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Recognizing the Language of Tyranny

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Posted on Feb 7, 2011
AP

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

The Nazis, for whom the Holocaust was as much a campaign of plunder as it was a campaign to rid Europe of Jews, had two methods for greeting arrivals at their four extermination camps. If the transports came from Western Europe, the savage Ukrainian and Lithuanian guards, with their whips, dogs and clubs, were kept out of sight. The wealthier European Jews were politely ushered into an elaborate ruse, including fake railway stations complete with flower beds, until once stripped naked they became incapable of resistance and could be herded in rows of five under whips into the gas chambers. The Nazis knew that those who had not been broken, those who possessed a belief in their own personal empowerment, would fight back. When the transports came from the east, where Jews had long lived in fear, tremendous poverty and terror, there was no need for such theatrics. Mothers, fathers, the elderly and children, accustomed to overt repression and the language of command and retribution, were brutally driven from the transports by sadistic guards. The object was to create mass hysteria. The fate of the two groups was the same. It was the tactic that differed.

All centralized power, once restraints and regulations are abolished, once it is no longer accountable to citizens, knows no limit to internal and external plunder. The corporate state, which has emasculated our government, is creating a new form of feudalism, a world of masters and serfs. It speaks to those who remain in a state of self-delusion in the comforting and familiar language of liberty, freedom, prosperity and electoral democracy. It speaks to the poor and the oppressed in the language of naked coercion. But, here too, all will end up in the same place.

Those trapped in the blighted inner cities that are our internal colonies or brutalized in our prison system, especially African-Americans, see what awaits us all. So do the inhabitants in southern West Virginia, where coal companies have turned hundreds of thousands of acres into uninhabitable and poisoned wastelands. Poverty, repression and despair in these peripheral parts of empire are as common as drug addiction and cancer. Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and Palestinians can also tell us who we are. They know that once self-delusion no longer works it is the iron fist that speaks. The solitary and courageous voices that rise up from these internal and external colonies of devastation are silenced or discredited by the courtiers who serve corporate power. And even those who do hear these voices of dissent often cannot handle the truth. They prefer the Potemkin facade. They recoil at the “negativity.” Reality, especially when you grasp what corporations are doing in the name of profit to the planet’s ecosystem, is terrifying.

All tyrannies come endowed with their own peculiarities. This makes it hard to say one form of totalitarianism is like another. There are always enough differences to make us unsure that history is repeating itself. The corporate state does not have a Politburo. It does not dress its Homeland Security agents in jackboots. There is no raving dictator. American democracy—like the garishly painted train station at the Nazi extermination camp Treblinka—looks real even as the levers of power are in the hands of corporations. But there is one aspect the corporate state shares with despotic regimes and the collapsed empires that have plagued human history. It too communicates in two distinct languages, that is until it does not have to, at which point it will be too late.

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Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a weekly columnist for Truthdig. His latest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.”


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By Marc Schlee, February 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“By the time the Belgian monarch was done, some 5 million to 8 million Congolese had been slaughtered. It was the largest act of genocide in the modern era until the Nazi Holocaust.”

The author appears to be saying that a Congolese life is worth 3/5 to 3/8 of a Jewish life.

FREE AMERICA

REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY

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

redteddy, February 8 at 12:27 am,

There are only three (3) economic classes and cultures in the United States, the Elite Capitalists, the American Middle Class, and the American Common Populace and the American Common Populace, a 70% Majority of the entire population is the class and culture that is not represented in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order.

Middle Class is a trope.  A trope that represents the 20% minority Middle Class and is presented as representation of the Common Majority, but is actually false representation as a trope because only the upper 20% Middle Class are represented in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order.

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By aacme88, February 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

@ colin2626262

The world did end a long time ago. You just weren’t paying attention.

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By kerryrose, February 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

redteddy

Torture is against American law and International law supposedly because we profess to be more enlightened than we actually are.

Someone is knocking on our door, but, almost as if we have Stockholm syndrome, we ignore it, and rationalize it, or call for more (Tea Party).  Do you want more percentages and numbers to affirm?

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By kerryrose, February 7, 2011 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

redteddy

America has its hands dirty in corrupting politics all over the world.  I condemn you and your narrow mind.

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By Lewis Banelis, February 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges is thought provoking. People must think about
the world around them to effect any change in the status quo.
It is the first step and an important one to say the least.
BRAVO ! Chris Hedges.

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By redteddy, February 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

@Kerryrose “Americans.  Not till it knocks at your door. 49% of
Americans approve of torture in some circumstances and 72% of
Americans believe that torture should not be ruled out completely.
Obviously, Americans are living in a culture that deadens life.
Such a culture is in need of condemnation or transformation.”


Wow! I guess you’ll have to include many other cultures into your
world view as only 59% worldwide rejected torture under all
circumstances.  No one is truly concerned with any issue until it
comes knocking on their door or is a perceived threat.  There are
many issues in different countries that you would oppose, so I
guess you’ll have a lot of condemning to do.

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By MarthaA, February 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

What is a TROPE? 

Find out, because, along with propaganda’s emotional two choice rhetoric, TROPES are the language of tyranny and control of the common population.

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By redteddy, February 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

@Raylan “if they are so damning of the establishment haven’t yet
fomented revolution? Why do young people still sign up in
alarming number into the military? The medium is the message.”

Perhaps you should see ‘First Kill’, that’s a documentary about war
but its quite removed from politics, its about our inner compulsion
towards war and why we choose it.  It is not marketing alone or
political spin that attracts young men to war.  There are some who
thinks it will be like a movie and then there are those who think its
a way to get out of their mother’s home and find some
employment or education possibilities and then there are those
who go because their father, uncle and grandfather went.  My
husband is one who’s father, uncle and grandfather went to war,
all the way back to korea and yet not one man in his family spoke
to him about their experience.  If war is hell then why not dissuade
one’s child from entering its gates?  And I’m asking this seriously.
We have men who use military service as a rite of passage. We
want to blame the military and its lies and advertisement but
where are the mother’s and grandmother’s who saw their men
come home with PTSD?  Why are they not discussing this within
their family?  Telling their sons stories about it when they’re little
boys. And if its discussed and curiosity gets the better of one then
its on the person who signed up and believe me there are a lot of
these young guys who sign on because they are curious and there
wasn’t anything else better to do. Literally.  We have family and
community and yet we take no responsibility for our young men. 
We blame something or someone else and pretend as if our minds
are magically wiped clean generation after generation.

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By levinpsy, February 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

It is often suggested on this list that Chris has PTSD and that’s why he’s so negative, angry, pessimistic, depressed, etc.  These critics at first sound like they are being empathetic with Chris, but then they quickly reveal their true feelings by dismissing his body of work as the pathology of a person with a diagnosable mental illness.

A deeper, more constructive and accurate reading of Chris’ history would view his writing as the professional reporting of trauma as he sees it, and as he has experienced it. 

The opposite of your average war victim, Chris is a highly trained and accomplished journalist, which means he is better able than most to separate his own personal experience from the broader reality around him.  That’s what the very best journalists do. 

For the record, as a psychologist who routinely diagnoses PTSD, Chris shows no obvious signs in his public life.  His reality testing is excellent.  His relationships are meaningful.  His professional productivity speaks for itself. 

But the best evidence in Chris’ favor is that persons with PTSD are in denial about the trauma they suffered, and that’s why they have nightmares, or are prone to reenacting their traumas with innocent others.  To the best of my knowledge, at least in his writing, Chris is not in Denial! 

Indeed, it is Chris’ determination to write and speak the truth of the traumas he (and others of us) have suffered, which is allowing him to make the very best of the impossible circumstances he endured.  In doing so, he is doing us an enormous service, while surely helping himself as well.

That’s the opposite of PTSD.  It’s a profoundly productive mental health. 

Daniel Levin

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By kerryrose, February 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

redteddy

Americans.  Not till it knocks at your door. 

49% of Americans approve of torture in some circumstances and 72% of Americans believe that torture should not be ruled out completely.

Obviously, Americans are living in a culture that deadens life.

Such a culture is in need of condemnation or transformation.

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By RayLan, February 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

Mr.Hetherington
“the broken faces of young men at the end of the film as being somehow lionised.”
Yours is hardly the first overtly ‘anti-war’ film. In fact it’s another installment in a long series of such films. The mythology of war and the heroes courage in the face of tragedy (however broken-faced) is opium for the masses. The message of the great nation with a heart is essential to ensure compliant trust in the system. We should ask ourselves how it is possible that such movies, if they are so damning of the establishment haven’t yet fomented revolution? Why do young people still sign up in alarming number into the military? The medium is the message.

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By no mans land, February 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

@Tim Hetherington

“It’s hard to see the faces of injured Afghan children and believe it supports his interpretation, or to see the broken faces of young men at the end of the film as being somehow lionised.”

While I appreciate the sentiment and certainly agree that when faced with such images they have an impact, it doesn’t appear that you’re aware of how war films translate, particularly to those who should be listening. On a television screen, such images are from a nebulous netherworld that is too complex to spend more than 90 minutes thinking about. Face to face, I would agree with you. To see those children up close will affect anyone for better or worse.

That said, we on the left may look at antiwar films as confirmation of war’s futile brutality. Those in the service often consume such films through a far different lense though. They become a point of pride, comical or a validation of victimhood that justifies whichever antisocial impulse happens upon them. I’ve seen it too many times. I can’t tell you how many times, as a soldier, I watched war films with my ‘buddies’ that were designed to communicate the very things you try to only to see them integrated into the lexicon and immitated.

To this day, I still see and hear Soldiers repeating the lines from full-metal jacket as a statement of humorous pride. The brutality of Saving Private Ryan only made those who love war love it more. The Vietnam victim films like Hamburger Hill and Platoon were something to strive for, not flee. And few I’ve talked to ever tried to understand the deeper messages from films like Thin Red Line.

Nor do I think that the American public is as affected by these images as it used to be. So many have lost the ability to connect their support for a war with the images and consequences you depict. They divorce themselves from the image with cliched rationalizations on the nature of war. Like the soldiers who assign such films a different meaning, the broader American public simply translates that ugliness into another reason to ‘support the troops’.

Therein lines the lionization. We give lip service to being nonviolent while quietly appeasing it, longing for it, needing it. War is the greatest story ever told and large swaths of the nation are happy to indulge it from the comfort of their living rooms. It’s a collective game of gladiators. We are voyers of violence and in spite of your best intent, war films rarely, if ever, rise above the level of peep show.

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By MarthaA, February 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

TROPES are the language of tyranny.

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By AT, February 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

LANGUAGE OF TYRANNY INDEED.
-three penny opera poem and statement such’ as you are
65 not 35 or 45’confirmed gov.agent woksite visit some
times

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By SuperMike1661, February 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

@Kerryrose @redteddy

re child hunger

The history of rebellion is replete with EVERYBODY ignoring the needs of children. Now… 

If you want the Redneck to give a damn about something: show that the stock car races might NOT be on TV this weekend.

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By redteddy, February 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

@Kerryrose “WTF?

“There are 63 million children in American in 2009 census.  4 million is
intolerable for a developed country.”  “18.9 percent of children live in poverty,
but not all go to bed hungry.That is almost 20%”


Go back and read what I responded to.  Colin2626 said that as a nation we were not hungry enough to want a revolution. We were not that bad.  Well HE’S RIGHT! You come along and point out that four million children go to bed hungry in the US.  I mean
compare that to the 50 million children living in poverty in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.  If you compare it to say Egypt then no its not a lot, not enough for a full scale revolution.  Why do you think people from those populations who are mostly black and latino which is 46% and 40% compared to the 16% of white children are not out there calling for revolution?  Look at who is calling for revolution in the US and its not the poor, its either the fiscally paranoid Tea Party folk or the privileged intellectual classes. You don’t hear the middle-class calling for radical change do you?  Because I don’t.  As Hedges points out those disenfranchised communities are already accustomed to the brutality, the ones who would fight are the ones who would not put up with loss and mistreatment are those who have a feeling of entitlement and so until they are also suffering you won’t see anyone rallying around revolution and so no 4 million hungry children are not that much when you look
at the population of the US.  Hunger is not enough to bring on revolt an if it were enough North Korea would have toppled a long time ago.

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By MrWebster, February 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article puts into perspective the effects of the Jon Stewart “Rally” in a way.  Wasn’t his rally about the use of words at a very obvious and direct level?  And the attitude he adopted seemed one of passivity for the left. 

His definition of how language should be used denuded it from any implication of force, energy, honesty, and dissent. For example, in his Miss Manners act he declared that leftists calling Bush a war criminal was divisive and was not acceptable in polite company. He marginalized Code Pink in their protest against Patreus as not being able to speak the language of power to power for some mythical debate in which they could actually speak with him??. How would Stewart have reacted to those who committed civil disobedience during the Vietnam war and civil rights protests?

Hey, he even called Julian Assanges leaks nothing but gossip and attacked Assange personally as driven by ego and maliciousness.  all about good words and bad words.

Sort of interesting as I write this, Stewart has attacked those on left who are outside the accepted obedient norms of how one should talk to the power structure.  He just attacked Ed Schultz for shouting and for apparently the content of his shouting about republicans.  Hey, at least Schultz helped organize One America rally with grass root organizations instead of the professionl one done by Stewart.

I suppose all those people crying to tone it down ultimately mean to say “shut it up”.

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By kerryrose, February 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

Redteddy

18.9 percent of children live in poverty, but not all go to bed hungry.

That is almost 20%

I guess until your own comfort level is threatened it means nothing.

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By kerryrose, February 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

Redteddy

WTF?

There are 63 million children in American in 2009 census.  4 million is intolerable for a developed country.

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By redteddy, February 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

@Micheal Shaw “They did a whole lot more than simply cover up a friendly fire
incident, they used it to promote a war into a positive, heroic light, that what
we do in other countries, in this case Afghanistan is heroic and noble(while we
place criminals and drug dealers in charge of that state).”

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. How many wars of
past did this occur for folk to know that this is a component to wars and its
institutions.  When?  Of course they tried to turn a bad situation into an
institutional boon! Its called advertising and its being used now in every Go
Army or Marine commercial you see.  What is so new and interesting about
promoting war?  When have they not done this?  Didn’t you learn that they lie in
Vietnam?

What do you think Lord Tennyson was doing when he wrote “The Charge of the
Light Brigade”? It reads “not tho’ the soldier knew someone had blundered….”


“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

http://poetry.eserver.org/light-brigade.html

I do not pity soldiers who go off to war whatever their reason for going.  Once
you volunteer you are signing up to kill or get killed no matter the situation and
if you think you were doing it for the right reason and it turns out to be the
wrong reason well that is still on ones shoulders as one should make sure to
know why one fights ESPECIALLY when you are not drafted.

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By Gargoyle, February 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What to do?

Perhaps Egypt is the model, but would those who oppress the world along with their sycophants be any less brutal than Mubarak’s thugs? The deck chairs may well become rearranged in Egypt, but the Titanic is still destined for the depths.

What to do?

The lifeboats are reserved for the first class passengers, while the steerage class will be locked in the decks below.

What to do?

All would have been better served if the unsinkable ship had been taken out to sea and scuttled, before its maiden voyage, but the ship sailed and there was no turning back.

What to do?

Turning the great ship around would have been a difficult navigation, and would have required an enlightened consensus, or a riotous mutiny.

What to do?

Sing raucously, and joyfully.

“Captain Smith, when he got his load
Mighta heared him holl’in’, All aboa’d
Cryin’, Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.
Jack Johnson wanted to ge on boa’d;
Captain Smith hollered, “I ain’ haulin’ no coal.”
Cryin’, Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.
It was midnight on the sea,
Band playin’, “Nearer My God to Thee.”
Cryin’, Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.
Had them lifeboats aroun’
, Savin’ the women, lettin’ the men go down.
Cryin’, Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.
When the women got out on land,
Cryin’, “Lawd, have mercy on my man.”
Cryin’, Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.
Jack Johnson heard the mighty shock,
Mighta seen the black rascal doin’ the Eagle Rock.
Cryin’, Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.

Huddie Ledbetter, A.K.A. Leadbelly (Edited)

Screw the Bismarck, sink the Titanic. (It’s every man for himself.)

“, Savin’ the women, and the chillin, lettin’ the men go down.
Cryin’, Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.”

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By redteddy, February 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

@Gerard “his is not the language of reasoned discussion.  This is not the
language of nonviolent confrontation and resistance.”

It is grossly naive to pretend you can reason with the unreasonable or deal with
a violent system non-violently.  Pacifism or non-violence is a tactic not a way
of life.  One need not bow ones head and temper strong language and hopefully
everyone can understand that there does come a time when non-resistance and
non-violence just aids in ones victimization.  Remember it was the Jews who
didn’t think they needed to confront and resist the Nazi’s, they too believed
that you can address power with reason.  Do you see what has happened in
Egypt?  The peace movement is losing its momentum.  The limitations of their
force was reached when it was obvious they couldn’t force change after the first
week.  When Mubarak used his goons against the protesters on the street there
was a de-escalation.  Now the protestors are being isolated in the park, the
numbers are slowly waning, the non-protestors are eager for life to resume
normally.  The government has offered pension and public sector pay increases. 
They will throw crumbs at the masses and the protestors will remain isolated
and eventually defeated.  If they had stepped up their movement from the very
beginning then the government would have taken the threat seriously. Cause
let’s fact it after two weeks those protestors cannot camp out there forever
without the rest of society moving on without them.

@Queenie

Anyone who believes they know which way the wind is blowing doesn’t need to
wait around to see if their neighbor is feeling the gust too.  You act on the
information you trust and you join with others who share your alternative
vision.  I think its up to individual americans to take responsibility singularly or
in small groups that share the same vision, outside of that someone like
Hedges is pissing in the wind in terms of those who see him as ‘chicken little’. 
Another thing is this, what do you believe would happen if the larger
population did accept a negative scenario?  Do you think it would bring about
positive change?  It may well spur a reactionary conservative movement. Would
it bring communities together or create division as people become frightened
at their prospects? Be careful what you wish for.  Waking someone from out of a
dream into a nightmare may not bring about the results you are expecting.

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By SuperMike1661, February 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

WriterOnTheStorm

Bravo. You have neatly assessed Hedge’s “position”.

Yet I would say that his “function” is something else again: He is the unalloyed Opposition to the Empire.  His position is for us to hold in our hearts, but not to use with others who would be repelled by such purity.

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By SuperMike1661, February 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

WriterOnTheStorm

Bravo. You have neatly assessed Hedges “position”.

Yet I would say that his “function” is something else again: He is the unalloyed Opposition to the Empire.  His position is for us to hold in our hearts, but not to use with others who would be repelled by such purity.

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By willymack, February 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Remember algebra class? Remember when you had to graph certain quantities to derive a hyperbola or parabala? How about a sine wave?
History is like a sine wave, with recurring hills and valleys.
A case in point is the re-emergence of the Guilded Age, in which are the super-rich and the rest of us, with the super-rich at maximun positive, and the rest of us at max negative.
How long before the next cycle? What’s the wavelength?

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By Michael Shaw, February 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

as for not being shocked or interested in the Tillman story because…“covering up friendly fire is common in all wars and military institutions.” That might be so, but one point here is amiss. They did a whole lot more than simply cover up a friendly fire incident, they used it to promote a war into a positive, heroic light, that what we do in other countries, in this case Afghanistan is heroic and noble(while we place criminals and drug dealers in charge of that state). I’m not saying our troops don’t show heroics since in many instances they most certainly do, but to use this Tillman incident to glorify a war based entirely upon a bunch of lies is abominable.

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By SuperMike1661, February 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

gerard

I fail to see how we can even START to “cooperate” on non-violent projects if we cannot even name the most obvious devils that we need to “cooperate” against.

How can Opponents of the Empire claim moral high ground when they, for example, let stand without comment the PRC’s use of a Billion slaves for State profit?

The PRC’s use of slaves is central to the cooperating Empire’s plan for continued domination.  And the vast PRC-plantation is the key justification for that government’s ongoing and secret slaughter and imprisonment of its innocent, yearning people.

If Empire opponents can not even recognize and regularly act against this huge, omnipresent evil, it seems to me that they are lost.  Or put another way, if Empire opposition refuses to go after such a giant devil, how can the opponents justify going after ANY devil?

Help me with this. For it seems to me that the lack of programmatic coherence among the Empire’s opposition is the key to the opposition’s never-ending weakness. On the other hand, if Empire’s enemies could agree on the primary evils within the Empire and its tools, we might have a chance.

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By Michael Shaw, February 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

That film reminded me of an excerpt from an old Bob Dylan song, ....I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children….and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard rain gonna fall.

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By lewb, February 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

I see the hustle all around us.It’s everywhere.
It’s religion trying to get us to see God from their
viewpoint.It’s our government telling us things “are
getting better”. It’s corporate propaganda,“aka” ad-
vertising,“buy this,you really want it,you need it,
don’t you?”,of course you do. Doctors hustle us with
pills that the drug companies pay them to push.
  P.T. Barnum knew us better than we knew ourselves.
I have a theory that homo sapiens don’t fit into the
natural world.Eventually we will come to the same end
as all other species that don’t fit,extinction. But
perhaps,because we are mutations,we might yet find a
way to fit in the natural world around us.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, February 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hetherington,

Although I can’t comment on your film, remember that Chris Hedges is man
who somehow finds a way to interpret even such mercilessly anti-war pictures
as the Hurt Locker and the Thin Red Line as propaganda of and for the
corporate state.

One thing you can’t accuse Hedges of is nuance. His columns are a unique take
on what Richard Hofstadter originally called the “paranoid style” ; he has a keen
eye for the consequence of power without truly comprehending the complexity
of the machinery.

With regard to film, Hedges’ logic doesn’t seem to go beyond a simple
syllogism:

a) the corporate state seeks absolute control

b) films are made/sold by corporations

therefor,

c) all films are propaganda tools of corporate control

As far as Hedges is concerned, I’m afraid your film is the circus part of the
“bread and circuses” formula of state control.

This is not to say that Hedges’ basic argument— that seduction and coercion
are two sides of the same political coin—is wrong. But while it’s understood
that many of us are going to waltz right into the “death camp” of corporate
feudalism without the slightest resistance, you, I trust, won’t be one of them.

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By rainwave, February 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

Why does there always half to be an answer or a “solution”. What if there isn’t one
within our “steadfastness of false victory”

We are born and we are taken back to the earth. For there to be birth, there must
be death. There is no “ism” folks. No futurism,socialism, or any other scheme will
guide us through the threshold. Branded leaders who talk about enlightenment are
unaware of the of purgatory of limb and head that must be done. The treasure lies
with the dragon and we don’t even want to acknowledge that it is there let alone
dive deep into the abyss and kill it.

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By redteddy, February 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

@Kerryrose “4 million children go to bed hungry every night in America.”

Which proves his point.  4 million children out of 250 million isn’t a very
profound number.

@GuyMontag

Personally I didn’t find the Tillman story to be that shocking nor interesting,
covering up friendly fire is common in all wars and military institutions. As a
matter of fact if he hadn’t been a good looking lad who gave up over 3 million
$‘s to join it wouldn’t have been documentary material. Restrepo takes a
broader look at the war period.  I find it fascinating that people think that if the
population knew more about the institution that they would be turned off by it
and yet we have police corruption all through the ranks in some instances, and
violent behaviour on their part directed towards its own citizens and yet people
still join the police department and folks still have faith in the institution.

As for the CH’s article I don’t doubt his perceptions of what’s to come in the US
what I doubt is his urgency that its right around the corner.  I don’t think its
inevitable and I don’t think that the corporate elite are so organized that it
amounts to a giant conspiracy.  As long as people are dependent on the goods
and services provided by large corporations we are stuck.  Try turning your
back on one company for example and you’ll see how difficult it is.  For
example I’m heavily dependent in ordering goods online and then tried to
boycott Paypal and Amazon because of the Wikileaks, Assange affair, well
eventually it became impossible.  There was no alternative to Amazon and there
were too many other companies dependent on Paypal, so until we create an
alternative to corporate america we will more than likely remain dependent.  My
effort to keep up with the boycott was further impeded when it turned out that
Apple removed a Wikileaks applications from its products, I realized right away
that there was no way to boycott Apple.  What we need are alternatives,
something that challenges the mainstream otherwise the entire thing fails.  All
you have to do is check out a list of fair trade items and see how little it covers. 
Our entire lives from the gas we use in our vehicles, the food we eat, the items
we purchase no matter how limited all ties back to a large corporation.  We as
our politicians are already owned.  Hell even Michael Moore is dependent on
mainstream cinema’s and distribution companies to pass his message. So its all
right to talk about this system we have to escape but there is no way out
without its alternative.

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By , February 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yeah, well, Chris ... “And even those who do hear these voices of dissent often cannot handle the truth.”  Wait until it becomes evident universally that 911 was a false-flag operation.  You already know and write about the psy-ops.  The physical 911 evidence is overwhelmingly against the “official” made-up doctrine, but I suppose you’ve already checked out Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth?
Do so at ae911truth.org or check out the collapse of Bldg 7 or any of many other anomalies.

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By gerard, February 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Recognizing the Language of Despair,Disaster and Defeat:
  “makes no attempt”\
  “flagrant theft”
  “indiscriminate force”
  “lit up”
  “totally broken”
  “total disempowerement”
  “blind obedience”
  “pillage”
  “crushed”
  (citations of dark history)
  “brutal”
  “tyranny”
  “predatory forces.”
  “immese fortunes:
  “lavished”
  “shut out all debate:
  “flagrant injustice”
  “knows no limi”
  “all end up in the same place”
  “Potemkin fantasy”

Note:  This is not the language of reasoned discussion.  This is not the language of nonviolent
confrontation and resistance. 


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By gerard, February 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Recognizing the Language of Despair,Disaster and Defeat:
  “makes no attempt”\
  “flagrant theft”
  “indiscriminate force”
  “lit up”
  “totally broken”
  “total disempowerement”
  “blind obedience”
  “pillage”
  “crushed”
  dark historical examples
  “brutal”
  “tyranny”
  “predatory forces”\
  “immense fortunes”
  “lavished”
  “shut out all debate”
  “flagrant injustice:
  “nows no limit”
  “all end up in the same place.”
  “iron fist”
  “potemkin fantasy”
  etc. etc.


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By Queenie, February 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

There has to be a way of reaching people who “recoil at negativity”. Until those people are made to become aware of what will happen to their children and grandchildren in a harsher totalitarian state, then all we say here is simply not going to change the result.

There is a law that does not let states declare bankruptcy. That may change and if it does many will lose their state retirement. How many, I do not know but I can’t think of a state that wouldn’t jump at the chance to be out from under all that crushing debt, including payments to those who collect retirement benefits.

Could this be the tipping point? Would the threat of loss of income convince enough people to question authority? To look at “negativity” head on? Would enough people be able to face reality?

We live in a country where millions of people believe in angels, fairies, miracles or that the world will end in 2012 and that Climate Change is a hoax. And they still believe in the American Dream. What’s it going to take to wake them up? What language will reach them?

Or is it already too late.???

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By gerard, February 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

A few words on the “language of extreme despair”:
  “makes no attempt ...”
  “flagrant theft ...
  “indiscriminate force ..”
  ”’ lit up ’ ” ...
  “totally broken ..”
  “total disempowerment” ...
  “blind obedience .”
  “pillage ..”
  “crushed ..”
  (dark historical summaries of disaster)
  “brutal ..”
  “tyranny .”
  “predatory forces”
  “immense fortunes ..”
  “lavished ..”
  “shut out all debate”
  “flagrant injustice”
  “knows no limit ...”
  “all end up in the same place”
  “the iron fist”
  “Potemkin fantasy ...”
  etc. etc.
This is not the language of rational communication.
Neither is it the language of nonviolent action.
Think peaceable solutions. Speak peaceable solutions.
Carry out peaceable solutions.  Piece by piece, bit by bit, day after day, year after year.  All together now.

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By kerryrose, February 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

Restrepo

I have heard- just like embedded journalists- that embedded doc makers do not shoot without an agenda.  Maybe American soldiers have to function from their ‘hard-wired’ animal, because the aggressor’s purpose in fighting for hire stays basically on that level.

Perhaps if they had followed a group on the other side perhaps more than a ‘hard-wired’ killer would emerge.

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By thethirdman, February 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Tim:

I agree with you.  Nobody was lionized.  When I saw Restrepo all I could think
about was how pathetic it was to go out to the middle of nowhere to kill and die
for absolutely no reason at all.  A bunch of uneducated KIDS sent out to do the
bidding of powerful men back at home.  The soldiers tried to make some kind of
sense of it, but even they were at a loss.  You could see how broken they had
become.  It was a great film.  Thanks for giving us a closer look at the insanity of
it all.  One of the best docs I’ve seen in a while.  Congrats.

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By Betrayed, February 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

Chris…...the Empire today is mainly proceeding ahead from a particular story of the events of a single day.  Why do you and other seemingly concerned writers not question or write about that important and pivotal (Empire) story?

Here’s what the American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 53, March, 2010 is saying about that story:

http://www.markdotzler.com/Mark_Dotzler/Brief.html

And many others:

http://www.markdotzler.com/Mark_Dotzler/split.html

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By Mike Tuggle, February 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center gave a talk to student lawyers at Wake Forest Univeristy. Dees’ comments perfectly illustrate how liberalism serves the empire. What the empire does abroad, said Dees, is an example for its subjects to emulate:

“There are tyrants today that need confronting,” Dees said.

Sound familiar? That’s how George W. Bush rallied the nation to support his aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq.

And it looks like Dees’ message got through. One student got it: There is no higher calling than serving the regime’s enforcement machinery:

Bianca Hudson, a third-year law student at Wake Forest, said she was inspired by Dees’ speech. She is interested in practicing immigration law after an internship with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in New York.

“We are Americans,” she said. “We all need justice.”

When young people are convinced the Department of Homeland Security exists to advance the cause of justice, the language of empire had done its work.

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By Tim Hetherington, February 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Many people, including fluent commentators on the left, have found the exact the opposite of what Chris Hedges believes about my film ‘Restrepo’. It’s hard to see the faces of injured Afghan children and believe it supports his interpretation, or to see the broken faces of young men at the end of the film as being somehow lionised.

Phillip Giraldi at antiwar.com finds it a powerful indictment:

http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2011/01/12/a-look-on-the-wild-side

And Robert Fisk also recognized it as being one of the few pieces of media to actually show rare footage of civilian deaths and casualties:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-us-film-that-confronts-the-truth-about-afghanistan-2011042.html

On the topic of interpretation, I’m also aware, as someone who lived and worked in Africa for nearly a decade, that many Africans find Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ extremely racist and offensive - the grandfather of modern African literature Chinua Achebe, being the most vocal of all.

Unlike this article, perhaps truths in life are a little more nuanced.

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By gerard, February 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

If it is true that the real controllers are the 30 or so corporate managers of the world economy, and not the (hired) officials in governments, then it’s logical to work to educate and organize the rest of the millions (billions) of ordinary people and create ways to bring the two classes together as human beings and stop depending on governments.
  If it is true that the controllers’ power lies in their ability to use money and massive violence to quell violent opposition, then non-violent tactics would probably save many lives and perhaps, because of its non-confrontational tactics, avoid escalation.
  If non-violent tactics are to be tried, it is necessary to understand non-violence, how to use it, what to do, what not to do, when, why etc.
  If there is a possibility that non-violent tactics primarily involve replacing violence with communication based on a belief in the mutuality of being human and of reaching some reconciliation of differences, then opposing forces will need to meet with each other to work toward common goals.
  If any of this above is in any way practical and humane, before we start mass protest, wouldn’t it be a good idea to explore and find out whether there are any practical non-violent approaches to talking to each other across class barriers first?
  Ralph Nader and others more experienced than he in nonviolent action think so. Both the masses of people ignorant of such possibilities, and the elite power-controllers scared of being attacked—both must be reached and helped to learn, hope and work together in every way they can for voluntary peaceful change.
  People will not work together if they don’t talk to each other, if they despise each other, or if they each believe they are both 100% right.
  How about opening up closed channels of communication? Will the rich talk to the poor face to face? Will the poor talk to the rich?  If so, how, when and where?  If not, why not?
  Thought for the day:  There are probably at least a thousand people somewhere in the world who are capable of moving in this direction.  Who are they? Where are they? What is the missing piece of the puzzle?
  Question for the day:  What’s the alternative?

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By Alan MacDonald, February 7, 2011 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Hedges provides a compelling, and ‘hopefully’ a sufficiently shocking, article on the two faces of evil, the two faces of Empire, or the two faces of “The Unspeakable” as James Douglas uses in his consummate and deathly revealing, “JFK and the Unspeakable”, which details precisely what Hedges is describing here—- but all compressed into the single life and death of a most powerful and insightful individual who experienced the ‘change’ firsthand from the soothing language of Empire to its most extreme rebuke, as the then nascent global corporate/financial/militarist EMPIRE, posing as the US, was just flexing its harshest voice ‘at home’.

Hedges, of course rephrases at length and with supporting examples ‘abroad’ and ‘at home’, the lesson that Hannah Arendt learned and summarized in only 6 words from her own painful experience with the Nazi Empire, as a generalized lesson of all Empires:

“Empire abroad entails tyranny at home”

While Hedges’ message is both essential and accurate for the American people, here in the cancerous tumor of a disguised global Empire that is consuming the whole world, the incomparable level of psychological sophistication and 21st century power of guileful propaganda within this heart of Empire, this “Heart of Darkness’, and this “Empire of Illusion” (as he himself writes), makes broader popular analysis and understanding nearly impossible.

Today’s 21st century global corporate/financial/militarist (and media) Empire, which has now almost fully ‘captured’ our former country, by hiding behind the facade of its ‘bought and owned’ TWO-Party ‘Vichy’ sham of faux-democratic government, has divided, distracted, “entertained to death”, and otherwise blinded the vast majority of Americans—- far beyond the level of deceit that Goebbels and the Nazi Empire tried 71 years ago in the ‘captured’ and occupied territory of France with their Empire’s crude and thinly veiled propaganda ploy of a one-party ‘Vichy’ government facade.

Thus, while I am glad to see someone as influential as Hedges continue to bluntly expose, ‘call-out’, and confront this new global Empire, the most pressing issue in the carcass of our former country is to move from a level where only 2 or 3 out of every hundred Americans recognize that they are living on borrowed time in the belly of an Empire of Extinction, to a situation where a strong and healthy minority of informed and committed Americans are aware of this FACT—- and may have the courage to face our responsibility, not only to our own country, our own children, our own small fragile earth, but also for all people in this world. Because it is only in America that this ‘unsustainable’ American headquartered global corporate/financial/militarist Empire has any chance of being confronted before it continues its, unfortunately ‘sustainable’, killing spree.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine
“Democracy over Empire” party headquarters

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By rainwave, February 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Yes,
The kingdom is asleep. The corporate faeries have sprinkled their dust of
antidepressants and escapism to the point where the waterfall in the square has
stopped flowing. Who will be the dragon slyer to come and wake us up? Who will
dive deep into the abyss and grab the boon and return?

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By RayLan, February 7, 2011 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

LaFayette
“Yes; and so what is exactly a cogent rebuttal on your part?’

You’re wrong about the US being a democracy. That is central to CH’s thesis.
What kind of rebuttal is needed? That’s it. How am I supposed to prove to you that you are in illusion?
The country has been on a direct trajectory in favor of the oligarchy. All decisions have favored only it. The history is its own rebuttal.

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By kerryrose, February 7, 2011 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

colin2626262

‘No one is starving’

4 million children go to bed hungry every night in America.

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By kerryrose, February 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

As a teacher

The two voices is very familiar to me.  In public schools we speak of ‘sharing’ ideas, thoughts, opinions.  When students push ‘sharing’ past acceptable boundaries, which is not very far; it may be just speaking out or laughing or talking without permission, the nice equalizing talk ends pretty quickly.

At that point the dialogue of power takes over with it’s tone of command.  The students realize that although teachers call the mutual dialogue ‘sharing’ there is no question about the power structure and the nature of ‘sharing’ between the adults and the students.

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By balkas, February 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

and if the societal-governmental strucure: me
commander-u obeyer; me job giver-u job taker;
me educated-u uneducated remains, we can
expect only worsenings for takers and
improvement for ‘givers’.

‘givers’ in present u.s, structure of governance,
wld remain givers-commanders-knowers and
the rest wld remain obeyers, meat for wars and
exploitation.

and no change wld change anything for better
in such an evil settings.

first of all such set up must be changed. over
time- decades or centuries- waging of
nescience, poverty, must lessen to a degree that
wld offer us a chance to survive and even thrive
on this planet.

it goes without saying, that clerico-noble class
of lowlife wld never promote or even allow
necessary changes.
some people may have to bleed before the
addicted people to absolute power give it up.
tnx

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By Lafayette, February 7, 2011 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

RL: Dream on at your peril.

Yes; and so what is exactly a cogent rebuttal on your part?

Or, like so many Americans, are you looking for a scapegoat in the plutocracy that is leading you by the nose? Because you haven’t the courage to tackle the challenge as it should be.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to the freedom of his people. And, ultimately, he sacrificed it for that noble purpose.

He would not have whined his life away bitching-in-a-blog.

Look - put me on your SOB list, will you? (SOB = Scroll On By)

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By Lafayette, February 7, 2011 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Mo: Popular opinion, like your sacred “vote”, is irrelevant in this country.

And, so, your contribution to a solution is ...

Thought so - like so many other low-minded whiners, aside from bitching-in-a-blog, you have none.

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By mojada, February 7, 2011 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

No, Lafayette.

Bush v. Gore 2000: the ?Constitution does not even require that the popular
vote be ?counted.
Popular opinion, like your sacred “vote”, is irrelevant in this country.
In fact, the Constitution ?was expressly written to make sure that the wealthy
investor class will always call the shots, and that the general population ?would
never have any real leverage in government.
Take federal elections: the results of a popular vote can voided during the
primaries by party ?superdelegates. In the general, the population is
Constitutionally prohibited from directly voting for ?President and Vice-
President and so the Electoral ?College has an additional opportunity to override
the ?popular vote if the desire is there. Congress can then exercise the ?option to
override the Electoral College vote by ?accepting or rejecting said votes if it so ?
wishes. And finally, the Supreme Court can completely ignore the popular ?vote
and install the candidate of its choice. The Constitution grants the Supreme ?
Court so much power that just like a king or a dictator, its decisions are final.
No appeal allowed.
A broken system? Far from it. It’s a system working perfectly, just as it was
designed to do.
The solution? The people of Egypt are pointing the way.

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By RayLan, February 7, 2011 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

@colin
“If half the predictions Hedges has made in his columns had come true”
They have come true - your conlusions of how the results are supposed to look are false.
The world has not always had democracy - for centuries the known world was dominated by imperialistic rulers- it didn’t come to an end - it just perpetuated atrocities against human diginity.

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By RayLan, February 7, 2011 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

Lafayette
“But America is a democracy “
IMPALPABLE (PATENT) NONSENSE

This is the self-delusion of which CH speaks so eloquently and accurately.
Dream on at your peril.

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By COinMS, February 7, 2011 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

>> America is not and has never been and never will be Nazi Germany.  Sorry,
Mr. Hedges, I know you wrote a book about the “American fascists,” the
religious right taking the place of the SS.  Most people would say that’s
unlikely, or mabye just downright delusional. <<

Chris isn’t saying that America will become Nazi Germany. He is saying, I think,
that there are analogies between the two; similarities in the way people are
controlled. America is morphing into a totalitarian state that will be uniquely
American, as Sinclair Lewis said: ‘when fascism comes to America it will be
wrapped in the flag, carrying the cross’. If you don’t think that can happen you
are delusional. You should attend some mega-churches and come here to
Mississippi for a while, where most white people are flag waving bible toting
tea partiers. And not just Mississippi; the entire American South would fall into
lockstep behind the right kind of Christian as President.
As far as most people saying that something is unlikely or delusional, so what?
That’s what most Germans said when confronted with the excess of their
system. Since when do ‘most people’ really know what is going on anyway?

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By bogi666, February 7, 2011 at 9:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

26262….......You’re a sucker for happy talk propaganda of sociopathic-psychopathic-optimistic-psychobabble, refined by Reagan, but has been in existence since the 1920’s for the purpose of Manufacturing Consent as exposed by your favorite extremist Noam Chomsky.

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By davidtalks, February 7, 2011 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

Mr. hedges, the warning sign for me happened many years ago, in the 80’s. I will never forget the day when I read that the patent office had just given a pharma-firm a patent for a mouse, making a living animal a product.

Everyone else thought it was funny or profitable. As always, great article.

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By GuyMontag, February 7, 2011 at 8:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The narratives we hear are those fabricated for us by the state, Hollywood and the press. These narratives are ... celebrated in war documentaries such as “Restrepo.” ... the military… are lionized. ... And those who challenge this narrative—who denounce the lies—become the enemy.”

It’s ironic “The Tillman Story” was passed over for an Oscar nomination in favor of “Restrepo” (a less compelling film). Perhaps because the film certainly doesn’t celebrate the honesty of the top military leadership.

Neither does Kevin Tillman’s post, here at truthdig in 2006, entitled “After Pat’s Birthday.” 

“The Tillman Story” was released on DVD last week. See it.  It’s a great portrayal of the Tillman family and their battle for the truth.  But, the film is sketchy of detail. 

For more, read Mary Tillman’s “Boots on the Ground by Duck” (revised paperback with preview at blurb.com), Jon Krakauer’s revised paperback “Where Men Win Glory” (a flawed bio, but has details on friendly-fire death and Army cover-up), and “The [Untold] Tillman Story” at http://www.feralfirefighter.blogspot.com.

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By madisolation, February 7, 2011 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

colin2626262 writes:
“At some point, though, when everything you say is negative, it becomes clear that there’s a personal problem underlying the negativity, that he’s not being objective becuase he simply can’t help himself.  His mind is filled with death.  I almost feel sorry for the guy.”
This blog epitomizes what Chris Hedges is asserting. He underscores what Chris Hedges writes:
“And even those who do hear these voices of dissent often cannot handle the truth. They prefer the Potemkin facade. They recoil at the “negativity.” Reality, especially when you grasp what corporations are doing in the name of profit to the planet’s ecosystem, is terrifying.”

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By Lafayette, February 7, 2011 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

IMPALPABLE NONSENSE

CH: All tyrannies come endowed with their own peculiarities.

One begins to wonder if CH can write commentary without hyperbole.

The fact of the matter, CH, is that we, the people, elected those officials into office. Yes, perhaps they are toadies and sychophants of a Plutocrat Class that influences immorally (meaning purchases) their loyalty thus corrupting them.

But America is a democracy and, despite the inveterate bitching and moaning in this blog, the only appropriate solution is to un-elect them.

For that to happen, a constituency that is Fat, Dumb and Happy with their lot (despite the 9% unemployment) must be shown demonstrably that they are being manipulated for the sole purpose of enriching a select class of individuals. (Once again, I link the site proving, by means of some bona fide economic research, this contention here.)

If the grassroots of American politics (we, the people) are not committed to the Progressive Agenda, then no change can take place in America. And all the bitching-in-a-blog will be useless - aside from being as boring as dishwater.

That task is mind-boggling with difficulty amongst a population that has become accustomed to the Good Life. That is, one that constantly finds sustenance at the trough of Food and Entertainment - thus remaining manipulable by Sleek Sloganeering and Falsehoods.

Can over-eating make you dumb. You betcha, research finding confirm this fact. Can Media Manipulation occur via the TV. If not, why does the money spent on TV commercial measure in the hundreds of millions of dollars?

The Dumbing Down of America did not happen by accident. It occurred by our own predilection for mind-numbing Hollywood Pap for the Masses and Media Manipulation.

Instead of the slanging match between the Right and the Left, all words and no substance, can we not get down to the facts? Is that Mission Impossible in a country with some of the best means for fact-gathering, interpretation and getting the message across? I think not.

Or must we remain mired in the impalpable nonsense that passes for political debate? (Not necessarily the CH article of this forum thread, which nonetheless does go overboard too often. Advice to CH: KISS = Keep It Simple to Sell.)

POST SCRIPTUM

Consider this from WikiPedia about the Cost of Advertising in US Political Campaigns:

Cost of campaign advertising

American political campaigns have become heavily reliant on broadcast media and direct mail advertising (typically designed and purchased through specialized consultants).

Though virtually all campaign media are sometimes used at all levels (even candidates for local office have been known to purchase cable TV ads), smaller, lower-budget campaigns are typically more focused on direct mail, low-cost advertising (such as lawn signs), and direct voter contact.

This reliance on expensive advertising is a leading factor behind the rise in the cost of running for office in the United States. Which is considered by some to discourage those without well-monied connections, or significant personal resources, from running for office.

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By colin2626262, February 7, 2011 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

If half the predictions Hedges has made in his columns had come true, the world would have ended a long time ago.  It’s pretty obvious that he’s got some kind of post traumatic stress disorder from his war correspondent days and is projecting his death obsessed views onto his political analyses.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s more truthful than the average pundit, and he’s original, but good Lord, enough with the concentration camp analogies.  America is not and has never been and never will be Nazi Germany.  Sorry, Mr. Hedges, I know you wrote a book about the “American fascists,” the religious right taking the place of the SS.  Most people would say that’s unlikely, or mabye just downright delusional. 

He talks about courageous voices (he’s referring to himself presumably) and says they’re “crushed” and “silenced.”  Really?  I just saw Hedges talking about his book on C-span last year.  He writes freely, publishes his books, gives countless speeches.  Is he crushed or silenced?  I don’t think so.  Maybe he’s not on CNN giving interviews, but that’s because he’s a bit extreme, to say the least.  Look, he said in his book The Death of the Liberal Class that ten thousand years of civilization were about to come to a crashing halt.  In other words, the world was going to end.  And it was our fault.  Global warming, corporate pillage.  It was our collective suicide that has made the world end.  The world has already ended in his eyes.  I mean, I think it’s interesting to read his writing, but it’s somewhat akin to fiction rather than nonfiction, and I’m not trying to be derogatory in saying that since I do respect the guy. 

He’s right about corporate greed and the senseless wars.  But his apocalyptic views are difficult to take seriously.  I don’t blame him for being too “negative.”  At some point, though, when everything you say is negative, it becomes clear that there’s a personal problem underlying the negativity, that he’s not being objective becuase he simply can’t help himself.  His mind is filled with death.  I almost feel sorry for the guy. 

I think what Hedges and people like him really want is some kind of revolution here in America, like the riots that happen in other countries.  But no one’s starving here in America (yet).  The thing is, Hedges and other left wing extremists, like Chomsky, don’t want anything to do with any government.  They’re anarchists.  Hedges has spoken of a social democracy style government in this country, but that’s unlikely here when health care reform (which is still privatized) gets described as socialism.   

So I would just say, take what Hedges says with a grain of salt.  He’s right about some things, but in other things he goes overboard, and he seems to think we’ve all already jumped ship.

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By jerry kays, February 7, 2011 at 7:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am new to this site, came here direct from watching Chris on CSPN2 “BookTV” speaking at Powells in Portland, Ore. Everything he said resonated with me ! I will be following and plan on reading his books.

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By ardee, February 7, 2011 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Yet another stirring and pointed message from Mr. Hedges. I believe that this deserves repetion:

“The longer we believe in the fiction that we are included in the corporate power structure, the more easily corporations pillage the country without the threat of rebellion. Those who know the truth are crushed. Those who do not are lied to. Those who consume and perpetuate the lies—including the liberal institutions of the press, the church, education, culture, labor and the Democratic Party—abet our disempowerment. No system of total control, including corporate control, exhibits its extreme forms at the beginning. These forms expand as they fail to encounter resistance.”

It is not the machinations of the corporations that delivers us to this evil place. It is not the bought and paid for politicians abetting the goals of profit at all cost while enriching themselves whom we must blame. In the end there is only ourselves to blame for the condition of our democracy and for the brutalities we inflict upon the world.

All power resides with the people. Whether we choose to understand this is moot. That we turn our backs upon our responsibilities, that we fall victim to the calls from the right wing seeking to turn our attention elsewhere, name blameless victims as culprits, insist that we have the best of all possible governance and that we are threatened by “others” is, ultimately, our own fault.

We can take back our nation, just as the people of Egypt are attempting to do now. Yet we slumber, content to allow the lies to remain as truth only because of the silence in response to those lies. Turning ones back on the need to reform this nations actions is a crime against all humanity, as the corruption and greed of our ruling class brings suffering to all, within and without our borders.

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By expat, February 7, 2011 at 5:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with just about everything CH says here…

I was saying this 8 years ago when I left the US for good and never regretted it.

BTW… why anybody would remain on these wretched US awaiting slaughter is beyond me…  but anyway…

What’s missing though Chris in this discussion is:

WHAT THEN MUST WE DO?

We all know and sense what’s coming…

this Middle Eastern originated revolution must come to the west.  It must become global.

If we’re the “free world”, can’t we unseat all the scoundrels right away if there’s enough of us in the streets?  or will we soon have to heed the words of Jefferson and refresh the tree of Liberty?

Don’t organize, you will be infiltrated.  Act.

You know the targets.

Act.

Be creative,

and ruthless,

It’s all a house of cards, actually rather unstable and prone to toppling.

collateral damage is inevitable and actually necessary as a “waking the lobotomized” agent.

The INC. reaction will be even more repression and violence, which is fine since it will push more into the revolution fold.

If we don’t do it, our children will have to do it. 

Now is the time to hit… hard.

All of us, individually and collectively.

They are financially, politically, strategically and tactically on the brink… teetering even as they profess ad nauseam that “all is well and progress is being made”

Let’s give them a nudge.

What have you done today to fuck the empire?

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By rtb61, February 7, 2011 at 4:47 am Link to this comment

Now with the internet we are in a dangerous transitional era, where those psychopaths and narcissists with power will do anything to retain that power and avoid justice for the abuses they know they have committed.
To make that change whilst avoiding as much violence as possible. Nothing can be done to prevent the violence against those that seek socially conscious change but, real effort needs to be made to prevent it spreading, to smother it like an out of control fire, until those that would fan the flames of violence to retain power have spent their day in court and have had their power stripped and have been confined for the rest of the lives.

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winsome1's avatar

By winsome1, February 7, 2011 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

Here is UC Berkeley’s language of tyranny, stage 1:

“Operational Excellence (OE) is a campuswide program designed to ensure that the
excellence of UC Berkeley’s administrative environment matches its research and
teaching, and to direct the maximum level of resources to our core mission of
teaching, research, and public service. Our aim is to reduce the cost and
complexity of administrative operations, creating an environment that allows all
members of the campus community to do their best work.”

Those of us on the clerical fringes, who have been barely getting by on our
shrinking salaries for years now, or who have been brutally laid off, know better
than to listen.  OE’s latest “implementation” stage is upon us any day now.  This
time, some faculty?  Thus the need for the nice talk.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 7, 2011 at 4:01 am Link to this comment

It was good that Mr. Hedges made reference to Conrad’s “Heart Of Darkness” where there is this remarkable set of sentences: “The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea—something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice too…”

For myself, this is a great example of where literary art becomes a direct oracle commenting upon the insanity of the human condition. Historian have great difficulty with this, pragmatism trumps the horrible truth. Denouncing violence while practicing violence is standard procedure amongst the powerful. That is why it is not surprising that President Obama calls for a peaceful and orderly transition for Egypt, while he himself continues to order robot drone missile attacks on his “right war” in Afghanistan. Those who are caught up in reporting the news can not even see this contradiction.

Joseph Conrad had it wrong though about sentimentality. It is not a pretense, it is very powerful indeed. Look at the great sentimental myth that now deifies Ronald Reagan. Never mind the facts, remember the personal charm.

I have been told by people who lived under overt totalitarian regimes that when they heard or saw the news, they instinctively knew that most of it was propaganda. The majority of people in the U.S. do nothing of the sort. Distracted by spectacle and the desire for junk affluence, they have very little time to think about it, if at all.

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