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Posted on Feb 28, 2011
Flickr / WxMom / CindyH Photography (CC-BY-SA)

The state Capitol in Madison, Wis.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

There will be veterans in the park who carry with them physical and emotional wounds of great magnitude, who remain crippled by the dead hand of war, who never sleep well, who struggle in the black pit of depression and with post-traumatic stress disorder, and who will bear the cross that war inflicted upon them until the end of their days. They will have surmounted tremendous psychic and physical pain to make it to Lafayette Park, to defy what they know must be defied. And if they can walk their trail of tears to the White House so can you. They are our wounded healers, our disregarded prophets.

Hugh Thompson, a helicopter pilot who while flying saw the killings of unarmed Vietnamese civilians in what later became known as the My Lai massacre, landed in the village during the slaughter. He spotted a group of about 10 civilians, including children, running toward a homemade bomb shelter. Soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, C Company, were chasing the civilians. Thompson, dismounting from the cockpit, put himself between the civilians and the soldiers. He ordered his gunner to open fire on the Americans if they began to shoot the villagers or him. Later, Thompson, who crusaded for justice after then-Maj. Colin Powell led the official whitewash of My Lai, received death threats. Mutilated animals were tossed on his doorstep. He was unsung for decades and forgotten until shortly before his death in 2006. He exhibited real courage, moral courage, the kind of courage the state detests, the kind of courage for which they do not mint medals.

Bradley Manning, who allegedly downloaded thousands of documents and videos that confirmed war crimes by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and passed them on to WikiLeaks, is being held in a military brig in Quantico, Va. He has been kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and denied exercise, a pillow or sheets for the last nine months. His prolonged isolation is designed to break him physically and psychologically. There will be a protest outside Quantico on March 20 in support of Manning, another soldier from another war whom Thompson would have understood.

The documents published by WikiLeaks detailed for the world the widespread use of torture by Iraqi and Afghan security forces and the silent complicity of Washington. They confirmed that civilians, including children, are routinely murdered by occupation forces and that the killings are not investigated. The documents lifted the veil on our undeclared, black war in Pakistan, including drone strikes that have killed more than 900 civilians in Pakistan since Barack Obama took office. They shed light on the gross corruption, drug trafficking and crimes committed by the Afghan president as well as the reign of terror carried out by the Afghan National Army. These documents confirm that huge numbers of Iraqi civilians have been killed by U.S. troops at checkpoints, and that since the invasion tens of thousands of civilians have died as a result of the war. These documents illustrate in page after page that our government makes no effort to protect liberty, democracy or human rights, but instead prefers crude and brutal mechanisms of power.

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The Obama administration, which has proved as efficient in serving the war machine and the corporate state as the Bush administration did, is attempting to destroy not only Manning but WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The state seeks to silence anyone who practices moral courage. It does not want the truth heard. It does not want the reality seen. If these forces of war and greed triumph, and we do not, there will be darkness. But if on March 19 there is at least one person willing to defy the state, to demand justice at the cost of his or her freedom, there will be a flame held to light the way for us all.


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By TDoff, February 28, 2011 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

PatrickHenry, I am sure you are right. But I predict that the plutocratic powers-that-be would anticipate this, that most/all US pilots would defect. And the Plutos could substitute pilots the US has trained in other nations, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc., who might welcome the opportunity to ‘Shock and Awe’ a gaggle of US citizens, playing a game of ‘Tit for Tat’.

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By PatrickHenry, February 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

TDoff,

Don’t discount the patriotism or moral integrity of the pilots ordered to fire upon their fellow citizens.

If the Libyan revolution proved anything its that you can’t depend on the military in a civil war.

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By TDoff, February 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

If we citizens ever come to our senses and form a resistance movement sufficient to threaten the status quo of the plutocrat powers-that-be, we will have a couple of problems. First, what other nation will provide the air power to enforce a ‘No-Fly-Zone’ over the US so that we demonstrators are not gunned-down in the streets by massed helicopters, drones, attack aircraft under the auspices of the DHS, to ‘enforce national security’? Second, if we can propagate quickly enough to overcome the massive losses under the full-scale US government DOD ‘defensive-protective’ assault, we better hope they don’t use us as the excuse to finally get to large-scale ‘field-test’ their amassed chemical/biological/nuclear weapons, having declared us protesters ‘Domestic Terrorists’ under the ‘Patriot Act’.

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By Craig Jones, February 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Anna Nomad, “you go girl”.

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By berniem, February 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

If history is to be believed, empires generally end in violence, either thru external forces or internal, civil rebellion. I see no indication that th US will change it’s way of doing business without overwhelming coercion. Hey, I’m just sayin’!

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By RayLan, February 28, 2011 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Albatross
Good point -
Most wars that America has engaged in have been wars of aggression which then became occupations. Either way not something to be ‘won’ or ‘lost’.
Soldiers are fighting, people are dying - I guess that is bad enough to be called war - except the word has heroic implications it has no right to in this context.

It gets pretty sickening when I hear from church goers how these poor saps (my terminology) are ‘protecting’ us and how we should pray for them
for keeping us safe (not from nationalistic BS however)

Because of this firm implanting of the thinking organ where the sun doesn’t shine, it goes on.

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By sallysense, February 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

(for wikileaks and the u.s.a.!)...

in a land where a country’s high leaders lay claim…
united states people stand feeling close pain…
their ears hear those big shots come up with excuses…
but a quick look around soon reveals where the truth is!...

from vacant lot store fronts to more soldiers’ graves…
home planted sale signs hide mailbox names!...
college loan paybacks tack federal debt…
while industrial workers learn of layoffs they’ll get!...

from stress-filled environments to lone chilly rooms…
paycheck to paycheck can’t face future doom!...
already our seniors and jobless and ill…
view less options left with so few dollar bills!...

this is our country folks!... see for yourselves!...
the majority are us and most everyone else!...
struggling with hardships under all those in charge!...
as governmental misbehavior runs rampant at large!...

why is it our leaders dislike these truths shown?...
is it not we the people who deserve rights to know?!...
when did government’s first duty become serving the government?!...
and not justly the people for whom they were sent!...

how can leaders say ‘patriot’ means being patriotic to them?...
when they won’t play by the rules a constitution defends!...
instead it is them who lack the patriotism…
to stop their own underhand tactics which bring further bad things!...

and how can leaders use terrorism as an overall reason?...
to keep their own bully methods hidden somewhere in secret?!...
they intimidate unfairly to sway public opinion…
and steer clear of truth needed to fix dilemmas we’re in!...

this is our country folks!... see for yourselves!...
the majority are us and most everyone else!...
struggling with hardships under all those in charge!...
as governmental misbehavior runs rampant at large!...

how can government’s deception be the best way to rule?...
when that curve of its wrist bends most fair and square tools!...
hence without accountability it’ll feed a free-for-all!...
as our country’s representatives wheel and deal above the law!...

it’s no surprise that the government abhors wikileaks!...
truth might hinder officials from doing as they please!...
and make it more difficult to reassure u.s. citizens…
not to fret government’s business and leave it all up to them!...

but we must tend to our nation and future well-being!...
to end unjust procedures and the policies we’re seeing!...
they insist we believe in things proven untrue!...
now we need these disclosures to help build anew!...       

this is our country folks!... see for yourselves!...
the majority are us and most everyone else!...
struggling with hardships under all those in charge!...
as governmental misbehavior runs rampant at large!...

in full support of wikileaks… http://wikileaks.ch

the best of wishes’n'ways’n'todays for fair’n'square and the truth and caring!... smile

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By heavyrunner, February 28, 2011 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

I disagree that protest against the war was ONLY because of the draft. Yes, it drove many, but there are many families with a heritage of resistance. Many of those are from religious communities that question authority. People with a moral creed upon which to measure the acts of secular officials. When the acts of government fail moral judgment the ethical resist, and it does not have to be based in religion, but often has been. Chris Hedges is a former seminarian. He is motivated by a strong sense of right and wrong.

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By sallysense, February 28, 2011 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

for iraq veterans against the war…

truth lives among our soldiers who refuse to let it die!...
the kind whose inborn conscience fights to stop these wars of lies!...
each serviceman who knows how fatal blows won’t end those means…
that keep men’s deadly reasons from seeing life in real scenes!...

they watch a world of leaders still pretend to play false gods…
wearing know-it-all mentalities that have yet to learn they’re not!...
for pockets stuffed with body counts will never feel like gold…
around a sense of touch that bears aliveness by its hold!...

they see dying victims lying on these floors of walls of war!...
welcome mats in neighborhoods smell horror’s putrid core!...
pouring over auras under shrouds of human waste…
in rigor mortis cobblestone kicked farther out of place!...

they hear abducted landscapes being swept from civil tongues…
booming demolition moving in where towns belong!...
root-based shoots upheaving in between tight cracks of clay…
catastrophically erode outside the groundwork words might lay!...

they tuck those aftershocks in every space their minds may find!...
blocking out bright light that fades sharp contrast over time…
for until the dark exposes these stark negatives in full…
it hinders mankind’s sunrise to develop better rules!...

soldiers dare to face the consequence it takes to turn this tide!...
as it’s from their brave positions waves of change begin to try!...
and once first steps are followed by successive ones in line…
remember it’s these few who knew what most didn’t realize!...

(and to the soldier’s soldier…
whose call comes from within…
to keep life inside armed services…
from the harm of false leadership men!)...

in full support of…

iraq veterans against war… http://www.ivaw.org

bradley manning… http://www.bradleymanning.org

courage to resist… http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/

best wishes’n'ways’n'todays for the sake of saving human lives and resources and the truth and more!... smile

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By Albatross, February 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

It will be easier to stop the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq if we call them what they are: occupations, not wars. Calling them “wars” lends them undue gravitas, and wars can only be won or lost, not ended. But occupations are mean, grimy little things, and occupations are not won or lost, occupations are ended.

These are not wars. There is no enemy state to defeat. There are no victory conditions. And that’s the point: by calling them “wars” when they are not, they can never end, and the profits to Halliburton and other vultures continue endlessly.

End the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our troops home now.

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By RayLan, February 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

Anarcisse
“Or maybe not—maybe you just want to take a bath in your fine, hot moral rage.  “

Or you want to bask in your disdain of moral rage, as though indifference were a virtue.

Complacency is absolutely not going to stop anything - least of all imperialist exploitation.

Your dismissal of the critical issues by dismissing them as ‘Left’, merely ideological, is what is absolutist, and simplistic and trivializing.

Blathering idealistically is a liberal fault - and the drooling pitbulls who pick Dems from between their canines have proved it. But they , nevertheless, just howl simplistically about the Evil called Government and start trying to dismantle it, all the while running for office. Of course government bloats as soon as they get elected.

I don’t see Chris trying ‘to get people to agree’ with him. That’s called politics whose contact with reality is at best tenuous.

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By chelseasbeach, February 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges hits the nail on the head again!

Chelsea:)

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By JDmysticDJ, February 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

By Richard_Ralph_Roehl, February 28 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

Satire? Loonieism?

Are the protesters in Wisconsin violent revolutionaries? Were the protesters of Egypt committed to non-violence?

I don’t think Hedges and his friends will be throwing any punches or Molotov cocktails. At most I believe Hedges is advocating non-violent civil disobedience, if Hedges were advocating more, then I would disagree.

In the past there have been agents provocateur and loonies who succeeded in discrediting non-violent movements, and portraying non-violent movements as being violent.  Apparently Richard Ralph Roehl is one, or the other, of those. Non-violent protest movements would need to self police themselves in order to keep the loonies and provocateurs out.

I’ve personally seen tens of thousands of non-violent protesters discredited by a small group of violence prone loonies. The threat is real and would have to be dealt with by traditional, or grass roots, policing. One wouldn’t expect to see ACLU lawyers defending violent protesters, and non-violent protesters and their leaders would have to publicly disavow any loonies amongst them.

Coyote Knose?

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By the worm, February 28, 2011 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

There must be very few who believe what we are doing in Afghanistan is
reasonable, fewer who believe it is responsible. Yet, the nation is powerless to
stop the carnage and the damage to ourselves and to Afghanistan.

The situation begs the question:
Is the judgment of the American public such that Americans can govern
themselves better than their own Democratic or Republican elected officials?

Health Care: 72% of Americans supported “a government-administered
insurance plan—something like Medicare for those under 65—that would
compete for customers with private insurers.” The non-reform is a scandal, to
be perpetuated by the Republicans for the sake of the insurance companies.

Afghanistan: 64% of the American people opposed expanding the war in
Afghanistan and wanted to disentangle from Bush-era ‘War on Terror’ and
‘preventive war’ policies. Still, today, over 60% of Americans oppose the war. It
is, of course, a disaster.

TARP & Financial Bailout: Over 70% of the American people opposed the bailout.
Today, unemployment and under-employment exceeds 18%; banks and other
financial institutions are making record profits.

The elected government whether in Wisconsin or in DC has ceased to represent
the American people, and the policies enacted by the elected officials have
proven disastrous for the American people.

It is no wonder “the government”, i.e. the House, the Senate and the President -
Republican or Democrat - have no credibility with the American people.

Koch, Fox, NPR, NYT cannot lie fast enough to hide the facts. Even Obama, who
is in a perfect position to assist the American people, has not supported the
American people.

It is time to move away from the established parties to a new Progressive Party
that will represent the will of the American people.

In Wisconsin, we have Wisconsin Democrats to support us; but, nationally, we
have no one who will shoulder the leadership role for Americans.

While Ralph Nader’s run seemed foolish at the time, I will support a third party
candidate in 2012 and I hope others will join me.

It is foolish for us to vote third party, but it is no more foolish than voting
Republican or Democrat.

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By TAO Walker, February 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

Again “gerard” alleges a “....lack of anyone really knowing what, specifically, to do and how, specifically, to do it.”  Is she, again, asserting that because she her"self” is, by her own admission, without such knowledge, no Person at all could possible have it? 

Here’s what (specifically) to DO, and HOW (specifically) to do it.  Our presently “individual”-ized tame Sisters and Brothers can come together as the Natural Persons we all by-Nature are, right where they’re living and breathing everyday, in aid of our Mother Earth and each other.  They can ORGANize into the genuine Human Communities that are the Natural Organic Form of Humanity within Her Living Arrangement. 

They will thereby recover the Living Virtue of Organic Functional Integrity which alone will enable them to address to mutually beneficial effect ALL of the ills and problems cataloged here by Chris Hedges and many of those commenting on this week’s installment of his ongoing Lamentation.  By fulfilling their share of our given Organic Function within Her Living Arrangement, our currently captive Human Relations can and will get well….even as they help to heal the hurts they’ve been so instrumental in inflicting on our Mother and All Our Relations over these past ten-plus thousand years.

The alien retro-viral tormenting ‘entity,’ whose entirely and relentlessly “self”-referential behavior is generating such lethal effects here,  literally feeds-off the “unintended side-effects” of the “civilization” disease process, which systematically degrades Earth’s and all of our Natural Vitality (including the diminishing share of it still ‘resident’ in the sub-species homo domesticus) into the various types of degenerate “energy” so many of those same “individuals” are presently obsessing so idiotically over.  The “eCONomy” they all want so foolishly to “revive” is nothing but the damned thing’s ‘operating system.’

More of the “hair” of the ‘god’ that’s killing ‘em will certainly soon “solve” Earth’s problem with the co-opted CONtingent of Her Human Children.  It’ll “solve” theirs, too….though The Hard Way.

How ‘bout trying, for a real change, The Tiyoshpaye Way, instead…....

ALL TOGETHER….NOW!!!!

Hokahey!

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By Anarcissie, February 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

RayLan, February 28 at 8:19 pm:

Anarcissie
“would be to stop the wars and the imperialism, to stop killing people”
Could it be that’s what the absolutist ‘violent’ language is about? Gosh, imagine blogging on a ...blog. The free rational exchange of ideas - which imperialism survives by suppressing.

I was thinking more of the violent, absolutist language lefties use on one another, for example, ‘All who voted / didn’t vote for Nader are worthless scum, running dogs of fascism, etc. etc.’  You’ve probably heard the joke: ‘When leftists want to form a firing squad, they stand in a circle.’

However, violent, absolutist language probably doesn’t do much to criticize or impede war and imperialism, either.  Remember, you’re trying to get people to agree with you.  Or maybe not—maybe you just want to take a bath in your fine, hot moral rage.  In that case, don’t let me interfere with your pleasures.

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By john from ojai, February 28, 2011 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges is brilliant and courageous. I hope he can ignite some fire in our apathetic citizenry.

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By RayLan, February 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

JMysticDJ
“If you think wasting your vote on the green party, will end these kinds of atrocities, “
Tell it to Chris Hedges who votes Green.

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By alturn, February 28, 2011 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment

Hedges has it right - you protest whether you are the only one who shows up or a million show up. The challenge is that the forces which force unfettered capitalism and military dominance down our throats never stopped doing everything they could to reach dominance.  Those who want a sane world each in their own way must do the same.  Then that which today would seem miraculous will have the space to become reality.

“According to Maitreya, the way “mega-giants” rob the health and wealth of individual nations does not come out in the media, because within governments everywhere individuals profit from this situation. “This has got to come to an end”.
After this crash, the first duty of governments will be to feed people with the right food. Their second duty will be to ensure adequate housing. Health and education will be the next priorities. Investment along these lines in other parts of the world will follow, and lastly, defence. In short, the crash will lead to a reordering of priorities.”
- World Teacher Maitreya through an associate as reported by Share International

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By Richard_Ralph_Roehl, February 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

Yesss… Ol’ Coyote Knose that Chris Hedges calls it correctly.

The corrupt capitalist/fascist $ystem in the UNITED $TATES OF PERPETUAL WAR MONGERING in irreparably broken. There are too many faster poo-food sheeple-people wallowing in bread an’ circus pro-$ports distractions (and jizzum-Jeeezass! belief)... while the nation’s ruling class indulges in obscene and perverse consumption and grrreeeeeeeeed!

Behold! The wealth gap between the haves and have $nots in corp-rat Amerika has become interminably wide! Hell! ONE PERCENT of the nation’s population owns and controls almost 90% of the aggregate wealth. Mean, mean, meanwhile… Amerika’s foreign policy is delusional, violent and criminally insane! It is designed to $erve the needs (and war profiteering $cams) of Wall $treet banksters… and their rooster-minded cousins, the Pentagon boners in the military industrial complex.

To hell with the lousy troops in Iraq-NAM, Afghanistan-NAM, Yemen-NAM, Western Pak-a-nuke-NAM… and all the other foolish NAMs! The troops are nothing but agents and dupes for the ruling class agenda. All those vaccines will give the troops a righteous cancer; it is the karma they deserve for participating in $ociopathic war mongering in foreign lands.

Bluntly put… ROME IS BURNING! The $ystem is too corrupt and broken to be fixed. Wake up clowns! As we learned in $ovietnam, we gotta burn down the god damn village in order to save it! We need a full blown street revolution… and all revolutions are inherently violent! It is the nature of the beast.

Yes, we have a choice between two terrible beasts. There is the beast of violent revolution, inching its way toward Amerika’s KKKristian/Zionist ruling class, or the war mongering beast that currently rules the roost.

I vote for the former! Better to die marching and fighting for our destiny than wilt away as a cowardly couch potato slob guzzling sugar-pop-Pepsi and stuffing your maw with corn-$yrup Pringles making liquid the poo!

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By RayLan, February 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie
“would be to stop the wars and the imperialism, to stop killing people”
Could it be that’s what the absolutist ‘violent’ language is about? Gosh, imagine blogging on a ...blog. The free rational exchange of ideas - which imperialism survives by suppressing.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

BTW

Afghan officials say NATO killed 62 civilians

(AFP) – 4 days ago

KUNAR, Afghanistan — A recent NATO air strike in an eastern Afghanistan valley killed at least 62 civilians including women and children, an Afghan government investigation said Thursday.

On Sunday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused NATO of having killed more than 50 civilians in eastern Afghanistan’s troubled Kunar province, and sent a team to inquire into the alleged civilian deaths.
“After three days of investigation, we found out that 62 civilians, including women and children, were killed and 10 others injured in the NATO operation,” the head of the probe team, Shahzada Massoud, who is a Karzai adviser, told reporters in Kunar.

He did not clarify whether any insurgents were killed in the operation, but a member of the probe team, Shahzada Shahid, separately told AFP that 14 Taliban militants had also been killed, on top of the 62.

A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan contacted by AFP refused to comment on the government’s findings before its own ongoing probe was completed.

There have been several instances recently in which civilians have been killed and foreign forces have been accused of indiscriminate or excessive force.


If you think wasting your vote on the green party, will end these kinds of atrocities, then go ahead, but Hedges is correct, we have “No Other Way Out” of this madness.

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By Anarcissie, February 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

Ah, the Left, already squabbling about what to do: leave the country, start a third party, reform the Democrats.  The only thing folks here seem to agree on: furiously typing violent, absolutist language in blog comments! 

However, I think we could all put a particular thing on the top of our lists, and that would be to stop the wars and the imperialism, to stop killing people, basically.  This would be a big change and would have many consequences. 

Come out on March 19th, or think of something else to do and tell us about it.

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By Leefeller, February 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

These stupid wars are one thing I completely agree with Hedges on!

I would go to Washington and protest the war and cry on deaf ears as 12 of us did in my local community, right after the death toll hit 300 dead in Iraq, .....  this unjustified, unaccountable the so called war for democracy, Afghanistan is little different in my opinion and a waste of lives and money.

Now, I cannot as many cannot afford to fly to Washington and find a place to sleep and pay for food. The price of flying must be going through the roof with fuel prices soring?  Hell its a big deal just for me to pay for parking at the airport?

So maybe we can form a pool for people to go and stay? I will donate $25, which might buy a hot dog, I know this is not much, but still a hardship for me nonetheless,  being in my cushy semi retirement still working situation this is all I can spare!

As a Veteran, I am pissed at the VFW for its indifference to these stupid wars, what about the Veterans for Peace?

Very little time and very short notice for getting ones act together?

By the way, I cannot fit into my old uniform!

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By RayLan, February 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

War is the life-blood of imperialist regimes like the US and its expansionist agendas. The drive is manifestly messianic aggressively campaigning for so-called democracy promotion, posturing as political Savior of the world.

Of course the motive is no longer religious-ideological but economic - the unholy union of capitalism and Puritanical Protestant Christianity giving way to a rhetorically Christian corporate kleptocracy over the working middle classes. Ironically it is the religious element that prevents the proper social regulation of greed, anointing it with an exceptionalist Mission.

Rome thrived on military conquest and fell proportionally from miltary weakness and general cultural decadence. The US is repeating that exact trajectory. Its populace is held in the thralls of
food-depleting Agribusiness, media misinformation and techno-fantasy for its bread and circuses.

The people have been successfully endoctrinated to participate in their own enslavement, voting for exactly those leaders who will gut all their civil rights - from habeus corpus to collective bargaining.

The Tea-Party mindset is a visceral unreasoning opposition to any public program short of launching wars - because the enemy can never be from their own ranks.

The refusal to look inward is essentially foolish - the beginning of wisdom found in the Socratic axiom, ‘know thyself’.

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By RayLan, February 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

BTW I changed my voter registration from the Democratic Party to the Green.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

With this article Hedges puts the blame squarely where it belongs, without demagoguery and scapegoating, unlike many of those who have commented here.

What’s needed is national organization, so people from every locality would be able to join Hedges and his friends in protest, and the building of a consensus of war resistors. People who contribute to political groups and political causes should direct their contributions to these organizational activities.

People who believe splitting the Left will lead to defeat of right-wing policies are the ones who are deluded. What’s needed is a swing back to the Left, not a handing over of political power to the Right. Splitting the Left will result in right-wing reactionaries, and the most militaristic, ascending to power once again. People who reject Hedges’ “Way Out” and advocate for a third party political solution are, just as Hedges says, complicit, not out of intention, but out of stupidity, negativity, cowardice, and a lack of real commitment.

I don’t believe The Liberal Class are “Our worst traitors,” nor do I believe that those who effectively facilitate “Our worst traitors,” are “Our worst traitors,” but of the two groups, I believe those who effectively facilitate “Our worst traitors” are effectively, and stupidly, the most traitorous.

Who is it that shares the blame for the current push for austerity rather than a push for prosperity? Who is it that shares responsibility for the right-wing push to destroy decades of progressive policy? Who is it that is responsible for Republicans winning the mid-terms? It is effectively, those who turned away from Obama and the Democrats, and allowed the Republicans to win, and to heavily influence public policy.

Astute people know that Obama is well meaning, but horribly misguided in his domestic and foreign policy actions. I’ll proffer that Obama is a product of his life experience:  A person who has a natural inclination towards bi-partisanship; a man from two cultural backgrounds, a man whose success came form the world of academia, a man who rejected the extremes of academia, and a man who immersed himself in the study of jurisprudence. I’ll proffer that Obama in his community organizing experience fell prey to the old axiom of familiarity breeding contempt, leading him towards a belief in status quo, elitist leadership. In short, I believe Obama devoted too much of his intellect to learning, and not enough time thinking and experiencing. I believe that Obama’s intentions for the people of America and the world are well meant, but that Obama is disconnected from the common people. He was elected to be the President of the United States of America; is it any wonder that he has faith in the political status quo? I also believe that Obama wishes to be connected to the common people, and will be more responsive to the wishes of the people than his right-wing political opposition. I believe that if the people of the United States rise up in opposition to government policy, Obama will listen, while his right-wing political opposition will become repressive, and violent.

In spite of the multitude of obstacles that hinder our current democracy, in the final analysis it is we the people of the United States who hold the balance of power. If we fail to live up to our responsibilities as citizens in a democracy, then we are complicit with the actions of our government. Hedges is correct, we have, “No Other Way Out.”

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By RichZubaty, February 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

Amen brother. “Our political system is as broken and dysfunctional as that once presided over in Egypt by Hosni Mubarak.” We are murdering more chldren than Mubarak ever did. Doesn’t our consicence bleed?

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By SEEK TRUTH, February 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

Everyone that has any compassion for his/her fellow-person should read Time Magazines March 7, 2011 Edition, article starting on page 46. This is about a young National Guard soldier that was unable to cope with the trauma of war. He killed his pregnant wife, who was ready to deliver a daughter by cesarean-section , next his 13-month old daughter and then killed himself.

Records from the VA reveal that an estimated 6,500 veterans commited suicide in 2008, apparently they didn’t chose to up-date that information. Is it possible that it is now even worse? This is more than the death’s reported as actual war casualties.

When are we as members of a so-called civilized society going to wake-up and realize what we are doing to this country and to the rest of the world? It is time to shut down our military - bring everyone home. Put them to work doing constructive things such as: fixing the broken-down infrastructure; guarding our borders; inspecting all the shipments coming into the US by air and sea. We are already paying them, but most of the money is now being spent on foreign soil. Think what a boost this would be to the US economy and the improvement in morale.

If anyone is concerned about the enemy, which Country has enough fire-power by either air or sea to harm the US? Why would they want to harm us if we keep our nose out of their business?

THINK ABOUT WHAT WE ARE DOING AND WHAT WE COULD BE DOING WITH ALL THE MONEY AND LIVES NOW BEING SPENT ON WAR.

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By reynolds, February 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

what money?

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By pyrrhon, February 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

The people have the ultimate power of organized Boycott, but will they use it?  I am afraid not. We are too much in love with our money and what it will buy.
The Egyptians organized with Facebook a mass protest that resulted in an overthrow of their Government.  We can’t even organize a mass boycott of B of A.

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By Queenie, February 28, 2011 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

Dis-enroll from the Democratic party. Or the Republican party. Become a Green, Independent, or anything but no to those 2.

Put any money you have into a credit union. Don’t let banks use your money.

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By reynolds, February 28, 2011 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

humankind are the root of our problem; we are our
problem. if it were not encoded in us to best, or
attempt to best each other, we wouldn’t have been
doing it since first we emerged from primordial
mire. note the rebuke i will get for suggesting as
much if you doubt my doubt of goodwill among
mankind.
george washington had but his horse, if you discount
a rich wife, hundreds of slaves and vast holdings.
if of comparatively humble beginnings, he enjoyed a
presumption of opportunity into which he had been
born. if bereft of patrimony, he was of such
circumstance as to marry well. the rest is distorted
history.
elections are easy, and easily subverted. a third,
fourth, or fifth party still has to get past walton,
koch, goldman sachs, raytheon, general dynamics, et
al.
if i had but a horse, i’d ride.

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By felicity, February 28, 2011 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Israel has refused to provide a map of the mine fields
it left in Lebanon following its withdrawal in 2000. I
wonder how many children have been blown up as a
result.

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By gerard, February 28, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

Nonviolent resistance can be practiced in many ways in addition to street demonstrations—and can be effective in many ways. Once this fact is widely understood, many kinds of creative nonviolent resistance will emerge spontaneously.
  Advocacy alone is slow to have an effect unless the lives of average people are so disturbed that they are actually reaching out for new and better ways to achieve the changes they want. 
  It seems that, in spite of wide public agreement on the need to end wars and to replace the economic injustices that have accrued largely because of greed (admitted and unadmitted) the lack of action may indicate lack of anyone really knowing what, specifically, to do and how, specifically to do it._
Certainly the problems are complex and people in general are poorly informed, fearful and more or less unwilling to assume responsibility.
  Demonstrations are one way to make a space and time for people to come together, exchange information, overcome their fear and assume responsibiity.  In that sense, they are sure to succeed. The larger the number of attenders, the greater the gain
  In addition, other avenues should also be persistently used—teach-in situations, local meetings public and private, letter-writing and call-in campaigns to media and to people in various positions of power—economic, educational, corporate—on various pressing issues.  Self-expression is enlightening to senders and receivers, whether the results are visible or not.
  Joining and contributing to working organizations in crucial fields of need would help expand knowledge and a sense of empowerment.  Hundreds of such organizations are easy to find on the Internet.  They always welcome additional volunteer help and contributions.
  Determination to act—at any and every level—is encouraging. People learn that they have various abilities to act, not just one or two, and not just occasionally and upon demand.  Volunteering at every level is above all an act of will.  It is behavior that must be chosen and cannot be enforced. It is patient and deatermined. It stands up and says:  “Here am I.  Take me.”
  I believe in the ultimate success of the determination to help one another.  That determination needs to overtake “rugged individualism”.  The time has come.

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By N'awlins, February 28, 2011 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Depressing….aint it? I, and many others saw this coming decades ago. Author Robert Heinlien wrote of this time (allegorically) often. His observations and summary were the same, and just as depressing, as Chris’s. Every one who can is getting out of der Fatherland..er Dodge. The oli’s are already long gone to UAE, Swiss, and Bahrain chalets; performing their systematic looting by proxy.

Any attempt to overcome over a century of careful plotting by democratic means is a lost cause. There are not enough thinking caring people left to support a peaceful resolution. There always was a strong fascist undercurrent in this country, and the powers that be have been nurturing it for over half a century. Anyone who was around during the Vietnam conflict can see the it happening all over again, but this time without much protest.

Part of Lincoln’s famous quote has come true with frightening relevance “You can fool some of the people all of the time”. When that “some” is large enough, thinking people become irrelevant. Remember, this has been building since the oli’s lost in thier attempt at total domination during the last “Gilded Age”. This time there is not a Teddy or Franklin to stand in the way of the surviving rulers.

Does any student of history remember what really stopped (or at least slowed down) the rulers so that TR and FDR had a chance? It was called TITANIC. Never again will the rich and powerful allow themselves to be grouped together in such a vulnerable way. It was the only thing that stopped them.

Of course, results may vary according to timeline….

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By madisolation, February 28, 2011 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

The war is at the root of all our problems: it makes Obama somehow more than just an elected official. He is—ta da!—the Commander in Chief, with the power to spy on on his fellow citizens (when we should be spying on him), the right to approve the war crime of dropping drones, the right to steal our money and give it away to criminal contractors and criminal defense industry CEO’s, the right to scream “state secrets” every time he’s embarrassed, and the right to torture.
All those lives snuffed out. All that money gone. Just to enrich the already rich and give Obama power.
Stopping these wars is the leading cause of our problems. If we can stop the war, other issues will follow.

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By angryrat, February 28, 2011 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem is that you will not get any sort of uprising to finish two murderous (and possibly illegal) wars. People do not care. They only cared about Vietnam because of the draft -the death of million Vietnamese was not really a factor. If you start talking about “morals”, “law”, and brown people being blown to bits, you’ll get apathy. Even the spending spree does not raise any voices. Unions are bad, because they steal money, but of course pouring billions down the drain for wars are different. (Even though the second is costing much-much-much more than those evil unions, and the ‘entitlements’ of state employees.) You can use demagogy against illegal immigrants, against unemployed, against the poor -but killing people abroad is fine, and was always fine.
The US is very scarily jingoistic; and I can’t see that change any time soon. A co-worker of mine echoed Friedman’s sentiment in 2003 (though I doubt he knows who Friedman is): “George Bush was awesome because he kicked ass”.
For him that’s what matters.

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By Tobysgirl, February 28, 2011 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

With the weak showing of the Democrats in Maine’s election, the time is ripe for a third party. Will it happen? No. Everything I have ever seen of the Greens in this state is a joke, people who are primarily interested in self-promotion with no awareness of class or economic issues. So we stumble on with a vicious Republican Party and a Democratic Party that couldn’t find its own ass with a road map. And forget Independents; they’re just Republicans in fancy suits.

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By colin2626262, February 28, 2011 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

I think this is a great article.  It’s truthful.  At the same time, it’s basically pointless because the author himself says it doesn’t matter if what he’s saying has any effect.  He states, “It does not matter if this protest or any other does not work.”

Also, the United States is not responsible for all the dead children in the world.  Many civilians in Afghanistan and other war zones, as the article points out, are killed by their own people, not American soldiers.  That’s not to say we should be invading countries and occupying them, trying to fight terrorism that way, even though there really are insane terrorists who’d like to kill as many Americans as possible, including American children.

As for the problem of wasting much needed funds on war when those funds could be used for social programs at home, that is a very old argument.  It would be nice if our government was moral, or just attuned to the wishes of the populace, but we live in a capitalist society that values wealth and profits for the elite above all.  Our foreign policy reflects that.  It’s immoral.  But what can you do about it?  Go to a rally with a few other people and try to get arrested?  What good is that going to do?  Maybe it’s better than doing nothing, but it won’t change the power structure.  Only a revolution can do that.  We do have to start with a revolution in values, a spiritual revolution.

Those who wish to participate, though, have to be spiritual people.  Religion must play a part.  This is what Chris Hedges forgets.

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By Steve Miller, February 28, 2011 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

The propaganda has all of you in a trance against the only solution to form a 3rd party.  Kucinich refused to be a 3rd party candidate.  Kucinich is a member of the Democrat Crime Family.  I met personally with Dennis before his allegiance to the Crime Family was made clear by him. 

You people fail to understand how a crime family works.
You people can’t stop voting for Democrats.  Will this ever end?

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By lasmog, February 28, 2011 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Good luck Mr. Hedges and thank you for your personal sacrifice.  I think that we have arrived at a point so dismal that a significant number of liberals will consider joining a third party.  I know that I will not vote for the Democrats for the first time in my life. We need an anti-corporation party, led by someone like Ralph Nader.

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By David Ross, February 28, 2011 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges: If you want to know whats going on you need this analysis. His perspective is simply the best. No wallflower, he was arrested with Vets for Peace on 12/16 and will be with us again at the White House on 3/19 - Join us! See stopthesewars.org for details

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By FRTothus, February 28, 2011 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

>>”...drug trafficking and crimes committed by the
Afghan president”<<

It must be clearly understood that the US profits
greatly from the drug trade, as it does from the war
trade. Promoting both is the reason for most of what
the US does around the world, from Columbia to
Vietnam to Asia. One will notice that the fictional
groups the US designates “terrorist” targets in
Afghanistan are those opposed to the growing of
poppies for heroin and opium.  The CIA’s Al Qaeda did
not pull off the inside job of 9/11 (that was the
Cheney/Penatgon cabal), but they did practically
eradicate the poppies, their real “crime” against
empire.  Wall Street needs that cash it launders for
“liquidity”.  Further, as a Unocal man, and a CIA
asset, Karzai is “perfect” to front the US oil
acquisition/control of ‘natural’ gas as a lever over
China and others, another source with which to fund
sabotage and keep the casino open.

The US plays a very dirty game, and we are all
complicit.

I’m afraid the lesson learned by our lordships from
the various uprisings we have witnessed of late serve
only to inform them that something a bit less brutal
than a dictatorship is all that is required to keep
the masses in line. As long as there are elections,
an elective dictatorship can be sustained for quite a
long time. Until, that is, the growing interest on
all the borrowed funds (and every dollar is borrowed)
and all the foreign debt becomes (as it is becoming)
un-manageable.  The currency will be diluted again. 
The rich will be made whole, and the greater part of
the people will be left, as we always have been, to
our own devices.  Our sidearms will not save us.  The
state has shown that it has no compunction about
sending in troops to fire on citizens.  The US is not
Egypt. It does not have a conscript army. The US lets
loose the dogs of war at the drop of a hat, on friend
or foe alike, because its profitable to the “right
people”.  But we have been warned repeatedly against
having a standing army, and repeatedly against
financial combines and incorporations, have had
plenty of examples of corruption by those with power
through-out the ages, seen other empires fall, and
fall fast once the fall began. 

Our FBI has acted since its inception as the US
oligarchy’s political police.  It is they who are
taking your photos at the street theatre
demonstrations.  The police in Madison, in not
obeying orders to clear out the state house, are a
notable exception to the riot-gear-clad, badged storm
troopers’ cultivated inclination to bust heads and
taser grandma with nary a thought.  Capitalism is the
crime, and any government committed to its logical
extension is, by definition a criminal state, indeed
a fascist state.  The crimes of the fascist state are
but an ancillary function of the corruption of the
system it seeks to maintain and extend.  Our goal
ought to be overthrow of oligarchy and the Business
party of two factions, not pleading that it correct
the direct and natural consequences of the workings
of its major donors.

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By Hunter, February 28, 2011 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The United States is the face of global capitalism among the western nations. Gripped in economic turmoil and endless conflict, these states have lost all legitimacy as a liberal world, with the promise of improved lives for all, has shown to be capitalism as it always has been: rampant exploitation, rapacious war & cruelty. We’ve created a society so removed from the violence, through spectacle many don’t know or don’t care about the suffering that depends on the economic status quo.

The only novel things in the last 50 years have been the birth of tedious and soul crushing consumer culture and now the destruction of the environment we depend on. Stop the wars, stop capital, rise up. We are our only hope.

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By kerryrose, February 28, 2011 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Anna

Where do you live?

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By madisolation, February 28, 2011 at 8:43 am Link to this comment

Third party voting is a must and we must work for that, but right now the most important place to be is in the streets. Pick a cause. Design a sign. Staple it to a piece of wood. Take it to the streets and hold it high and proud. It’s a simple act, really, but it’s a revolutionary act and it shakes our so-called leadership to its core.

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By BarbieQue, February 28, 2011 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

CH:>>“We are wasting $700 million a day to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…”<<

Who’s this “We” Kimosabe?

Money is being stolen from the pockets of the masses (via threat of imprisonment) by thieves and liars. Of course I know what CH means. But “We” in this case is misleading. This money is being looted in broad daylight.

When some of us tried to point out that Barack Obama was not going to be a whole lot different than Bush we were called “racists” or “delusional” or “loony leftists”.

The majority now must reap what they’ve sown. Some of us are stuck on the bus (temporarily).

>>” $700 million a day to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…”<<

If this isn’t the biggest looting of a populace I’d hate to contemplate something worse.

http://costofwar.com/

During the time you read these paragraphs in this one post, your rulers have borrowed $10 0r $15 thousand dollars in your name and used it to conquer and invade lands 8,000 miles away.

Yet, many of you will re-elect these same psychopaths that have looted you and your grandchildren blind, while calling candidates like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich “crazy” and “unelectable”.

Shame on you.

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By PatrickHenry, February 28, 2011 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

I think this article has merit.

I keep a pitchfork and torch in my shed for this very reason.

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By Steve Miller, February 28, 2011 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

To continue flailing and drowning while there is a boat to climb back into called, “elections”, makes no sense.  Elections aren’t easy.  Elections are impossible when you accept the propaganda by the Democrat Crime Family that not voting for the duopoly is throwing your vote away.

The propaganda has 99% of Americans in a trance.  We don’t need money.  We have the internet.  George Washington only had a horse.  We need votes.  To begin we need a website for pledges to register for a party.  It would be easiest to use the framework of the Green Party.  Any 3rd party will work.  Once we have the pledges then we can create the leadership and the nominations for offices.

Use this website.  Set up a link for pledges that will tally the results.  Then we can see its growth.

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By zonth_zonth, February 28, 2011 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Last paragraph of page1 pretty much says it all.  Dont forget allowing China to buy nearly 1$ trillion in treasury allowing our ship of fools to carry on fool steam ahead.
And the solution to US nation’s financial woes according to state and national elective officials is putting an end to collective bargaining??? Decreasing medicaid payments???  Not hard to see where the talking heads think the sacrifice should fall onto.
Yep, Anna the answer is to jump ship.  Unfortunately its not an easy process otherwise a lot of folks with some common sense and foresight would be doing it.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 28, 2011 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

Peace be upon all who read Chris Hedges article and understand its ultimate truth. War is a total failure of the human spirit. No lies from the generals or President Obama can gloss over this fact. What kind of vanity does it take to accept a Nobel Prize For Peace, while being the chief executive enabler of continuous war?

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By Steve Miller, February 28, 2011 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

Your remedy is foolish.  The effort needs to be to nominate 3rd party candidates and elect them.  For you to accept the notion that there is no chance to succeed even after the racists formed the Tea Party and elected wacko racists is self destructive and counterproductive.  How many lies will it take from Democrats for you liberals to stop voting for Democrats.

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By Mr. S., February 28, 2011 at 5:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Afraid to say I share Anna Nomad’s view, though I wish I could share Chris Hedges’.  America will need a convulsion to join the community of civilized nations (and those are few enough).  I’d hope Wisconsin is the start of it, but born at the beginning of the 70s, I have seen nothing but a regression in national values and an increase in income disparity, and a destruction of any venue for intelligent public debate.

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By Anna Nomad, February 28, 2011 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

No, there is only one way out, and that is the renunciation of U.S. citizenship.  No one can alter this nation’s DNA.  Whoever wants to hold a flame in order to light the way for others must do so at the EXIT door.

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