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Ralph Nader Is Tired of Running for President

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Posted on Jul 4, 2011
Illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

“The first sign that there is a real breakdown is that the bridge between the people you mentioned and the people who should be speaking out as a result of their professional status is not there,” Nader said. “I am talking about the deans of law schools and law professors, as well as leading members of the bar. The obverse of that is that in 2005 and 2006 there was a bridge built. It was the president of the [American Bar Association] Michael Greco. He thought the destruction of the rule of law by George Bush was historically very dangerous. He commissioned three reports, using members of the ABA who were formally in national security agencies such as the FBI, the NSA, the CIA and the Justice Department. They came up with three white papers on three subjects, one of them being signing statements. They concluded that the recurrent violations by President Bush had risen to the state of serious violations of our Constitution. These papers were made public. They sent them to President Bush. He never replied. Apart from The Associated Press, the press, including the [New York] Times and the [Washington] Post, ignored it. That to me was a much bigger litmus test. It showed how deep the institutionalized official illegality has become, more important than the ignoring of people like Chomsky and us.

“Usually people who are candid in calling things as they are, are viewed as people on the outside who want to change the system,” Nader said. “In the historic past they were socialists. They were radical labor leaders such as the [Industrial Workers of the World]. This time those people who are speaking out want a restoration of the rule of law. This is a pretty conservative goal. The extreme radicals are now in charge of our country, the military-industrial complex and the White House. It is not so much the military as the civilian leadership, the neocons in the White House. The military does not like to get into wars, but once they are in it is very hard to control them because they want to win.

“It’s not like Japan in 1939, which really was a militaristic society,” Nader went on. “It is exactly the opposite of what the constitutional founders thought would be the case. They put the civilians in charge to restrain the military. In effect, these people are activating and pushing the military into places the military does not want to go. They use a volunteer Army, flatter it, give it a lot of weaponry and send it abroad. Only about 5 million people, soldiers and their families, feel what is going on. Once it is entrenched, once you accept this neocon ideology, which is a vitriolic, aggressive, empire-spreading ideology, run largely by draft dodgers who in their youth gung-hoed the Vietnam War but wanted their friends to go and die for it, then democracy is too weak to overcome that. Two dozen people plunged this country into war. The first arena designed to stop this is the Congress, but it does not observe its constitutional duties or require a declaration of war.”

While protests are useful, Nader does not see any possibility for reform until there is a widespread effort to organize a sustained and radical opposition movement. This will come by building a movement that offers an alternative ideology and vision to that of unfettered capitalism, consumerism, empire and globalization. It is something Nader tried and failed to do during his own presidential campaigns.

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“There is a tremendous asymmetry,” Nader said. “Seven hundred thousand people demonstrated in London. But where are they the next day? And where are their adversaries? The next day their adversaries are on the job. Where are the 700,000 people? They are out of there. How many organizers are on the ground in the 435 districts? Could labor unions have been organized without organizers? Could the suffragist movement have been organized without organizers? Could the anti-slavery movement or the civil rights movement been organized without organizers? If you don’t have organizers on the ground you know ipso facto that your demonstration is going nowhere.”

When I asked Nader, who mounted campaigns for the presidency in 2000, 2004 and 2008, if he would consider running again, he answered that it was “very unlikely.”

“You have millions of people who say run, run, run,” he said. “Then you put yourself out there and find they are voting for Obama. Until they become mature, until they realize that if they generate 5 to 8 million votes behind a progressive third-party candidate for leverage, what is the point? Why should people try four or five times? Let someone else do it.

“The people who go out there with some credibility and record, go into 50 states, sweat it out month after month, beating back ballot access obstacles, fighting the Democrats who are trying to suppress free speech and candidate choices for the voters, and then you still can’t get on the air to discuss civil liberties,” he said. “Never mind that they do not want to upset dear Obama or dear [John] Kerry. They don’t give you airtime to discuss the simple issue of the denial of civil liberties and the crushing of third parties.”


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By colin2626262, July 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

Does Nader still think Bush is president?  He’s talking about the neo-cons in the White House.  Say what you want about Obama, he’s brought home a large amount of troops from Iraq and seems to realize Afghanistan is an unwinnable war.  We’re now talking with the Taliban.  I understand Chris Hedges saying we need to protest, use civil disobedience, but he himself admits it won’t do much.  It’s like the fighters in the Warsaw ghetto uprising.  They knew they were doomed, that they’d be defeated, but they wanted to at least go down fighting.  This is noble, especially since Hedges calls for nonviolent resistance.  At the same time, he quotes Nader as saying there will never be genuine reform until the masses adopt a different understanding of the world, or of society.  The key word is “masses.” 

What I find disheartening about this article is that there’s a prognostication about economic collapse and the violence that will surely follow.  And it happened in other societies, like in the former Yugoslavia.  So what makes Hedges think our society, through mostly unseen acts of civil disobedience, will be able to thwart this imminent chaos?  I don’t like the predictions.  No one can see into the future.

Hedges and Nader are all about abandoning the Democratic party, and there are reasons why.  But there are also reasons not to.  The lesser of two evils argument still holds weight.  Let’s say we stop supporting the Democrats, which won’t happen anytime soon, but let’s say we do that.  The Republicans then come to power and all the cuts that Nader fears become government policy.  Now there’s no check at all on the abuse of the most vulnerable people in our society.  The Republicans last year didn’t even want unemployment benefits to continue.  This is why Nader and the like are ignored.  They ignore the reality.  Yes, the Democrats are corporate stooges, but there’s a level of humanity in some of them, including Obama, that isn’t in Republicans. 

One thing Hedges points out is that the religious institutions in our country don’t represent an antiwar position or calls for economic justice.  Hedges also says we need to have a conscience, or attract people to protests based on conscience.  Now if there was a religious movement based on justice and conscience, that might be the ideology needed to bring the masses into the streets and help spark real reform.  Hedges mentioned Romero, the priest from El Salvador.  He was killed because he spoke up for human rights and justice.  So the idea, I think, is that we need more Romeros, more religious people like him.  Religion loses its meaning when someone like George W. Bush says he’s a Christian.  We need Christians who have actual love in their hearts, who don’t support senseless wars and who realize that Christ preached about helping the poor.  “A new commandment I give unto you: that ye love another.”  This is what we need, not more political activism but more religious activism.

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By keepyourheaddown, July 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

it’s already over… there is no hope…

Greed will destroy everything and then all the money in the world will not matter…

Pathetic , narrow minded and stupid…

LIE CHEAT AND STEAL, What do you think will happen???

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By JaneGray, July 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

John Poole has it right. Start disconnecting from the system and build sustainable &
peaceful connections with friends, neighbors, family, community. There are even
templates for how to go about this. Transition Towns: http://www.transitionus.org/

Love and empathy is always a road for overcoming. Things will be grim but we can
make it less so. Let’s start preparing.

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By PatrickHenry, July 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

If Nader gets on the general ballot, he gets my vote.

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By Philip J Dennany, July 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The people need Nader now more than ever before. If he does dare to run again, he definitely has my spouse and my votes, and our modest donation ability as well.

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By BBFmail, July 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

Whether he runs or not…I’m voting for Ralph Nader.

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By katsteevns, July 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

I will vote for you as well, Mr. Nader…...again. Last election, 2000 of us did here in New Hampshire.

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By Mark E. Smith, July 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

I agree with John Poole and OldUncleDave.

Anyone who doesn’t yet know how irreversibly our
elections are rigged, from gerrymandered districts,
political party super-delegates overriding the will
of the voters in selecting nominees, unverifiable
vote counts, voting machines that flip votes and
central tabulators that misallocate votes, biased
media coverage, corporate-funded smear campaigns and
shameless promotion of corporate puppets, a
Constitution that doesn’t require that votes be
counted, makes Congress the sole judge of the
elections of its own members, allows the Electoral
College, Congress, and the Supreme Court to nullify
the popular vote, and gives voters no way to hold
elected officials accountable during their terms of
offices, prohibitory pricing for recounts, and much,
much more, and is still voting, working for
candidates, or running for office, is either asleep
or in deep denial.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have said
openly what previous administrations tried to hide:
that our government does not allow public opinion to
influence policy decisions. Look up the dictionary
definition of a democracy or a republic if you don’t
understand why that means that we have a blatant and
unconcealed tyranny where voters have no voice. We
have no say in policy, we cannot directly elect our
government officials or even know for certain if they
were honestly elected, and we cannot exercise our
will through them because we can’t hold them
accountable while they’re in power.

But protesting the government that you voted for,
that you authorized to use violent force against you,
is futile. If you want change, stop voting so that
this tyranny can no longer claim to have the consent
of the governed. That’s the difference between a
legitimate and an illegitimate government, the
consent of the governed, and no matter who or what
you vote for, your vote is your consent, your
agreement to obey the system, a demonstration of your
trust in the system, and the only thing holding the
system up.

When you do your civic duty by voting, you have no
right to complain when some other moron does their
civic duty by shooting you for protesting your own
vote.

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By Grumpy Old Man, July 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

This is typical left-liberal “We are the only moral people” self-congratulation.If
there is some room between kneeling to Wall St., feckless social-democracy, and
totalitarian Bolshevism, Hedges doesn’t seem to locate it.

Hedges is an eloquent writer and sometimes an interesting reporter, but not much
of a politician, reformist or revolutionary. Not that one necessarily expects that of
anyone, but don’t act so all-fired messianic if you have no useful suggestions.

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By TAO Walker, July 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

Human freedom, absent Human responsibility (which is to say, Human freedom
abused), becomes the very ‘instrument’ by which the wannabe “self”-indulgent
extinguish their own"self” and their virtual ‘kind.’  Given, moreover, the
ideological/institutional/technological amplifiers and accelerators at-work in
the virtual world-o’-hurt (now CONsisting only and entirely of the irreversibly-
shrinking eCONomy), it is only sensible to expect this process to be occurring
at the breakneck pace it is right now, and so to be complete in one hell of a
hurry….something neither the “self”-appointed administrators nor the muddled
masses making-up the general-population inmates of the “global” gulag have
even awakened-to, let-alone come-to-grips-with.

So Chris Hedges can’t help but see no other “civilized” recourse (even in the
dire straits he again describes so dramatically) except the biologically
meaningless (and so certain-to-be-futile) exercise of occupying (“peacefully,”
of course) the warden’s outer office….assuming the would-be demonstrators
are allowed by their jailers to get even that far.  Such pre-horse-and-buggy
‘tactics’ barely sufficed to wring a few CONcessions from the overseers even
‘back-in-the-day.’  All these outmodes approaches are likely to accomplish
now, as they disintegrate helplessly before the ‘modern’ methods and
techniques available to the “law-and-order”-ites running the command-and-
CONtrol apparatus of the U.S. CONcentration camp, is to serve as object-
lesson/warning to anybody else entertaining similarly silly ideas.

Meanwhile, all the manmade and “man"aged imprisoning devices in The Whole
Living World cannot stand against The Living Virtue of Organic Functional
Integrity, as it pours into the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth through
Natural Persons ORGANized as Living Human Communities fulfilling our given
Human responsibility, as a component in Her immune system.  Like-it-or-
lump-it, tame Sisters and Brothers, it is only as a Natural Imperative, necessary
to the fulfillment of our Natural Organic Function, that our freedom as Human
Beings, and as Humanity ALL together, exists at-all.  It is therefore only
Natural, as well, within the self-enforcing ambit of The Natural Law which
‘governs’ The Tao of Humanity, that to abuse it (as you are doing en masse
today) is to lose it (as you have, to-all-actual-intents-and-purposes, already)! 

So it’s no use either, trying to get even some counterfeit bit of it back by “self”-
serving attempts to shame or to frighten your “money”/“power”-maddened
tormentors and their terrified two-legged tools into relenting….even for a New
York minute, never-mind another “fifty years,” as was mentioned below.  Those
damned fools know damned-well it’s now-or-never for their globe-girdling
(as trees are “girdled” to kill them) ‘dominance’-paradigm “project.”

There is, though, plenty of “time” for The Free Wild Tiyoshpaye Way, with its
sufficiency of The Medicine that IS The Living Virtue of Organic Functional
Integrity (which “money” cannot buy nor “power” CONtrol) to cure what ails you.

HokaHey!

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By QuixoticTom, July 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

...and another passage of Thoreau’s, from the like essay and yet even more deserving of consideration:

The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.

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By QuixoticTom, July 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Chris’ article recalled to mind this remark of Thoreau’s, from his in a sense forgotten essay on civil disobedience:

All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote…

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By vhood, July 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

Ralph- if you are reading this, know that millions of us out here know
exactly what you have done for us, voted for you and would continue to
do so. You are our hero- the environment, public safety, willing to take
on the corporatists, working with congress in such wise ways to pass so
much incredible legisaltion over the years- not getting entrapped by
the Cia- however did you do that?- foiling a disinformation campaign-
even surviving that terrible DN! interview- Just know that we see you,
my husband and I and son and many many friends have never been
taken in by the lies. How would it help if you ran?- only if it would
improve the conversation- are we close to the 100th monkey in terms
of consciousness awakening- who knows? It’s hard to see the way as
they systematically destroy our beautiful Earth- but I won’t give up and I
know that you never will either.- Love from us, Valeri Bert and Ember

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By katsteevns, July 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

Oath Keeper Sheriff Richard Mack

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLJgPuNAh60

Sheriff Mack Power of the County Sheriff Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiBcC8_goVg

Sheriff Mack The Power of the County Sheriff Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsBcTpXqqMw

Sheriff Mack The Power of the County Sheriff Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEJ8cWUhWso

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By caped amigo, July 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

I am sorry to hear Nader may be giving up. Just when I am prepared to fight the
good fight for the progressive cause. There is no vote, no peace of mind, no sound
sleep without a vote for anyone other than a Dem or Rep.

We’re lucky to have you Chris.

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By Basoflakes, July 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

I watched Demomcracy Now’s Amy Goodman’s interview of John Sayles, discussing his new film, “A Moment in the Sun”, this morning.  Watching this informative interview, not just about the Phillipine insurrection but of Matewan, and other real stories that get buried by the american media, schools and government and Hollywood, it became clear that any other July 4th celebration is pointless.  Her interview reminded me of her earlier interviews with Howard Zinn, author of “A People’s History of the United States”, a great book by a truly great American.

Thank God for Amy, Howard, Ralph, Noam, Sy, Chris and countless others who are the few in America who can be called real Americans because they speak the truth and are endlessly seeking justice.

Oh, and God, give me strength to be there in Washington on October 6th and to stay there until the real America emerges.

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By katsteevns, July 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

@ bpawk

    Yes, but winners of what? The right to accumulate wealth by exploiting the labor and rights of others?

  The US will not be waking up to this any time soon. And even if there IS an awakening, there will be plenty of volunteers who will not hesitate to give you “two in the turban” for your efforts.

    We sit back and cheer as unions are outlawed not realizing that we would have never needed unions if employees were treated fairly from the start.

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By Valeri Hood, July 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Ralph- if you are reading these comments, know that there are
still many who remember all the legislation you created and helped
draft, the millions out there who see exactly the hero that you are to
us- how you helped to protect the government and safety of our people
against the corporatists who are tightening the noose. We don’t have a
president anymore anyway- the corporations are deciding how things
play out- watching netanyahu tell the president what his policy would
be and watching the sycophantic applause from the congress- those of
us with eyes see what is happening- we’re down to a few congress
people with spine and local communities and they are taking those
apart as fast as they can- the laws stop effective protest etc etc.
I would say, run if you think they will cover any issues at all, otherwise-
i don’t know what to do anymore. I haven’t stopped fighting- but it’s
not looking good. You are the hero of myself and husband and son and
many many of our friends who didn’t/don’t listen to the negative
propaganda and know who you are!!!!. We will remember you!
Valeri

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By booneavenueboy, July 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great column by Chris Hedges; only thing wrong with it is that it didn’t name
names. Name the names of those who have done the betraying. I am not talking
about the neo-cons and other right-wing suspects, but the so-called
“Progressives” who keep blaming Nader for their own defeatism and ties to the
Democratic Party.

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By katsteevns, July 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

“Protests that are not built around a complete reconfiguration of American society, including a rapid dismantling of empire and the corporate state, can only forestall the inevitable. We will be saved only with the birth of a new and militant radicalism which seeks to dethrone our corrupt elite from power, not negotiate for better terms.” - Chris Hedges

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/this_time_were_taking_the_whole_planet_with_us_20110307/

“Do not expect them to take care of us when it starts to unravel. We will have to take care of ourselves. We will have to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and culture values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global, corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one. ” - Chris Hedges

http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/the_corporate_state_wins_again_20110425/

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By Jeff, July 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Then Ralph and I have something in common. I’m tired of him running for president.

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By OldUncleDave, July 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

I am sick of people trying to blame Nader for Gore’s loss in 2000. The Florida results were rigged and the Supreme Court appointed Bush rather than wait for an accurate vote count.  Then Gore chose to concede rather than fight.

Remember who Gore’s running mate was. If Gore had won, Joe Lieberman might be president today and Israel’s control of the us gov’t would be complete.

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By WarrenMetzler, July 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

I am old enough to remember Ralph Nader from the beginning of his career, and
he is the epitome of a political gad fly: gots lots of problems to tell you about, and
nary a single curative fix. If he was made president, he would like all the others,
soon discover that the government cannot solve society’s ills. Only individual
people can pursue and find success for their lives. We as a society can encourage,
stimulate, and facilitate each person finding her own fulfillment, satisfaction and
reward, but each person has to do it on her own. Nader is intrinsically known by all
to be more of the problem, than a bearer of the solution.

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By katsteevns, July 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

@ ribbie149

And what is the excuse for the 2004 election?

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By bpawk, July 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

I truly believe that people are easily distracted by celeb worship and have a sense of false consciousness when it comes to who is best to look after their interests. Most people respect Ralph but will not vote for him because they don’t want to see themselves as ‘working class’ - needing protection from Republicans or Democrats who are perceived wrongly as the only viable alternatives - people want to see themselves as ‘winners’ not ‘losers’ looking for a job or seeking health care or protesting against the system. Hence most identify with the upper class who are the winners - who wants to identify with losers (people who can’t find a job, keep a home, etc.) Unfortunately most Americans are not winners but struggling with hardship.

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By exploitedtimes, July 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Chris writes that “the mass of the public still buys into the myths” and this defines the identity of this imperial aggressor. By “mass” he means majority; that’s why everyone else is an outcast as Nader says. Sure there are many small tinder piles, but no majority tinder pile. And most of the mass will go with the flow because they just don’t think for themselves. History repeats. Sad, the lessons we won’t learn from Hitler, and the analogy is not exaggerated. These blind masses, these 12 men thrusting the war machine and pillaging the globe, these few outcast dissenters - this is America now. Will it be forever? Of course not, nothing ever is. But history and the present are real and America will wreak her havoc across this planet with her masses behind her - puny outcasts, dissenters, and her own children strewn trampled in the process. It’s all in the history books. Hedges, Nader, and those outcasts read them. The masses do not.

Thanks

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By sofianitz, July 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can appreciate Mr Nader’s frustrations, after offering a
“reasonable” alternative for the office of President to the American people for so long. Of course, the American people
have never wanted a reasonable alternative for their President, especially in times of great stress.  Think of Abraham Lincoln.  600,000 soldiers dead.

I am one of those who was deceived by the false promise of hope Barack Obama offered in 2008.  I intend to vote against him in 2012.  It is important who wins the office of President of the United States in 2012, but this is not the most important thing about the election I want to make sure that Barack Obama is not reelected.  Betrayal must not be rewarded.

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By JM, July 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

It has been said that a people deserve the government they have, and their
leaders. Same old story - and the same will probably happen to Ron Paul as
happened to Ralph Nader.

Chris Hedges I believe could pull it off.

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By ribbie149, July 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

All Nader has done as a presidential candidate is give
us George Bush as president.  If he had dropped out a
week before the 2000 election there would have been no
9/11, no Iraq or Afghan wars and probably no recession. 
His view that there was “no difference between the two
candidates” was patently false- Gore was probably the
greenest major party candidate in history.  Nader’s ego
cost this country so much suffering that I will never
support any cause with his name on it again.

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By ElkoJohn, July 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

There were many economic ups & downs before the Great Depression,
but with the Great Depression, the capitalists went over the top
and then the oligarchy feared a real rebellion in America.
So eventually history repeats,
and the capitalists will be reined in for another 50-years or so.

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By Lou Britt, July 4, 2011 at 11:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is a bit hard to follow Nader on anything.

The man caused incalcuable damge to the country when he effectively gave the presidency to George W. Bush.

Give some thought to where this country may be were it not for the actions of the Bush administration.

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By @CT, July 4, 2011 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Ah, jeez! Granted that Chris Hedges has been among the “most important moral and intellectual voices within a disintegrating society”, at this point one is beginning to wish he’d just stop writing, hanging nostalgia for pre-surveillance state demos on first one subject, then another.

The “prolonged occupation of Washington” is likely to fizzle with the first rubber bullet.

Meanwhile, in the ever-more-unlikely event that some “spark”—that Nader suggests may issue from the sick babies and homeless hordes of the underclass—catches fire, a new corporate “left” elite will suddenly, as in the sixties, emerge to lead any nascent revolution right over the cliff.

“There are no established institutions that will help us.”? Right, and that’s not a fluke: when Hedges writes, for example, that “Our religious institutions no longer engage in the core issues of justice,” he doesn’t—as no one does, as no one dares to do—mention that the religious institutions were paralyzed, about 20 years ago, by the same politically-correct bipartisan “gay” bund that clinched the election of mob-friendly nonentity Obama, whose fetching “post-partisan” birthday suit briefly masked his corporate crypto-Republican loyalties. (For his next act, Obama will seek to clinch the next election with a fumbling embrace of gay marriage. Better to vote for ANYone else: get a government one can hate openly, without prissy accusations of “racism”, “homophobia”, and the like.)

History strongly suggests that authoritarian overlords aren’t brought down by big demos and moral suasion, but by unannounced resistance tactics that are profoundly disruptive of regimes—everybody knows this, including Hedges.

When the American people finally do fight back ... it may look a lot better, in the long run, than the violence of our rulers’ escalating ritual sacrifice, in this and in other countries, of the masses of the unrich.

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By sharonsj, July 4, 2011 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Well, I’ve been writing in Nader’s name for years.  Now I’ll start writing in Bernie Sanders instead.  Fortunately, hope springs eternal.  Otherwise, considering the general ignorance of the American public, I’d shoot myself.

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By MK77, July 4, 2011 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately the thirst for justice is nowhere near as strong as the thirst to get laid, to live a materially comfortable life, and to forget one’s existence with countless idle entertainments and sensual pleasures.

The left always assumes that if things in America truly get bad enough that people will spill out into the streets and demand change. Such an assumption is mistaken: it’s likelier that people will simply adapt to their life in bondage and servitude, demanding only better entertainments and distractions and “lays.”

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By Don Low, July 4, 2011 at 9:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In every article I read by Chris Hedges, he appeals to the reader to rise up and do something—before it’s too late. To those who think he’s being too grim, alarmist, or just another “useful idiot,” the fact is, it’s already too late. The moment of rebellion should have taken place already a long time ago. Why didn’t it happen? Well, for one thing we were all so busy eating the crumbs from the master’s table. That’s the reason we so willingly forked over those billions in bail-out money, and why we don’t really care about civil liberties and the destruction of the environment. We just want those crumbs.

So when will we rise up? Logically when there are no more crumbs. But I’m betting that even when the flow of crumbs turns into a trickle, we’ll still be there at the foot of the chair, mouths open, waiting.

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By Travis, July 4, 2011 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ardee “There has been no pure form of either socialism or communism extant as yet.”

I wish we would stop looking for political systems in their “purity”, it’s a waste of time.

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By RayLan, July 4, 2011 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

It’s almost shocking to me to find a journalist-intellectual who appears to be thinking my own thoughts on every point. Chris is neither mesmerized by the Pollyanna culture of ‘positive’ thinking (a thin veil for denial) nor the narcissism which is American exceptionalism - thank God. He maintains a rational view in spite of the desperation of the political situation - without embracing exteme violent protest. His vision is clear sane and moral- gosh how rare and I am sorry to say becoming exception rather than the rule in the US of A.

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By John Poole, July 4, 2011 at 8:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I suggest to those who do have a conscience ( a teeny tiny minority) to build lives
of joy and support for our own kind completely outside the dominant social
structure. Thinking any viable alternative to this vile empire can sort of draft
behind the American locomotive and then veer off quickly when the time comes
isn’t the way it works. I’m putting a NONE OF THE ABOVE sticker on my
motorcycle. Anyone who votes and particularly those who vote for Obama are
part of the problem not the solution.

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By LEWIS, July 4, 2011 at 8:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The nation committed suicide when it re-elected Reagan in 1984. We knew, as we didn’t know completely in 1980, what a fool he was, yet we still gave him power again.

The rest is history.

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By ardee, July 4, 2011 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, July 4 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

Ralph Nader Is Tired of Running for President.

Coincidentally, I too am tired of Ralph Nader running for President.

I wonder how tired folks here are of your partial truths, untruths and bigoted opinions?

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By ardee, July 4, 2011 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, July 4 at 7:10 am

Your comments regard the travesty of Communism rather than the form envisioned by Marx. There has been no pure form of either socialism or communism extant as yet. But don’t stop , by all means, your rantings.

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By ardee, July 4, 2011 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Billy Pilgrim, July 4 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

“...it also has the scent of defeatism within it.”

Where have you been the past 3 years?

Working to build the Green Party is where. I have voted for Nader in three election now and intend to continue to vote and to try to make this nation work as, in my opinion, the Founders intended.

Further, Hedges has been actively participating in protests and writing about change prior to this article at least. I found this article to be much more despairing than any of his previous efforts. You may see what you want Ill stick with what I opine.

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By balkas, July 4, 2011 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

ch:
“The press ignores the cries of the underclass and the poor.”

long ago people have noticed that the higher class have always exploited ‘low’
and ‘lower’ classes. ‘higher’ class [rich shareholders, among others] have lied to
‘low’ class; ordered it to kill and to exploit others [anybody wld do], etc.

this, the sane insanity, cannot ever be cured by individuals—it can be cured
only by a collection of people headed by a political party.

recall please what the blind belief in the label of ‘03, “the other superpower” has
helped bring about since then: gaza massacre, drone attack on civilians; attacks
against libya, yemen, bahrain, flotilla to gaza, and standing ovations in congress
to netanyhu, obama, etc.

add to that more losses of palestinian land, interethnic warfare in iraq and
afgh’n, no peace in palestine, etc. 

and u still want to talk to the insanely sanest people on earth. yes, obama,
netanyahu are sane, because they sleep like babies in spite of enorm crimes they
commit.

folks, i cld never sleep well if i wld as much borrow $1 and not returned it, let
alone killed a child in any name! tnx

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By Buzz Baldrin, July 4, 2011 at 7:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nice words, Chris. But I won’t believe them until, next time you appear on the
Thom Hartmann Show, you take on that Democratic shill and demolish his ability
to con Progressives into supporting Obama and the other warrior business Dems.

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By JohnQ1127, July 4, 2011 at 7:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m always amazed at the historical ignorance among Conservatives is their
complete unfamiliarity with the Articles of Confederation. The AOC was essentially
the first government of this country from 1781-1789 and it was a colossal failure
mainly because there wasn’t a strong Federal government.

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By OzarkMichael, July 4, 2011 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

Mr Hedges said:

When most Americans face the nightmare before us, when they realize the irreversible devastation unleashed on the ecosystem and the economic misery from which they cannot escape, violence will have a broad and terrifying appeal. Those of us who demand a return to the rule of law and remain steadfast to nonviolence will find ourselves cast aside—the useful idiots Lenin so despised.

Did Mr Hedges just call himself as a useful idiot? For once we agree about something.

“Useful idiot” refers to dreamy Leftists who applaud and support the atheist Communists without understanding what their agenda really is. It is not exactly the same but to get an idea think of the victims of Hitler’s “Night of the Long Knives”. People who lent their voices and their mind and their bodies to the future dictator, only to find that they are later discarded.

I find it hard to be sympathetic to Hitler’s collaborators when they were destroyed by him. Ditto anyone who supported Lenin. Such followers exhibit a mixture of evil(to support the tyranny) and stupidity(to not forsee that the tyranny would be turned against them), neither of which are admirable qualities.

Only Hedges would be dumb enough proudly proclaim his ‘useful idiot’ status as if it was a virtue.

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By JackAttack, July 4, 2011 at 7:03 am Link to this comment

Chris, as usual, is right on the
money and Ralph has been right for
so long people are suffering from
“rationality fatigue.”  But how do
you mobilize a populace that
refuses to acknowledge a dire
situation or is so distracted as to
not even be aware of it.

I live in relative comfort in the
upper Midwest among many of the
so called educated class.  Many of
my friends are educators,
psychologists, doctors, lawyers,
business owners, etc. who share a
concern for our pristine
environment but little else.  NEVER
is politics discussed at any
meaningful level and even though
75% of local school children are
below the poverty line, social policy
is ignored completely.

These people work hard and are
involved in there own lives and
struggle to maintain the facade of
former prosperity keeping their eyes
tightly closed.  To the extent that the
plight of the country is discussed at
all, it’s the exchange of glib cliches
of a retrograde nature slathered with misplaced patriotism.

It’s as if we’re all little islands connected by some distant notion of what community used to be like but haven’t the time or inclination to recognize our islands are sinking. 

If Chris and Ralph depress you with their cogent analysis, just try talking to your neighbor about how things could be different if we participated at all in what’s left of our “democracy.”  You won’t encounter defeatism; you will encounter the defeated.

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By afs, July 4, 2011 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

October 6…Do all of you intend to go to DC on October 6 intend to STAY there in DC until change happens? That’s how change happened Egypt. The protesters stayed right there Tahrir Square for days and weeks until change happened in Egypt.

It’s not an “occupation” if all you activists intend to go for a day, than fly home that night. It’s being somewhat dishonest to call it an “occupation” if you are planning to go home at the end of the day, it’s just the biannual DC ANSWER rant. ANSWER has been doing bi-annual DC rant sessions since the 70’s. 40 years of ANSWER rants haven’t even gotten Mumia a new trial. They are beyond useless.

If all you are planning to do is fly to DC for the day, rant, and fly home, don’t bother. It’s a huge waste of resources the left does not have.

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By balkas, July 4, 2011 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

ch:
“There is no shortage of courageous dissidents in America. They seek to thwart
the imperial disasters, looming financial insolvency and suicidal addiction to
fossil fuel.”

yes, i agree! however, there are shortages of political parties in u.s—there is
only one.
that’s to me of utmost import: no political party that wld stand antipodally to
the present one.

the Left in u.s is fragmented beyond belief and repair. i am a strong leftist;
however, nevertheless banned from commenting on leftist sites like antiwar.com
and ICH. tnx

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, July 4, 2011 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

Ralph Nader Is Tired of Running for President.

Coincidentally, I too am tired of Ralph Nader running for President.

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By balkas, July 4, 2011 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

ch:
” And in the spiral downward the good among us are reviled as naive and
ineffectual fools.”

yes, i have been saying that protests, marches, etc., in an supremacist [nazilike]
region called “u.s” is more than useless—it is actually hurting cause fro equality
and peace.

but i have never called any dissenter any names. to our sorrow, too many
‘dissenters’, too often, too much callnames people.
once i encounter that in any post, i stop reading it!

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By balkas, July 4, 2011 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

ch:
“I watched this happen in the social and political implosions in El Salvador,
Guatemala, the Palestinian territories, Algeria, Bosnia and Kosovo.”

bosnia, imo, had not imploded. the salient historical facts show or even prove
that most panserbs, say 80%; and about half of pancroatians wanted to divide
bosnia among selves.

in ‘45, when communists came to power in ex-yugoslavia, the wholeness of
bosnia was enshrined in ‘45 and once again in ‘74 when a new constitution was
adopted which allowed all republics to go own way with no chnges of borders of
any republic or kosovo and vojvodina, the two [in serb eyes only] serb provinces.

kosovo had not ever imploded, it was twice conquered by serbia; once ca 1250
and the second time in 1912.

not honoring own defeat in croatia ‘91-95, kosovo any time, and bosnia ‘92-95 is
not an implosion, but an legal and moral obligation.

there is just no way bosnia, croatia, and kosovo cld be divided humanely. serbs,
eg, have lived thruout croatia, bosnia, and kosovo; any division by whatever
method in these three lands wld have constituted a crime against humanity.

i also think that what i said this far is also valid for socalled “palestinian
implosion”—there wasn’t any as it was attacked and utterly destroyed by an
admixuture of noshemitic; i.e., having no connection whatever with hebrews or
judeans, peoples. tnx

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By Billy Pilgrim, July 4, 2011 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

“...it also has the scent of defeatism within it.”

Where have you been the past 3 years?  Hedges doesn’t
hide his sense of hopelessness in his writings. He
knows how desperate our situation is.  Doing nothing
is not an option. Something has to give.  Do you
really think Nader is on the other side of the
argument. I voted for Obama.  I was naive.  I voted
for Nader in 1996 because Clinton was a fraud. I will
never vote Democrat again. It’s time to wake up and
abandon the 2 party system. A viable third party is
needed. I doubt one will ever happen because of the
corporate control of government. Peaceful protest is
the only alternative.

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By madisolation, July 4, 2011 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

Hedges implores us to embrace the most important goal of all: severing ourselves from the government that is no longer of, by, and for the people. It’s hard to wrap our heads around this concept we were told to accept for as long as we can remember, but if we don’t do it soon, it will all come down on us like a hammer.
We have to finally realize that the people who are making the laws are illegitimate. They have hijacked our country. Why should we follow laws made by people who do not hear us, do not represent us, and do not even live in our society, but in a vacuum of wealth? They don’t deign to get their hands dirty by interacting with us, so why should we give them any credence at all? We should not, and therefore, the pro-corporate, anti-citizen laws that are making should not be worthy of consideration by us. Mentally de-legitimize them.
I can see how our governmental structure is going to break down, and it won’t be pretty. Let’s hope we’ll turn our anger on the officials who caused this state of affairs and not on one another. 
We must sever ourselves from these illegitimate poseurs at last. There are people out there to whom we can give our allegiance. We must find them and rally behind them. They’ll come forward if they know we’re firmly behind them. 
A good start is to turnoff cable news completely. Do not let them get a toehold into your mind. Read voraciously the insightful writers who point out the outrages and look into the future. People like Hedges, Greenwald, Ian Welsh, Justin Raimondo, Taibbi, etc. Don’t read blogs about the “lesser of two evils.” As for me, I am supporting the only person out there who—despite his muddled economic ideology—is anti-war and pro-Constitution. Others may not believe this is the way to go. More power to them.

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By Stopthemaddness, July 4, 2011 at 4:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great article. Dead on!

The only way to change the system is like the Mexicans did during their protest. They stopped going to work. The politicians changed their tune very quick. The politicians are controlled by the businesses. You want to change the government it needs to effect the corporations. All that needs to be done is have everyone not go to work for a day and demand things change. If they don’t, plan another day of not going to work. If this doesn’t work, stop paying into the system. what would the government do if a large percentage of the population said we are not going to pay taxes for a government that doesn’t represent us?

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By ardee, July 4, 2011 at 3:54 am Link to this comment

I have never agreed with much of the criticism of Hedges articles prior to this one. While it contains much of interest and much that is truth as well, it also has the scent of defeatism within it.

I think I’ll await Nader’s own opinions on this rather than a few cut and pastes, chosen, no doubt, to reinforce an opinion.

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