefeller, April 29, 2008 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

Max,

Flatter yourself if it makes you feel better, but my cozy little apple cart was upset long before you came along.

You do seem to have it in for as you call Mr. Canning but how do you know it is not a Ms or Mrs?  I find it amusing how posters define other posters by sex and sometimes wrongly.

Take Bert for instance, please!

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By Leefeller, April 29, 2008 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Obama does seem to be sliding down in some degree on the make sense meter,  but whatever happed to Hillary?  Notice not much mention of her anymore. Is it just how not great Obama is or is this some sort of reverse tactic to enhance Hillary?

Must say if I am going to see a Corpratae family member in the White House I would much rather it be Obama than Hillary.  Having to watch her on the media for four more years does cause me stomach to turn.

Let’s see if I do not vote, which sort of makes sense, then Hillary may win, guess I have to vote for McCain in protest.

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By Max Shields, April 29, 2008 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

Ernest,

You’re anger has clouded your thinking. I’m not saying Nader has a snowballs chance nor that he has a movement. But he’s not the “rock star”, he’s not the guy who people like Moore are rushing off to throw their support to. (BTW no better way to end Obama’s run than support by Moore.)

Let’s just keep this in perspective. Nader is an independent who is running on issues most Kucinich supporters would call their own. And Obama represents what?

Watch as Obama’s etheral campaign falls apart. Then watch your almight numbers.

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By Expat, April 29, 2008 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

^ discussion.  Good points all, however, the problem as I see it is a lack of cohesion within the populace.  As JPS pointed out; what is needed in Kansas isn’t what’s needed in Oregon.  Further I see a fractured society: broken intentionally by the neo-cons and the corporatists.  This combined diet of propaganda, vile propaganda, has IMO; permanently divided the populace.  Obama is not/cannot bring these fragments together because of his own agenda (corporatism) which keeps him too narrowly focused.  The only solution would be a third party but I really don’t see that as a viable alternative given the present political climate in this country.  Sorry to be so pessimistic but I see no light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

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By cann4ing, April 29, 2008 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

When you and Nader organize the grass roots to the point that Nader can claim a “mass” to your movement, let us know.  Until then, you will always be known as Max “Don’t know how to count” Shields.

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By jackpine savage, April 29, 2008 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

I agree (at least mostly).  And that’s why i suggested that if his “movement” succeeds, it will probably be in spite of him…it may even turn on him.

I also agree that trying to scale community organizing up doesn’t work so well.  On the other hand, if there were ever a time where it could work, it would be now.

The problem is, of course, splintering.  What a rural community in Kansas needs is not the same as what an urban community in New York needs.  How much common ground they have is difficult to determine.

I think that if he was serious, he’d be using his campaign stops to teach people how to organize themselves in their communities…at the local level…to achieve what they need/want.  That’s what makes me think that he’s not “serious”.  If he was, he’d be building a movement related to him…not about him.

I would think that the massive downer is what might mobilize a semi-national grass-roots movement in serious action. (if the downer didn’t kill it)

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By Max Shields, April 29, 2008 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

jackpine savage,

Interesting thought process.

The problem, I think, is his rhetoric is too grass-roots and his platform is national. It’s out scaled.

In Chicago you have a great tradition (and some pretty ugly as well) of organizing around Saul Alinsky and a school which developed around his ideas. Ernesto Cortes has done great things with this grass-roots approach. But it is grass-roots and doesn’t scale to the national level beyond perhaps using it as a means to an end, which is a corruption of the process.

Obama may have learned his lessons well, but when you put it on the larger stage without a real grass-roots movement (not just a campaign event) it’s hollow and undermines the very purpose of movement organizing which is truly a thing of beauty.

No, Obama is a message without a movement. It’s like cotton candy with pretty much the same results when you eat too much of it.

By putting grass-roots organizing on steriods you get a massive dose of highs to be followed by a massive downer.

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By optipessi-mist, April 29, 2008 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tyler,

You get it. It is as it has always been: THE HAVES VS. THE HAVE NOTS. The rest is ideological nonsense. Everybody commenting here has been talking all around it. Check out my reply to Oh Please regarding an article in Scientific American.

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By cann4ing, April 29, 2008 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

Well said.  Excellent post.

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By eli hastings, April 29, 2008 at 11:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  A haymaker landed square on Obama.  I agree. Pragmatism is selling out.  No change till we get a 3rd party.  The system is broken.  Etc.  I’m not mocking, I really do agree.  I went to a liberal arts school, too.  But you know what? There are hundreds of thousands of working class black people who have it way harder than me (and I’m guessing than you) who are rallying behind Obama.  What do you say to them?  Are they too dumb and blind to glean your polished points about “integrity?” Or is it, as they might just tell you, that pragmatism is the bread of those without the luxury to act pure. 

Just a thought about perspective.

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By cyrena, April 29, 2008 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Paul A Moore…

You’re a smart guy. Nail on the head smart. This is exactly what they are afraid of, which is why the past decade has been devoted to preventing such unity. It’s why unions have been busted. It’s why race hate has been intentionally STOKED, not neutralized. The unity you speak of is exactly what the rulers fear, and that’s exactly what they’ve worked so hard to prevent.

Thanks for calling it what it is.

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By cann4ing, April 29, 2008 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Kucinich to Obama is like first supporting Huey Long and then supporting FDR after FDR received the Democratic nomination in 1932.  FDR didn’t create the New Deal in order to destroy capitalism but to prevent the avaricious beast from devouring itself.  While there are many areas of our system where public control should be asserted in place of corporate control, e.g. medicine, media, because the profit motive is at odds with the public need for health and “news” instead of the propaganda we see daily from the corporate press, this does not negate the fact that the “mixed-economy” brought on by Roosevelt’s New Deal was far superior to what has been produced as the result of deregulation that began during the Reagan administration or the ever-shrinking range of public discourse initiated first when the Reagan administration repealed the Fairness Doctrine and Equal Time Rules, which was followed by media consolidation brought on by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and subsequent FCC rulings.

The problem I have with attempting any level of discourse with ideologues like yourself, Max, is that for you it is all or nothing.  For you, there is no difference between an FDR and a Herbert Hoover; no difference between an Obama and a McCain.  I reject a Manichean world view whether it comes from Dick Cheney or Max Shields.

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By Max Shields, April 29, 2008 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

I’ve hit a nerve there,  Leefeller? Seems I’ve upset your cozy little apple cart.

You can return to what Mr. Canning calls - the NO BRAINER. And may peace be with you…

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By Leefeller, April 29, 2008 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

Max does seem to have a special quality of what he defines as being progressive, everything else is a sell out. 

Sometimes it is not what you say, it is how you say it.

Must admit most of us are not happy or enjoying the ride to hell, Max feels he is alone?

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By Max Shields, April 29, 2008 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

Ernest
You’re posting this under an article by Chris Hedges who has laid out the case of the corporate handlers behind Senator Obama. Additionally during Obama’s short period in the Senate he has managed to support the occupation of Iraq (not exactly in full sentences but in action and inaction) and one of it’s major proponents: Joseph I. Lieberman.

Call it progressive virtue, call it an observation; but it’s quite a stretch from Kucinich to Obama (except in the most superficial and sophomoric way, and I don’t think you’re sophomoric).

What I see is not so much an Obamamania here, but the kind of calculation that has kept us in Iraq. The “we don’t have the votes” so the Dems created one non-binding resolution after another. It’s that political machination that I see here where we can be somewhat free to speak out and call it like it is, not like some poll trying to get his numbers up.

When you stop thinking and start going along…it does something to your brain, ah ah aha…that’s where the NO-BRAINER idea must have come from, Mr. Canning!!! Got it.

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By jackpine savage, April 29, 2008 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

Paul A. Moore (below) gets to an undercurrent that is never analyzed by the chattering classes.

Is Obama any better (re. corporate influence) than any other candidate?  No.  But his own rhetoric could end up being uncontrollable.  He doesn’t take his own rhetoric to its logical conclusion on the campaign trail…and this may be the most glaring symptom of his ties to corporate America.

But let’s just say that he wins the nomination and runs a very good campaign, i.e. one that inspires many new voters to get involved (and perhaps reignites the belly fires of some older voters).  If people take his rhetoric seriously, and apply it post election, then he may create a “monster” which he cannot control.

Aside from his corporate connections, he’s running a national campaign like a community organizer.  That organization may disappear after inauguration, but what if it doesn’t?  What if enough people get it in their head that they are the ones that they’ve been waiting for?

Obviously, he’s not serious about many of those statements.  If he was, he’d be peppering his stump speech with telling people to use his organization to get things besides electing him done.  He would be telling people to run for local office.  He would be pointing out that what they’re doing to empower him could also be used to empower themselves.

Still, the possibility (no matter how slight) does exist that people will get this message anyhow.  As an aside, the biggest obstacle to that message getting across (intended or not) is the continued nomination contest.

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By cann4ing, April 28, 2008 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment

That’s fine, Max.  I will accept your non sequitor as an admission that you really don’t know how to count.

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By cann4ing, April 28, 2008 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment

Max Shields.  The sole repository of progressive virtue, and anyone who disagrees with him has sold out—or at least that is what the man believes.

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By cann4ing, April 28, 2008 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment

Hate to burst your bubble, Bob Z, but Joe Biden is not a progressive; Edwards only slightly so.

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By Giftex Admin Blog, April 28, 2008 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

hi,

how about buying corporate gift for your clients??

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By Expat, April 28, 2008 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

^  the “machine” is in fine working order.  Since the Dems have for the most part behaved themselves they have been given permission to win the presidency; it is theirs for the losing.  I’m more curious about the future effect this election will have on the electorate.  Americans are just too emotionally invested to be thinking clearly.  This emotionalism also allows them to be so easily manipulated, which is evident everywhere one looks.  When was the last time anybody actually listened to us?  I no longer believe it makes any difference at all who is in the oval office and further; the power grab won’t be returned.  There is no chance of a third party; it just won’t be allowed.  But then nobody is fighting for one either.  To see the future look back at the last 8 years; and the biggest missing element is “outrage”.  All I’ve heard is a whimper.

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By Paul A. Moore, April 28, 2008 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hope I don’t hurt anyone with delusions of grandeur, people in power are not afraid of any one of us. They’ve handled the greatest of the great among us and flatly stated they will allow the rise of no “messiahs” from our ranks.

But they are afraid of all of us together!

So the question becomes how to build greater unity, how to protect the gains we have made and build on them. In that vane, the single most important thing we can do with the rest of this year for the public schools and for ourselves is work to elect Barack Obama president of the United States. And this has nothing to do with his or anyone’s party affiliation but rather with striking a blow at the most divisive force in our society—racism.

Allow me the briefest of history lessons. Racism exists and will continue to exist as long as its economic underpinnings remain in place. The reason that chattel slavery came into existence in the semi-feudal agrarian US economy of the time was that it was very profitable for the masters of that economy. Everybody knows that slavery existed because it was so profitable for a small group of merchants and plantation owners, right? Well the reason that racism remains so pervasive in the United States today with its developed industrial economy is that it is very profitable for the masters of that economy. It helps Wal-Mart keep unions out of all of its stores for instance. It allows the FCAT to punish students Edison, Northwestern, Central and Carol City while the students at Ransom-Everglades and Gulliver Prep are nurtured in their test free zones.

Now it took the bloodiest war in US history and hundreds of thousands of white workers willing to fight to the death to end chattel slavery. So have no illusions about Barack Obama, no election and no candidate for office will end racism in this country.

Barack Obama is not under racist attack right now for fear of his empty rhetoric about change. The ruling class chuckles over such nonsense. But something that does scare them must happen before Obama can be elected. In all future primaries and in the general election, if he gets that far, Obama will win 90-plus% of the Black vote. Those voters will turn out in record numbers. Yet he will win the nomination and then the presidency only with a substantial number of white working class votes. Obama’s candidacy holds out the possibility that working-class whites might make their first halting steps toward an effective political relationship with their brothers and sisters of color. The masters of our economy know their history. They know that was the dynamic that brought down their ancestor’s slave economy. They know that would be the beginning of the end of their gravy train.

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By Leefeller, April 28, 2008 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

In Plato’s cave,  truth is the illusion on the wall,  illusive truth would win, because real truth is not real.  We are all in Plato’s cave

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By samosamo, April 28, 2008 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

I have always known the wannabe choices are not good. All are wrapped up in corporate interest and are actually frothing at the mouth to get elected to get their hands on the big payoffs. But it just isn’t the presidency, it is the seats in the house and senate that are at least just as important as the presidency or even more so. And here again, there is the notion of making personal and political gain from the lobbyist bribe dollars and just trying to keep the roll over small(smaller that the Russian parliment/poliburro)which does not inject any objectivity or responsibility in our democracy.
And through it all no one seems to realize via the corporate shadow that war is being waged against the citizentry of this country and the people of the rest of the world. Thus the status quo(SNAFU)will continue and as long as anyone is alive, it will get worse. And the citizentry just don’t seem to care or they think they are still getting a great deal and bargain.
I don’t see much msm tv anymore but if the citizens were as high on the IQ charts as they believe themselves to be, would it not outrage them to a point of action when corporations, especailly the utilities(water,power,gas,phone) are busting balls making profits hand over fist and with a major resession at the least on the horizion, these greedy, unconcerned criminals don’t back off of the billions in profit they are raking in to help the citizentry? Where is the compassion? Well, there is no compassion. The all important investor has more rights than people just trying to keep it together to live and these ‘warmongers’ just keep on screwing everyone with no kisses.

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By cyrena, April 28, 2008 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

Gmonst,

Great post, and I ditto Ernest Canning in his reponse.

I also agree with your most important ending statement here, which is that we have to come back to earth, and work within realities.

This is the most difficult part for the ideologues and those who had long ago bought into the unreality that the job ‘belonged’ to Hillary Clinton. The irony is that if so many of these same people weren’t living in some ALTERNATIVE of the reality that most Americans now face, (after more than 7 years of having one created for them)not only would there not be an urgent need for Barack Obama to make the difference, but the ‘status quo’ wouldn’t even be questioned.

This is not to dismiss the points that Chris Hedges has made, but it IS to suggest that he TOO, is in his own alternative reality.

Unfortunately, he and Nadar are too little, too late.

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By BobZ, April 28, 2008 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

My political views were more aligned with Dennis Kucinich, John Edward’s , and Joe Biden precisely because I felt Obama was not the progressive the right wing was trying to portray him. I feel the same way about Clinton who is center-right, and a constant reminder of the lawyer-like parsing of the English language. We will always be faced with the lesser of two evils, because money is the ‘mothers milk of politics” and guess who has the money. Now I am aligned with Obama because he is the better of the three, but I would vote for Hillary if she were the candidate. If Nader had a chance I would vote for him, but all he can do is put another Republican in the White House (dread). Hedges may be right and I enjoy his blogs, but at this point, we have to make the best of it, and try to persuade our local elected representatives to be more representative to the rest of us.

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By bg1, April 28, 2008 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why did it take so long to talk truthfully about Obama?  Better late than never.  I hope it’s not too late.

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By Paracelsus, April 28, 2008 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

I suppose thre is nothing shadowy about a bunch of naked middle aged men dancing in front of a stone owl or college boys masturbating inside a coffin or business and political leaders meeting under armed guard at a hotel with roads close down to normal traffic for miles around. Nothing shadowy about that, aye? Mr. Hedges, why don’t you come back when you have something more trenchant than corporations? You seemed like someone who would get his foot temporarily stuck in a rabbit hole only to quickly pull it out, and then go on happy and stupid.

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By tyler, April 28, 2008 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

there is no difference between left or right in washington, its rich vs. poor.

washington, all of its elected officials, SERVE MONEY.

they do not represent the people.

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By Max Shields, April 28, 2008 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Hunter,

I really do think that Hedges knows what Obama is trying to say. Hedges’s argument is that Obama is letting the corporate world know that he’s no zealot (as in won’t make waves that would upset the corporate status quo).

Hedges is not arguing against facts, but against the lack of the very principles Obama espouses to hold as he brings his show from town to town.

What I’m hearing here by the Obama (kinda) crowd, is a “this is the best we got so let’s make the best of it.” You guys seem pretty “pragmatic” all right and that’s kind of ugly, frankly. It certainly isn’t particularly progressive (like you threw that notion under the bus in the name of “pragmaticism - can’t you count?.

When you argue against Nader its because he’s not playing your “pragmatic” game. You got this little club (with Michael Moore) who supports progessive ideals as long as it stay inside the Democratic Party tent. Otherwise, it’s overboard, get with the “real world”. And Nader just sticks with it. It’s the kind of talk I heard from those who supported the equivocating Dems, who have kept us in Iraq, once they got in in ‘o6. They shouted at anti-war demonstrators telling them they were children (many of these people were in their 50s and older) and didn’t know how the real world works as they wagged their smart ass fingers.

And so this “pragmatism” is the problem. And Hedges is no fool. He knows exactly what Obama meant.

But it sounds like you don’t really get Hedges who has landed one hell of a haymaker on Obama.

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By Maani, April 28, 2008 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

Max:

“Can’t tell the difference between no difference at all.”

Wow.  A line worthy of Bob Dylan.  Brilliant!

Peace.

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By Jonathon, April 28, 2008 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very commendable article Mr. Hedges.  It’s seems that so many of the anti-Hillary liberals are so quick to jump on the Obama train recently.  How quick we forget to point out what you have so very explicitly.  Thanks for this.  You really have me wanting to throw in the voting towel now.  Maybe I’ll just vote Nader again but I’m sure I’ll be blasted by everyone for not ‘picking the lesser poison’.  Reading this article and the realization it gives me about our narrow choices in this so-called democracy really makes my radical bone twitch.  Somebody wake me up when the revolution starts man.

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By Max Shields, April 28, 2008 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Ernest

That’s the usual Democratic statement. Devotion to Party first, principles dead last.

You and your ilk think you can “reform” Obama regardless of his political track record. That’s called Delusion.

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By bert, April 28, 2008 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

“Obama is a politician.  Period.  But he tried to - and continues to try to - portray himself as something else.  This was what many of us saw through early on, and did not trust.  And we have been “vindicated” in our beliefs and feelings about him.”

Yes, oh yes, yes, yes. Maani. We were not eloquent enough as we pointed out many of this over the last several months. I didn’t think the truth had to be eloqyent. Silly me. How many times were both of us ganged up on and called racist or unable to see the truth.  And I don’t know how he responded to you, but I know Aegrus was especialy egregious in his some of his comments to me and my posts.

Do you think this is the chickens come to roost so to speak?  Yes, I second your comment——-” What I hear in your “voice” is basically “sour grapes.” Sorry for your loss.”

The truth can hurt. But it beats delusion every time.

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By cann4ing, April 28, 2008 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

Max, please let us know when you learn how to count.

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By Ronnie, April 28, 2008 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And now for a Southern perspective…

Mclame is trying to do some of what Nixon’s man (Lee Atwater) in the party recommended by none other than ole Strom did.He is desperate for a Willie Horton type wedge issue. Obama almost gave him one on the guns and gods(religion) gaffe he made in March. Hillary also was salivating on this one. “Race Doesn’T matter” is the oxymoron of the “Audacity of Hope”. Obama knows that race is an issue in voting trends..he’s NOT stupid. Obama needs to win enough in the South and McLame knows it.
If Obama pulls off the election it will be because Souterners see Mclame for what he is..worse than GWB!
Good analysis on the REAL Barack Obama.

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By kath cantarella, April 28, 2008 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

‘We have come full circle, back to the age of the robber barons and railroad magnates of the late 19th century’

i agree.

But Obama, to all appearances, is smart and sane. I’m not sure the 2 other viable candidates have those crucial qualities.

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By Max Shields, April 28, 2008 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

PatrickHenry,

You are absolutely right. National politics is meaningless in terms of representation and anything approaching democracy.

Local is where change can and needs to begin. You can’t change the world if you can’t make it in city hall. It’s just that simple.

My complaint about Obama is not about him as much as it is about those who can’s tell the difference between no difference at all. They keep going like sheep expecting something new to happen; and it doesn’t, because it can’t. The system is what it is.

So, those who want to vote for Hillary or Obama or McCain vote.

But for those who think Obama is change - let me give you a name of one of his spokespeople: Dan Gerstein. Danny boy was the hatchetman for Joseph I. Lieberman when he ran against anti-war candidate Ned Lamont in CT. It was at that time, that Obama (a Lieberman protege at the time) rode into CT politics to support ol’ Joe. And if the damning post from Chris Hedges doesn’t wise up some progressives, I don’t know what will - kinda hopeless.

Now back to the change we can really begin to make.

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By truthreader13, April 28, 2008 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You ask why obama is singled out by this article, and
the answer is that because many people are taken in by his promises of CHANGE where in fact he and the rest of the candidates is owned and controlled by Big Money/Business and there will be no REAL CHANGE
and business will be as usual in Washington DC.

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By Brian, April 28, 2008 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i’ve responded to you here:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=aj96vhm9r4v_16d3df736h

My response was too long for your comment box.

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By PatrickHenry, April 28, 2008 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Until elections get 100% public funding, equal time media (give each candidate their own cable channel) and a verifiable vote, the song remains the same.

The current entrenched politicians like it the way it is and won’t do anything to change the rules.  The only way to affect these changes is at the state and local levels, where politics really mean something.

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By Max Shields, April 28, 2008 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

It’s all those “no brainers” that keep getting us into big time trouble.

You’ve got a light weight who equivocates and caves on every major issue, beholden to the corporate elite and APIC and you’re so cavalier with your “no brainer”. “Let’s close our eyes and hope for the best. After all we pulled the lever for Kucinich, what more can a body do?”

Now let’s hope along with the choices they’ve given us. Let me see iniminiminnimo.

What a bunch of voodoo. It’s called ultra light democracy. And so now Obama’s in and the progessives are going to do what? Get on the cabinet and be advisors?

Have you seen his “progressive” advisors as of late? No? Well if you bend the term to mean anybody who’s not on McCain’s payroll you could make a case.

Look this guy Obama supported Joseph I. Lieberman for God’s Sake. While we were out hoofing it to change the Senate with a real USA anti-war candidate (Ned Lamont), your bud Obama was here pushing the living hell for good ol’ Joe. You think Joe ain’t going to have the ear of your precious Obama before your “progressives”?

Sometimes some people are just too smart for their own good and think it’s a “no brainer”. McCain? Obama and Hillary have already, before the general moved over to the right. Once the general is upon us McCain may actually appear to be the “progressive” on many issues.

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By thebeerdoctor, April 28, 2008 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

Dyspeptic Teleologist, your point is well taken. It is odd that Obama used the phrase “Our Constitution” when at its inception only white landowners were allowed to vote. No women, no Indians, and no blacks. When he says: “Our religious traditions celebrate the value of hard work and express the conviction that a virtuous life will result in material reward.” That indeed is a neoliberal myth that is just as false and brutal as any neocon con job. (In other words, if you do not have material reward, you did not live a virtuous life?)
This may indeed be my last posting. The necessities of living, creative art and all the positive aspects of the human condition force me to ignore their “greedy gushes” worshiping money. That is not the way to keep score, here in America or anywhere else.

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By cann4ing, April 28, 2008 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

I concur with most of what you have said, Gmonst, but I disagree that Kucinich is inflexible.  Unlike Nader, Kucinich has had the wisdom to understand that before progressives can capture the government of the U.S. they need to regain control of the party that is supposed to be the People’s party but which has been stolen by the corporatists.

The reality is that if we had a level playing field; if campaigns were conducted on the strength of a person’s ideas rather than the false PR “image” projected by the corporate media, Kucinich would have won in a landslide.  A blind poll conducted last August which set forth the positions of each candidate but excluded their names produced a startling result.  Kucinich received 53% as compared to less than five percent each for Obama, Clinton and Edwards.

Now that the primaries are essentially over (the math shows that Clinton can’t win) it comes down to Obama or Mad Dog McCain.  That choice is a no-brainer.

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By cann4ing, April 28, 2008 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

After seven and one half years of Bush lawlessness, are you suggesting that this nation has nothing to fear from a McCain presidency?  Are you suggesting that there would be no difference between a President Obama and a President McCain?  Are you suggesting that either Nader or McKinney have a chance to win?  P-L-E-A-S-E!

Go back over the postings by Hedges at this site during the time Kucinich was an active candidate.  Hedges spent all of his ammunition on assailing the insanity of the Christian fundamentalist movement, as he was touting his very well written book on the subject.  If he was truly an active Kucinich supporter, why did he not come forth with this very article early on when the basic choice was to be made.  Why wait until after the corporate media successfully maneuvered the choices down to Hillary or Obama before saying, guess what folks?  Obama is a corporate friendly politician.

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By Gmonst, April 28, 2008 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

I think that Mr. Hedges makes some good arguments in this piece.  There are some valid criticisms here, and I think that Obama should be pressed on such issues such as single payer health care and really ending the war.  That being said, who do you think will be the most responsive to these kinds of concerns?  You may well think Nader, and you may be correct, but is Nader going to be the president, nope.  Like it or not its going to be one of the big 3.  Ignore that fact if you want, but it won’t make the outcome of the election more favorable to progressives.  Undoubtedly it will require some compromise, collective progress always does.  What I see too often in politics is this hard-ass, I’m drawing a line in the sand mentality.  Nothing will change that way.  We may like to think everyone thinks like us or sees things like we do, but they don’t.  What I see in Obama that I think is refreshing is a pragmatic give and take mentality that seems more concerned with getting progress moving than being completely right.  I love Kucinich and I have supported him in words and money, but in reality he is too uncompromising, too ideal.  Not to mention the media machine would eat him for lunch, he has always been far to loose with his words for the national scene.  In short, while valuable to the process, he never had a chance.  Obama’s not perfect, no one is, but he seems genuine in his concern for the public good, and I think his record speaks to that, he also seems willing to compromise a bit to get things moving, which is absolutely crucial for any progress to happen.  He’s got a real chance, and is the best realistic possibility out there.  He won’t completely satisfy progressives, but he won’t completely disappoint them either.  Clinton, who is unlikely to be the candidate at this point, would be less satisfying and McCain would be a disaster.  Sometimes when you go to the cupboard you just have to eat what is in there instead of dreaming of gourmet meals which are out of reach.  Come back to earth and work within realities.

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By Max Shields, April 28, 2008 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Ernest,

The old tired Democratic fear tactic. Got no place to go sucker. We’re your only hope from the loony McCain.

And then…

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By thebeerdoctor, April 28, 2008 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges this is the best piece on Barack Obama I have ever read. From a sports point of view, I got a kick out of Team Obama out smarting Team Clinton, and I also enjoyed a fresh personality on the tired political scene, but it is quite obvious that if anyone expects the Illinois Senator to be a force for true change, they are suffering from a delusion.
Barack Obama’s internet data base of millions of small donors only reinforces the notion that the candidate’s campaign is a people’s campaign. Never mind. He is a reasonable person who will protect the status quo. Much of the opposition to his candidacy is based on the inflated ego driven system of the pageant government. When a newcomer to the elite (And what is more elite than the one hundred members of the United States Senate?) attempts to muscle in his particular posse, there is bound to be friction. The Clinton crime family have always felt that they are the rightful heir apparent (you owe me!) to the whole ball of wax, and they are way pass the negotiation stage. There will be no “sit down” with Barack Obama.
I use to think that Obama was the best of the unholy main three candidates, but after his failure to defend his pastor (by that I mean, his right to say what he wanted to say, whether Obama agreed or not) and his denunciation of former President Carter’s meeting with HAMAS, reveals him to be as spineless as the other two senatorial mudusoids.
It is strange that this year, the so-called mainstream candidates all hail from the senate. In the United States Senate, some of the more gruesome blood sausage legislation is crafted (Kyl-Lieberman comes to mind). That is a main arm of the Permanent Government, which will continue unabated, no matter who gets the pageant crown.
To me, it was revealing that Obama, in his writings used the phrase: “liberal caricature”. In bleaker moments, it sometimes seems that politicians are shiny caricatures of real human beings. The outer surface looks great, but just don’t, and I mean never, look underneath.

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By hunter, April 28, 2008 at 10:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris’ view lacks pragmatism. Further more, it seems grounded in the notion/philosophy/complex that “impotence = virtue.”
The first quote from Obama’s book hits the nail on the head, really, it isn’t speaking in terms of idealism; its purely pragamtic. Is Obama wrong in that quote? Seems perfectly factual. Or maybe he should run on the “dismantle all the major media sponsor platform.” Maybe someone did run on that platform…how would you know?         
  Hooray for those who can’t possibly win, Kusinich, Paul, and Nader for getting their messages out. Really. Not being a smart-ass this time.
  It would be great if each of them would run in the general, and then pull their names from the ballot when the actual election comes up and back Obama. if its Hillary…whatever…Bill caused Bush…God knows what Hillary would cause, supposing the Russians don’t just level us when we “obliterate Iran.” If its Hillary, I’ll vote third party, because it really just doesn’t matter who actually wins at that point.

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By TAO Walker, April 28, 2008 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

If theamericanpeople, as such, can be summed-up in a single movie character, it would be the one Jack Nicholson played in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  Driven by what’ve been for generations touted as the allamerican “virtues,” as enumerated by Chris Hedges here and dominated by their worship of their sacred fortunes and their obsessive pursuit of “comfort uber alles,” we are watching an essentially faux-anyway “nation” in the terminal stages of self-deluded self-destruction.

This old Savage used to wonder “....when (they) gonna wake-up, and strengthen the things that remain?”  Today it looks like any who will have already….and it appears to be relatively few.  The rest seem doomed to go on squandering their precious vitality into beating institutional dead-horses ‘til they are themselves down in the ditch with ‘em, “....flies buzzin’ around (their) eyes….,” as Bob Dylan warned in “Idiot Wind,” which could well’ve been the theme song for the movie made fom Ken Kesey’s allamerican horror-story.

As others here have noted, the “signs” have been out there for all to see for a long time now.  But once stampeded over the cliff of “Empire,” the chances that many americans would even see, let alone actually read them, have been slim to none.  So it goes.

To the commentor who noted the general deterioration of this site, for example, into just another “establishment” organ, it’s difficult to see how it could’ve done otherwise, given the principals’ own fundamental allegiance to the “capitalist” craziness.  For those who might yet discover the relief that comes from no longer beating their heads against the wall of stone-cold avarice, This Old Man once again recommends the Tiyospaye Way as THE viable alternative.

HokaHey!

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By ib, April 28, 2008 at 9:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Finally reality sets in. Interesting, reading the responses none of them so far seem to address the candidate.

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By Maani, April 28, 2008 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

Aegrus:

I never said anything about eloquence; I merely noted that I have been saying THIS VERY THING (yes, among other things) for MONTHS.  And MANY of the Obama supporters here (maybe not you, but I’d have to check) vehemently dismissed it.  I even provided the exact dollar figures re “special interest” contributions to Obama’s campaign, yet even THIS was met with flat-out denial.  In fact, I was the first one on the site to provide the information about Exelon (its contributions, and the fact that Frank Clark was among Obama’s major “bundlers,” but was dismissed out-of-hand as “not knowing what I was talking about.”

What I hear in your “voice” is basically “sour grapes.”  Sorry for your loss.

Peace.

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By Ivan Hentschel, April 28, 2008 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First of all, I also share the fear that Truthdig is becoming more MSM, all the time. Too bad. I’m running out of places to find real objectivity. And less and less are any of the “alternate” news services publishing anything that isn’t written by a “name”, like Hedges or Scheer, et.al. Again, too bad you all stopped listening and just started re-publishing one another’s material. 

But for the rest of it, everyone is right: the choices have become lame, at best. McCain is old, uninformed, having too many senior moments and is sorely out of touch, I don’t trust Hillary any farther than I could throw her (she just lies all the time, to suit the moment) and if Obama gets into office, he will have so many favors to repay that the status quo will just be a never ending state of the dis-union. It’s like an option list from Keith Olbermann: we get to pick from the worse, worser or worst of the candidates. How did this happen? We’re doomed.

Wait! What is that big, black thing, falling from the sky over Tehran? It’s a Bush-O-Gram, promising to make a sorry election the least of our troubles! Yeah! As I said, we’re doomed.

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By cann4ing, April 28, 2008 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

I will repeat my repost to your comments elsewhere on Truthdig.

Over a lifetime there are occasions where someone says something especially profound, and it sticks.  For me, it occurred in 1969.  I had just returned from Vietnam, having received an early out to attend college.  My freshman history professor said:

“If the American right can always be criticized for its absolute insensitivity to the human condition, the American left can always be criticized for its inability to count.”

Are the policies advocate by Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney superior to those advanced by Obama?  Absolutely yes!  Do either Nader or McKinney have any chance of being elected?  Absolutely not!

If the past seven and one half years entailing the neocon quest for U.S. imperial hegemony, new generations of nuclear weapons, Blackwater, Haliburton, Katrina and an ongoing assault on science, the environment, civil liberties, the rule of law, separation of church and state, the rule of reason, torture and warrantless NSA eavesdropping have not convinced you that there would have been a fundamental difference between a Gore administration and a Bush administration, then nothing I can say will convince you of the fundamental difference between Obama and Mad Dog McCain.

There is a very real prospect that progressives who now support the Obama campaign can become a part of an Obama administration.  There is a very good chance that if enough progressive dems are elected to Congress along with Obama and a real push is made, we can still get single-payer.  (I believe the thrust comes from the bottom-up, not top down and that single-payer could be given a major boost if progressives get single-payer onto the ballots in those states that have the referendum and initiative process).  I am certain that single-payer would never get past a presidential veto in either a Clinton or McCain presidency.  I am also certain that there would be no way to roll back the consolidation of corporate control of the media in a McCain presidency, and that the appointment of one more right wing subversive from the Federalist Society to the Supreme Court (which would give the Federalist Society a fifth vote on the Court) portends to the end of the rule of law as we know it, for all Federalist Society jurists ascribe to the concept of a lawless “Unitary Executive.”

As to Hedges being about “activism and not political convenience,” Hedges silence on the issue at a time when his voice mattered—when Kucinich was still in the race—speaks volumes about his lack of practical judgment.

You want to throw your vote away on Nader or McKinney and risk a McCain presidency, that’s your call, but show some level of intellectual respect for those who do not share yours and Nader’s assessment that there is “no difference” between a Gore and a Bush; between an Obama and a McCain.  Your assessment is fraught with overstatement.

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By felicity, April 28, 2008 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

Congratulations Jman - Treat the disease, not the symptoms.

That said, what a muddle. For whom do I vote? Perhaps our ballots need a ‘none of the above’ as a ‘vote’ for president. Enough checks there just might be a peaceful version of Jman’s ‘revolution?’

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By Aegrus, April 28, 2008 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

Hell, JS, a lot of folks here who claim to be progressive have bank accounts. Well, you know where your money goes from Wachovia, CitiGroup or Bank of America? It funds private wars, WTO, IMF, other private investment firms.

People have to wake up and realize that we all have hands in the big corporate machine in one way or another. There is mutual benefit sometimes, but more often there are bloody consequences. Real change is really damn hard for most Americans to actively engage in because it severely limits your ability to function in society comfortably, which is exactly how the corporate elite like to be.

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By Aegrus, April 28, 2008 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

Please, Maani, don’t even try to say you’ve been as eloquent about Obama’s negatives as this article has been. Consequentially, I have known about these particular smudges on Obama’s record since his campaign started, but I believe in other aspects of his platform which mitigate the influence of special interests. I’ve said it a thousand times, we will not have a perfect candidate ever. The fact Obama has special interests shouldn’t be surprising, but using his (ultimately less)donors to justify Hillary, who is a worse candidate in my opinion, is just ridiculous.

Obama is far less of a phony than Hillary is, and I think he can work centrist well beyond the capability of any of the other Democrats right now. We’d all love a Kucinich presidency, but it just isn’t happening right now. Get the best you can get, and move forward.

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By Max Shields, April 28, 2008 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

Your point on Hillary is precisely why Obama is all the more troubling. He is the manchurian candidate. And for the most part he’s telegraphed it.

But these so-called progressives who fawn over lofty words as if they must choose between fric and frac just because that’s what the corporate controlled media says they must do, have lost their moral compass.

The principles of Kucinich are not found in either of these candidates, but it is the underbelly of Obama’s politics that is more telling than what we see with Clinton. Yes, with her it’s clear what we see is what we get. I think Obama is pretty clear, it’s just those who can’t see beyond their limited choices who can’t see it.

What Hedges has so perfectly written is out there for all to see and read. This is not new, but Obamania is irrational and so has no real compass except the one the one marked delusional.

This site needs to be shaken up. There was a time when it looked pretty healthy. Now it’s become mainstream. And that’s what is killing us and much of the world.

Have these folks not learned? Remember the “great turning” in ‘06 when the Dems were suppose to get us OUT of Iraq. As Hedges notes Obama voted to keep us IN. The Dems have presided over most of this nation’s wars and yet these “progressives” think they are the party of peace and domestic well-being.

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By Dyspeptic Teleologist, April 28, 2008 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

“Our Constitution places the ownership of private property at the very heart of our system of liberty ...  Our religious traditions celebrate the value of hard work and express the conviction that a virtuous life will result in material reward. Rather than vilify the rich, we hold them up as role models, and our mythology is steeped in stories of men on the make—the immigrant who comes to this country with nothing and strikes it big, the young man who heads West in search of his fortune. As Ted Turner famously said, in America money is how we keep score.”

This passage says it all.  As Eric Hobsbawm put it some years ago, the neoliberal creed is “a theological dogma as unrealistic as the attempt to construct socialism by central command in a single country.”  The difference between Republicans and Democrats (at least the ones that Obama likes to model himself after, in contrast to those “horrible” New Dealers) is that the Republicans are not insane.  They always intended to advance the corporate agenda, everything else be damned.  They are therefore untroubled by the facts that the United States, through its religious adherence to the unregulated market, now has the worst healthcare system in the Western world; that it incarcerates one-quarter of the prisoners on earth; that it is the only Western country which permits - indeed often celebrates - capital punishment; etc.  The list of social priorities which have been deformed by the profit motive goes on. 

For Republicans, ideology and reality are one and the same.  Only Dem’s persist in trying to resolve two irreconcilables: market supremacy and their vestigial commitment to increasingly vague notions of progress.  This is neither ideology in any productive sense nor a system of values.  It is insanity

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By Max Shields, April 28, 2008 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

Ernest
Hedges too was a strong advocate for Kucinich right to the very end on these and other sites.

But his is about activism not political convenience.

That’s the difference.

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By Maani, April 28, 2008 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

For months I have been saying here on LieDig exactly what Hedges says in his article; indeed, I could have written this article had I had time.  Yet, like Cassandra, I have been met disdain and dismissal from the Obama supporters who continue to swear up and down that Obama is not beholden to corporate interests, despite taking corporate cash (and many supporters have continued to deny that he even does THAT).

Obama is the Manchurian Candidate, and a much bigger hypocrite than Hillary.  He talks a good game - indeed, a superb, almost flawless game - about not taking “special interest” money, yet he has taken in as much if not more than Hillary.  That is verifiable fact (see opensecrets.org).

As I have said ad nasueam, the difference is that, with Hillary, what you see is what you get; i.e., she has never claimed to be anything other than a “politican” - one who takes special interest money, engages in “politics as usual” on the campaign trail, etc.  One can certainly excoriate her for this, but at least she has made no claims to the contrary.

Obama, on the other hand, built his campaign on claims of extraordinary - almost messianical - integrity, honesty, judgment, character and principle: he would NOT play “politics as usual” on the campaign trail, he did NOT take special interest money, etc.  Yet, as we are seeing, the truth is much different.  This is why I say he is a hypocrite - and, to my mind, a dangerous one, since so many people “bought in” to the hype and false claims.

Obama is a politician.  Period.  But he tried to - and continues to try to - portray himself as something else.  This was what many of us saw through early on, and did not trust.  And we have been “vindicated” in our beliefs and feelings about him.

Obama may be a good man, and he may even have good intentions.  But he is ultimately a phony.

Peace.

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By cann4ing, April 28, 2008 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

It would have been nice, Chris Hedges, if you had come out with this piece while Dennis Kucinich, the one who was prepared to stand up to corporate America and the military-industrial complex, was still in the race.

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By Jaman Jman, April 28, 2008 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

The most powerful institutions in our world today are not governments they are corporations.  Relying on the Fourteenth Amendment, added to the Constitution in 1868 to protect the rights of freed slaves, the Court ruled that a private corporation is a natural person under the U.S. Constitution, and consequently has the same rights and protection extended to persons by the Bill of Rights, including the right to free speech.  Unless and until the Supreme Court revisits this radical decision we cannot take the corporate money out of our politics.  Any law that attempts to limit the money corporations can spend to influence our laws and policies will be struck down using this precedent.  Corporations are not people.  The word “corporation” does not appear anywhere in our Constitution or Bill of Rights.

There are two ways to change this: 1) Replace the Supreme Court Justices with true “originalists” who rescind those bad faith decisions or 2) revolution.

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By DennisD, April 28, 2008 at 7:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris - thanks for restating the obvious. They’re all corrupt to one degree or another. There’s no particular need to single anyone out.

Every 2, 4 or 6 years we go through a kabuki dance in the U.S. called an election. It’s the illusion the corporations allow us to put a different face on their product. It’s nothing more than changing the cereal box and not the contents. They’ve been selling the American voter this illusion and the vast majority have been willing buyers.

By not voting for independents, thinking that it’s wasting your vote, you’ve truly played the game exactly the way the corporations intended.

Either start a revolution at the ballot box or be ready for a real one. When enough people have nothing, they’ll have nothing to lose.

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By Max Shields, April 28, 2008 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

Because it is Obama who has got so-called “progressives” believing he’s the second coming. That’s why. Hillary is not the alternative.

As far as wind bags, your doing ok all by yourself there sonny.

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By KISS, April 28, 2008 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

“We have come full circle, back to the age of the robber barons and railroad magnates of the late 19th century who selected members of corrupt state assemblies to be their pliable senators and congressmen and sent them off to Washington to do their bidding.” As I have said, more than once, which corporate flag do you wish to see fly over the White House? Anyone of the three will wear a banner for Fascism. Why is it so hard to recognized we are ” The Fascist Republic of Amerika”?
There is not a shred of difference between the three. But rather than wring one’s hands and wail, one is better off to do as little as possible to help corporations grow. Consumerism is our only weapon and using the ballot box to create ” Term Limits” on the elected. Term Limits kills corporations in the pocket book. Corporation own the politicol’s and worse, the Supreme Court is under the corporate thumb. Other than a revolution, there is little we can do. Be independent and buy as little as you can…make that car last another 3 years, grow some of your food, don’t buy brand name goods. Just maybe this coming depression might make things better…there will be blood, as the movie says.

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By optipessi-mist, April 28, 2008 at 5:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In answer to your question, Oh Please, don’t vote until you have read an article in Scientific American dated February 4, 2008.

The article by Gary Stix is titled,

“Super Tuesday:  Markets Predict Outcome Better  
            Than Polls”

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By jackpine savage, April 28, 2008 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

If you are just now figuring out that America is governed of the corporations, for the corporations, and by the corporations then you’re a fool.  If you ever thought that either major party would ever nominate a national candidate who was not a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America, then you’re an even bigger fool.

How could either party nominate a non-corporate candidate when the parties themselves are wholly owned subsidiaries?

But they’ve got you misdirected like a sidewalk scam artists running a shell game.  While you worry about whether your side is winning or losing, you fail to notice that there’s no real difference between the two sides.  Sure, they pick a few issues to get you all worked up: abortion, gun control, etc.  But how many of those issues undergo serious change anyhow?  If any of them were actually settled, then they wouldn’t be an issue to keep you distracted.

If you hold mutual funds or a 401K, you probably don’t even know which corporations you’re a limited liability part owner of.  Maybe you oppose the war, you even have a bumper sticker to prove it.  But is your retirement going to be funded by a major defense contractor’s profits?  If it is, are you really against the war?

So we expect our politicians to be free of corporate ownership, but what of ourselves?  There’s nothing like having your cake and eating it too.

Free your mind and your ass will follow.

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By Oh Please, April 28, 2008 at 2:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges writes “the same weapons manufacturers, defense contractors” give obama more money. Actually people working in defense give all three about the same, obama a little less than Clinton, but all three very little relative to the whole.

Obama, he says, has taken “$213,000 from individuals (and their spouses) who work for companies in the oil and gas industry” So he’s going to screw us for people who gave him .001 percent of his campaign funds? Nonsense.

Why single Obama out? Clearly McCain’s economic plan and Clinton, with her years of work as a corporate lawyer are better for corporations. This feels like an attempt to get libs to vote for Nader, or whatever egomaniacal hasbeen is trying to save the world by wrecking an election this year.

Really? Is the REST of the Supreme Court worth it? Sorry if I prioritize free speech and what’s left of my privacy over “ballot access” whatever in the HELL that is.

Another good writer falls in love with a bad idea.

Obama would be a flawed president, but he would not help corps “subvert what is left of our faltering democracy,” and there’s no comparing him to George Bush (the house that Nader built). And he’s head and shoulders above the other two goofballs, so what are we really talking about here?

I now await the fall out among the half-dozen gas bags that tend to comment here when anyone makes fun of his holiness ralph nader.

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