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Stop Begging Obama and Get Mad

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Posted on Sep 14, 2009
AP / Charles Dharapak

President Obama is mobbed after delivering his major health care address to Congress. Obama has promised to deliver millions of new customers to insurance companies.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

But what happens in a society where everything conspires to check you out even when you make the herculean effort to integrate into the world of malls, celebrity gossip and too many brands of cereal on a supermarket shelf? What happens when the corporate state says that you can die in its wars but at home you are human refuse, that there is no job, no way to pay your medical bills or your mortgage, no hope? Then you retreat into your private hell of rage, terror and alienation. You do not return from the world of war. You yearn for its sleek and powerful weapons, its speed and noise, its ability to abolish the lines between sanity and madness. You long for the alluring, hallucinogenic landscapes of combat. You miss the psychedelic visions of carnage and suffering, the smells, sounds, shrieks, explosions and destruction that jolt you back to the present, which make you aware in ways you never were before. The thrill of violence, the God-like power that comes when you can take a human life with impunity, is matched against the pathetic existence of waiting for an unemployment check. You look to rejoin the fraternity of killers. Here. There. It no longer matters.

There is a yawning indifference at home about what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. The hollow language of heroism and glory, used by the war makers and often aped by those in the media, allows the nation to feel good about war, about “service.” But it is also a way of muzzling the voices that attempt to tell us the truth about war. And when these men and women do find the moral courage to speak, they often find that many fellow Americans turn away in disgust or attack them for shattering the myth. The myth of war is too enjoyable, and too profitable, to be punctured by reality. And so these veterans nurse their fantasies of power. They begin to hate those who sent them as much as they hate those they fought. Some cannot distinguish one from the other.

As I stared into the faces of the men from A Gathering of Eagles on Saturday at a protest calling for the closure of the Army Experience Center in Philadelphia, I recognized these emotions. These men had arrived on black motorcycles. They were wearing leather jackets. They had lined up, most holding large American flags, to greet the protesters, some of whom were also veterans. They chanted “Traitors!” at the seven people who were arrested for refusing the police order to leave the premises. They sought vindication from a system that had, although they could not admit it, betrayed them. They yearned to be powerful, if only for a moment, if only by breaking through the police line and knocking some God-hating communist faggot to the ground. They wanted the war to come home.

It is we who are guilty, guilty for sending these young men and women to wars that did not have to be fought. It is we who are guilty for turning away from the truth of war to wallow in a self-aggrandizing myth, guilty because we create and decorate killers and when they come home maimed and broken we discard them. It is we who are guilty for failing to defy a Democratic Party that since 1994 has betrayed the working class by destroying our manufacturing base, slashing funds to assist the poor and cravenly doing the bidding of corporations. It is we who are guilty for refusing to mass on Washington and demand single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans. It is we who are guilty for supporting Democrats while they funnel billions in taxpayer dollars to sustain speculative Wall Street interests. The rage of the confused and angry right-wing marchers, the ones fired up by trash-talking talk show hosts, the ones liberals belittle and maybe even laugh at, should be our rage. And if it is not our rage soon, if we continue to humiliate and debase ourselves by begging Obama to be Obama, we will see our open society dismantled not because of the shrewdness of the far right, but because of our moral cowardice. 

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Chris Hedges spent two decades covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East and is the author of “War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning.” His latest book is “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.” His weekly column appears Mondays on Truthdig.


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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 23, 2009 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

Okay, ardee, even if that was your last comment on our argument, I
confess it might be that I have a serious grudge, certainly not a cross
to bear since I don’t believe in crosses, but nevertheless if you would
provide a proper analysis of the words and Hedges intentions, which
would mean he needed some translation, but nevertheless perhaps I
might learn something for which I would then owe an apology.  But do
focus on proper analysis, since you have not provided any in his
defense.  If Hedges would do a proper analysis of what he writes it is
my contention that he could attain to be a decent journalist.  Perhaps
we should not call him a journalist, but rather an Opinionist.  I could
certainly accept that tag more readily. 

I never find Hedges’s articles containing even a thimbleful of irony. 
And I have traveled that ground on this forum before.  Why would I be
surprised that an acolyte would call my “stuff” a distortion?

Report this

By ardee, September 23, 2009 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

grief ,She you call this stuff an in depth analysis, I call it a great dsitortion:

What evidence do you have such that you
immediately believe Hedges’ inflationary statement?  But let’s for the
sake of argument say that Obama is a socialist.  For a Leftist, that
ought to be a big virtue!  But Hedges implies it is a disease.  Each and
every sentence of that first pargraph is specious and are parroting the
criticisms leveled by the scripted extremist right-wing Republicans.

My goodness you have a serious grudge or cross to bear, so serious that it prevents you from a proper analysis of the words and intent of Hedges. One cannot cope with such enormity of emotionalism and bias. Hedges doesnt call Obama a socialist, he states he works for the corporations, irony escapes you, as does nuance.

I simply leave the field to your undisclosed ailment as it refers to Hedges…..No further comment about this from me, I promise…I am simply stunned at your actions here…a real pity.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

Having gone paragraph by paragraph of his article in an exacting review
September 19 at 1:32pm, ardee, seems I did more than dittle on the
substance of Hedges thoughts.  On blogs, it is not out of line to take
issue with or criticize the authors of articles.  Of course, if all you want to
see are platitudes, I recommend that you simply ignore my comments.

Report this

By ardee, September 22, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, September 22 at 8:16 am #

Sorry, but got to go, but what exactly is reasonable criticism?  What
exactly is unreasonable?

I figured you didnt know the answer thus the way out of line attacks on Mr. Hedges an dlittle on the substance of his thoughts.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 22, 2009 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

Sorry, but got to go, but what exactly is reasonable criticism?  What
exactly is unreasonable?

Report this

By ardee, September 22, 2009 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, September 22 at 10:49 am

This has gone far beyond any sort of reasonable criticism of an author or a particular article. One wonders why?

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 22, 2009 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

Is Hedges shallow?  No, he has no measurable depth at all.

Why do I bother, elisalouisa, commenting on his articles?  Because he is
a pretender to knowledge and pretends to know what is best for
Americans.  If he isn’t talking to all Americans, and only a select few,
then he doesn’t belong on an open forum website like Truthdig, but
ought to restrict himself to those who will wash his feet on a blog that
sets him up as their voice.  I am a hunter of sophists, a bounty hunter,
as has been crystal clear since this skeptic started commenting on such
forums years ago.  If someone doesn’t keep pinching the consciousness
of the public about sophists among them then my world is doomed,
and I am not ready for that.

Report this

By elisalouisa, September 22, 2009 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

Ardee:My, a Freudian glimpse into a place I did not want to go….What a self
seving crock. You think a passionate and caring author like Hedges is as
shallow as , apparently, you.
***********************************
I would like to reemphasize you comment Ardee. Perhaps preference for a certain writer reflects who we are at times. That is the best I can do to describe being in communion with
an author. Some feel it, some do not. Several posts ago Shenonymous you commented that perhaps we should agree that we disagree. That is true. It is
also true that you will probably never be a Hedges follower. Your talent for
writing is evident as is your sincerity.  There are many other writers out there
more to your liking to choose from eager to have comments posted as to their
columns. All comments are a plus for writers for it is proof their work is
followed, considered and at times feared for talent of the pen can be very
powerful. Anarcissie you assume that Hedges is speaking to the converted but
not only to the converted I say. Your cynical comment as to advanced theology
is unwarranted as is your quip about his plan for the next crusade although the
humor is appreciated.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 22, 2009 at 4:21 am Link to this comment

If it looks like Hedges harbors any bigotry, it is most obviously against
those who have a mind of their own, black or white, or yellow or red, or
green Martian.  Appearances are everything.  By assuming the patronistic
posture in everyone of his articles, that Papa Chris knows best, knows
everything, knows what is good, knows what is good for you, he sets
himself up for those of an independent mind to give him the middle
finger.

Report this

By ardee, September 22, 2009 at 3:47 am Link to this comment

Another thought: Hedges would be absolutely miserable if Obama succeeded. More miserable than even a conservative. That says alot. Maube Hedges is a racist?

My, a Freudian glimpse into a place I did not want to go….What a self seving crock. You think a passionate and caring author like Hedges is as shallow as , apparently, you.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 21, 2009 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

Well, if Obama succeeds, for what I think the phrase probably means to most people, it will be yet another questionable victory for conservative liberal capitalism.  Many leftists would not be very happy with that, and Hedges seems to be mostly in the leftist bag.  Lib-cap will just grind forward to its next boring catastrophe….  or maybe just finish up the one in progress.

On the other hand, if Mr. O doesn’t succeed, we may all be in for a very hard time.  One might well have divided feelings about Mr. O’s success prospects.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, September 21, 2009 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

I prefer writers who contradict or challenge my ideas, or who show me something I haven’t seen before.

Well said, Anarcissie. Better yet anyone can tell that you really do by the way you write.

As far as Hedges is concerned, he seems to have a bit of an outsider’s complex as he writes for his Leftist friends. I think he is trying to prove his worth. So he overstates the case much of the time.

Hedges’ recommendations are often unrealistic and sometimes dangerous. If people on the Right mirrored his degree of extremism we really would be fascists. If anyone wants to know what i mean I would prove it for you.

Another thought: Hedges would be absolutely miserable if Obama succeeded. More miserable than even a conservative. That says alot. Maube Hedges is a racist?

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

It is unusual for Anarcissie and I to coincide in our assessment of
controversial matters, but this time I think excellent observations and
misgivings have been made.  Hedges does present a hysteric’s view of
issues.  It is evident in his overstatement of conditions without
providing references.  It is a device, or thought to be a device, to avoid
having to defend statements.  It is flagrant use of fallacious reasoning. 
It becomes demagoguery when it is used to enlist others to join in the
vague view.  It might be intentional or it might be out of ignorance. 
And so it goes.  It might be true that hysteria is in the eye of the
beholder, but that is a silly saying (for instance, how would one fit any
quantity of hysteria in a beholder’s eye?) hence has little to no
meaning.  Adding a tag, “I guess…..” equivocates any statement to
which it is attached.  Perhaps what was meant, and here I walk on
tenuous ground, is that relative to the thinker, there are different
degrees of judgment of hysteria.
  With that statement I could
wholeheartedly agree.  But, in judging a public speaker and assessing
their statements is justification for a declaration of hysteria if there is
injected in their statements a need to rush into action rather than
rationally appraise the next step.  It becomes more and more
impossible to not think the writer is unbalanced when emotionally
charged statements are made and this is exactly what Hedges does.

Just as Anarcissie can do hysteria without any help, I would place
unsubstantiated opinions in a category of a similar quantity of worth,
none. 

Assumptions are made from the material presented.  If an assumption
is incorrect, some reflection might be given that it was based on
ambiguous, vague comments.  Not quite sure one can be “in
communion” with another person, for what could that mean?  To
whatever degree one is attracted to a writer is a personal thing, how
that attraction is expressed in opinions is another.  While the “personal
thing” is unassailable, the latter, the public expression based on that
personal thing is up for criticism by anyone in disagreement.  Either a
defense is braved or a withdrawal is prudent.

Report this

By elisalouisa, September 21, 2009 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie:I prefer writers who contradict or challenge my ideas, or who show me
something I haven’t seen before.
*******************************************
Often a comment is taken in meaning to the next step forming an assumption
that is incorrect.  Being in communion with a writer does not imply that you are
in agreement or that a challenge is not in the making. On the contrary, such
division is part of the learning process and evolution of thought that is but one
component of the reader’s attraction to certain writers.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 21, 2009 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

ardee:
’“Hysteria” is in the eye of the beholder I guess…..’

Do you see anything in Hedges’s rant besides the obvious (Obama is a conservative) and excursions into fact-free emotion (If we don’t do something right now we’re going to be subjected to a fascist dictatorship)?  What are we supposed to do besides feel guilt and rage?  Open our windows and shout “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more”?

Real-life activists can’t run far on such thin fuel.  Hedges is preaching to the converted here; let’s at least have some advanced theology, or his plan for the next crusade, eh?

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By ardee, September 21, 2009 at 2:42 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, September 21 at 12:44 am

“Hysteria” is in the eye of the beholder I guess…..

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 20, 2009 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa:
Why does one like a writer? Personally, I like a writer because I find a common ground that the writer has as a base. ...

I prefer writers who contradict or challenge my ideas, or who show me something I haven’t seen before.

Hedges, though, spends a lot of time being hysterical, regardless of what his basic ideas and framework may be, and this puts me off.  I can do hysteria all by myself.  I don’t need Hedges for it.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 20, 2009 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

Since I only exist on earth, I will give an earthly answer:  it depends on who is the
author and what is the support and if it appears to me to be fidelity to casuistry.  I am
more skeptical than you but I firmly believe all are free to believe as they wish even if I
have presented arguments as to why the belief may be misguided.  I did what I could,
and so it goes.  I will continue to believe Hedges is a weak “journalist” and needs to be
taken to task for what I conclude to be specious and vapid advice, you will continue to
applaud him.  I will also continue to look for better journalism from Hedges as I have
done so for a couple of years.  I have focused on Hedges because this article is written
by him.

I do not think Hedges is alone in a faint image of good journalism.  As far as I am
concerned there are none who attains to the wisdom of and Edward R. Morrow or
Walter Cronkite.  If I run across one I will be sure to sing his/her praises and wipe my
feet at his/her door and say why I do.

As you once said, perhaps there will be other issues you and I can agree on and could
have another amicable discussion.  I think that is a distinct possibility as I find your
mind interesting and engaging.  And besides you are respectful.

Report this

By ardee, September 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

Why on earth you equate support for an authors work as fealty is beyond me, Shenonymous, and , I suspect, if you give it some thought, beyond and beneath you as well…

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

ardee says, She will decide unfavorably I fear.

Decidedly.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 20, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

And it is obvious ardee and elisalouisa that misery loves company, as the old saying
goes. 

Saying “...so be it” seems to have chafed you ardee.  It means if sitting at Hedges feet is
what you wish to do, it is your choice.  Perhaps Vonnegut’s “and so it goes,” suits you
better.  Okay, And so it goes.  That should put the gist back into my message if
that was the only thing you could focus on.

Report this

By ardee, September 20, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

“If you wish to bow at his feet so
be it.”

OOOh, She, unecessary and actually takes away from the gist of your message…

elisalouisa, September 20 at 10:29 am

Hooray, we are a movement!! Or are we groupies…She will decide unfavorably I fear.

Report this

By elisalouisa, September 20, 2009 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

Why does one like a writer? Personally, I like a writer because I find a common
ground that the writer has as a base. The writer may be more eloquent and
knowledgeable offering a plane where we can meet. In my personal experience
few political writers have done this, especially in recent times. This is important
for when I try to absorb news as it is presented by many writers and
commenters I find no common ground. What are they talking about I ask
myself? Can’t they see what is really going on? When Chris Hedges speaks of
Obama offering a health care system that will enrich corporations and expand
their abuse of our for for-profit medical care he speaks to me. When Chris says
that Obama will not stanch unemployment he speaks to me. When Chris says
Obama will not end our wars he speaks to me. Obama is a tool of the corporate
state. Look at all the money thrown at Wall Street on his watch. Money given to
GM is now helping to pay for factories in China. That is our tax money given for
Chinese employment. Who gets kick back and/or contribution money for that?
Obama could have made a difference from his first days by standing up to Wall
Street by demanding accountability where tax money was involved. He
campaigned on transparency concerning Wall Street. Where is the transparency?
There were no demands that jobs be kept in this country when GM received tax
money. I thought I was voting for someone who would actually do something
after he was elected not someone who would keep giving speeches as if he was
still running for office. Get out of Air Force One Obama, get into that kitchen
where it’s hot and start fighting for your people.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 20, 2009 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

1.
Yes, ardee, one is more than entitled to one’s view of beauty,
actually it cannot be suppressed.  However, that does not define
beauty, nor give it its truth.  Seeking change from the edge of the basic
configuration of anything is the most promising for success even in
mining, one chips away at edges rather than starting in the middle. 
But it is chipping away at real material. 

My “charges” are that Hedges is imprecise and for a so-called self-
styled journalist that is irresponsible.  If you wish to bow at his feet so
be it.  I realize the links I posted provided more information than most
would care to examine, and I give you credit for checking out to what
degree you did.  My point was not to provide the definitive assessment
of what Obama has accomplished in the short time he has been the
President, but to show that Hedges is not completely correct. 

Actually, I have been up to what you have been regarding credit cards,
I’ve cancelled two of the ones I had and will not ever apply for another
one.  I have one with my credit union for emergencies only and that is
it for me.  I think many people are doing the same thing, and that as
soon as it “trickles” down to the credit card companies, they will find
themselves in hell, and I hope they burn completely into oblivion there. 
If there is any one other major cause of people’s penury and the
horrible state of financial affairs in this country along with the bank
problems, mortgage problems, real estate problems, it has to do with
credit card debt and that needs to be made manifestly clear in the
media more than any premature criticism of Obama! 

I am not exonerating Obama of his responsibility.  He has an
accountability to the American people as a whole and if he does
not pay that piper he will pay as a politician and will not be reelected
and he will have done the African American community a terrible blow
as well.  I am willing to give his unorthodox and highly criticized
methods the respect of a chance before relegating him to hell also.

The war in Afghanistan is much different than the impulse to go to war
in Iraq.  I believe the deliverance from the extreme and fanatical
Islamist Taliban is an imperative to control and that they present a clear
and present danger to the immediate vicinity as well as the western
world as a whole.  Iraq was a whole other set of transgressions and the
reasons evil in substance.  It is probably the biggest mistake America
has ever made.  We have to speak of America as a whole here since it
was in America’s name that it was initiated.  The President
constitutionally does speak for the country as a whole even if a great
percentage do not agree with him.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 20, 2009 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

2.
I agree that the corporate goliath is on the top of the list as the
evildoers in this country and furthermore the entire world.  But merely
whining about their wealth and power, and it is power that is in a
higher position than wealth, it is wealth that provides the power, which
is how it has always been since time immemorial, but whining about it
does nothing but relieve temporarily diarrhea of the mind.  Achievable
steps need to be devised and taken to thwart that power.  It will have
to be channeled into positive results because they will never, not ever,
be exorcised as the demons that they are.  To think otherwise with
notions of marxism is worse than foolish, it is delusional.

Yes, of course most of the already enacted stuff is cosmetic in nature
as quick fixes are always cosmetic and time is needed to make it deep
and permanent and really effective, where really means reality.  The
impatience is unbelievable.  Think about yourself and everything you
have had to fix that was a major problem.  Perhaps you have never had
to face that kind of challenge, but I have and from my experience,
nothing happens that is indelibly fixed without a lot of unforeseen
energy expended and time for it to mature.

You may enjoy the surface treatment appeal to emotion that Hedges
provides, that is what most people seem to like given the popularity of
the most innocuous television programming and movies that collect the
most incredible amount of money in the face of the worst recession this
country has faced in its existence.  Truly amazing.  It is breathtaking
really.  But the amount of critical assessment is almost nil and I am
sorry to have to put you into that class as well since you extol the
virtues of a clever and specious writer such as Hedges.  I see it as a
laziness of mind.  And while I can excuse yours and most self-
indulgent Americans, I cannot excuse one who exerts so much effort
into swaying the minds of so many others as an arrogant and slipshod
journalist.  There are too many of those in this world.

Report this

By ardee, September 20, 2009 at 3:54 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, September 20 at 5:41 am #

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Any individual, or any movement for that matter, seeking change, whether of direction or of the basic fabric of our governance and/or society, must pull or push from the edge. Thus they open themselves to charges like yours.

I did you the courtesy of reading the links you so elegantly provided ( and I wish more here would do so) and it is certainly a “whole lot of Rosie” ( with apologies to Angus and Malcom). It would take a fair bit of research and thus time to report on the effectiveness, or lack thereof , of the legislation and actions that you seem to believe proves Obama’s worth. I would, in lieu of that time, discuss only that with which I am familiar….

Have you seen, I wonder, a reduction in your credit card interest payment, or a slowing of the rate of increase thereof? I certainly have not. In fact I pay off and cancel cards when they attempt to violate their contractual obligations as I see them to be. I am in the process of canceling my Amex card at this moment in fact due to their decision to come back to the pack so to speak and raise rates.

The promise to escalate the war was certainly kept though I think that it proves other than you might intend, dont you? One link is to proposals not yet enacted, and , with a careful perusal one doubts that they will make it through Congress at all.

Given the slavish devotion to corporate rule we see in govt. Do you really believe that the oil and gas industry will be made to resume royalty payments suspended and uncollected for a decade or so?

Many of the already enacted stuff is basically cosmetic in nature I believe, and the loopholes make them much less than efficient in providing the relief or change they specify.

I am sorry that I cannot do an in depth analysis of each and every bill or proposal noted in those links, but I think my surface report an accurate one and one in keeping with the trends in our government.

This began as a discussion of the worth of Chris Hedges and has evolved ( devolved?) into a critique or defense of the Obama administration. I think we will have plenty of time to discuss this current administrations ongoing failures or successes, guess which I lean towards?

As to Hedges, well we must agree to disagree I fear…...I think we need a bunch more like him frankly. I would add that, despite our differences, I think we need a bunch more like you as well…...

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 20, 2009 at 2:41 am Link to this comment

ardee, you are polite and courteous.  Thank you for your regard about familiarity.  I
apologize for my somewhat caustic remark about your eyesight!  I am sure you try to see
the world as clearly as I do.  We just see it differently.  Yes, I do know about literary
devices.  Bravado however ought not to come in the form of flagrant accusations.  It is
demagogic.  Yes Hedges really is saying Obama is something, a socialist.  He did not say
that he meant by that a “pawn of the ruling elite,” which is what you interpreted him as
saying.  He actually prevaricates in the first paragraph and lying is never a ‘good’ literary
device.  It taints the rest of the article.  One of the ‘sweeping’ statements he makes is that
Obama has squandered the country’s future with deficits that can never be repaid.  The
deficits are multicomplex, and a great deal of them will be repaid.  He also lied about
Obama forcing “us” to buy into a health care system predicting it will “enrich”
corporations…”  this is his Cassandra mode and he provides about as much substantial
evidence as Cassandra had in fortunetelling.  Now why is it ethically incumbent on Hedges
to provide evidence?  Because he is parading as an “expert” attempting to sway the
ignorant public of his views.  Making everyone have health insurance will save those who
earn money in this country for “we” are paying billions to provide care for those who aren’t
covered.  Facts are provided at http://www.nchc.org/facts/coverage.shtml

I do not mind if he has a different view from mine, but as a Media Star he has the
responsibility to provide truth and proof of truth.  He is a perfect example of the “media”
problem that is constantly debated even by the media blockheads themselves.  Vaguity
hides a lot of ignorance.  It is a news industry, not news nor real journalism.  You speak of
Obama’s (conspicuously short) nine months, and given any other man would be given at
least a year to get things done, and your criticism is ambiguous and imprecise assuming
that Everyone (the ubiquitous WE) ought to use their intuition to be just as vague in
knowing what you mean.  I suppose if we really were that “familiar” we could talk thusly
and understand each other, but we are not, we are bloggers who don’t know a whit about
each other and hence are the public who don’t know what is meant.  It is symptomatic of
my constant criticism that mouths speak but say nothing that in reality amounts to
nothing.  Hedges mixes up his literary structure and violates the most basic “good” form
of writing.  He mishmashes sophistic accusations together in paragraphs that makes it
almost impossible to sort it out, except for those alert, usually by profession, to detect the
internal fallacies with which he writes.  He is more interested in writing with a flourish
than he is sincerely.  The world is full of fools and those who sit at the feet of fools.

Contrary to Hedges criticisms, here are a few “facts” about Obama’s accomplishments. 
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/world/americas/08iht-letter.3.20678052.html
http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/rulings/promise-kept/
http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/rulings/in-the-works/
Rather than tear down a new, and black, president, I will give him the benefit of the doubt
until such time as this country actually does go into a toilet, which it won’t, not the one
fabricated by his critics!  Imagine what it must be like to “be” Obama.

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By ardee, September 19, 2009 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

What evidence
does Hedges has that Obama is a socialist?

My goodness, She (I hope I can use such familiarity ) that first paragraph is a literary device only. Hedges is certainly saying that Obama is a pawn of the ruling elite and not implying him to be the second coming of Karl Marx. Ever take a creative writing class? You gotta hook the reader first.

This article starts off with flagrant accusations and never, not
once, gives any existent proof to support them

Do you still, after nine months, believe those accusations still need even more proof? He does cite figures regarding the plight of the returning veterans and the affect upon them of war. Hedges, as a long time war correspondent, has seen the violence, as have I as a veteran of Viet Nam, and I say he speaks to me and for me.

We can certainly disagree as to Chris Hedges’ value, but I think him an eloquent voice for the left and fail to understand your rancor and suspicions regarding his intent…Oh well, we do agree on much and it would be quite silly to believe we could agree on everything.

I do look forward to more articles from him, perhaps we may even convert you in time. grin

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By cann4ing, September 19, 2009 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

New Harvard University study reveals that 45,000 Americans die each year simply because they can’t afford coverage.

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7424

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By Shenonymous, September 19, 2009 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

Page 1
Good morning, ardee.  Over the last month or so I have come to
appreciate many of your comments as being thoughtful and articulate
as well.  However, and you probably knew this was coming…it is an old
axiom that you find what you look for.  I would add that what you look
for is determined by built-in biases.  when I go to an article that deals
with the huge problems that face the world, my world, I go there for
the sole purpose of finding the truth.  My life is full of things to do,
and I don’t just live to post on forums!  So time is essential and for me
cannot be wasted.

The very first paragraph of Hedges’ article sets the quality of the entire
piece.  This article starts off with flagrant accusations and never, not
once, gives any existent proof to support them.  This is Hedges style
and I have watched it now for a couple of years.  He accuses with no
evidence and that is classic sophism and demagoguery.  What evidence
does Hedges has that Obama is a socialist?  That is quite a
melodramatic statement!  What evidence do you have such that you
immediately believe Hedges’ inflationary statement?  But let’s for the
sake of argument say that Obama is a socialist.  For a Leftist, that
ought to be a big virtue!  But Hedges implies it is a disease.  Each and
every sentence of that first pargraph is specious and are parroting the
criticisms leveled by the scripted extremist right-wing Republicans.

In paragraph 2, he uses the inclusive “we” to build a coalition of
support, a fictionalized coalition, because my friend, ardee, there is
magic in numbers and that is the only reason the use of the inclusive
“we” is ever used!  It is a way of hiding in the crowd, a crowd that one
has made up like a coat would cover one’s own weak body.  “We” are
not the problem!  A lack of precision by sloppy thinkers is the problem. 
The “anger” Hedges taps into is also a fictionalized group.  Exactly how
does he know “justifiable anger is sweeping across the nation?”  How
do you know this?  The news media certainly says it is enough
times!  It takes only seven times to hear a thing before it transforms
into a fact!  Factoids!  The anger is on that has been invented and
fabricated by news media and right wing calculation which is evidenced
every single time a Republican has a moment to say anything in the
media, regardless of whether it is radio, tv, or printed matter, or
Internet mélange of public avenues.  Their litany is indelible and has
become a libretto.  And it is repeated over and over again by the news
media and self-serving journalists who think they have a right to take
seeds of facts and blow them up into a “wave” of outrageous sentiment. 

I am outraged that a minority of partisan Republicans, the most wealthy
group in America and owners and managers of the most wealthiest of
corporations, are attempting to dismantle a program that is the only
breath of fresh air to surface in decades on behalf of those Americans
who have so little that they are dying by the thousands.  Depending on
what “media” resource you look at there are anywhere from 18,000 to
45,000 who die each year because of a lack of health care.  Do you
know anyone who lacks health care?  I do.  And they are very much at
the risk of dying should any illness befalls them or some accident.  The
Obama effort is on its way to fixing the horrid mess that the two Bush
administrations descended upon this nation.

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By Shenonymous, September 19, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

Page 2 for ardee
What in the world does the fact that US soldiers are returning with PTSD
have to do with the accusation that Obama is a socialist?  Socialism is
an economic system. It has nothing to do with it!  Again a Hedges’
psychological diversion, to make the article seem like it is pithy.  That
Obama appears more socialistic than Bush, and that is not a hard thing
to imagine because anything one smidgeon to the left of Bush and his
Republican mantle would look socialistic, is an ad hoc fallacy.  Simply
put, socialism is a “form” or government based on an economic system
that provides for its people and shares its wealth under the notion of
egalitarianism.  Capitalism is the counterform of government that
elevates the individual and their right of property.  A merger of both
would be the best arrangement.  But, as per Hedges’, Obama is
socialistic, or capitalistic as there is no such thing as corporate
socialism.  Which is it?  Hedges would have it both ways, calculated to
confuse your thinking, to make you schizoid.

The economic decline of which he speaks in the 3rd paragraph, has
been checked. Have you checked the facts recently.  Even Wall Street is
in a Bull upswing!  Got to love those greedy capitalists.  It is amazing
that in a matter of 8 months Obama’s leadership as pulled this nation
out of the depressive quagmire that was indeed leading to its
destruction.  A feat not equaled by any other leader in the history of
the world! 

Hedges loves to use incendiary phrasing.  This is a sign of a true
demagogue.  If you love that kind of incitement, if that makes you
blood circulate faster and gets your pleasure center on a high, then
that is your mental constitution. For my time, I have more respect for
my mind.  For instance in paragraph 6, what the f’ is industrial
slaughter?  A lovey turn of phrase.  It is a literary device calculated to
get your emotions primed!  Furthermore, his personal history is
irrelevant. He tries to capture your proclivity to sentiment, aw poor
Hedges, aw he suffered so…
bull crap! He does this intentionally to
give some basis for for his very weakly supported criticism.

What the f’ are minefields of stimulants?  Again, he is pushing your
disposition to emotion, cleverly uses the things most close to your
consciousness, your senses, to ratchet up your already agitated mental
state.  Still no evidence offered though, only rhetoric.

In paragraph 8 he hypothesizes or tries to lure you in to
hypothesizing
with his tidbits of hyperbole to gt you to conclude
that there is something drastically wrong with Obama, and the
American people – “all” the American people under the rubric of “We.”  I
have said many times before, there is no We the People, One Nation,
under whatever you want to call it.  America is a mixed bag at best.

The remaining paragraphs are nothing more than an appeal to your
sentimentality. Of course “We” don’t want to kill our boys in a
fabricated war, fabricated by the insanity of a group of men who had
ideas for grasping whatever oil there was in Iraq!  Any other reason
given was a sham.  But that is history, and humans never learn from
history.  Of course “We” are all guilty, guilty of being Democrats.  that
last paragraph is hysterical for while one side of his mouth he semi-
criticizes the right-wing marchers, on the other side he harpoons the
Democrats for their supposed betrayal.  But he gives no evidence, even
though there may be some, he does not cite it.  He slurs through with
his accusatorial style.  It would not be so important if the world’s fate
was not so important.  Not once in his entire essay does he appeal to
any fact, not one checkable reference.  If you said you read this
Naderite’s piece of rhetorical garbage several times, I suggest you get
your butt to an ophthalmologist to check out if your eyes are still
connected to your brain.

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By ardee, September 19, 2009 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

“What we have in America is Socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.”
Gore Vidal

I believe shenonymous to be an intelligent person, one whose posts are worth the read. But I am puzzled by the condemnation of Hedges, based upon this article. I read it and re-read it and find little within it that doesn’t ring pretty true.

Hedges has seen violence first hand, and speaks of the way it destroys all who participate in it. I have seen such violence as well and second what he notes as symptomatic among many who survive it.

I see the actions of our President in a similar light as well, giving our children’s future to the very people who destroyed our economy while profiting greatly from that destruction. The way Obama sells out most of the nation in favor of the Health Insurance industry is yet another example of Hedges perceptive viewing of the truth.

I would offer to that worthy poster that just the fact that she shares an opinion of the work of Hedges with a rabidly right wing poster, OzarkMichael, should be a clue that perhaps a reassessment is in order…..This should not be seen as a personal condemnation of Michael I wish to note, only of his politics and methods..he is a far more palatable poster than others here, left and right.

“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign; that all the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”
Jonathan Swift

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By Shenonymous, September 17, 2009 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

She ducks.  Sitting sort of right of leftist but still on the liberal side, I find
playing volleyball with Hedges political predispositioned head is a favorite
pastime of mine.  I’ve already sung what I think is wrong with Hedges but
you are welcome to sing a refrain.  He obviously provides raw
thoughtfood for Truthdippers to gnaw on, though.  Pushing Limbaugh
anywhere would take a Bagger 288 but it could be quite diverting to see a
Rightist do the pushing

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By Shenonymous, September 17, 2009 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

Rach, your assessment is shallow and insignificant.  Exactly what do
YOU know about what is happening in America?  You sound like a
parrot repeating slogans.  Syntactically it might be that Hedges writes
“well,” but semantically his head is up his padupa.

WOULD you be so kind as to write us an essay on the “deeper meaning of
war and its ramifications…”  Then try to express coherently, if you can
even think coherently, what is happening in “our” country today.

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By OzarkMichael, September 17, 2009 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous said: Hedges is the semi-mystical handmaiden for the right-wing.

Why do you Leftists always have to push your most crappy guys to my side of the table? We have enough crappy guys of our own on the Right. You dont see me pushing Rush Limbaugh over to your side of the table, do you?

Dont get me wrong. You should criticize Hedges, but dont toss him over here to me. Hedges is a Leftist. A rather Far Leftist at that.

True, he is not a very smart Leftist, nor is he practical, nor is he helpful. He does hurt your causes, no question there.

I am happy to listen to your critique of his work, i will offer my own if you like. ‘Cause there is definitely something wrong with Hedges. Might be a good chat.

But I am officially tossing Stinky Chris back over the fence onto your side.

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By Rach, September 17, 2009 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

That’s the most ridiculous comment. Evidently, you do not understand the deeper meaning of war and its ramification. Are you aware of what is happening in our country today?

The opening two paragraphs and the concluding paragraph are very well directed at what is currently happening in America, and very well written. The body of this article is very profound, very clear, to the point, and meaningful for me, and I know for many other Americans.

You should reconsider your view.

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By Shenonymous, September 17, 2009 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Pardon the double post.  I have no idea how that happened but I notice it
happens to others a lot these days.  TD needs to check their web
programming.  Oh well, I could say I “doubly” meant what I said.

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By Shenonymous, September 17, 2009 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

WHY truedigger3, I’m circling your wagon to see how authentic you are.  Perhaps it is
you that has had some sort of divine inspiration.  The divine never comes near me, I
am Potamus and She has not changed a speck.  I can’t imagine for a second that
Hedges could semi-satirize anything, not even an arithmetic quartern part satirize
anything.  Satire is a serious literary form in which human vices or foolishnesses are
attacked through irony, derision, or wit.  Are you serious that Hedges did that or even
can do it?  Naw.  You do a much better job of it and can do it with one hand tied
behind your back.  What cogent evidence is there that what Hedges says is not what
he means, that he did not mean it when he said that Obama is a Socialist? Like
Obama is not a “real” Socialist but is a “fake” Socialist?  He more than implies that
Obama is the socialist whore for corporations. The facts are the right-wing is wrong
and we are not the problem… whoever Hedges’ collective “we” are is a figment in
his own myopic mind.  Hedges needs a story to keep his job and psychologically
needs his face continuously in the public and squeezing one last ounce of blood out
of the Obama presidency is the problem.  Hedges imagines he is a Cassandra.  Did
you know that every month, all twelve of them, have an Ides?  It would be so much
more theatrical if Hedges confined his articles to the 15th of every month.  It could be
called the Hedges Ides Notes.  Hedges is the semi-mystical handmaiden for the right-
wing.

GO to work for Lowes, ElkoJohn.  I spoke with a cashier who works for Lowes
yesterday, she is a part-time employee there.  She said her husband had been laid off
from a printer job with some publishing house about six months ago.  His company
keeps asking him rather regularly to go in as a part-time employee.  He finally got
the scam and stopped being the dupe, because of course he no longer has benefits
as a laid off part-time employee and that is evil.  However, the wife who works at
Lowes part-time (Lowes no longer hires full-time permanent employees), has benefits! 
She said they provide part-time employees health coverage!  So her husband is
covered too!  Go figure. 

IT would be extraordinary and insightful if anything extraordinary and insightful in
this article could be described instead of gushed over by inarticulates.

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By Shenonymous, September 17, 2009 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

WHY truedigger3, I’m circling your wagon to see how authentic you are.  Perhaps it is
you that has had some sort of divine inspiration.  The divine never comes near me, I
am Potamus and She has not changed a speck.  I can’t imagine for a second that
Hedges could semi-satirize anything, not even an arithmetic quartern part satirize
anything.  Satire is a serious literary form in which human vices or foolishnesses are
attacked through irony, derision, or wit.  Are you serious that Hedges did that or even
can do it?  Naw.  You do a much better job of it and can do it with one hand tied
behind your back.  What cogent evidence is there that what Hedges says is not what
he means, that he did not mean it when he said that Obama is a Socialist? Like
Obama is not a “real” Socialist but is a “fake” Socialist?  He more than implies that
Obama is the socialist whore for corporations. The facts are the right-wing is wrong
and we are not the problem… whoever Hedges’ collective “we” are is a figment in
his own myopic mind.  Hedges needs a story to keep his job and psychologically
needs his face continuously in the public and squeezing one last ounce of blood out
of the Obama presidency is the problem.  Hedges imagines he is a Cassandra.  Did
you know that every month, all twelve of them, have an Ides?  It would be so much
more theatrical if Hedges confined his articles to the 15th of every month.  It could be
called the Hedges Ides Notes.  Hedges is the semi-mystical handmaiden for the right-
wing.

GO to work for Lowes, ElkoJohn.  I spoke with a cashier who works for Lowes
yesterday, she is a part-time employee there.  She said her husband had been laid off
from a printer job with some publishing house about six months ago.  His company
keeps asking him rather regularly to go in as a part-time employee.  He finally got
the scam and stopped being the dupe, because of course he no longer has benefits
as a laid off part-time employee and that is evil.  However, the wife who works at
Lowes part-time (Lowes no longer hires full-time permanent employees), has benefits! 
She said they provide part-time employees health coverage!  So her husband is
covered too!  Go figure. 

IT would be extraordinary and insightful if anything extraordinary and insightful in
this article could be described instead of gushed over by inarticulates.

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By Rach, September 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

An outstanding article: It’s one of the best articles of Chris Hedges I have read. In the mold of his compelling book, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” Good Job Mr. Hedges – Good Job!

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By mjr, September 17, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to share a thought.  I knew since Obama became popular that the only reason why he was allowed to run in the democratic primary at the beginning of the presidential campaign was because he already had his strategy.  He already knew what he had to give up in order to even be considered as a favorite candidate.  Please don’t get me wrong, I am sure he had and still has good intentions but he also learned how politics work in Washington DC.  So, I am not surprised that he is saying one thing yet he is doing something else.  He is just another politician.

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By omygodnotagain, September 16, 2009 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges thank you, for expressing the outrage that should be be felt by the people of this country, but is diverted by distractions to lesser things, while the cold hearted greedy elites continue to feed at the trough of this once great nation.  When it is empty they will leave and what was once mankind’s last best hope will be left in despair asking why, this happened.
The answer can be found in this extraordinary and insightful article

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By JohnJay60, September 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Any war creates a large influential voting block that is pro-military.  Perhaps Iraq was started as a way of building a base of pro-war and pro-police state voters for decades to come.  We may see Iraq as a wedge issue in elections 30 years from now, in the same way that those who opposed Kerry used Vietnam and he language of ‘traitor’ in 2004.

Unlike Vietnam, where wealth went to public corporations making material and equipment, the personal wealth gained by contractors in the Iraq war is staggering and will be used to fund right-wing attack ads for decades to come.  Bush was able to use american taxpayer money (borrowed from China, of course) to fund a block of voters who will reflexively support police state policies.  Nice work.

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By truedigger3, September 16, 2009 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Re:By Shenonymous, September 15 at 10:02 pm #


shenonymous,

You are starting to make sense. What happened to you during the summer. Did you have an epiphany or metamorhposis or smething?! I am surprised but pleased.

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By Anarcissie, September 16, 2009 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael:
‘J.G. said: 6. Learn all you can about your issue ...

Here is where I prove myself to be old school, or a conservative, or what some have called ‘fascist’. Because I would have put this as the first step in the process.

There are only 8 steps. Towards the end of the process (step #6) you finally learn about the issue, an issue which you have already organized for and contacted leaders about. Well on your way to inflicting the public with misguided and poorly thought out schemes, the only word to describe such a method is ‘liberal’.’

I would expect a conservative, at least of the classical sort, to believe in traditional or inherent knowledge—things you already know in your heart, so to speak.  The tabula-rasa approach to thought and action which you seem to be suggesting is what I would with the liberal mode, and of course it has a big gap in the middle, which is how to get it started, since with zero knowledge you have no basis upon which to seek knowledge and no ability to acquire it.

It may also be that J.G. is recalling the dialectic of theory and praxis, which goes back to Aristotle (“the things we had to learn to know how to do, we learned by doing.”)  And long before, probably, since Aristotle seems to have lifted a lot of his stuff. 

Humans are probably stuck with popping up and making assertions to the void, to chaos, to the abyss, and seeing what it answers, based on what they already desire and perceive.  It is only after that they can seek the God, or the devil, in the details.

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By ElkoJohn, September 16, 2009 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

the lobbyists always win,
trickle down capitalism means
what’s good for the Multinational Corporations
and the Big Banksters is good for the USA.
My job pays $14/hr, no benefits,
throw me a bone please.

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By Shenonymous, September 16, 2009 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa – of course you may think as you wish, and so may I.  I have been reading
Hedges articles for a few years now and I have never found one that was from the heart
in any real sense.  All rhetoric and calculated to jerk the emotions of those vulnerable to
it.  He takes seeds of events and simply structures his sophistry around it.  Perhaps
there would be some other things you and I could agree on in the future.

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By elisalouisa, September 16, 2009 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

The reason pollsters do not set up a table at some coffee shop is because the
people they poll are hand picked. My experience with poll people has been similar
to yours C.Curtiss. Pollsters are employed by those who are promoting an issue
that they feel the person called will agree with. Methods used are not always
upfront. They may say they are calling about one issue and sneak the key
question in toward the end.
Shenonymous, many who fight for social justice are not lacking in material goods,
not just Hedges. His columns as to war, poverty and the corruption of Wall Street
and Washington speak from the heart..

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By Gabe Harris, September 16, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges wrote a great article. I am not a fan of Glenn Beck, hwas a pro war neo-con most of the last 8 years…however, I HAVE happily atteneded a Tea Party event here in Boston. Many anti-war, anti-bush libertarians attend these events as well as neo-cons. I have been anti-war throughout the bush administration and I was also consistently against the inhumane blockade and bomb policies of Clinton/Albright.

To people like myself the partisian democrats look like low IQ hippocrites just as much as the fundamentalist neocons.

Many of the people railing against “right wigners” are blinded by the “false left-right paradigm”. You need to study the roots of Obama continuation of Bush war policies. The powers that be don’t care if a “democrat” or “republican” is in office, they only care that the policies remain the same.

If you use your energy to focus hate on teabaggers then the real enemey within your own controlled left goes happily about it’s business of stealing our wealth to hand to Goldman Sachs, Lockhead Martin and General Dynamics.

Would a real american support the Patriot Act? no…then look at yourselves…start behaving as if you really care about the things used in rhetorical attacks and then you won’t be called hippocrites.

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By OzarkMichael, September 16, 2009 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

J.G. said: 6. Learn all you can about your issue ...

Here is where I prove myself to be old school, or a conservative, or what some have called ‘fascist’. Because I would have put this as the first step in the process.

There are only 8 steps. Towards the end of the process (step #6) you finally learn about the issue, an issue which you have already organized for and contacted leaders about. Well on your way to inflicting the public with misguided and poorly thought out schemes, the only word to describe such a method is ‘liberal’.

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By Paul_GA, September 16, 2009 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psalm 146:3).

Those “progressives” who lull themselves to sleep at night by reminding themselves that Obama is better than McCain (or Bush, for that matter) may yet realize that the cure is worse than the disease. The “lesser of two evils” is still evil, after all.

Mr. Obama may yet end up reaping the foul harvest of George W. Bush.

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By Shenonymous, September 16, 2009 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

Jean Gerard - You are probably more than right about the Britell being
daunting.  As formidable as it is, I glanced through it, and know it is a
valuable tool.  I know it is there should the need be favorable for me to
get something started.  Presently it isn’t.  But circumstances change. 

Lest there be a misunderstanding, I appreciate your concise formula. 
Lighting a fire under derrieres is just an expression meaning lighting
up hearts and minds.  I think the “tea-party” goons are derrieres. 
As I listen to the Republicans reverberate on what parades as news, I
sometimes feel like my head is inside a clanging bell, doi-ng doi-ng
doi-ng and the repeated libretto is preposterous and unhinged.

Starting a passionate path toward change is difficult at best, as
Sheehan found out and she had a cause celebre.

What is needed to create public-to-action crusades are people with the
energy to convey ideas through their language, body expression, etc.,
has natural passion and enthusiasm for the work and a sense of
mission with skills of organization.  Those who exhibits courage in the
face of tough decisions and does not ever turn away from tough
assignments.  But before that, the cause has to be conceived and
designed that clearly states what is the reason and its justification.  To
be ambiguous or the least bit enigmatic will kill a movement before
one red corpuscle moves a molecule.  Starting with a slogan that
captures the essence of the purpose is always a good beginning.  And a
good dose of money helps a heap. 

What I don’t understand is the lethargy among real political people,
meaning those who have the time and wherewithal and usually the
passion to act.  If circumstances were where I could be involved directly
I would be, but as it is I have to be content to act at a distance. 
Donate money or make phone calls, the grunt stuff.  I ask and consider
questions on forums such as this one which is my main contribution at
the moment and it seems I am not alone.

Insight into the machinations of your experience with the polls was
really helpful, C.Curtis.Dillon, and gives my suspicions some traction. 
Good of you to brief us on it.  But I have to disagree with you about
Hedges.  He has about as much insight as a spent bullet in his articles. 
A bit on the shrill side is putting it mildly.  Why should he be
frustrated?  He has a good job, gets paid a lot, lives in a great house,
drives a great car, eats well and has good health insurance.  So what
exactly is he always whining about except that he loves to see his
words in print and his face on youtubes. He is a hack reporter wannabe
a voice for the “majority” which I already noted is nonexistent so he
speaks for his own engineered common collective.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, September 16, 2009 at 5:30 am Link to this comment

Was on the “poll” circuit during one presidential election and got called for my “opinion” several times in a matter of weeks.  So I was in the speed dial for the polling organization!  However, I always dislike polls because they attempt to simplify an issue down into quantifiable questions.  You get the 5 standard answers and then they ask you a question that can’t possibly be answered by any of the above.  How does one actually answer the question “Do you want a public option to compete with the private insurance companies?”.  Is that “strongly agree”, or “strongly disagree”?  No opportunity to question what “public option” means.  That’s not fair.  It would make much more sense to set up at a table in some coffee shop and ask the local morning coffee stream what they think about the issue and take their answers verbatim!  But that isn’t “scientific” so pollsters never go that way.  Two different polling groups could call the same people and get completely different opinions based on the way questions are asked.  We need a new Studs Turkel, not a Gallup poll!

On another topic, apathy is rampant in America ... right or left.  Glenn Beck’s vaulted 9/12 project with help from FreedomWorks could only garner 75K at the big “hate” rally last weekend in Washington.  Barely the game day crowd at Giant’s stadium.  So the organized and energized right wing can’t generate much action either.  Good for the left but a disturbing symptom of a general lack of organization across the political spectrum in America.  I’m really wondering what it will take to get this place excited and in the streets.  The turnout in Pittsburgh next week will tell me a lot about progressive angst.  Not feeling too good about that either.

If you look for revolution, several things are absolutely needed.  We have the anger and frustration.  We have a feeling of isolation and disenfranchisement.  But we are missing the galvanizing incident or individual(s) who can channel our anger into action.  There are no leaders!  Politicians are always willing to step into that vacuum but most of us recognize their fundamental hypocrisy.  They are whores!  Look at the right for examples of this.

As for Hedges, I agree he is a bit on the shrill side but I think he is trying to get us angry and organized.  He has 20 years in the war trenches so no one should question his credentials.  He’s dodged as many bullets as any experienced soldier and, yes, he could have gotten on a plane at any time but didn’t.  Maybe our collective lack of enthusiasm frustrates him and he is getting more angry ... thus his raising level of rhetoric.  I wonder when we will respond?

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By Monte Letourneau, September 15, 2009 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, very important point
quite well made!

We can be angry now from Love,
or we can be angry later from fear of hate.

Tao way, important point.

All, many good points,
but so often you miss the big picture
just because you are so fond
of one part of the truth.

If you want to focus on 9-11 or conspiracies,
stick to the single fact that matters:
no airliners were shot down that day;
those responsible for doing so,
and those responsible for White House,
and Pentagon, airspace,
were not court-martialed,
or even reprimanded.

They were promoted.

Nothing else happened in this decade
that matters at all, if you focus on it enough,
to be adding to the distraction,
from that simple fact.

Everything else is just a distraction from the obvious ALLOWING of the airplane crashes,
and the already ongoing mega money
Haliburton/Blackwater/CIA made
creating enemies to try to terrorize us.

Do not by terrified, vote.

Vote war out of office.
Vote corporate employees out of office.

Vote for citizens who write their own bills,
and read them before voting on them.

Vote for a party that takes no corp money.

Go to gp.org

It really is all just so simple!

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By Shenonymous, September 15, 2009 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

Hello back cann4ing, it has been a long time.  I would have to agree
that some measure of public sentiment could be of immense value, but
the rest of your statement is what stops me dead in my tracks:  “if it is
not distorted by the corporate media.”  Since the corporate world owns
the media, I have no faith in the least that polls are “scientifically
constructed, honestly taken.”  I have been watching various polls
reports intently for a long time and there isn’t one that I trust, that
does not have some way of influencing the responses given by those
polled.  The framing of questions is one key element, and who is polled
is the other.  Those two variables gives me the goosepimples and I
cannot give any of it veracity. 

It looks as if regardless of what the “polls” said in 2004, by the time
2009 has come around the “public opinion” is easily swayed this way
and that according to which poll you listen to by both sides of the
debate on health care reform.  It is impossible to know what “the
public” believes.  I don’t believe these polls take a true random
sampling across America at all.  They have their select, favorite places. 
There is never any data given on exactly what segment of the
population is being polled.  Do they ever go into poor ethnic
neighborhoods and as them what they think, or how about the gay
community, or how about among the thousands of girls and women
wanting abortions, or how about the youngest voter population? 
Convince me otherwise, as I am always open to good arguments.  And
you are the legal mind on this site to do it, so I would expect the best
arguments of all.

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By cann4ing, September 15, 2009 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

Hi S.  Long time no converse.

Not often I disagree with you, but a scientifically constructed, honestly taken poll can be of immense value if it is not distorted by the corporate media.

Consider the following passage from Noam Chomsky’s “Failed States” (2007) relating to media coverage of the 2004 Bush-Kerry debate.

“...the press reported, Kerry ‘took pains…to say that his plan for expanding access to health insurance would not create a new government program’ because ‘there is so little support for government intervention in the health care market in the United States.’

“The comment is interesting. A large majority of the population supports extensive government intervention…An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that ‘over 2/3 of all Americans thought the government should guarantee ‘everyone’ the best and most advanced health care that technology can supply’; a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 80 percent regard universal health care as ‘more important than holding down taxes’; polls reported in Business Week found that ‘67% of Americans think it’s a good idea to guarantee health care for all U.S. citizens…’ By the late 1980s, more than 70 percent of Americans “thought health care should be a constitutional guarantee,’ while 40 percent ‘thought it already was.’...

“The facts sometimes acknowledged, with an interesting twist. The rare allusions to public support for guaranteed health care describe the idea as lacking ‘political support,’ or ‘politically impossible’ because of ‘tangled politics.’ These are polite ways of saying that the pharmaceutical and financial industries and other private powers are strongly opposed. The will of the public is banned from the political arena.”

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By Jean Gerard, September 15, 2009 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shenonymous, Thanks for the referral to Britell.  I doubt anybody would read it through.  In fact, it overwhelms action, though the suggestons are okay.  I wasn’t assuming anything except that maybe, if effective action principles seem possible, people might be more interested than going it cold-turkey.
Or getting out in the street and shaking their fists at the moon.  As to derrieres being lit up—I would much prefer lighting up hearts and minds.  The “tea-party” goons can have the derrieres.

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By Shenonymous, September 15, 2009 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

Polls are part of the media news and the media news and polls are
manufactured so there is no truth to be had from either polls or media. 
It would be more auspicious if you listened to only news
annoucements, not reporters and to not believe any poll.

Jean Gerard – Are you assuming this protocol is not the standard
grassroots political party organizational strategy?  Huffington Post
published June 4, 2008 10 Keys steps that would win Obama the
election.  That was organization at a much higher level.  And it worked. 
Your 8 step program is short and sweet but not rousing enough.  Got
to light the fire under the collective derriere.  Here is a more expanded
program with all the details, none left out.
http://www.britell.com/text/tgrassroots.html
The next trick is to galvanize people to get the balls rolling.

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By cruxpuppy, September 15, 2009 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael….don’t know what polls you refer to. A majority of Americans favor a single payer health care system, according to the polls, but no amount of common sense and simple arithmetic seems to make this option available.

The big lie is now orthodoxy, endorsed by all the major figures of the so-called loyal opposition. You won’t find Chris Hedges challenging it, in spite of his moral and passionate, yea, priestly perspective, nor Robert Scheer, either. Hedges clearly sees the fascist threat, but he’s blind to the single most outrageous assault on our Constitutional system in the history of this republic. Astonishing!

I’m with you, OzarkMichael, in the continuing struggle for the truth. I hope you’re correct about the grass roots perception, but I don’t believe you are. The American public by and large does not even realize they are being fleeced by a class of financial crooks. They buy the Bernanke “systemically important” argument and cannot imagine that the greatest daylight robbery in history is actually taking place.

That’s what the “big” of Big Lie is all about. Good people cannot think of evil on this scale without questioning their own goodness.

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By TAO Walker, September 15, 2009 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing, and most people, regularly use “civilization” as a noun, and generally appear to consider it to be a specific “thing” of some sort.  The word itself, however, is plainly a verb, denoting an active process….literally, the making of cities.  This Old Savage is careful to differentiate between the process itself, and those ideological/institutional/electro-mechanical “constructs” which operate as its necessary enabling apparatus.  Us surviving free wild Peoples also recognize that what the “civilized” peoples so slap-happily inflict on many of our Relatives, namely “domestication,” is a much more accurate term for what’s actually being done to them, but is tarted-up and pimped relentlessly by vested interests calling it….well, “civilization.”

If those addicted to the motives and methods of the process were to see it in-context, rather than only as CONtext,  they would be able to analyze it a lot more effectively than virtually all of them can at-present.  Still, the desire of so many inmates to continue to “enjoy” as much of the false comforts and disabling CONveniences incident to keeping them CONfined is certainly understandable.  It can only be indulged-in, though, by faithfully denying that the death-dealing “unintended side-effects” are somehow not an integral and inevitble part of their own treasured “individual”-ity….the CONdition that renders them helpless before the ruthless juggernaut grinding them up and spitting them out like so much chaff….which to its usages they are. 

The cold hard fact is it is precisely those ” negatives” which are the only real purpose of the operation.  All the “good stuff” cann4ing and others hope to keep was never anything but the bait….and the bait IS the trap.  “Democratic socialism” is just another variation on the oldest trick in “The Book”....“Sleep with me, Baby, and I’ll make you a god.”

Yeah, sure.

HokaHey!

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By cann4ing, September 15, 2009 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

OM—the big lie is really a series of lies that those blinded by the right, like your self, uncritically accept from the Faux News Network and Rush Limbaugh.  And, no, OM, you do not represent a majority of the American people—closer to the 16% who supported Cheney at the end of the Bush regime.

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By Nighthawk, September 15, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

“otherwise we would not have seen the emergence of National Socialism.”

Actually, and more correctly, it should be this:

“otherwise we would not have seen the SECOND emergence of National Socialism with the current administration.”

Funny stuff here.  Someone even quoted the thoroughly discredited Noam Chomsky.

Silly.

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By OzarkMichael, September 15, 2009 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

The so-called opposition in this country has completely rolled over in a sordid embrace of the Big Lie.

Completly untrue. The polls reflect that the Big Lie is sinking under its own contradictions and corruptions.

We are fighting back and making progress everyday.

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By Susan, September 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cruxpuppy,  I agree with you, it is shocking, the stupidity of otherwise intelligent people. People I know just ” Don’t to have time ” to investigate politics but they DO have time to learn how to Twitter, text message (I refuse to engage in that bastardization of communication) and Skype. Theyre so hypnotized by this digital junk, they can’t see what is happening under their noses.

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By cruxpuppy, September 15, 2009 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

Crimes of the State Blog. Hear, hear!

The so-called opposition in this country has completely rolled over in a sordid embrace of the Big Lie.

I’m no longer outraged, just continuously astonished at the blind stupidity of so-called progressives, indeed, of anyone who can consider the 911 attacks, view the footage, and believe that the buildings fell as a result of being struck by airliners.

A passionate commentator like Chris Hedges has more umbrage than simple common sense, and he’s not alone. So many of the good hearted people I respect, such as Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky, indeed, most of the noble left, abandoned their common sense at ground zero on 911.

I am just astonished, no longer outraged or alarmed, just astonished at the stupidity of intelligent people.

The defense of truth requires more than intelligence, however, otherwise we would not have seen the emergence of National Socialism. The Germans of the Weimar did not lack for an intelligentsia.

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By Jean Gerard, September 15, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Try, try again:  What to do, and how?  1. Work together with people you know and trust. 2. Decide on an issue, and on a directly related project.  3. Decide what you and your friends can realistically accomplish and assign talents to fit jobs.  4.  Tell people what you are doing and enlist support. 5. Contact “leaders” whose work relates to achieving your goals. 6. Learn all you can about your issue and decide a stategy (to get from here to there step by step) and tactics (how, in what manner and spirit will you get there).  Avoid fear tactics, threats, screaming, drawing lines in the sand.  7. keep media and local officials informed.  8.  Stay with the overall goal but be flexible enough to admit mistakes.  Sounds long and dull?  Tough.  That’s what it will take.  It’s called organizing.

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By truedigger3, September 15, 2009 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

By KDelphi, September 15 at 2:58 pm #

Nancy Polesi who was one of W Bush most enablers and supported every war and every bill he requested subverting the constitution and the bill of rights, that Nancy Polesi soundly defeated Cindy Sheehan in the primaries in the last election.
And where did that happen? It happened in one of the most so called “progressive” congressional district in San Francisco and consequently in the country.??!!! What a *&^% joke, those so called “progressives”

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By Crimes of the State Blog, September 15, 2009 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

Chris, I’ve called attention to your “moral cowardice” previously.

When the national security state deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks, with numerous loose ends dangling in the wind, and yet you sided with the government on this question, repeatedly: You handed them their pretext for unlimited war.

The time for that outrage was 7 years ago, facing an obvious cover up of the September 11th attacks.  The Joint Inquiry investigation of the congress redacted 28 pages concerning how “Al Qaeda” was sponsored by the Saudi royals (and perhaps the Pakistani ISI, their other well known sugar daddy) here in the US before the attacks.

More damaging information came out, nearly continuously ever since the attacks. 

The great leader Bush even sat there ignoring the attacks as they happened, treasonously failing to fulfill his duties as Commander in Chief of the armed forces after being informed, “America is Under Attack.”

His removal from office should have been insured at that moment.

CIA continues to fund, train, arm and protect terror networks (the ones attacking Iran right now to this day).  Ergo, the USA is not technically opposed to “terrorism.”  That should be an eye opener.  The people yawn.

So much covert activity is off-limits (global opium and cocaine trafficking for example) that we are at the mercy of these shadow organizations.  They have nearly unlimited power, money, and lattitude.

I’m far more “outraged” than you will ever aspire to, Hedges. 

70+ disturbing facts about the 9/11 attacks

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By Rgyle, September 15, 2009 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

Hey Chris, I AM mad. I’m mad that we keep beating around the bush, hoping to shift responsibility, as if we are victims of someone else or some conspiracy.

We’re not victims of anyone but ourselves, meaning our deluded egoic selves, that fictional little “me” person we each believe ourselves to be, the one we defend and promote all day long, day after day. Belief in an illusion is delusion, it is madness, and it creates a world of consequences like we have today.

So, if we need to get mad, get mad at our own bullshit, those make-believe stories we tell ourselves endlessly, and edit continuously and conveniently. Get mad and investigate our own thinking, and the desires and fears, the personal obsession, it generates. Then, and only then, do we have a chance of getting to what is real, what is true, what we are, and why we are here. Find out yourself, no one is going to do it for you. It takes intensity, and getting mad is a good start, as long as we direct it introspectively.

Self-correcting is the first priority. Once done, then check to see if we still need a leader to save us, or if we — you and I — now are that leader. As that leader, we will do what needs to be done. In self confusion, we’ll keep on looking elsewhere, sucker-punching ourselves.

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By cann4ing, September 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

TAO, since true democratic socialism is the antithesis of the individualism of which you speak, I would venture to say that it comes the closest to Tiyoshpaye but without its primitive rejection of “civilization,” which I know you refuse to accept as a beneficial human construct.

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By KDelphi, September 15, 2009 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

Why Pelosi doestn give a rat’s ass bout the “public option” now: (from David Sirota)

Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 8:31 AM

Subject: event with Speaker Pelosi at my home

“You are cordially invited to a reception with

Speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi

Thursday, September 24, 2009

6:30pm ~ 8:00pm

At the home of

Steve Elmendorf

2301 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Apt. 7B

Washington, D.C.

$5,000 PAC

$2,400 Individual

To RSVP or for additional information please contact

Carmela Clendening at (202) 485-3508 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Steve Elmendorf

ELMENDORF STRATEGIES

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS SOLUTIONS

900 7th Street NW Suite 750 Washington DC 20001

(202) 737-1655

Again, Elmendorf is a registered lobbyist for UnitedHealth, and his
firm’s website brags about its work for UnitedHealth on its website.

The sequencing here is important: Pelosi makes her announcement and
then just hours later, the fundraising invitation goes out.
Coincidental? I’m guessing no - these things rarely ever are.

I wrote a book a few years ago called Hostile Takeover whose premise
was that corruption and legalized bribery has become so widespread
that nobody in Washington even tries to hide it. This is about as
good an example of that truism as I’ve ever seen.”

Are you Democrats going to attend?

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By TAO Walker, September 15, 2009 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

If gritona and others here really want a response to their awful “situation” that offers some possibility of exiting the death-dealing CONtraption CONfining and killing them, this Old Savage again suggests they quit looking for it anywhere inside the CONgeries of ideological/institutional/electro-mechanical systems that comprise the apparatus of their captivity.  A step in this direction would be to get beyond all the labelling CONceits that serve so effectively to keep the domesticated peoples from living wholly within their actual Humanity….and of course to make them such suckers for CONsumption of the carefully cultivated antagonisms they harbor toward those who do not wear the approved “brand.”

The CONdition underlying every symptom of their distress and misery, including those frequently catalogued on this site by Chris Hedges and others, is “civilization” itself.  This is admittedly a hard thing to grasp, for those subject abjectly to its motives and methods.  It is nevertheless the defining FACT of their increasingly intolerable half-lives.

Our Human Nature is to be free wild Children of our Mother Earth, Natural Persons within the Organic Form of what Lakotah People call Tiyoshpaye….Living Human Community.  “Individual”-ism is a disease induced in our tame Sisters and Brothers to deprive them of their Natural Human Integrity, and render them not only ineffective in fulfilling the Organic Function of Humanity within our Mother’s Living Arrangement, but actually and actively destructive of it.

Look around you where you live and breathe, and the CONsequences of this massive dis-CONnect are everywhere plain to see….and to sense also in every other way possible to you.  You are prisoners of an alien presence here which some of us surviving Native Peoples have long referred to as “the tormentors”....because everything we know about them we’ve had to learn the-hard-way.  They’ve kept you in-thrall for at least ten millennia now using all the techniques and strategies that’ve lately been revealing themselves to you “moderns,” here in these latter days….much to the CONsternation and alarm of so many of you.  One of the most effective has been the CONstant “promise” of industrialized “perfection” just around the corner….always.

Everything you require for Life as Human Beings is right there where you live-and-breathe….or else it is nowhere at-all.  Get together in-community, tame Sisters and Brothers, and render the entire CONstruction that is oppressing you not only ineffective but “irrelevant and immaterial.” 

Live free or die.” is not merely some obsolete “revolutionary” slogan.  It is a simple statement of Natural FACT….for Human Beings and ALL our Relatives here.

HokaHey!

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By Liberal Democratic Party USA, September 15, 2009 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

The power of conservatives rests with their funders who
make and/or sell products. If you get enough people to
boycott some of those funders, you can destroy
conservative power.

See our boycott petition links at http://democratz.org

See our blog at http://blog.democratz.org

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By KDelphi, September 15, 2009 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

ardee—Yes, its probably true that ‘Merkins will do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else. In the meantime, 20-80,000 are dying per year.

We dont know how many are dying in Afghanistan.

The time to “go to the side of the right thing” is now, while the Dems have majorities, because, honestly, I dont think that it will last past 2010.

When do you expect that they will get on with it?

It is true that the emerging “middle classes” in developing countries ike India and China are beginning to spend like a middle class, but the main difference, I think, is that their spending is based on savings and not so much on credit. What we have had in the uS, since things like NAFTA and “welfare reform” (workfare) is a faux middle class. That is not coming back. I think that , in other countries (at least in China) there is more of a sense of doing what is good for the country as a whole, more of a sense of responsibility towards each other. I may be wrong, but, we will see.

A letter from Rep Kucinich:

“It is said one should not ask how sausage or laws are made. Are you concerned about a public option? Let me share with you some insight about health care legislation which may not be good for your health.

A lesson in politics. The Kucinich Prediction: Here’s what’s going to happen ...

House will make a big deal about keeping/putting a public option in HR3200 because it competes with insurance companies and will keep insurance rates low.
The White House will refer to the President’s speech last week where he spoke favorably of the public option.
The Senate will kill the competitive public option in favor of non-competitive “co-ops”. Senate leaders like Kent Conrad have said the votes to pass a public option were never there in the Senate.
The bill will come to a House-Senate Conference Committee without the public option.
House Democrats will be told to support the conference report on the legislation to support the President.
The bill will pass, not with a “public option” but with a private mandate requiring 30 million uninsured to buy private health insurance (if one doesn’t already have it). If you are broke, you may get a subsidy. If you are not broke, you will get a fine if you do not purchase insurance.
This legislative sausage will be celebrated as a new breakthrough and will be packaged as health insurance reform. However, the bill may require a Surgeon General’s warning label: Your Money or Your Life!

The bill that Congress passes may pale in comparison to the bill that millions of Americans will get every month/year for having or not having private health insurance.

It will take four years for the new legislation to go into effect. During that time we are going to build a constituency of millions in support of real health care, a constituency which will be recognized and a cause which is right and just: Health Care as a Civil Right. “

That is what we do, for those that ask.

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By cann4ing, September 15, 2009 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

I have no problem with the substance of Hedges’ piece, truedigger3, merely with the words he chose to convey it.

With all the disinformation out there, it is important that writers like Hedges be precise.  Otherwise they risk adding to a confusion that can only serve the interests of the corporate security state.

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By Sean01, September 15, 2009 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Chris’s argument is persuasive. 

I think there’s a lot of us who see Obama’s connection to corporatism as distubing. 

To a large extent, it is the exact reason many of us are unable to conjure up any great love for his wanting to serve up 50 million new subscribers to those who ruined healthcare in this country in the first place… 

http://www.leftista.com/index.php/2009/08/healthcare-not-healthcare-insurance/

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By truedigger3, September 15, 2009 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

Re: cann4ing, September 15 at 11:46 am #,


I think you misunderstood Hedges. He was semi-satiring by saying corporations keep the profits of any venture and assign only the losses to the state in case of loss. So, the state, theoritically temporarily owns the corporation when it is losing, and ownership by the state is socialism.
That what Hedges meant and not that Obama is a real Socialist

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By cann4ing, September 15, 2009 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges writes:

The right-wing accusations against Barack Obama are true. He is a socialist, although he practices socialism for corporations.
____________________________________

I usually admire what Chris Hedges has to say, but here he is mumbling utter nonsense.

“Socialism refers to various theories of economic organization advocating public or direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources, and a society characterized by equal access to resources for all individuals with an egalitarian method of compensation.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

The corporate raid on the national treasury; the privatization of benefits alongside the public assumption of risk, is anti-egalitarian.  The melding into a corporate security state for the protection and benefit of corporate wealth and power meets some of the classic definitions of fascism, which as the polar opposite of democratic socialism.

As Noam Chomsky observes in “Failed States,” the political counterpart to a corporation is a totalitarian state—not a comforting thought given that multi-national corporations have supplanted governments as the dominant economic force under neoliberal global capitalism.

While it is appropriate Hedges recognizes Obama as a tool of U.S. imperialism and the military-industrial complex, it is truly unfortunate Hedges repeats the mindless mumblings of the hard-right—- Obama is a socialist—- even for the purpose of the “socialism for the rich” observation.

Words, if they are to retain their meaning, must be chosen appropriately.  The word “socialism” should not be used in a manner that perverts its egalitarian essence.

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By svana1, September 15, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges (as with Empire of Illusion) offers a compelling argument that cuts through a fog of abstractions to reach the heart of the issue. It is a genuine tragedy (and possibly a failure of our educational systems) that we have not learned from historical circumstance. The cultural landscape looks very similar to that depicted by German social satirist George Grosz in “For the Fatherland to the Slaughterhouse” (the image depicts an austere, lantern-jawed German military leader back-to-back with an obese corporate titan, both of whom are surrounded by cannons; the military figure brandishes a sword and the corporate head holds a barbed lash—ostensibly for driving his workers). Interesting is that this occurred in the *Weimar Era*; that is, the 1920s…and consider what followed. Hedges article is a powerful call to action.

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By elisalouisa, September 15, 2009 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Ardee quotes Margaret Mead:” Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever
has.”
===================
A small group of dedicated dangerous psychopaths have changed the world and
you see the results. They control Wall Street and Washington. Our jobs and
investments have dwindled. The military is also in their hands. Knowing all that,
you tell me what we can do.
Looks like it’s a beautiful morning, as things stand now the glass is still half full.

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By Shenonymous, September 15, 2009 at 4:01 am Link to this comment

What could pseudo-luxury be?  The delusion of pleasure or comfort? 
Check the middle class in the rest of the world and you would find they
are also deludedly pleased and comfortable.

“A new global middle class is rising up from poverty in emerging
economies around the world, providing competition for labor and
resources, but also enormous promise for multinationals that tailor
products and services to the burgeoning ranks of first-time consumers,
according to Wharton faculty and analysts…. A new global middle class
is rising up from poverty in emerging economies around the world,
providing competition for labor and resources, but also enormous
promise for multinationals that tailor products and services to the
burgeoning ranks of first-time consumers, according to Wharton
faculty and analysts…. Countries like India consist of young consumers
who are ambitious and save quite a bit, but are also willing to spend
on small luxuries like Western brands of consumer packaged goods.”
http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2011

It is one thing to criticize Americans for their excessive lifestyle but
make no mistake that they are alone in the world. It is the character of
the middle class to want to have what the wealthy class has and live as
much as they can as if they do.

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By truedigger3, September 15, 2009 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

Re:ardee, September 15 at 6:36 am #

ardee,
I agree with you, I might have used a wide brush.
A hungry progressive is different from a comfortable “progressive”.
I don’t think my critique will alienate anybody. What will affect people attitudes and thinking is the change in their conditions.
Definitely, the attitudes and thinking of a comfortabe “progressive”, will change drastically, for example, when s/he loses his good high paying job and cann’t find another one or when he get a serious illness and really see the ugly face of the health care industry.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

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By ardee, September 15, 2009 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

truedigger3, September 14 at 6:10 pm #

I think your critique of “progressives” is a bit too inclusive frankly. Of course there are shades and nuances in every political belief system and those progressives who are as comfortable as you state will differ in both passion and direction from those less fortunate.But the same holds true for the conservative positions as well.

Your comment seems more a description of the human condition than an indictment of progressivism. I think history shows that great change is always motivated and actuated by the few,

” Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead

We are a comfortable nation, living, in large part, in the lap of pseudo luxury. That this lifestyle comes at great cost to the world is given far too little thought by those who benefit most from the inequities.

Progressives come in all shapes and sizes, and from all economic strata as well. Those living on the border, or over it, of poverty will certainly tend towards a more extreme form of political expression than those upper middle class “effete liberals” that you seem to concentrate on in your post.

I think, once the push begins, those who you condemn will, for the most part, choose the correct side. That is really all I wanted to note, that it does no good to throw away potential allies, no matter how correct your opinion of them may be.

Thanks for putting up with this rant.

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By Bob Westal, September 14, 2009 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One additional thought, I hope Mr. Hedges pays attention to see how many of the more positive remarks here are from rightwingers.

Of course, since Mr. Hedges has always characterized liberals as inherent hypocrites, while being relatively kind to conservatives, I half expect him to see him pull a political 180 on the lines of his Christopher Hitchens, David Horowitz, etc.

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By jean gerard, September 14, 2009 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Okay, so please put up my suggestions for the guy who wanted to know what to do.

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By KDelphi, September 14, 2009 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

Anyone who has read Hedges books knows that he knows war about as well as any combat veteran.

One thing that vets can do (and it seem to help them immeasurably) is to turn their rage towards the real enemy—US govt Imperialism!

Most of the Viet vets I worked with, who had some peace of mind, became anti-war protestors—but, first, they have to admit to themselves who the real enemy is.

The REAL pisser about Obama is that, as angry as I get looking at these right wingnuts, the Dems have give us NOTHING to fight back with or for! The escalation of the war(s), the bank bailouts, Geithner, Summers, Clinton, Gates, McChrystal, BaucASS—-he is so busy catering the the Blue Dogs and Right Wingnuts that he is losing progressives.

Of course, he never had me to lose.

Week after week of reading Hedges and you would think that people would know what his point of view is, just like Robinson, or Dionne.If his passion seems to overwhelm his “cool reasoning”, he should loan Obama some—cool and collected is just looking COLD these days.

BTW—I keep hearing about the “Bush protestors”—the diff, folks, is that 1)Bush did NOT “win” by any sort of majority and 2) we did not carry weapons to peace marches.

Maybe the Blue Dogs and GOP can form a circular firing squad. Or do civil war re-enactments with live ammo. Or just fricking secede!! Obama is a Blue Dog from Chicago—wierd…

The only good that I can see coming from it is that maybe the Dems will stop kissing the NRA’s ass so much. But probably not.

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By gritona, September 14, 2009 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

great piece of writing, and what Hedges says really needs to be said. i can’t understand what so many people find to complain about.

I do not accept guilt for what is happening though. if we lived in a democracy, and could vote for the people we really like, it might be different. but since we are our land is occupied by capitalists who have total control over the government- who in fact ARE the government, i don’t think we can be held responsible.

even if we were able to gather a rebel band to fight guerilla war against the occupation, what chance would we have? have you seen their weapons? man, those guys don’t fool around. so tell me what i’m supposed to do.

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Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, September 14, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

Hedges;
“The right wing is not wrong. It is not the problem.
We are the problem. If we do not tap into the
justifiable anger sweeping across the nation, if we
do not militantly push back against corporate fraud
and imperial wars that we cannot win or afford, the
political vacuum we have created will be filled with
right-wing lunatics and proto-fascists. The goons
will inherit power not because they are astute, but
because we are weak and inept.” I find it difficult
to fault that statement.

Regardless of one’s political/social persuasions, one
is never always correct and very rarely completely
wrong. Nobody is listening; everybody is just
speaking/yelling at one another. The only one’s who
can get it right are the ones who stop for a moment
and listen to the opposition. Only then can one learn
and only then can one move forward. To do less is
moral cowardice.

Chris Hedges’ conclusion;
And if it is not our rage soon, if we continue to
humiliate and debase ourselves by begging Obama to be
Obama, we will see our open society dismantled not
because of the shrewdness of the far right, but
because of our moral cowardice.

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By Claudia, September 14, 2009 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges is the best political essayist of this generation. His vision is clear, his presentation coherent. The pain and grief behind this clarity doesn’t bear thinking about (why so many don’t). Many thanks.

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By Ouroborus, September 14, 2009 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

One may not like Chris Hedges or agree with his
essays/books; but to criticize him because he’s never
been in the military is ludicrous. Hedges has seen
more combat than all but the longest serving career
soldiers. One needs but to do a little checking to
know these facts.
==================================================
The Mad Loon, September 14 at 4:33 pm #

Thanks for that great video by Tommy Douglas. The
choice of black cats verses white cats may not play
well in the present racist tsunami sweeping this
country at present; but the simplicity of the tale
may be just right for the present mentality of
America’s citizens; then again, it may not.

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By cruxpuppy, September 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Hedges can only imagine what war is, as an outraged poster has already noted ( a veteran, no doubt ), so his prose takes on a purple hue and his blood pressure rises.

We’re all Hutus & Tutsies when we stop thinking. We did this following 911. Wars always have a reason, a justification, and those in power, and most of the “opposition” do not question the reasons for the invasion of the Muslim countries. No one in an official capacity has debunked the “war on terror” and demanded that 911 be properly investigated. This is the great lie that has successfully derailed civil discourse. Anyone who dares to so much as question it is immediately driven from public office. Obama’s green economy guy, what’s his name, Van Jones, is a case in point. He merely signed a petition calling for a true investigation, and looked what happened to him!

Every soldier justifies his or her “service” in terms of a lie accepted as truth.

So, Hedges, passionate soul that you are, you might have more success in your anti-war diatribes if you attack the cause of the war, the Great Lie, the highly successful propaganda, that has led this nation into these dire straights.

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By Shenonymous, September 14, 2009 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

I have and have had the same question about the troops that would be
coming home. What is going to happen to them?  With the
unemployment rate climbing past 10% there aren’t going to be that
many jobs open to them.  What skills do the have except carrying
weapons and dodging suicide bombers?  Sure there will be some
medics that can go back to the Health Care Industry, but that is almost
in the toilet too so there might not be so many medical jobs worth
having.  I’ve always thought, rightfully or not, that the reason
administrations drag their feet in bringing the soldiers home is the
impact it would have on two fronts, the workplace and the VA
administration psychiatric departments.  Course there is always the GI
program for education, well I think there is, maybe it went in the toilet
too??? 

ITW, for what it is worth, I think you are right and your detractors
wrong.  There are kiss-feet supplicants of Hedges and then there are
us, who find his rhetoric turgid at worst and bombastic at best. 

Thank you G.Anderson for reminding us of our mindlessness.

Let me echo you on this forum Jean Gerard!  Every single word!

Extrapolating fictional statistics is a very dangerous game.  The
statistics about the death by suicide of Vietnam veterans as projected
by Penny Coleman on the AlterNet website or the Suicide Wall claims
posted here by Manual A. Domenech does not bear out research. 
Better to check with reliable scholars.  Here is a website for the
Vietnam War at
http://encarta.msn.com/text_761552642___0/Vietnam_War.html
see section VII. Response to the War in the United States, paragraph 9
from statistics from the VA.  Of course you don’t have to trust the VA
but can trust a reporter, right?  Or you might check out Michael
Kelley’s article The Three Walls Behind the Wall The Myth of Vietnam
Veteran Suicide
at http://www.ndqsa.com/suicide.html
before you go being gaga over unsubstantiated claims.

Chris Hedges hit the nail on the head. Now what??
tp!!!
  He might try hitting himself on the head but I doubt any sense
could be the result.

I find it always so interesting that Canadians are so interested in
Americans migrated to Canada. Do you really think Canada wants so
many new immigrants?  Add to their economic woes, add to their
health care woes, and add to their social woes?  Oh yeah.  Immigration
from Canada to the United States:  Number per year - 24,200, Number
in 2000 - 678,000, Number in 2004 - 774,800.  The number of
Americans that moved to Canada in 2006 was not huge – 10,942
Americans moved to Canada.  Statistics often tell a tale.

The Tommie Douglas speech with a clever animation extolling the
virtues of self government was not a new ‘idea’ then since the
Americans had their own revolution almost 200 years prior, then the
French did it a decade later.  Selective memory I’d say.

truedigger3 clearly says it the best about progressives, thank you
truedigger3, but…your disapproval of G.Anderson maybe greatly
misplaced.

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By Jillian Bailey O'Connor, September 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Chris Hedges for pointing out what may well be painful consequence of thoughtlessly sending these men and women into war. Let’s hope that we give more thought to their welfare upon their return than we ever did when sending them to fight our wars of choice in the first place.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 14, 2009 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

jackpine savage, September 14 at 9:35 am #

Yeah, everyone listen to ITW: just STFU and be a good, loyal Democrat. Your job is to make excuses for a president who wants to expand a pointless and destined to fail foreign occupation/counterinsurgency. Give thanks for a President who wants to force you to purchase insurance (whether you can afford to or not) from the same companies that have turned America’s health care system into the 37th best in the world and the most expensive. Cheer on the guy who waltzed into office and immediately made sure that your great, great grandchildren would be on the hook for the cost of making sure that investment bankers don’t take too many hard knocks.

Yes, all hail another shitty, Democratic president. (Carter got the shaft, but Clinton didn’t get nearly what he deserved for failing at the once in a century chance to change the world with the end of the Cold War…hell, he didn’t even try…no, worse, he turned swords into more swords instead of plowshares.)

All the problems you see are of your own imagination, and really your own fault for not standing behind the president like you’re should.
*********************************************

The Republicans stand together and get their incredibly shitty agendas through.  The dems take YOUR POV….and get NOTHING done, except to fall into the GOPers trap, and lose the next election.

WHEN YOUR FUCKING HOUSE IS ON FIRE YOU DON’T CURSE OUT YOUR NEIGHBOR FOR HAVING THE WRONG COLOR HOSE!

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By elisalouisa, September 14, 2009 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

Chris H:It is we who are guilty, guilty for sending these young men and women
to wars that did not have to be fought. It is we who are guilty for turning away
from the truth of war to wallow in a self-aggrandizing myth, guilty because we
create and decorate killers and when they come home maimed and broken we
discard them. It is we who are guilty for failing to defy a Democratic Party that
since 1994 has betrayed the working class by destroying our manufacturing
base, slashing funds to assist the poor and cravenly doing the bidding of
corporations. It is we who are guilty for refusing to mass on Washington and
demand single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans. It is we
who are guilty for supporting Democrats while they funnel billions in taxpayer
dollars to sustain speculative Wall Street interests.
*************************************
Not another guilt trip. We elect our representatives and expect them to
represent us. Most of us are trying to get through our days grateful for any
moments of joy. Your average everyday Joe or Jane does not have the stomach
to counteract what is going on in Washington and Wall Street. We do not have
the unlimited funds, the surveillance equipment or the reptilian nature
required for such undertaking. Yes, we should protest more; we are in need of
a leader. Were such a person to be found his life would be short lived, just as
JFK, MLK and others in Washington whose lives have been cut short. Our representatives have capitulated lest they be added to the victim list. Senator
Paul Wellstone was one such victim who died in a plane crash just 11 days after
telling Cheney he was not in favor of the war in Iraq. Turning this thing around
is going to take more than protests. It’s going to take Revolution with a capital
R. It would not surprise me if they would send in their drones in to quench any
uprising. Either way we lose, so please, no guilt trip and that goes for you.

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By Frank, September 14, 2009 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

Hedges, shut up and stop trying to sound like you are a combat veteran,  like you
can relate. You think those soldiers on the front lines can just hop on a plane and
be sipping a latte the next day, blogging about their war experience from the
comfort of western hotel? You have no idea.

You exploit the victims of war and the stories of those in service for your own
careerist journalistic ambitions, and you have the gall to try and cast yourself as
some kind of war-jaded hero for doing do, rather than the parasitic spectator you
really are.

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By Bob Westal, September 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m sorry but this is not politics, but a cry for help—for Chris Hedges, not for us. I feel bad that he and countless others have had to deal with PTSD, but fail to see how we are to find a political proscription there. This is a call for despair and a demand that we embrace useless and long dead tropes of the extreme left.

Spreading contempt towards Obama and ALL Democrats basically is not constructive. Hedges appears to believe they are evil people, all of them. Way to be Manichean. On some of the blogs, this is what we call being a “purity troll.”

Spare me the apocalypse and the despair. You’d think that Obama invented the fact that the Dems are a not progressive party and that corporations wield too much influence there, such has it always been, going back at least as far as Harry Truman and FDR. The solution is to keep fighting the good fight. Hedges believes we have already lost, but I know that we have won many battles and will win more. If not today, then later. If everyone listened to people who think like Hedges, there’s be no civil rights act, no five day work week, etc. because we’d all be demanding the kind of extreme changes that will never come or, if they do, will be more likely come from the extreme right than the far left. I know Hedges is not a fan of the Christian Right, but his rhetoric and style is not so different from them.

What Hedges calls “begging” the rest of us call “pressuring.” It’s how politics is done. I guess he thinks our time would be better spent encouraging people to follow Nader or other such useless fuckwits and writing tone poems.

Sorry, Chris, you had me back in the nineties, but now you’ve lost me.

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By Marc Schlee, September 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Barack Obama is a stealth neocon.


FREE AMERICA

REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY

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By truedigger3, September 14, 2009 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

G.Anderson wrote:
“Obama’s economic reforms are being squashed because of a new re inflated bubble,”
____________________________________________________

Can you tell us please, wat are those “Obama’s economic reforms”.!!??
Are you dreaming or hallucinating??

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By truedigger3, September 14, 2009 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

Let us face it, there is no really unifying issue and fire in the belly that unites the so called progressives toward a specific goal or goals.
Many are not really against the wars especially those who love and adore Israel, and many of the rest do not real care as long as there is no draft and the casualties kept hidden from them by the clever and compliant media.
During the Vietnam war it was different story, the casualties were high, there was a draft and the war and its horrors ware in the living room of each house by the television.
Again many of the so called progressives enjoy relativaly comfortable life and have health insurance and don’t look ahead for what the future hold for them and their chidren if the current trend continue although the picture is
getting clearer and clearer each day.
Also, many of the so called progressives are fragmented in different scattered groups and each group cares about a single issue and nothing else from gender issues, sexual orientation issues, homeless issues, minorities issues and evironmental issues etc..etc..etc..
That is the problem roughly in a nut shell and to sum it again, the so called progressives need specific goal and unity and fire in the belly, and without that even the strongest exhortation in the world will fall on deaf and indifferent ears.

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