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Buying Brand Obama

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Posted on May 3, 2009
Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Branding in action: President Barack Obama gestures during a town hall meeting in Fort Myers, Fla., in February to discuss the economy.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

An image-based culture, one dominated by junk politics, communicates through narratives, pictures and carefully orchestrated spectacle and manufactured pseudo-drama. Scandalous affairs, hurricanes, earthquakes, untimely deaths, lethal new viruses, train wrecks—these events play well on computer screens and television. International diplomacy, labor union negotiations and convoluted bailout packages do not yield exciting personal narratives or stimulating images. A governor who patronizes call girls becomes a huge news story. A politician who proposes serious regulatory reform, universal health care or advocates curbing wasteful spending is boring. Kings, queens and emperors once used their court conspiracies to divert their subjects. Today cinematic, political and journalistic celebrities distract us with their personal foibles and scandals. They create our public mythology. Acting, politics and sports have become, as they were during the reign of Nero, interchangeable. 

In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we do not seek reality. Reality is complicated. Reality is boring. We are incapable or unwilling to handle its confusion. We ask to be indulged and comforted by clichés, stereotypes and inspirational messages that tell us we can be whoever we seek to be, that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities, and that our future will always be glorious and prosperous, either because of our own attributes, or our national character, or because we are blessed by God. Reality is not accepted as an impediment to our desires. Reality does not make us feel good. 

In his book “Public Opinion,” Walter Lippmann distinguished between “the world outside and the pictures in our heads.” He defined a “stereotype” as an oversimplified pattern that helps us find meaning in the world. Lippmann cited examples of the crude “stereotypes we carry about in our heads” of whole groups of people such as “Germans,” “South Europeans,” “Negroes,” “Harvard men,” “agitators” and others. These stereotypes, Lippmann noted, give a reassuring and false consistency to the chaos of existence. They offer easily grasped explanations of reality and are closer to propaganda because they simplify rather than complicate.

Pseudo-events—dramatic productions orchestrated by publicists, political machines, television, Hollywood or advertisers—however, are very different. They have, as Daniel Boorstin wrote in “The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America,” the capacity to appear real even though we know they are staged. They are capable, because they can evoke a powerful emotional response, of overwhelming reality and replacing reality with a fictional narrative that often becomes accepted truth. The unmasking of a stereotype damages and often destroys its credibility. But pseudo-events, whether they show the president in an auto plant or a soup kitchen or addressing troops in Iraq, are immune to this deflation. The exposure of the elaborate mechanisms behind the pseudo-event only adds to its fascination and its power. This is the basis of the convoluted television reporting on how effectively political campaigns and politicians have been stage-managed. Reporters, especially those on television, no longer ask if the message is true but if the pseudo-event worked or did not work as political theater. Pseudo-events are judged on how effectively we have been manipulated by illusion. Those events that appear real are relished and lauded. Those that fail to create a believable illusion are deemed failures. Truth is irrelevant. Those who succeed in politics, as in most of the culture, are those who create the brands and pseudo-events that offer the most convincing fantasies. And this is the art Obama has mastered.

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A public that can no longer distinguish between truth and fiction is left to interpret reality through illusion. Random facts or obscure bits of data and trivia are used to bolster illusion and give it credibility or are discarded if they interfere with the message. The worse reality becomes—the more, for example, foreclosures and unemployment skyrocket—the more people seek refuge and comfort in illusions. When opinions cannot be distinguished from facts, when there is no universal standard to determine truth in law, in science, in scholarship, or in reporting the events of the day, when the most valued skill is the ability to entertain, the world becomes a place where lies become true, where people can believe what they want to believe. This is the real danger of pseudo-events and why pseudo-events are far more pernicious than stereotypes. They do not explain reality, as stereotypes attempt to, but replace reality. Pseudo-events redefine reality by the parameters set by their creators. These creators, who make massive profits peddling these illusions, have a vested interest in maintaining the power structures they control. 

The old production-oriented culture demanded what the historian Warren Susman termed character. The new consumption-oriented culture demands what he called personality. The shift in values is a shift from a fixed morality to the artifice of presentation. The old cultural values of thrift and moderation honored hard work, integrity and courage. The consumption-oriented culture honors charm, fascination and likability. “The social role demanded of all in the new culture of personality was that of a performer,” Susman wrote. “Every American was to become a performing self.”

The junk politics practiced by Obama is a consumer fraud. It is about performance. It is about lies. It is about keeping us in a perpetual state of childishness. But the longer we live in illusion, the worse reality will be when it finally shatters our fantasies. Those who do not understand what is happening around them and who are overwhelmed by a brutal reality they did not expect or foresee search desperately for saviors. They beg demagogues to come to their rescue. This is the ultimate danger of the Obama Brand. It effectively masks the wanton internal destruction and theft being carried out by our corporate state. These corporations, once they have stolen trillions in taxpayer wealth, will leave tens of millions of Americans bereft, bewildered and yearning for even more potent and deadly illusions, ones that could swiftly snuff out what is left of our diminished open society.

Chris Hedges’ new book, “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle,” will be out in July and can be preordered on Amazon or at your local bookstore.


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By Matthew - Promotional Products, January 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

Promises made by election candidates in their promotional efforts very often become a forgotten thing of the past when they win, that is a common sight in many governments. Great leaders who walk the talk are gifts to society, and we should hope that we will get more leaders that are not just figureheads.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President Obama is just the latest brand to be in the Whitehouse since Reagan. The agenda is for the corporate set but also some genuflection to the religious set too. Obama is like Clinton being a bridge between the obvious fascists. Like hand maids to the real ugly ones. They look better but by-and-large they carry on with the overall plan.

Excuse my writing errors.

Obama did keep some of his promises most recently with the killing of Usama bin Laudin where he picked up the gauntlet thrown down by his predacessor. Also his increasing troop levels in Afghanistan was another.

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By Cost of TV Advertising, April 20, 2011 at 12:26 am Link to this comment

Brand Obama - possibly another advertising strategy to stir emotions and instill hope in the good people of the United States.

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By garth, August 4, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

A caller to CSPAN today, Wednesday, Aug.4th, gave a litany of the Obama campaign pledges and how each one has been abandoned, deeated or was simply a lie to begin with.  It was quite an impressive list and here it is only 6 months into his first term.
Instead of operating on the Nathan Detroit Finacial System, (i.e. I’ll bet on anything as long as it is with your money.) the US government ought to drive out the money-hoarders and thieves.
With the nutclass, the Repubicans, loud-mouthing on every crazy issue they can think of and the Congress wilting under the pressure their “greenback” economy (Just give us your campaign contributions and we’ll let you write the laws.), the people of the US have nowhere to turn.

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By @ct, August 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Night-Gaunt writes:
“. . . http://www.mirkingchimp.com/thread/23094 explains why we are just on the precipice of really heading down that toboggan run to economic hell.”

Accuracy counts: that’s SSSSmirkingchimp.com/etc.

Accuracy seems to be a problem for the Oblabla organization: for example, one may read and hear “tax cuts for the middle classes” for months, then figure out that the REAL message is “NO tax cuts”, etc.

Night-Gaunt writes:
“What I am afraid of is that ‘the next’ may be a corporate board of a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in its place when the economy really crashes . . . they will finally get their win they didn’t get in 1934.”

Obama’s crypto-Mormon personality cult is darned NEAR a theocracy. Combined with the zillions for the corporations, the Obama organization is ALREADY enforcing about as disgusting a court culture as one envisions coming from the nominally-Republican “Christian” right of Night-Gaunt’s imagining.

Obama’s thrown over one constituent group after another, until He’s down to “celebrity and/or Ivy-League black people”, defrocked Republicans, corporate hacks, clunker pundits at msnbc and Newsweek, and assorted apparatchiks.

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By Night-Gaunt, August 3, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

What I am afraid of is that ‘the next’ may be a corporate board of a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in its place when the economy really crashes. After the majority think our gov’t is useless then they will come out to save us from the chaos that ensues. Most will take it. They will have little choice and they will finally get their win they didn’t get in 1934.

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By garth, August 3, 2009 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt,

As a 60-plus year old, I share Obama’s fate.  We both have become irrelevant.
Of I were his age age, though, and if I had so many running interefence, I don’t think I would have done a job so weakly.
He is now irrelevant.
Bring on the next.

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By Night-Gaunt, August 3, 2009 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

New data on the economy and how Obama’s efforts have done nothing to help. As I have been saying.

http://www.mirkingchimp.com/thread/23094 explains why we are just on the precipice of really heading down that toboggan run to economic hell.

But then Obama isn’t a Liberal or even moderate.

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By Anne, August 2, 2009 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It cracks me up. The Obama loving family members first insisted on Obama( loudly)then as he showed himself to be Bush 3 , became silent.

Now they say they just went for the ride everyone else wanted.

Soon they will say they were never for him and of course,(& this is the one constant, ):congratulate themselves.

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By garth, May 11, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt,
I, too, was sickened by the news this morning about the Polar Bear.
————————————————————
“Polar bears are still endangered but governor Palin can rest easy as the Obama Admin. will continue the Bush era mislabeling of them so as to free her to ‘drill baby, drill’ as she pleases.”
—————————————————————-
An interesting news item also stated that 6 representatives from the Health Insurance industry are going to meet with Obama this morning to announce their plan to shave $2 trillion off their bill to American workers.  Given that their constitutional mandate is to provide the highest profits for the investors, isn’t it obvious to ask the question, “If you can reduce your bills by $2 trillion, how much are you now making off the backs of working people?”
Well, for starters, and as an example, the CEO of United Helath retired with a retirement package of $1.7 Billion dollars.
Again I ask, “How much are these people making?”
The real shift is coming in the surge where the corporations take over of city governments.  They already tried in Lee, MA when the paper companies closed and moved overseas.  The city was taxed -strapped.  A company named Vespa approached the city council and told them that they didn’t need to fret any longer about running the city government.  Vespa had plans to improve city parks and add trees to streets. (In western MA, mind you.) Fortunately enough votes on the city council withstood the pressure, and the takeover failed.
Now, Vespa is moving to other troughs to take over highways, water rights, etc.
I have a very strong feeling that this is all according to plan, and they won’t stop.  Greed has only one boudary-self destruction.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 11, 2009 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

“Celebrity culture has leeched into every aspect of our culture, including politics, to bequeath to us what Benjamin DeMott called “junk politics.” Junk politics does not demand justice or the reparation of rights. Junk politics personalizes and moralizes issues rather than clarifying them.  and heavily dependent on feel-your-pain language and gesture,” DeMott noted.[...] The result of junk politics is that nothing changes – “meaning zero interruption in the processes and practices that strengthen existing, interlocking systems of socioeconomic advantage.”Chris Hedges

To me the selling of Obama as the pseudo Messiah of Change is the most recent exemplar of the concept as it has been marketed to us over the intervening years. The epitome if-you-please of it. With the proper mixture of limited choices, social unrest and a desperation for real change we are given the false choices of unknown and bad. We didn’t get McCain, only due to the timely intervention of a judge who brought in the chief I.T. man (e-voting machines-Repub owned) who soon after died of a small plane crash before he could spill his secrets.

Polar bears are still endangered but governor Palin can rest easy as the Obama Admin. will continue the Bush era mislabeling of them so as to free her to ‘drill baby, drill’ as she pleases.

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By Leefeller, May 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

Kedephi,

As a person who at one time was a Sheepherder, who was proclaimed by my Republican Boss, with the following.  “Leefeller, you wouldn’t make a pimple on a sheephearders behind”, my short lived sheephearding experience not with standing. I know more about sheepie then you and for sure don’t pull on their hair!

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By KDelphi, May 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller—Because it doesnt fit—-as opposed to being able to “support hiim in every way possible” , as it seems most sheeples are able to do, I do not support him on such issues as his idea of an “overseas contingentcy operation”, industry based heatlh insurance, “clean coal” and other issues.

That makes it NOT PERSONAL for me, as it should be for you. But, its typical.

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By Leefeller, May 10, 2009 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Dislike as a word, seems be sticking in Kdelph’s craw, so why do we not change it to Nonsupporting politically of Obama and any other way possible?

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By KDelphi, May 10, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Leefeller—I do not “dislike” Pres. Obama. I do not “KNOW Pres. Obama, and neither do you. I have no personal relationship with him, and, as far as I know, neither do you.

YOu should try to keep that in mind.

I “like” Pres. Obama, as far as I can tell, as a person. That is hardly the point.

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By garth, May 10, 2009 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

I retract my criticism of the post By easmachine, May 7 at 7:09 am #.
Easmachine has some very important insights.  I wasn’t an Obama supporter, but I preferred him to McCain.  I doubted that he would be who his supporters seemed to think he’d be, but I went along for the ride.
My hopes for change did rise after his Inauguration Day speech.  I still had a wait and see attitude, though.  Waiting mainly on who he’d appoint to his cabinet.  Well, things got off to a rocky start and I haven’t given in to hope since. 
I agree with Shift.  Now, all I need is to find the exit.
I always thought Paul faked the falling-off-the-ass incident because he was sick of collecting taxes, burned out.  Saw a chance to get in on the ground floor and wanted a position with more than 50% travel. 
Osiris reading from a teleprompter doesn’t bother me as much as Caligula flipping the pages of a speech in a three ring binder with a deft movement of his left hand. 
But I agree, why should we be surprised.  This is America, Land of the Lie.

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By Leefeller, May 9, 2009 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

@CT

Here I sit commenting to a dangling particle. One should know @CT, with a name like @CT, credibility is at stake, for I feel I am having a discussion with my word processor. Also, one should know. not all spell checkers cannot spell porridge! 

Though not a fact, how can one have a fact in a Fairy Tail or politics?  Little Red Riding Hood, made a wrong turn and ended up at the three bears house and had on occasion eaten mush not porridge. Coming from a poor part of the Fairy Tail neighborhood, Little Red Riding Hoods family always called it mush.  It was only the Republicans who called it porridge when selling it to the less elite.

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By @CT, May 9, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

leefeller writes:
” . . . like the story of Little Red Riding Hood and her just right bowl of mush.”

Apologists for the Obaama organization are sooo misleading, even about fairy tales: ‘twas Goldilocks, not LRRH, who was fussy about porridge temperature.

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By Folktruther, May 8, 2009 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

Virgina, the reason that right wing fascism is running wild in the media is because it is owned by the ruling class who have traditionally been Gops and fascists.  They have more MONEY then we do, and the First Amendment has nothing to do with it.  The Constitution is used to teach schoolchildren and no one else pays much attention to it.  Power in the US, as everywhere else in the world is produced by money, guns, words, and the management of them.

“Violence of the tongue,” Vergina?  I will manfully restrain myself from lewd arguements.  When the KKK burns crosses, or the Nazis march, they are threatening racist violence, and should be outlawed in an decent power system.  When the rightwing or anyone one else rants, they should be ignored if you are offended by them.  Their tongues have every right to wag in peace.

Of course the American people should seize the mass media and other truth organs and communialize them so they are formulated from the population’s perspective rather than from the perspective of Elitist class power.  Where everyone can have their say, and let their tongues wag on incessently.  And it’s up to you to listen or not.  When that occurrs historically, as I have Faith that it will, then their truly will be a Santy Claus, Virgina.

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By Leefeller, May 8, 2009 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

Dislike of Obama seems premature, he may have saved status quo,  though some would have preferred anarchy or their own imagined form of government. In the end if all the suggested concepts for our government were to be enacted, I find it hard to believe the whining would stop, for it would not be, like the story of Little Red Riding Hood and her just right bowl of mush.

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By Outraged, May 7, 2009 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

Re: ThaddeusStephens

Your comment: “I have noticed that not one Obama supporter has responded to the issues brought up by the article as I have pointed out so many times.

I take that as confirmation that the article is correct in its succinct condemnation of the Obama administration as a complete failure in its attempt to present a facade that resembles a rule of law by a ticket that was supposedly an effort to rule by a democratically elected government.”

Well….  I’m not technically an Obama supporter nor detractor if your comment was directed towards me.  You are jumping to conclusions.  I am only somewhat familiar with the cyber-bullying case.  So I guess my question is did this woman actually bully this young girl?  If so, is there something we should do about that?  I did read the act, I think it ridiculous, for the most part.  In other words, there’s validity to protecting children from things they really may not be able to fully realize, but to make the broad generalizations this act DOES make, is just as dangerous.


My comment was meant to invite discussion, I wasn’t taking a HARD STANCE either way.  I do think there is a difference between hate speech, propaganda, and free speech.  I was curious how others found the conundrum.  Although, I have just read the comments from the Michael Savage article and have gotten some great perspectives.

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/20090505_savage_not_welcome_in_britain/

People can go too far, but on the other hand how WOULD we or even COULD we make the determination of what one can or cannot say.
 
I wasn’t aware of the cyber-bullying act at the time of my other post.  So I wasn’t making any implication regarding it either way.

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By donna darko, May 7, 2009 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have noticed that not one Obama supporter has responded to the issues brought up by the article as I have pointed out so many times.

I take that as confirmation that the article is correct in its succinct condemnation of the Obama administration as a complete failure

This has been going on for the last 16 months with the cult of Obama. Any criticism is deemed Republican or racist. Notice Hedges was called a Republican and racist (in Virginia’s words, indecent).

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By truedigger3, May 7, 2009 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

easmachine,

Your arguement is full of sophistry and big abstract
baseless B.S., but I know one basic fact which is
that Obama promised change and he didn’t change and
it is obvious he has no intention of changing a damn
thing. He is Bush III, plain and simple and rolling
on the same tracks left by Bush II.
So , of course, many people are angry, frustrated
and rightly so.

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By ThaddeusStephens, May 7, 2009 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

I have noticed that not one Obama supporter has responded to the issues brought up by the article as I have pointed out so many times.

I take that as confirmation that the article is correct in its succinct condemnation of the Obama administration as a complete failure in its attempt to present a facade that resembles a rule of law by a ticket that was supposedly an effort to rule by a democratically elected government.

One more bottle to float out there, a message I am certain the Obama crew of supporters will blindly ignore in their faithful allegiance to the Brand.
http://www.alternet.org/rights/128273/very_bad_news:_afghanistan’s_bagram_air_base_will_be_obama’s_guantanamo/
The Afghan air base is to undergo a $60 million expansion, allowing it to hold five times as many prisoners as remain at Gitmo.

I am certain, by judging the response of the Obama camp on this thread, that American democracy is deader than the proverbial doornail.

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By ThaddeusStephens, May 7, 2009 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

By Outraged, May 7 at 5:00 am #
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090503_buying_brand_obama/#238475—-
“I contend that there is a succint [sic] difference between free speech, hate speech, and propaganda.”
And your point would be. . . .
Elucidate please, unless you are proposing writing proscriptions against any of those. If your desire is to control free speech, then you have said too much already. Yes responsible people have a proscription inveighed against irresponsible speech when they agree to participate in an open and just society. But that responsibility can only be enforced with the power of coercion when the abridgement of the responsibility reaches the extremity of disorderly actions such as the famous dictum,  “You can’t falsely yell ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater.”  So called cyberbullying, or what I’ve heard of it anyway, including Ms. Drew’s behavior, does not reach that level of irresponsibility. The Drew character acted irresponsibly no doubt but then there’s always the other side-if a kid can be driven to suicide by a broken love affair . . . .

By ardee, May 7 at 7:04 am #
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090503_buying_brand_obama/#238490
“For Virginia,
I understand the futility of any attempt to bring light into the darkness of your views on free speech, yet I would note that, sans any hyperbole whatsoever, your views on censorship and restrictions of the free expression of free Americans is one of the single most dangerous in a time when there are many dangerous views and acts all around us.”
Very well said, ardee and what you say needs to be pondered on by many.
The world is filled with some not so nice people-
a Homer Simpson ‘Doh!’ to that. But should we place lip belts (kinda like chastity belts but on a different body opening) on everyone so we can shush the criminal?
Doh! It seems to me that some folks are upset by the processes of democracy (such few as we have left in this country) and wish to change the outcome. In other words, let’s destroy the city to save it; let’s bind up the processes that are part of a free society and have every body safe.
In a cage, padded and soundproofed-i.e. buried alive.
Doh!
By easmachine, May 7 at 7:09 am #
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090503_buying_brand_obama/#238493
You make light of the brand analysis in the article. I see this as burning the straw man.
Please, all of the erstwhile Obama supporters, would you address the issues in the article?
I’ll take your very sincere efforts to address these issues seriously. So far, well, it’s all about whining and weeping and fluff about the poor maligned TeeVee hero.
From the article
“1.His administration has spent, lent or guaranteed $12.8 trillion in taxpayer dollars to Wall Street and insolvent banks in a doomed effort to reinflate the bubble economy, a tactic that at best forestalls catastrophe and will leave us broke in a time of profound crisis.
2.Brand Obama has allocated nearly $1 trillion in defense-related spending and the continuation of our doomed imperial projects in Iraq, where military planners now estimate that 70,000 troops will remain for the next 15 to 20 years.
3.Brand Obama has expanded the war in Afghanistan, including the use of drones sent on cross-border bombing runs into Pakistan that have doubled the number of civilians killed over the past three months.
4.Brand Obama has refused to ease restrictions so workers can organize and will not consider single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans.
5.And Brand Obama will not prosecute the Bush administration for war crimes, including the use of torture, and has refused to dismantle Bush’s secrecy laws or restore habeas corpus.”

Again, succinct focusing on these issues will be respected. Shedding of Crocodile tears will not be respected.

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By ThaddeusStephens, May 7, 2009 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

So now this thread is about cyberbulling?
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.1966:
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/05/prison-awaiting-hostile-bloggers/

A law to outlaw playground bullies.
You are serious.

Puleeez!

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By Lt. Col R.L Kealy (Ret.), May 7, 2009 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr.Chris Hedges,

Read your OBAMA BRAND and Bio in Wiki. Your views are sound, being in line with Susan Jacoby’s idea of Americaness as template of the first modern Enlightenment democracy as described by Princeton historian, Jonathan Israel in his books on Radical Enlightenment. My perspective: Retired Fed.Gov. attorney,  Lt. Col, USA JAG officer, and lover of Great Books.

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By KDelphi, May 7, 2009 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

easmachine—Exactly. All of them.

Thats why people wanted real “change”.

If the US cannot elect someone who is not indebted to the corporate state, after 8 yrs of Dubby, then we never will. And that is sad.

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By garth, May 7, 2009 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

As far as Obama being a “Brand”, DUH. George
Vey esoteric and cosmoploitan, By easmachine, May 7 at 7:09 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

“Washington never told a lie. HE sold his slaves for fair market price. Old Hickory saved the American west with a rag tag group of Whites, Indians, Blacks and Pirates-The proceeded to remove the Indians through ethnic cleansing campaigns and maintained the feudalist slave-holding oligarchy when he became president. Abe Lincoln, The great emancipator, freed the slaves but only in territory that he didn’t control.”


But don’t you find it at least strange to blacks like you who’ve obviously majored in the softer sciences like sociology to find your Master urging the next generation of students to major in Engineering and the sciences?  David Leonahardt, NY Time Sunday Book Review, May 3, 2009.

In point of fact all you’ve pointed out in your attempt at facility with the language is that the “beat goes on.” In short, fuck with change.

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By j. mot, May 7, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Mr. Hedges,

I agree with a number of the points you make.  However, Barack Obama is not a brand, he is in fact an individual human being.  I think your arguments would be much stronger if you did not fall into this oversimplifying dehumanization of the individual.  The real challenge is to consider the psychology of the individual, instead of asserting that an individual is actually a system within capitalism (a brand).  Its not systems that we should sophisticatedly describe, but rather individuals and their decisions that we should consider by analytic means and hold accountable.

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By garth, May 7, 2009 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

I watched Leonhardt, a reporter for the NY Times, on C-SPAN for about 20 minutes until I’d had enough.  I put my time to better use and cleaned out the litter box.  The substance was easier to deal with.
After Judy Miller’s treacherous writing in the Paper of Record in furtherance of the Bush Administration’s drive to go to war in Iraq, All the News That’s Fit to Print now, in furtherance of of the Obama administration’s forte, thievery, publishes the subservient scribbling of a Bull Shit Artist—Leonhardt.  News reporting now mainly consists of BS and ripping the story off an official WH press release and “running” with it.
I hope the Times goes down with the Globe.

Shift, your post was exquisite.  Very peaceful.

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By Leefeller, May 7, 2009 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

Such unanimous agreement in the meaning of reality has never been.  Brings back memories of the exciting commodore we all felt during the Campaign trail.  Oh, such a bonding of people and the forming of agreements, with all the excreting movement of a collective high colonic, I feel the revival and sensations only seen at famous Palin Rallies?

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By easmachine, May 7, 2009 at 4:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

40 years ago, in a rare moment of intensity AND clarity, Stokely Carmichael (while channeling Fanon, I think) posited that brutalized people try every means by which they might escape their victimized condition until they inevitably begin to adopt the tactics and consequent values of their oppressors. This is logical, since the tactics of the oppressor have already proven successful, right? The problem is that the oppressed having thrown off their yokes often exchanged them for bullwhips and cattleprods. It is a western curse related in mythology and summed up in the threat “It ain’t no fun when the rabbit’s got the gun”.

For all the distracting analysis of Brand and Corporate Paymasters, etc, in reality, Hedges and other leftists pummel Obama for the sin of not being sufficiently vengeful. For being too pragmatic. The skin color fooled the left, but it was not a disguise of Obama’s making. Blame the Gene that gave him brown skin if you must, but the reality is that he doesn’t have a an opression-based axe to grind (no slave heritage), and so when he shows himself to be the moderate he SAYS HE IS- the left portrays him as an Uncle Tom. Which shows many of his detractors to be guilty of a prejudice born of the last century’s culture wars. You thought he, like Paul was faking the conversion on the road to Damascus for the sake of a larger cause.

As far as Obama being a “Brand”, DUH. George Washington never told a lie. HE sold his slaves for fair market price. Old Hickory saved the American west with a rag tag group of Whites, Indians, Blacks and Pirates-The proceeded to remove the Indians through ethnic cleansing campaigns and maintained the feudalist slave-holding oligarchy when he became president. Abe Lincoln, The great emancipator, freed the slaves but only in territory that he didn’t control. Wake up, Bambi. What president wasn’t branded, hyped, typed and controlled by moneyed interests? Peuedo-events are a function of stereotypical thinking and depend on stereotypes for success. The fact is that, in the west, history is defined in terms of wars, victories and defeats, rising and falling. This is why western religion is always rooted in sun rise and sun set pageantry. Stage managing events in advance is probably an improvement over attempts to link one’s self to a solar myth.

All of Obama’s detractors on the left and the right seem to have at least one thing in common-they are disgusted that Osirus uses a teleprompter.

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By ardee, May 7, 2009 at 4:04 am Link to this comment

For Virginia,

I understand the futility of any attempt to bring light into the darkness of your views on free speech, yet I would note that, sans any hyperbole whatsoever, your views on censorship and restrictions of the free expression of free Americans is one of the single most dangerous in a time when there are many dangerous views and acts all around us.

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By Outraged, May 7, 2009 at 2:00 am Link to this comment

I contend that there is a succint difference between free speech, hate speech, and propaganda.  Who are you….?  Wow, I feel like Neo.

Quote from “The Matrix”:

”“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

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By Eowyn, May 6, 2009 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges, as always, is impeccably, superbly accurate in his description of our society.

One commenter on this blog referred to “his book.”  Hedges has written quite a number of brilliant books, FYI.  Read them!  They are all superb.

I very proudly volunteered for and voted for Ralph Nader last November.  I never believed a single word spoken by Obama.  I actually researched Obama’s entire Senate voting record myself.  Very few Democrats know how consistently conservative he has always been.   

You guys, shouting, screaming, insulting each other on this blog, can’t you at least try to be civil to each other, despite your differences of opinion?

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By CaptainAldo, May 6, 2009 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

We are being abused again, the Bush era morphed into the Obushama era.  The time is coming for the final collapse of this evil system all across the world.

Go on Google and look up: The Luminous Compass also check this for straight talk and clarity:

http://aldovidali.com/winds-and-currents/senate-rats

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By Night-Gaunt, May 6, 2009 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment

You see Virginia777, the whole idea of free speech is that it is for those you don’t want to hear or agree with at all!!!!!!! Otherwise the idea is nonsense if it is speech you do agree with and like. Isn’t that right? I wish you had answered my queries to get clarification of some of your unfounded statements from below.

Next time please add a little more ‘meat’ to the ‘bones’ of you initial statements so I don’t have to ask for them. Thank you.

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By KDelphi, May 6, 2009 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

Virginai77—Are you concerned abou “left wing extemism” too?

Censorship (which is what is being called for) is a dark road to head down. Who decides where it begins and ends…I think we took a similar tact with the Patriot Act—-and, most are very sorry now.

If people are of age, it is not my business to moralize them.

We have enough propaganda. Who decides who is a “right wing extremist”? You can choose not to read.Maybe I think that Dems are very right wing. So you just have to have mainstream views to speak? S0unds fascist.

I guess I had better quit pointing out problems I have with the govt—-someone might call me a left wing extermist and put me on a questionable citizens list…or take a pic of me for Patriot Act files…oh, thats right, Bush already did. Amd Dems complained heavily.

When we approve things like this, the tables will someday be turned on us, eventually. It is that way with all things. When you oppress others, you will eventually be oppressed. It is an extreme lack of willingness to see things through someone else’s eyes.

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By Shift, May 6, 2009 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Today I saw a pair of red headed woodpeckers at the feeder, they have become scarce in recent years so their presence was cause for hope.  Two days ago I saw five doe’s and one small buck next to my home.  They are using the woods as a nursery for their young, to be born.  They have done that for many years because it is safe here and a good spirit is present here. The Hawthorn Tree is in full bloom in brilliant white.  Two Mallards have been hanging around lately.  Birds, black birds, indigo buntings, bluejays, cardinals, and an uncountable number of small birds of every stripe live here too.  A friendly black raccoon scratches at my door for an occasional handout.  The rabbits, squirrils and opposum are regulars.  The woodchuck shows up now and then too.  We have had plenty of rain and the grass is dense and green.  The Sweet Williams are in bloom in the woods and the ferns are showing themselves.  Unknown birds are calling from the woods, they probably stopped by for a meal on their way home, perhaps in your neighborhood.  One small buck called Awi Usdi likes to play ball with a local kid who brings a beach ball.  He also likes to scare me by silently walking up behind me and poking me with his head.  Life without a constant Washington Obama consciousness can be quite good. Living green at the bottom will eventually topple the upper strata corruption. Hey, tomorrow I get to do it again.

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By donna darko, May 6, 2009 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

leefeller,

PUMAs already said all of this in the last 16 months. Read the last 16 months of my blog of the same name, then click on some of the blogs in my blogroll. Disaffected Democrats, Clinton supporters, PUMAs already said ALL OF THIS in the last 16 months. Read our archives.

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By Leefeller, May 6, 2009 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment

One poster mentioned they were having buyers remorse, since the primary, now this sounds as if they purchased something they found disappointing, they were deceived by a product?  A capitalist approach to life and politics, this is buyers remorse, is it not?  You have the corpriations and the customers. Nothing else exists.

Having high expectations from politicians, seems to be a self inflected pain. Everyone sets the bar to their own level of hope. What of those who did not like the choice in the beginning, those who did not like buying from only two stale choices,  the dead elephant store and the jack ass store?  Maybe the need of a third party would provide the “pain in the ass” store.  I envision a party of Hedges fans filling this non existent void. 

Some who post here seem to love self inflected pain, while most of the others enjoy inflicting the pain. A symbiotic relationship of elephants and asses, hence the name. “Pain in the Ass Party” works for me.

Maybe we could call it the “I told you so Party” it fits some here?  Noise of this magnitude should not go unnoticed. This creation of a sucking sound, not unlike the sound of all creation?  Sort of like the sound after a plugged drain has been delt with by Joe the Plumber hand with such skill.  Do I not see the potential of this viable evolving thrid party sound.

A real party, one which represents all the people with all the same interests and goals, a party of clarity and defined reality.  Shouldn’t this party include Hedges name?  Now I am getting excited in this creation of our new Party. So my choice for a name is “The Hedging Reality Party”  Such a name fulfills the dreams of lifetimes, grabs the the masses and credits the motivator of simplicity himself.

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By Virginia777, May 6, 2009 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

to ThaddeusStephens:

oh my GOD, these bullies have such thin skins, I can never believe it,

can’t stand a tiny taste of their own medicine,

especially when one strikes “too close to home”

(Free Speech anyone?)

to truedigger3:

Of course I’m not calling for censorship, but saying that the reason we have right-wing extremism running wild in our media, is exactly the protection these First Amendment freaks have given it.

and yes, its the violence (real violence, “violence of the tongue”) that cannot be allowed!

This pathetic excuse given that “every expession must be protected (from censure) in order to protect ALL of our rights” is just preposterous,

and without logic.

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By ThaddeusStephens, May 6, 2009 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

Twsk Twsk, V.
methinks you’re bullying the bullies. I’m going to request that this site be closed down.

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By truedigger3, May 6, 2009 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

virginia777,

Are you calling for censorship? 
If a person pesistingly harrass, stalk and
spread false rumors against another person on the internet, then that is, yes, it could be prosecutable.
But if person is just expressing an opinion no
matter how outrageous it is, and then get prosecuted, then that will be censorship.
And yes, inciting violence is not allowed.

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By Virginia777, May 6, 2009 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

“No, far better to allow one to speak as one wishes and retain the right to refuse to listen.”

NO!! You have opened up the door to right-wing extremism here, and this is exactly what has happened.

The umbrella of “Free Speech” protection has, as the Wired commentator says, given “equal rights” to right-wing extremists (whose “rights” need protecting too, so says Wired),

who have taken FULL advantage of this.

Going back to Garth’s original concern, that a new bill is out to protect people against internet bullying, why in the world would this bill make him so angry??

he is saying here that “someone getting bullied (and internet bullying is lethal) is ok and needs to be tolerated and protected (!!) in order for his “rights” to free speech to be protected”

Say what???

What kind of mixed up logic is this?

The Right is an attack machine and have they ever used the internet to accomplish far more than ever possible with print media.

They have done this, in a media outlet without regulation, and with the full compliance of “Liberals” like yourself, who have been seriously misled by this agenda, seeing it as one in their favor,

when in actuality, what has made out in this no-holds-barred “Free Speech”, are Hate, Racism and Harassment,

and right-wing extremism.

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By ThaddeusStephens, May 6, 2009 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

So now Internet usage is the source of hatred and racism?  Or is there an element of incoherence in some of these comments? One line of commentary in particular Virginia, is always so vague and lightly populated with meaning and with so few words that I’m going to ask your translator to give his or her money back to you as your English prose is obviously some misconstrued decipherment from a language known only on the Planet BuriedAlive. On second thought let the translator keep his hard earned money, thoughts composed in your native tongue are probably incomplete as he is representing them.
Well then, but to go where it seems you want us to, And just so we can all move to the Obama instituted land of BuriedAlive,  let’s just take away all this internet stuff and go back to an earlier era when we were sending telegrams! The world was soooooo much nicer in telegram days. Nice Model T’s. Just before that, Horse and buggy our there in front of the general store. Wyatt Earp patrolling the dusty streets on his horse. Yahoo!

Oh and by the way, if you vote for somebody on the basis of their ethnic background and the fact that there is a little more melanin in their skin cells than everyone else on the stage, and you use that same determination of the melanin content as an excuse to give them a pass from reasoned criticism, well let’s see
is that another form
of bigoted ethnicity or . . . .

And I looked around the internet and saw that all was good and lively, but let’s shut it down cause folks are saying too much and having way too much fun.

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By donna darko, May 6, 2009 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s important to understand Rezko which was about looting pension funds to give to financial criminals who made bad investments similar to the bank bailouts, toxic assets and TARP. He will next loot/privatize/reform Social Security and Education. You can find excellent writing about this from Evelyn Pringle at Real Barack Obama and Truthteller at No Quarter.

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By Scrap Wood, May 6, 2009 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr Obama received a 64% approval rating for his first 100 days. What does that say about the majority. As long as his numbers are at that level you truthdig commentors don’t have a chance.

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By garth, May 6, 2009 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

They used to quip about JFK that he was a failure at 43 because after being elected to the highest office there was no where for him to go but down.
In the same vein, President Named Brando is a bigger failure now than JFK was after 100 days in office.  Named Brando got elected and then in his first 100 days ipresided over the biggest heist in the history of the United States, trillions and still counting.  So he might outdo anyone in history by a country mile.  See Donna Darko’s post. 
He’s also a mass murderer.  The war on weddings continues in Afghanistan.  We can’t let those bastards get married.  40 million Pashtuns is already too many.
I’d like to see the whole government and all its hangers-on strap on a set of balls and just get off the pot and come right out and declare that this is now a fascist state.  This anxiety about jobs, wars, the economy, retirement, lost savings, health insurance, credit card usury is getting to me, and I can’t stand the double talk coming out of those two-faced layabouts. 
(As for Free Speech, sounds like the old Republican-Envangelist thing:  Someone, somewhere might be having some fun and we can’t put up with that.  Let’s all jump together and land on them.)
As for racism, I think Obama offers a mirror image of racism.  Here’s this absolute phony who has practically nothing in common with any sub group of American Blacks and his popularity among them is in the 90 percentile, even though, in an historical sense, he is selling them down the river.  They can only be for him because they bought the Brand Name, the black face and family.  Running him and his family for President was sort of like the introduction of Bill Cosby’s 70s sitcom family to the American psyche.  Now Named Brando turns racism inside out, but the blacks are still the losers, in fact, we’re all the losers except for the mighty few. 
As for giving him leeway because it’s too early,  I’d forget about the possibility that he is going to champion anyone’s cause except for Himself and the Wall Street gang.  For openers, they’ve got too much on him from his days in Chicago.  Check out the story of Larry Sinclair for one.  Read the Webster Tarpley books about him.

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By ardee, May 6, 2009 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Virginia, there are morons in this world:

Hooray, Free Speech to blog about boobs all you want to!

I do not recall a delimiter on the right to free speech regarding tastelessness, do you? What you propose is very dangerous indeed. Besides, are you the arbiter of what is tasteful, will you cede that duty to me?

No, far better to allow one to speak as one wishes and retain the right to refuse to listen.

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By Music Analysis, May 6, 2009 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Yes We Can Chords [0bama]

http://www.tagg.org/xpdfs/YesWeCanChords.pdf

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By Virginia777, May 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

Garth (and K Delphi) here is another comment from the Wired article:

“This is a hot topic now at the hot age gap dating club ‘ agegapmingle.com ‘ which is a good place for 18+ singles to meet cute younger or older girls with big boobs online.”

does THIS say it all, or what??

Hooray, Free Speech to blog about boobs all you want to!

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By NABNYC, May 6, 2009 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

In the words of the great Yogi Berra, it’s Deja Vu all over again.

We are involved in two ridiculous wars of aggression, with no reason to be there, no understanding of why we are there or what it is we are seeking to accomplish, never mind whether it’s even legal for us to be doing what we are doing in militarily occupying two other countries and murdering their civilians. Just like Vietnam. And now they want to attack Pakistan.

We hear Obama taking up the Lyndon Johnson mantle saying we can’t leave now, we need to go forward, “win.” Barack, listen to somebody other than the maniacs you’ve hired for your cabinet: We can’t win. You cannot win a war when there’s no reason to be there. The only way to win these wars is to kill every single person over there.

Our politicians could not be more corrupt. If this was some movie about right before the fall of the Empire, central casting can rest because they can go straight to Congress and just film those liars, thieves and whores in their daily lives.

Today we hear that the Aipac spies will not even prosecuted. They get a walk. How nice. Maybe that’s why Mukasey was put into the AG spot by his personal Democratic guardians Schumer and Feinstein—to just sit on the whole thing. Then the Obama folks come in, right before the Aipac convention, give a present to their generous friends. So every single politician in our government is spending the week over at the Aipac convention with their bagmen picking up their bribes and kick-backs.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg weren’t executed because they allegedly stole classified or top secret information to give to a foreign country. They were executed because they were poor, and they didn’t have enough money to bribe our politicians to buy their lives back.

The thieves and rapists who have looted every business in this country, hiding assets overseas, refusing to pay taxes, taking jobs elsewhere, stealing retired people’s pensions and healthcare money, defrauding the public—they’ve been rewarded by Congress, given billions more and bonuses. And they pay Congress enormous kick-backs for their generosity.

In the meantime, unemployment is dire and nobody in our government is doing a G-D thing to help the American working people who are out of work. No jobs, no job creation, just bonuses and champagne and parties with Wall Street and the Aipac spies. They should call it the Traitor’s Ball.

As for healthcare, the Democrats have already sold us out to the insurance companies who take billions every year and pay nothing, and refuse to allow us, the citizens, the taxpayers, the option of buying into the Medicare system—single payer—let the government pay for all the medical services, and those of us who are employed can pay a premium directly to the government. Screw the insurance companies. All they do is raise premiums (mine just went up 13%) and pay nothing, lie cheat and steal, refuse to even answer the telephone while their insureds sit, sick, holding on, desperately waiting to get some chemotherapy or other life-saving treatment that the “adjusters,” or “assassins” who work for the insurance companies will do everything in their power to deny, or postpone, or put on hold (“claim pending”) because if the insured just dies, the adjuster gets a bonus. And I’m not exaggerating. These insurance adjusters and executives belong in prison, not in charge of the healthcare of our entire nation.

I thought “we” won. But it appears that Wall Street won. If there was one Republican left in the whole country, not an opponent in sight, these criminals and scum-buckets called the Democrats in Congress would still spend every single day of their lives going out soliciting bribes to sell their votes to the highest bidder.

What else can they do to us? Isn’t this a Republican platform we’re seeing? Screw the people?

http://NABNYC.blogspot.com

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By KDelphi, May 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Virginia77—Unfortunately, in some cases, yes it does. But, if you undermine others rights, you are next. How is this different form Bush’s “list of questionable citizens”. Do you realy think that that girl died because of , just, what that bitch said to her online?

Ther is nothing in the 1st Amendnetm about “human decency”. I am not a fan of the uS Constitution, to tel you the truth. (I think that we need a convention!) But, like the Geneva Conventions, and pot laws, it is the law.

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By KDelphi, May 6, 2009 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

Virginia77-If it IS ‘just speech”, they should justify it. We’ll survive. If they ACT, then they should be prosecuted.

I cant stand these right-wingers, but, if they start prosecuting “internet bullying”, how in hell is that much different than Bush-ass’s old “List of questionaBLE citizens”.

YOu know the old saying “They came for the (fill in the blank) and I wasnt a (fill in the blank) so I did nothing…”. Turnabout, in this case, is NOT “fair play”!

I agree, now that I read it, that I am on the far opposite side of most of these people—but that is neither here nor there. The story of the 13 ytr old suicide, is terrible, but, you dont think that that old bitch was the real cause of her suicide, do you?

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By Virginia777, May 6, 2009 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

to K Delphi:

The right to Free Speech does not override human decency.

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By Virginia777, May 6, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Garth, check out this comment from the Wired magazine link you suggested we visit.

Our “rights”, you suggested, are being put out here by new legislation which proposes to prosecute vicious internet bullies when they harass people:

from Threat Level: Privacy, Crime and Security Online from Wired:

“[they want to pass this law in order to] bully workers to join unions…To bully radio stations owners to silence conservative radio talkers, they pass Fairness Doctrine. To bully taxpayers to pay more taxes, they want Fair Tax. To get this pass they must rename it: Fair Cyber Communication? Fair Internet Use? Whatever lame labels they can dream up to mask “speech”. How about a law to outlaw right wing extremists from using the internet? Rightwing extremists, as identified by Homeland Security, such as vets who came back from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

do you see how these people will justify anything (even right-wing extremism) in the name of the protection of “Free Speech”??

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By KDelphi, May 6, 2009 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

If you have no other arguments than “
Nader is stupid”, or “Obama is better than Bush”, then save your hands the typing. Its all already been said.

Virginia777—So you, too, support the end of freddom of speech on the internet—why dont you just report people that you disagree with? Dems are willing to give ANYTHING to a president, as long as he’s a democrat—with Dubby, you guys wouldve be crying bloody murder (and should have been—cause the Dems sure wont protect your rights). What will you do when another neo-cons president wins and decides that you are being offensive?

That is why we are here today.

garth—I DVRd it and got that email, too.. I had called Baucus and Kerry and, the minute they heard that I was callibng about heatlh care reform, they hung up.

The Democrats should be mightily ashamed of themselves.

Hippi4ever—I am re-reading Zinn;s book, too wink!

I also wish I had stayed in Europe,,,sure cant afford it now.

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By donna darko, May 6, 2009 at 11:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Naomi Klein: ‘The Wall Street Bailout Is the Greatest Heist in Monetary History’

Oh good, what I said earlier is backed up by an award-winning author.

All you “It’s only his first 100 days people” should know he orchestrated the world’s biggest heist in the first 100 days which leaves nothing for the people in the next eight years.

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By garth, May 6, 2009 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

While the Board of Directors was meeting yesterday to try to decide how to offer a health insurance bill that would please the “Brand Name” as well as please the Stockholders, here’s what Ralph Nader’s reaction was:
——-
Ralph Nader: Disruption of Congress?
Filed under: News — russell @ 11:47 am
Yesterday morning, eight doctors, lawyers and other activists stood up to Senator Max Baucus.

And the private health insurance industry.

And the corporate liberals in Congress.

The eight activists demanded that single payer - everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital - be put on the table.

And as a result they were arrested.

And charged with a so-called “disruption of Congress.”

The Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, Politico, Democracy Now and National Public Radio all carried stories about the protest.

C-Span carried it live.

And it was widely disseminated on the Internet.

Baucus crafted a hearing to kick off the health care debate in the Senate yesterday where 15 witnesses would be at the table to discuss health care reform.

The insurance industry was at the table.

The Business Roundtable was at the table.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was at the table.

Blue Cross Blue Shield was at the table.

The Heritage Foundation was at the table.

And corporate liberals like Andy Stern, Ron Pollack, and AARP were at the table.

But not one person who stood for what the majority of Americans, doctors, nurses, and health economists want - single payer - was at the table.

Not one.

When I heard about this corporate line-up last week, I called the office of Senator Baucus.

And politely asked that, as a matter of fairness, a single payer doctor be allowed to testify.

I was told - no way, Ralph.

The deal is done.

So, yesterday, at 10 a.m., the Baucus Eight, led by Single Payer Action and other single payer groups, took to the Senate Finance Committee.

And directly and respectfully confronted a room full of corporate lobbyists.

And corporate controlled Senators.

And again asked that a group of doctors who were in the room to support Medicare for all be allowed to testify.

The answer again - no, no, and no.

Remember what Senator Richard Durbin said last week?

Durbin said that the banks “own” the Congress.

To which we might add - the health insurance industry and the drug industry own the Senate.

Faxing, writing, and e-mailing is not getting it done.

Enough is enough.

Time for action.

This is a winnable issue.

But the American people need to focus on 535 members of Congress.

And get mobilized.

Single Payer Action is at your service to get the job done.

So, donate now — $8, $18, $80, or $800.

To honor the Baucus Eight - who all wore black yesterday in memory of the more than 20,000 Americans who - according to the Institute of Medicine - die every year from lack of health insurance.

And to fuel a citizen action movement that will deliver single payer to the American people - sooner not later.

Together, we can break the corporate stranglehold on Congress.

And deliver health care for all.

Single payer.

More comprehensive. More efficient. More humane. More peace of mind.

Let’s get it done.

Onward to single payer,

Ralph Nader

********

The Board of Directors passed on a vote on the credit card bill.  They say that the credit companies need to recoup their losses from the economic toilet flush of 2008.  Of course!  Now I see.  If they lose money in the stock market, they can raise the rates to levels that would make a mafiosi blush. 
I am so glad they got away from that insulting inference about lending to risky Americans, as if we were deadbeats or something.  I mean where do they get off.

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By Virginia777, May 6, 2009 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

I think this is AWESOME!!

“Proposed congressional legislation would demand up to two years in prison for those whose electronic speech is meant to “coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person.”

Just take a peak around the Internet to see the unregulated media world we are living in, and what that has meant for the spread of Racism and Hate

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By garth, May 6, 2009 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

OK!  If you can’t behave like prozac-addled, nice, polite post-modern Americans, then Linda Sanchez (D of CA) has just the ticket.
Two years in the slammer!  That is if you’re convicted of cyber bullying.  “Proposed congressional legislation would demand up to two years in prison for those whose electronic speech is meant to “coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person.”

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/05/prison-awaiting-hostile-bloggers/

So a word to the wise is sufficient. 

And oh yes, because of that grape fight in the lunchroom yesterday, grapes will no longer be offered as a lunchtime snack.  Henceforth, the lunchroom will only offer your choice of Skittles or M&Ms;.
Now, you can put your heads back on the desks.

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By ardee, May 6, 2009 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

no alternative, May 6 at 8:30 am #

ardee it is a fact he ran on the green party ticket in 2000 and a fact that Gore would have won New Hampshire if he had discouraged people in swing states from voting for him.

** It is a fact that he ran on the Green Party ticket in 2000 but he was not a member of that party then or ever. Gore had no right to any voters loyalty, he had,in fact only the right to earn votes, as did Ralph Nader as well.


He can run, but he will play spoiler.  That is the system our founders gave us along with slavery and negroes not being 3/5 persons.

*** I hate to be a didact,NA,but exercizing ones right to run for office in a free society deserves more than you give. I suspect you are allowing your partisanship to overrule your understanding of a democratic process.

I have a right not to vote for a stupid person.

*** Yes indeed you do, and you can, if you wish, demean the campaign of the best candidate in the last three elections if you wish as well, but you cannot disallow his right to do so.

People also have a right not to vote, if they are sick of guys like Obama but Naderites will insist it is our duty!  Well Nader has some responsibilities too. If nader had forswore swingstates he would have had my fullsupport and the greens wouldn’t be considered dogmeat by lefties now stuck with Obama.

*** So, if Nader had run a half hearted and partial campaign you would have supported that half a candidacy? So, you have a line on the opinions of all those who support the candidacy of Ralph Nader and the militancy of their opinions? I support Nader, and have in each of his campaigns, simply because he makes the most sense of any candidate! I might speak to ones duty as a citizen to support the process or work to change it but we do live in a free society, one in which about half the eligible voters never vote, so I guess we need better candidates to motivate folks to actually participate.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 6, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

By Virginia777, May 6 at 12:24 pm #

“Congratulations, the Left is eating out of the hand of the Right here.

Must I ask you to answer those questions? How is Hedges pointing out the use of marketing of demagogues as products helping the reich wing who are behind it? I don’t see any benefits for the cabal at all. Why do you?

Did Chris Hedges even consider for one minute the effect president Obama is having on Racism in the United States of America?

I hope you are being rhetorical here. Of course he knows the positive and the negative of it.

Did Hedges remember that hideous racism is flourishing in the US (thanks to the unregulated Internet) and that this is a Sickness that can and has deeply harmed our country?

That racism is there already and the Internet is just a conduit for it and every other point of view which I think is good, overall. Don’t blame the mode it is used to convey bad ideas by bad people. We out number them you know.

Does Hedges realize what Obama has and will do to remedy this sickness??

Okay, here you really need to explicate what you mean. Too vague. Do you mean using the police apparatus to surveil and even intervene with military force? The least you can do is to make clear what you mean by your insinuations.

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By Virginia777, May 6, 2009 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

congratulations, the Left is eating out of the hand of the Right here.

Did Chris Hedges even consider for one minute the effect president Obama is having on Racism in the United States of America?

did Hedges remember that hideous racism is flourishing in the US (thanks to the unregulated Internet) and that this is a Sickness that can and has deeply harmed our country?

does Hedges realize what Obama has and will do to remedy this sickness??

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By Lisa R. Holt, May 6, 2009 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m glad that Mr. Hedges wrote this piece.  I, too, had a bit of “buyer’s remorse” after the primary back in February of last year, when I reluctantly voted for BHO when I’d originally supported Dennis Kucinich, the censored candidate.  The reason he couldn’t get any where was because he refused to be sold out to corporate backers.  That’s it plain and simple, right there.  Mr. Hedges so eloquently detailed this fact out in his writing. 
I will disagree to a point, though, with him.  There is little, if any, attention paid to the masses not paying attention, when there are increasingly growing numbers of “regular folks” who are either trying to find more work just to make ends meet and/or are losing readily available access to the internet due to affordability (or, the lack thereof, actually).  These are the realitites that many of us face on an on-going basis.  I’m sitting here day-to-day trying to stay up on the “real news” (vs. Faux news) interspersed with job hunting, doing odd jobs just to keep the internet up and going, utilities on and raising a pre-teen son on below-poverty sustenance.  That’s my reality.  I sometimes, often times, more accurately, become bogged down and downright overwhelmed just staying afloat to become too involved in being able to muster up energy enough to contribute to dissention when it’s needed, which is on an ever on-going basis. 
It’s kind of like when I worked in the field of advocating for people with disabilities and one of the several analogies utilized throughout the course of our duties in this advocation depicts as follows:  “Just because I cannot (physically) speak, does NOT mean that I don’t have anything to say”, could just as easily be applied to the masses of the electorate. In other words, most of the masses are too busy just trying to “get by” to inform the mainstream journalists of their plight.  Or, more or even most importantly, how they truly feel about the status quo.  Besides, that, there seems to be in almost epidemic proportions, an onslaught of “tent cities” cropping up all over the land.  We can thank the “so-called” Dems in the senate for keeping that “reality” afloat for their capitulating to the vote last week for the bill that was designed to at least assuage the hemorrhaging going on in the mortgage crisis, because their loyalties clearly lie with who funded their re-election campaigns vs. the masses they “posing” to represent.
Personally, I voted for Obama because he was better than the alternative.  Pure and simple.  I’m “hopeful” that he will truly stick to his campaign promises of change and hope, but I’m also a realist and realize that anybody that got as far as he did had to get there with big money.  No two ways about that.  That’s just reality.  I’m not so gullible, though, to get all caught up in his gift of speech deliveries.  I tend to put more weight in what it is that one’s doing vs. what he said he was going to do. 
I don’t know…I’ve got buyer’s remorse on the torture bit and with sending big-time money back to the ones who created the problem to begin with.  You cannot solve the problem with the same brain(s) that created the problem.
And in defense of Chris Hedges…if I truly want to obtain self-help, it’s best to NOT remain in a room in which I’m hearing everything I want to hear, because the chances are very great that folks are blowing smoke up my back side to the point of my being blown clear over the side of the cliff.  In other words, I respect somebody, anybody, much more who calls it like they see it, vs. telling what they think the majority are wanting to hear.
Thanks for the article, Chris.  It was refreshing.

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By Bryant, May 6, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow, you guys are really hardcore left!  After the 8-year nightmare of the Hard Right, after we just narrowly avoided electing another Corporate Clinton, Chris Hedges is yammering about Obama bringing more of the same?  Are you nuts!?  Haven’t you noticed that it’s been only 104 days?  Haven’t you noticed that we plan to leave Iraq in 18 months, not 10-20 years as Hedges insinuates?  Haven’t you noticed the reversal of U.S. energy and environmental policy?  Did you miss the change in public policy where competence, science and the rule of law carry the day as opposed to the notions of a bunch of bible college simpletons?  The things you expect immediately are not politically possible.  Do we really want to sidetrack getting credit card, health care, energy, and environmental reforms in order to put a bunch of Bushies to prison, which would make martyrs out of them and thus trigger a deluded, but virulent, right-wing backlash?  I’m mostly on your team, but get freaking real comrades!!!

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By Night-Gaunt, May 6, 2009 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, why is this the most dangerous?  Would not normal political rhetorical spewing be the same or even blatant lies brought to us by politicians, be at least equal in danger?  Obama, has not done any more than any other politician, except he seems to have done it better and seems successful with confidence.”LeeFella

I thought is was obvious in that false hope is a lure that is also a pacifier. Allowing those criminals to continue their enterprise without interference for awhile. A more cunning type to keep us guessing or just giving him that benefit of the doubt to not make things that much better. Couple that with the fact we are only given two parties to vote for. All the others aren’t given the access to have a chance to get the vote. A system closed to other choices. Look up Moncton’s Fork.

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By hippie4ever, May 6, 2009 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

I dropped out years ago and never looked back, and have no regrets other than having moved back to the States. Europeans are more experienced with their politics and enjoy fewer illusions about the name brands like “democracy” or “christianity”. It’s more about your circle of friends and neighbourhood, and less about abstract concepts like nation states or the even more abstract E.U. Lots of wisdom there IMHO.

Mr. Hedges may have written a brilliant book—this article comes closest to my take on America than anything I’ve read in a long, long time. Thank you! Maybe I’ll borrow a copy from B&N. 

The truth is beginning to dawn on some Obama supporters. After all, there’s just so many knives you can take to the back before you stumble and die. Chris could have added Obama’s homophobia as well as his hypocrisy regarding cannabis, which is now extremely close to becoming LEGAL (not decriminalized) in California. Go Arnie go!

Reading is extremely important & even hippies like me try to keep informed. I’ve been rereading Howard Zinn’s great book, “A Peoples’ History of the U.S.” and it never ceases to teach me about my native land, the United States, which was founded first by greed (for gold), then for drugs (food for alcohol & tobacco) and ultimately for slavery. That is the heart of America then as well as now. For all you Obama folks, smoke a joint or take two corporate drugs and learn to maintain your dignity as your clothes wear out, you lose those pesky extra pounds, lose your job and home…basements in large corporate offices make good places to sleep, as do the grates that push out hot air (fabulous in the winter!).

As my buddy Joe said in Dublin, “really it takes very little to stay alive and well.” Truth be told, we don’t need the rubbish they sell in the big box stores.

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By Leefeller, May 6, 2009 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

Night Gant, your quote.

“The most dangerous thing that can be done to a populace is to lead them on with false hope.”

Night Gant, why is this the most dangerous?  Would not normal political rhetorical spewing be the same or even blatant lies brought to us by politicians, be at least equal in danger?  Obama, has not done any more than any other politician, except he seems to have done it better and seems successful with confidence. 

Political posturing seems to have hit a soft spot in many empty craniums, now the hiss of escaping air.

An amusing bonding of those who did not like Obama from the beginning, joined by the deluded, who once were seeking miraculous changes from Obama.  We have a bonding of of sour grapes with it’s usual noise of screeching rubber on pavement, coupled with the added noise of whiners and their symphony of finger nails on chalkboards. 

In the end what will be? Whining madness or a mad whining. 

“Hope and change”  now has a twist of sour grapes?

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By garth, May 6, 2009 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

One of the most insidious aspects to this “Brand Name Government” is that there is no difference between the opposing parties in power.  One “Tastes Great!” while the other is “Less Filling.”  In the current body politic, it seems that only major differences between Republican and Democrats are the social issues:  gay marriage and abortion. As for the economy, the wars, jobs, health insurance, they want us to leave it up to them to decide what to do, if anything, in closed meetings out of the public’s eye.
As the Brand Name Government marches on, we can be left with, as Noam Chomsky pointed out in a talk, giving parking tickets, assigning traffic patterns, etc.
Hedges article is worth re-reading.  The point he used from Warren Susman is especially poignant.  I’ve wondered how my father’s generation with its limited education could see through these political canards and understood labor struggles much more clearly than my generation, a lot of whom have college and advanced degrees. 
My only guess is that the public education system can be a brainwashing factory.

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By no alternative, May 6, 2009 at 5:30 am Link to this comment

ardee it is a fact he ran on the green party ticket in 2000 and a fact that Gore would have won New Hampshire if he had discouraged people in swing states from voting for him.


He can run, but he will play spoiler.  That is the system our founders gave us along with slavery and negroes not being 3/5 persons.

I have a right not to vote for a stupid person.

People also have a right not to vote, if they are sick of guys like Obama but Naderites will insist it is our duty!  Well Nader has some responsibilities too. If nader had forswore swingstates he would have had my fullsupport and the greens wouldn’t be considered dogmeat by lefties now stuck with Obama.

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By ardee, May 6, 2009 at 3:17 am Link to this comment

no alternative, May 6 at 12:15 am #

“I don’t like Obama, but Nader discredited third parties by running in states where he could play spoiler, like New Hampshire.  I won’t consider a third party candidate unless they promise not to do this right up front.”

I believe I smell the sickeningly sweet odor of insincerity here. Nader was not a third party candidate but an independent.He left the Green Party to run as such after running on its slate but once. He was, in fact, never a member of a third party at all.

The myth of Nader as spoiler attacks the very roots of our system of governance in fact and rather blithely ignores a person’s constitutional right to run for public office. I would especially mention the numerous occasions where the Democratic Party made it especially difficult or even impossible to get Ralph’s name on the ballot as well.

Political opinions are fine things, but insincerity couched in smarminess is quite something else again.

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By margarets, May 6, 2009 at 2:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t agree much with Chris Hedges, but I think he has captured the Obama myth and the state of our political culture perfectly here. Could not agree more.

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By donna darko, May 6, 2009 at 12:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What, for all our faith and hope, has the Obama brand given us? His administration has spent, lent or guaranteed $12.8 trillion in taxpayer dollars to Wall Street and insolvent banks in a doomed effort to reinflate the bubble economy, a tactic that at best forestalls catastrophe and will leave us broke in a time of profound crisis.

12.8 trillion? Even I did not know it was that much. Do you have links backing this up? Nixon was business as usual. This is the most criminal act by the US government ever. At least in the financial sector.

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By Outraged, May 6, 2009 at 12:14 am Link to this comment

Re: Night-Gaunt

I’m guessing you didn’t get the “memo”..... it happens.  I posted this a day later regarding my original post.

“What an interesting thing it is to play devil’s advocate.  Some heard me, some were “thrown for a loop”, but many heard nothing.  They….win or lose….right or wrong, and without CONSEQUENCE held to their BELIEF.  Some of the points, were factual or had valid points….others were simply BELIEF.

You can make a religion out of anything.  Many do.  If you cannot see this, you haven’t been paying strict enough attention AND challenging yourself.  Challenging yourself, truthfully IS the measure of a person.  It has no set parameters, it has no heroes, it questions intent, it challenges tradition, it has no enemies, it has no friends.

It isn’t ABOUT fixing something “out there”, it is about fixing something “in here” so that we can go “out there” and be of service to our communities, our nation, the world and in turn, ourselves.

This video series was made available awhile back, for those who haven’t viewed it, please do.  It is called: “The Century of Self” and examines much of what Mr. Hedges is saying.  All of us need to RE-EXAMINE our reality, and anyone who can qualify their supposed innate superiority in this regard, or to claim they’ve NOT been affected….. is only to acknowledge delusion.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/12/22/212041/57/454/425671

From Chris Hedges’s article:

“In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we do not seek reality. Reality is complicated. Reality is boring. We are incapable or unwilling to handle its confusion. We ask to be indulged and comforted by clichés, stereotypes and inspirational messages that tell us we can be whoever we seek to be, that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities, and that our future will always be glorious and prosperous, either because of our own attributes, or our national character, or because we are blessed by God.  Reality is not accepted as an impediment to our desires. Reality does not make us feel good.”

Yes… we do “ask” for it.  But there’s a reason for that too.  Who among us is immune?  Or for the biblical folks, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

It appears we are lacking NOT ONLY critical reasoning skills, but also listening skills and empathy as well.  Empathy and listening does not inherently mean we should ABSOLUTELY “join up” nor endorse the premise.  It means to consider truthfully, factually and empathetically what others, NOT LIKE OURSELVES are saying.”

(the only change in this post from the original is this time I remembered to include the link)

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By Night-Gaunt, May 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment

“Who are you talking to Chris…?  Are you talking to me….?  It doesn’t seem like it, and I gotta tell ya’, that’s “good enough for me”.Outraged

Well, if you give yourself a low threshold then you will get to it every time. Anything higher and you might have to work at it for a time till it too becomes the new threshold. If you don’t train yourself at all then the same you shall be. What Nietzsche talked about as a ‘couch potato’ who found your frame of mind as good enough. Even the “Word Girl” cartoon may be too much for you if it uses words you do not know. Do you ever look up words you do not know or pass them by and remain satisfied? Sounds like an apathetic a-literate before us. Ideal for the proto-fascism in its formative phases. [No interference in their operations.]


Chris Hedges continues to waste his time and ours with his petty (and increasingly vicious) Obama-bashing.”Virginia777

Please point out the “vicious” part of his expose? He is showing that we have reached the peak of a marketed fiction that is marketed to us as fact. Of Pap and circumstance. In Russia they knew they were being lied to but when they came here they were shocked to the that the Americans were bamboozled and didn’t know it! It still works today.


“I don’t like Obama, but Nader discredited third parties by running in states where he could play spoiler, like New Hampshire.  I won’t consider a third party candidate unless they promise not to do this right up front.”No alternative

How can you discredit third parties when they are all but illegal? How can they have a chance when they don’t get national exposure? All 50 states to have a chance. Change the system to let them in to that spotlight on par with the two official parties or nothing will change.

The most dangerous thing that can be done to a populace is to lead them on with false hope. It looks like a carrot but if you ever get close enough to it you find it is just made of metal painted to look like a carrot but really a spike for our collective hearts.

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By KDelphi, May 5, 2009 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

Here is a good article on Dem who act like GOP:

The Equivocators Are As Bad As the Whores
by: David Sirota
Tue May 05, 2009 at 08:04

I’d say Democratic politicians exhibit two really annoying qualities that help them lose votes: First and foremost, some of them vote as if they believe they are corporate lobbyists (see Ben Nelson as a good example). The other less-talked-about quality of some Democrats is their public equivocation on issues in which equivocation isn’t appropriate for professional politicians whose whole job entails taking positions on issues.

http://www.openleft.com/diary/13161/the-equivocators-are-as-bad-as-the-whores

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By KDelphi, May 5, 2009 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

no alternaive…when and where did nader ever lose an election for dems? I think that they do it to themselves. obama won NH handily.???

Amd if they dont stand up to the GOP and pass a public plan for health care, a better credit card and bankruprtcy bill , than what they are planning, get us out of Iraq and Af-Pak, cut the military budget…

whats the point? If they chose to behave like GOP, let them lose.

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By Nicolae, May 5, 2009 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ex-Italy Pres - 9-11 Was
CIA/Mossad Operation
By the Staff of American Free Press
4-15-9

Former Italian President Francesco Cossiga, who revealed the existence of Operation Gladio, has told Italy’s oldest and most widely read newspaper that the 9-11 terrorist attacks were run by the CIA and Mossad, and that this was common knowledge among global intelligence agencies. In what translates awkwardly into English, Cossiga told the newspaper Corriere della Sera:

“All the (intelligence services) of America and Europeknow well that the disastrous attack has been planned and realized from the Mossad, with the aid of the Zionist world in order to put under accusation the Arabic countries and in order to induce the western powers to take part in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Cossiga was elected president of the Italian Senate in July 1983 before winning a landslide election to become president of the country in 1985, and he remained until 1992.

Cossiga’s tendency to be outspoken upset the Italian political establishment, and he was forced to resign after revealing the existence of, and his part in setting up, Operation Gladio. This was a rogue intelligence network under NATO auspices that carried out bombings across Europe in the 1960s, 1970s and ‘80s. Gladio’s specialty was to carry out what they termed “false flag” operations-terror attacks that were blamed on their domestic and geopolitical opposition.

In March 2001, Gladio agent Vincenzo Vinciguerra stated, in sworn testimony, “You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple: to force the public to turn to the state to ask for greater security.”

Cossiga first expressed his doubts about 9-11 in 2001, and is quoted by 9-11 researcher Webster Tarpley saying “The mastermind of the attack must have been a sophisticated mind, provided with ample means not only to recruit fanatic kamikazes, but also highly specialized personnel. I add one thing: it could not be accomplished without infiltrations in the radar and flight security personnel.”

Coming from a widely respected former head of state, Cossiga’s assertion that the 9-11 attacks were an inside job and that this is common knowledge among global intelligence agencies is illuminating. It is one more eye-opening confirmation that has not been mentioned by America’s propaganda machine in print or on TV. Nevertheless, because of his experience and status in the world, Cossiga cannot be discounted as a crackpot.

http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/9-11_solved118.html

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By Puma-SF, May 5, 2009 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pumas have always known that Obama was nothing more then a brand.  He remains as unqualified as he was when he decided to even run for president.  It is all a pathetic joke.  He will turn out to be a worse president then Bush.

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By no alternative, May 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

I don’t like Obama, but Nader discredited third parties by running in states where he could play spoiler, like New Hampshire.  I won’t consider a third party candidate unless they promise not to do this right up front.

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By ThaddeusStephens, May 5, 2009 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

What is so very interesting about the comments of the Obama supporters along this thread is that they display the very characteristics that Hedges talks about.

“This article is taking the Left in the wrong direction.”
What Left? There’s a Politically integral Left in America? ? ? With genuine intellectuals? Not in the America where I live. Do the million or so dead Iraqis care whether the bullets and bombs that killed them were set off by a putative supporter of the brand name politics that goes the name of left or right?
Do the 2,000.000 dead Vietnamese care?

So the word ‘ left’ simply identifies Another brand! All the writer was saying is “don’t muddy the public image of the Obama Brand!”
More branding burnishing by Obama supporters. “ He spoke out against the war in Iraq back in his junior statesman days” Reminds me of Kerryesque techniques as in “ I was against it before I was for it.” This can be verified by any serious blogger; Senator Obama supported the drain of people and money to Iraq, especially when it contained a scheduled withdrawing of some of the American troops which the likes of Obama knew faced a certain Bush veto.
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/110/senate/1/votes/147/
Again, the burnishing of the brand, ‘Let me take a stand because I know the outcome is really cozy and safe. No need for me to display any strength of vertebrae or moral and ethical integrity.’

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By Slickico, May 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

I find the people who believed in Obama to be foolish, and it makes me sick to hear them exclaim their realization that Obama is no different. Nice prose, even fancy prose, but the base of their mind must have been mush anyway. Now their mushy wishy hope mind has cleared some, and we see at the end, the mind reverts to it’s ignorant base of destruction and insanity with the pathetic line “dust off your marxist texts”.
Their mind is so ignorant and self decieved, they cannot clearly see the dust was never settled on their marxist texts, and there is no need to dust them off at all, indeed they have never been shining brighter for decades. They have never been shelved, not once, in their entire lives. They have been in use, extensively and more so, each and every year, as demanded by the very people writing the about the failure of their latest chance at great illusion.
The government can morph into something it isn’t, or become something it hasn’t been by redirection - the government has been doing the very same thing all of our entire lives, it patterns are set, it’s functions more entrenched, and not in the potus, btw. It grows, it moves to the left, it hands more out, promises more, does more, and more - as does business and the populace, in new and modern ways, yet always in one direction.
The whole schmear moves forward together and more integrated, connected, communicative, expensive, and locked together. Today the people and posters cannot fathom doing something without government, without blaming government, asking for help, or demanding action, even fairy tales of free energy.
In the end, they are all at the same point, the point of expanding marxism, the same doctrine, the same government, the same outcome, the same methods - and base their success or failure on how much they can whine about the poor or the rich or the middle class, and claim their size and the idea of those groups personal assets is all related to their base point, the all powerful, never to be let off the hook, disliked or liked, totally in control, government. So nothing has ever changed for them, at all, nothing needs dusting off, their savior has never existed and never can.
When people finally realize they are asking a president to change a congress, pretend a president does what congress does and has power to do, when they stop demanding change from a person with a bully pulpit and no law writing powers that control everything (EO’s always refer to congressional laws), they might get a bit more of what they want, but it appears what they really want is a savior or a demon, to praise or to blame, and as usual they never wind up with the savior in the end, and fail to even move their minds even to the congress that controls the governments every move, and prefer the fantasy of some savior, that becomes their devil, every single time, and they never, ever learn.
They scream for action and the marxist power grows, ever single time, yet now the illusion is once again shattered, their god found to be the devil, the gaint expanded intertwined behemoth having responded and entangled the screaming participants ever deeper, in another tangling, dissatisfying mess (to them as usual) - and they already plan for another chance at the next election, like fools, never learning anything, exactly like their failed god/devil/master they now decry.
Still all of you will look in the wrong direction, and alternate bewtween false praise and disappointment, because you haven’t a clue what your basic problem is, and are so blinded by your own lies, there is no solution for you.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, May 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some people think Chris Hedges is much too pessimistic.  I, for one, do not.  This is one the best articles I’ve read about Obama and is a roadmap to the further certain decline of the United States.

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By garth, May 5, 2009 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

KDephi,

As Hedges quotes Benjamin DeMott, “junk politics.” Junk politics does not demand justice or the reparation of rights. Junk politics personalizes and moralizes issues rather than clarifying them. “It’s impatient with articulated conflict, enthusiastic about America’s optimism and moral character, and heavily dependent on feel-your-pain language and gesture,” DeMott noted. The result of junk politics is that nothing changes – “meaning zero interruption in the processes and practices that strengthen existing, interlocking systems of socioeconomic advantage.”

That’s what the US government has become expert at—maintaining the status quo. They treat us like fools and want us to believe, just believe. 
There is no truth to what they are saying or doing.  I don’t believe a word of it and I am not having any of it.  Either shit or get off the pot.

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By KDelphi, May 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

At some point, you just have to say, despite the trends, “I cannot support this anymore. It is not in the best interests of myself, my country, nor my planet.”

It will be against the majority. but, look where they have gotten us..is it always, “laughable”, or “ignorant”, ot “Utopian” ??? But, no one seems to be able to dispute the facts. Nothing is changing.

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By garth, May 5, 2009 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

I agree with Max Shields and Folktruther.

My question for myself is what do I do when I see the country I was brought up in become a fascist state?  Call my Representative or Senator?  Capuano and Kennedy and Kerry?  For chissakes Kerry might be the the head of a shadow government in office.  Someone in his staff seems to be on the lookout for a perfect fool, or a dupe.
All of what Chris Hedges descibes is true.  He spoke out clearly about about Obama before the election with regards to Obama’s FISA vote.
Are we going to let these people lead us to ruin and possibly to the danger of another war of their making?
I hear callers on C-SPAN give excuses for Obama’s actions or lack of actions.  I hear William Greider of the Nation paint Obama as a man between powerful forces, giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, his doubt, as to where he will fall.
I feel like a piece of tinder in a more tightly enclosed space.  Are these people sadists?  Come out and declare your goddamn position.  Schumer wants to derail the health Insurance Bill, the Congress has alreay said that the rich can negotiate foreclosure on multiple properties, but the poor can’t negotiate on their principal dwelling.  Do we need to know more?
Write to your congessman.  See what good that’ll do.
In the meantime, remember any survival techniques you might have gathered along the way.

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By john, May 5, 2009 at 11:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Remember ROME? Obama will not be the worst example of being a proxy for special interest groups. What is worse for the American people is this president is under the control of a particular kind of interest groups whose interests do not lie in America at all.  Every one deserves what they have got. Yanks are no exceptions.  They believe too much in fairy tales.

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By Stephen Rose, May 5, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment
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I see the choir is assembled and the sermon has been delivered. As one who has never seen Obama as more than a politician who may be a tad more honest and a tad more committed to what I care about, I find the characterizations here amusing and the roll called in the sermon too familiar not to seem like rote.

Obama’s moves represent a calculated decision about what will work.  They have been accompanied by progressive moves that would never have been possible under Clinton or imaginable under W. I find reading here more entertaining than depressing. The world you represent is what is becoming tattered. It reminds me of hanging out around Harvard during the late 80s when academic Marxism was getting very tired.

I imagined that saying, Oh so late 80s, would not be well received.

While Obama moves us beyond being the crass consumer culture culture you describe, I assume that the sermonics will continue as a sort of antiphonal summons to a politics that ain’t gonna happen.

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By Robert Becker, May 5, 2009 at 10:50 am Link to this comment
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Hedges:  “A public that can no longer distinguish between truth and fiction is left to interpret reality through illusion.  . . When opinions cannot be distinguished from facts, when there is no universal standard to determine truth in law, in science, in scholarship, or in reporting the events of the day, when the most valued skill is the ability to entertain, the world becomes a place where lies become true, where people can believe what they want to believe.”

At this level of abstraction a clever debater can argue anything, certainly demagogue that people only “believe what they want to believe.”  If this if so, why spend so much time ranting?  Why ambush at such an abstract level a centrist politician doing more or less what any centrist president would do: keep the ship of state on course, acknowledge who is driving the political and economic system, and move in a more humane, though certainly not ideal or perfect manner. 

Even if Hedges were correct, and who can tell in this blurry cloud of abstractions, isn’t the real question: what is the real option?  Where is the in the trenches support for his intolerant, impatient, theoretical idealism?  What is gained if in fact those who agree will readily agreed and the others find another bar.

see my piece, for those who don’t necessarily want to believe only what they already believe:

http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=6888#more

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By Folktruther, May 5, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Max is right, the Obama cheerleaders are willing to settle for the ILLUSION of change and try to convince the rest of us that its the real thing.  But for how long with the American people stand for it?  It would decrease the time if we could come up with a viable historical alternative.

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By tropicgirl, May 5, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

Please stop calling Obama a leftist, he has never been a leftist except in rhetoric.

This is a fantastic article. If you add in the failures of stopping the wars, the spying, the secrecy, and so on you get a good picture of what is happening.

I do not share moral values with a man who claims to love his own children but drone-bombs other peoples children.

His failure at the financial bailout is also obvious. Credit is harder to get and credit card companies are canceling peoples lines of credit.

FINANCIAL EXPERTS ARE PRIVATELY SAYING: IF ANYONE HAS A LINE OF CREDIT ON HOMEOWNERS OR OTHER CREDIT CARDS, MORTGAGES OR OTHER, TAKE YOU MONEY OUT TODAY. PEOPLE ARE GETTING LETTERS IN THE MAIL SHUTTING THEIR ACCOUNTS AND GIVING NO REASON.

He will never put back together an economy based on bloat, over-consumption and financial scam. It won’t go back. It will self-correct. All Obama can do is waste money.

And lastly, he has done precious little for the average citizen. He has also screwed the labor unions by not supporting the union bill. Seasoned news reporters are saying the honeymoon will be over momentarily.

FANTASTIC PIECE AND WE NEED MORE OF THEM.

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By KDelphi, May 5, 2009 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

All I see in arguments pro-Obama is , basicaly, “better than Bush”.

Well, no shit.

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By Jon, May 5, 2009 at 8:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I keep asking:  What is America’s Business Plan?  We certainly have a Going-Out-Of-Business Plan: outsourcing, tax havens for corporations, welfare payments to banks and investment houses, massive layoffs, foreclosures, personal bankruptcies, millions more with no health care, student loans at usury interest rates, and a Congress that serves the banks and not the people.  So, what’s next, euthanasia for the unemployed and elderly?  (I’m serious)

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By Max Shields, May 5, 2009 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

Of course Hedges is right in his analysis, analysis which has been (as he credits) widely documented and acknowwledge. That this is not new is beside the point.

The people who continue to think Obama is a new kind of president are the issue at hand. It is demi-goding of someone that is beyond the pale and illustrate a deep need for an authoritive figure (much as the Bush crowd represented) to save us from…well us.

The two parties are, at bottom, identical in policy. The rhetoric is pure thearter. Political theater creates faux arguments, like Obama is a “socialist” and Republicans want to push women back to back allies to have illegal abortions. Neither Party believes these antics and they are quite satisfied with the superficial jousting, as long as the status quo and re-election stay in tact.

The fact that incombants continue to get re-elected overwhelmingly leads us to the conclusion that there is ONE PARTY. And neither no shame regarding whatever it takes, wherever the money comes from, to ensure power through re-election happens again and again.

2006 was a perfect example of what happens when a Party gets a “mandate” to end a war. We STILL THERE. Absolutely NO change in policy; the funding continues to flow and escalate.

The reason, at bottom, that Chris Hedges rights these on point articles is because the illusion of change continues to grip the populous and it is only by continuing to point out the facts, the reality, that we can some semblance of awareness can emerge; a way of re-framing the Obama-mystique as it fades with the collapse of Empire and the Global economy.

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By rolmike, May 5, 2009 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Next to religion, hope is the best dope. And Dale Carnegie keeps seeling it. I congratulate myself for not buying into the newest brand of Coke, smoother, more mellow, with more caramel though it comes, but it will rot your teeth as much as the old harsher brand. Mr. Hedges’s piece is of course an interpretation. But one can just itemize what has not changed and what has, and the score on “Yes we can change” is awfully small and minor, and continuity is the name of the game. Yes I can pretend to decrease the “defense” budget while actually increasing it. No juggler ever had an easier time of it.  i itemized all this on day 100 but a few other “changes” [of mind] have since been made by the Obambi crew: see:

http://summapolitico.blogspot.com/

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By Leefeller, May 5, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Lock step reality, accepted with open arms and agreement, as misfits we accept and want to believe in something, anything, for our discontent is a failure, we rather not face.  So we look for a cause, the because anything to the future, for the present stinks and the past was bad. So the future waits for the return of the Wizard of OZ to the perfect government a word of wisdom from the Pope. Something, or someone to take care of us and coddle us like the children we are.

As the present seems to increase in its sucking sensation for more and more people, the new hope becomes a cause.  Obama used the word hope in the campaign as many before him. One word used has many meanings and none at all. Hope is a word.  My hope, may or is not your hope.

In the end even hope becomes a reality of differences.

Since I have seen hope or what I believe was hope, so I have my own definition, which I believe to be a form of reality.  For I have seen the very essence of hope and many may believe they know what hope really is, I doubt it, for reality is not even real to them.

In the end, hope the cause will never be what was hoped for, it will only change to the present.

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By LostHills, May 5, 2009 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

Those who continue to believe in Obama because they WANT to believe in Obama while he destroys our economy and mires us down in illegal wars are risking extreme brain meltdown by trying to reconcile the man’s rhetoric with the facts of his actions. It’s time to take off the rose colored glasses and make a clear asessment of what we’re dealing with. Hedges has explained it very well for those who have the capacity to listen….

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