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The Squandering of America

The Squandering of America

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Posted on Jan 23, 2012
Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

Our efforts must be directed toward acts of civil disobedience, to chipping away, through nonviolent protest, at the pillars of established, corporate power. The corporate state is so unfair, so corrupt and so rotten that the institutions tasked with holding it up—the police, the press, the banking system, the civil service and the judiciary—have become vulnerable. It is becoming harder and harder for the corporations to convince its foot soldiers to hold the system in place.

I sat a few days ago in a small Middle Eastern restaurant in Washington, D.C., with Kevin Zeese, one of the activists who first called for the Occupy movements. Zeese and others, including public health care advocate Dr. Margaret Flowers, set up the Occupy encampment on Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. They got a four-day permit last fall and used the time to create an infrastructure—a medic tent, a kitchen, a legal station and a press center—that would be there if the permit was not extended. The National Park Service did grant them an extended permit, and Freedom Plaza is one of the encampments that has not been shut down.

“We do have a grand strategy,” he said. “Nonviolent movements shift power by attacking the columns that hold the power structure in place. Those columns are the military, police, media, business, workers, youth, faith groups, NGOs and civil servants. Every time we deal with the police, we have that in mind. The goal is not to hit them, hit them, hit them and weaken them. The goal is to pull people from those columns to our side. We want the police to know that we understand they’re not the 1 percent. The goal is not to get every police officer, but to get enough police so that you have a division.”

“We do this with civil servants,” he went on. “We do whistle-blower events. We go to different federal agencies with protesters blowing whistles and usually with an actual whistle-blower. We hand out literature to the civil servants about how to blow the whistle safely, where they can get help if they do, why they should do it. We also try to get civil servants by pulling them to our side.”

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“One of the beautiful things about this security state is that they always know we’re coming,” he said. “It’s never a secret. We don’t do anything as a secret. The EPA, for example, sent out a security notice to all of its employees—advertising for us [by warning employees about a coming protest]. So you get the word out.”

“Individuals become the media,” he said. “An iPhone becomes a live-stream TV. The social network becomes a media outlet. If a hundred of us work together and use our social networks for the same message we can reach as many people as the second-largest newspapers in town, The Washington Examiner or The Washington Times. If a thousand of us do, we can meet the circulation of The Washington Post. We can certainly reach the circulation of most cable news TV shows. The key is to recognize this power and weaken the media structure.”

“We started an Occupy house in Mount Rainier in Maryland,” Zeese said. “Its focus is Occupy the Economy. This is the U.N.’s year of the co-op. We want to build on that. We want to start worker-owned co-ops and occupy our own co-ops. These co-ops will allow Occupiers to have resources so that they can continue occupying. It will allow them to get resources for the community. It will be an example to the public, a public where a high percentage of people are underemployed and unemployed although they have a lot of skills. People can band together in their community and solve a problem in the community. They can create a worker-owned collaborative of some kind. They can develop models of collective living.”

“We looked at polling on seven key issues and found supermajorities of Americans—60-plus percent—were with us on issues including health care, retirement, energy, money in politics,” he said. “We are more mainstream than Congress. We aren’t crazy radicals. We are trying to do what the people want. This is participatory democracy versus oligarchy. It’s the elites versus the people. We stand with the majority.”

The Washington encampment, like many Occupy encampments, has had to deal with those the wider society has discarded—the homeless, the mentally ill, the destitute and those whose lives have been devastated by substance abuse. This created a huge burden for the organizers, who decided that they were not equipped or able to deal with these wider, societal problems. The encampment in Washington’s Freedom Plaza enforces strict rules of behavior, including an insistence on sobriety, in order to endure through the winter and ensure its own survival. Other Occupy movements will have to do the same.


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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 11, 2012 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

DN! = Democrat Network!

DN!, NPR (the National Propaganda Radio) and PBS (the Propaganda Broadcasting System) all provide soft sell seduction for the devious faction of the corporate party.

They get weak minded and weak willed people to accept what retrograde Republicans want when depraved Democrats do it.

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

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By Aquifer, February 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

vector,

I used to feel that way about DN, but not any more - Amy will do her share of critiquing, but when push comes to shove she won’t do anything which she thinks might seriously threaten BO.

Much into identity politics, she was euphoric when Obama was elected - and she will go just so far in rattling his cage. She had Anderson on, but i suspect that’s because she figured he wouldn’t pose a threat. The GP will be on a lot of ballots, and Stein is a great candidate - so i don’t think Amy will feature her, but that remains to be seen, i suppose .....

In the months before the election in ‘08 I was sending many e-mails with citations pointing out connections between Obama and the banks, Rubin, et.al. - asking her to cover the story - she never touched the issue. That told me a lot right there ...

2 years ago she had the opportunity to interview the Green candidate for governor - never did and this time around she has yet to interview the Green candidate for Pres,, Jill Stein.

I think she was better some years ago when DN was still lean and hungry - back in the firehouse studio. Now, in their new digs, with all the fancy hi-tech equipment, and her appearances on the MSM, she has something to protect, becoming more “respectable” (I watched as her hair and clothing changed and her makeup) - and has pulled in her horns, IMO

It used to be that for “only” $1000 donation you could sit in the studio for one of her shows and have dinner with her. The last i heard the price has gone up to $2000 ...... Guess she won’t be dining with the 99% ..

Watch and see - she could do so much to help a progressive challenger and give a real boost to progressive politics, but i suspect she will do little or nothing in that direction. It is all well and good to critique the admin, but if, at the end of the day you leave folks with the impression there really is nowhere else to go, what’s the point? You get great audience ratings and lots of donations, but you have done nothing really to advance the cause ....

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vector56's avatar

By vector56, February 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

“Ignore the Newt-Mitt-Rick-Barack reality show. It is as relevant to your life as the gossip on “Jersey Shore.””

Not only do I agree with the above comment, I think it is a problem that runs a lot deeper then MSNBC, Current TV and so-called “Progressive” talk radio (Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes, Ed Schultz).

Democracy Now and The Alyona Show (RT) allow me to maintain what is left of my sanity in this $1.99 world (for God sake, just say $2)!


Other then FireDogLake, most if not all left tilting blogs I have visited all seem to mimic the MSNBC corporate “Newt-Mitt-Rick-Barack reality show” model: Daily Kos being the most obvious.

Crooks and Liars take up 85% of their blog space pushing GOP gossip: don’t take my word, check it out for yourselves. Don’t get me wrong, C&L is a good blog, with good people, but like too many left blogs they have decided to join the Corporate Media and homogenize their message.

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By Lumpenproletarier, February 3, 2012 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

chris1203,

Pastor Hedges and his lawyers are indeed capable of making mistakes; his columns are littered with distortions and half-truths. What you need to realize is that His Holiness doesn’t really care about the truth. What he cares about is his fan base, and how many books he sells.

Try and contact him directly, and you will discover the truth about what he cares about.

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By chris1203, February 3, 2012 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Chris, please clarify something:

I have read that you are suing Obama and Penetta because of sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA. Yet Ron Paul introduced a bill repealing section 1021, and Obama referenced section 1021 in his signing statement. So a lot of articles either condemn 1031, 1032 or 1021, 1022. I find it hard to believe that you and your lawyers could have reference the wrong section, so could you clear this confusion up for me? (Great article, by the way).

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By Aquifer, January 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

John H,

i think you hit the nail on the head - the problem is that when it counts they choose party over principle for the sake of “keeping their seats”.

The Dems demonstrated that with respect to Kucinich in ‘08 - he dropped out of the Pres race, where he was causing consternation to the point of being kicked out of the debates, to defend his own seat in a Dem primary against a well funded Dem businessman - you can only guess where that money was coming from. He got read the riot act on Air Force One - “Look, Dennis, you can make all your speeches in Congress and introduce all the bills you want to put smiles on the faces of the prog base, but when it comes to actually posing a threat to the party’s agenda, you have to shut up and sit down.” And he did ...

They know the power of the machine - and they won’t buck it, not for “principles” in any case - so what good are “prog” Dems ...

It is indeed sad, but has been demonstrated so often that i think we do have to cut the umbilical cord which, instead of a lifeline, has proven to be a heavy anchor on a short chain in deep water - before we drown in the detritus which is pretty much all that’s left of the Dem party ...

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By Lumpenproletarier, January 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

“I have never sougth to be objective.” - Chris Hedges, in his new book “The World As It Is”.

Perhaps he should have titled his book “The World As I See It”.

I have enjoyed Hedge’s work over the years, but taken as a whole, it’s quite clear that he has an agenda. I would not be surprised to learn that he has ambitions for political office.

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By John H., January 27, 2012 at 5:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Aquifer,

I’m with you re: the more progressive Democrats.

I’ve been calling for the Progressive Caucus of Democrats (Kucinich, et al) to make the decision as a group to LEAVE THE DEMOCRATS and either go Independent, join the Greens or ____, or form a party of their own. After all, since they’re all incumbents, if their constituents like them, they’ll almost definitely vote for them! It works for Bernie Sanders…

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By Aquifer, January 27, 2012 at 12:28 am Link to this comment

Laf,

“Then they haven’t been working hard enough.”

Shucks, if they work any harder,  they could get Reagan elected as a Dem, or have they done that already .... Is it the level of their effort that’s the problem, or the direction?

“that can happen by getting more progressives elected to Congress.”

Well as long as WS is the moneybags of the party, that ain’t gonna happen. Look I used to believe that line, too and worked for Kucinich in the ‘04 primary and routed for him in ‘08, But then a funny thing happened - Air Force One and “the last man standing” with regard to his signature issue, single payer, sat down and promptly supported, and even lobbied his prog colleagues for, the passage of a healthcare bill that he had denounced shortly before as a giveaway to the insurance cos. And why did he do that? As he himself said, for “the good of the party”. So the bottom line is, what is the point in getting prog Dems elected when, when push comes to shove and the squeeze is on, they fold like a house of cards. That was it for me. As long as progs are Dems, beholden to the Dem machine for their funds, they will toe the line when “the party” calls, or do you think Kucinich is a poor example of a prog Dem?

“even today’s 83 progressives in the HofR would like to change the party. It needs renewal badly, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

The baby drowned some time ago, even CPR won’t revive it .. Hey it’s OK to mourn, but it is time for the funeral and time to move on (no, not Move-On) Time’s a wastin’ and we have wasted too much already ....

An indy prog caucus would defy Obama, a Dem prog caucus won’t - they have proved that a number of times.

Lumpen,

“What a waste.”

Man, you got that right - Obama was a wasted vote indeed. We need to stop wasting our votes on the likes of these guys ....

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By LorenzoGonza, January 26, 2012 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic:
When I say that a congressman decision is for his own advantage, I mean that his decision is CONTRARY TO THE COMMON GOOD. This is why we end up with a few persons (1%) extremely rich and the rest (99%) becoming increasingly poor; and the latter is itself a proof that our votes are worthless.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, January 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

The function of the corporate party’s really retrograde Republicans is to scare sheeple into fear-filled foolishly voting for the corporate party’s deeply depraved Democrats.

The function of the corporate party’s deeply depraved Democrats is to either moderate into ineffectiveness or murder any people’s movement that threatens to systemically change the corporate-state.

There are no good Democrats.

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

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By Lumpenproletarier, January 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

Aquifer,

Where did all of Obama’s supporters disappear to? I posit that once they got him elected, they sat back and waited for their lollipops. When they didn’t get one, or get the right flavor, or someone else got two, they puffed out their lips, stamped their feet, and bellowed “He’s not my friend!”.

Hell hath no fury like a Liberal spurned; now it seems that to be a good Liberal, one has to hate Obama, throw up ones hands in disgust, and say “I’m not even going to vote this time”.

What a waste.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, January 26, 2012 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Kibit: Humanity is faced with a systems error.

Yeah, right - and you’re a humanity systems analyst?

Come off your high horse. Yes, go elsewhere with your nonsense.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, January 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

Aqui: Folks have (supposedly) been trying for years to “change” the Dems, but a funny thing seems to be happening - the more they “change” the Righter they go.

Then they haven’t been working hard enough.

The Dems must move Leftwards and that can happen by getting more progressives elected to Congress. Any notion of a “third-party” of progressives will simply sink the Obama presidency - and we’ll find ourselves with a Replicant in the White House.

How will that result be a benefit for America, when so much reformation is necessary to put back on track? Particularly as regards the subject of Income Disparity, the one issue that bothers most Americans most. (Because of those unemployed, they are certainly not 1 per-centers.)

Besides, even today’s 83 progressives in the HofR would like to change the party. It needs renewal badly, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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By Aquifer, January 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

Lumpen,

“If one is on the Left, and wants to engage in meaningful work for change, then participation with the Democratic Party is the most logical, and most likely successful, mode for individuals to effect real change.”

I think there are a few typos there - should read “least logical” and “least likely” ....

Folks have (supposedly) been trying for years to “change” the Dems, but a funny thing seems to be happening - the more they “change” the Righter they go. So instead of trying to “change” them, maybe we should just “flush” them.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of, well, you know ...

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By Lumpenproletarier, January 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

I second the notions of 3am Mystic.

If one is on the Left, and wants to engage in meaningful work for change, then participation with the Democratic Party is the most logical, and most likely successful, mode for individuals to effect real change.

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By 3am mystic, January 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

Chris, your views and your writing lure me in.  But I approach them the same way I approch my scripture and book reading each morning at 3:00 am; that is, I take a walk on a higher plane before I walk out my door into a universe of imperfection.  It is there I must live.  Imperfection is an integral part of life.  So I take the pieces of perfection that I gain from others whom I read and use them to help me uplift and put together those pieces of the daily puzzel that seem worth the effort.

That is how I approach the Democratic party and President Obama.  No, they are not perfect. And yes, President Obama takes corporate money.  And that angers me just like it did when Bill Clinton took their money.  And I am certainly not going to fall for the line, “Well, we have to take it to beat the Republicans at their own game”.  But after all that, the only one I see who is trying to bring pieces of perfection into a broken society is President Obama.  To simply let the Republicans have another chance at scattering and punishing those who cannot take care of themselves would cheapen any voice of concern we may claim to have.

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By heterochromatic, January 26, 2012 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

ardee—- sorry then, I thought

“I love the Green Party but it is too far left to unite the people.”

meant wrote I wrote that it meant.

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By elisalouisa, January 26, 2012 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

I agree kibitzer, there is no ‘fixing the system’ within the context of the system. The systems error you mention is within. That is what must undergo a change, a correction if you will.

If your journey leads you to interesting sites please share.

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By kibitzer, January 26, 2012 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

I am apparently on the wrong site, with ‘truthdig’ people, so I’ll take my
message elsewhere; but one last time, for the record:

There is no ‘fixing the system’ within the context of the system.  Humanity is
faced with a systems error.  The answer to the future on the planet for
humanity (and therefore for the planet itself) is to do away with the interest-
bearing money system, of sharing goods and services with one another, and
substitute it with a higher motive for human endeavor than the profit motive. 
And that requires humanity to wake up to the larger context in which their
souls are currently experiencing material life.

For you don’t REALLY want the moneychangers running the world, do you??  So
wake up to the times, which are a’changing.  And good luck, on your individual
paths in life.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, January 26, 2012 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Peter White:

“I love the Green Party but it is too far left to unite the people.”
___________________

Too far left?

That’s a false perception perpetuated by the corporate party’s anti-socialist (D) dedicated liberals. If the Green Party was anywhere near as Left as it should become, it would then be a lion — not the lamb that it is.

The longer the natural people unitedly continue to majority support the corporate (R) & (D) party’s sociopathic policies the more horrifically radically Right the growing global problems’ solutions will become.

The Green Party’s positions have been, and still are, simply sane and sensible proactive solutions to stop the cancer-like progress of corporatism, and begin the necessary transformation required to provide some possible prospect for future generations to have a future.

The reason that liberals refuse to be Greens is that then they would have to support good solutions, instead of capitulating to evil continuums.

Our children could possibly survive, if there weren’t so many Democrats.

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

The “Principles” of Liberal Voters:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=491&Itemid=1

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By peterwhiteforcongress, January 26, 2012 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

I am concerned that if we don’t occupy the elections then the same politicians will be re-elected and the rich ruling elite will stay in power and squash our movement.  The only way to mobilize the 99% is through their power as voters - only a fraction of We the People will be involved in occupy protests.  Jill Stein is a shining light for humane change, and if we don’t help her campaign and the efforts of other progressive candidates then we will be stuck with Obomba or some Republican and the corporate puppets in Congress and the fascists will grow their power.

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By ardee, January 26, 2012 at 4:02 am Link to this comment

heterochromatic, January 25 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

ardee~~~~~ give the guy a break. he didn’t say that the Greens were too radical
for HIS taste, just that of the Mass electorate.

Errr, no he did not, at least not in the post I responded to. I can only opine on what is written ( typed) not what was supposedly meant.

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By munky, January 26, 2012 at 12:56 am Link to this comment

Obama is not just a hostage to corporations, but a WILLING hostage. Thanks, Mr. Hedges, for another insightful article. I need to get arrested too! It’s time!

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By cclauson, January 26, 2012 at 12:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Worker owned coops, I think, are a very, very good idea.  It’s easy to experiment with alternative systems of social organization (IMO) when the overall goal is just to occupy a park.  It’s much harder when the goal is to create economic output.

If they can organize people in a way to produce things outside the corporate system, then I think that that will be a huge step forward.

Hell, now I want to join…

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By heterochromatic, January 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

Lorenzo——let me start by saying that this latest comment from you (and I hope
you’ll forgive my {continued} presumption) a heck of a lot more substantial than
the previous couple…..

~~~~”....his decision almost always is for his own advantage. That is why our vote
is worthless ....” ~~~

but you’re still stuck on this point…... you have to get really deep into the thing to
show just HOW it’s to his own advantage…..and whether that necessarily is in
conflict with the best interests of the constituency…. before even attempting to
use that as a partial proof that “our votes are worthless”.

hang in Lorenzo.

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By LorenzoGonza, January 25, 2012 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic:
Maybe a congressman can have more decision power but the fundamental problem is that his decision almost always is for his own advantage. That is why our vote is worthless as it is described in this article. That is why we must not elect someone to take decisions for us, but instead we must take our decisions directly without the “help” of a congressman.
So, to go in that direction we must complement the existing representative democratic political system with direct democracy creating a political party that will allow us to decide directly (online) in the issues that affect the country. This new party will empower its members to vote online about the topics that will be discuss in Congress, then the congressmen of this party will follow EXACTLY the directly democratic resolution expressed by its members on the party homepage. For example, if a pending bill is supported by 70% of party members and is opposed by 30% of party members on the party website, and the party has 10 seats in parliament, then 7 congressmen would support and 3 would oppose the bill.
THIS IS REAL PEOPLE POWER. THIS IS REAL CHANGE INSTEAD OF WORTHLESS PROMISES.
Those citizens who are NOT willing to delegate power to a congressman will register and vote for the list for congressmen of the direct democracy party since the congressmen of this party are obliged to follow faithfully what members of the party want as explained above.
Those citizens who prefer to delegate power to a congressman can continue with the current system of traditional parties either because they prefer or because they do not have the electronic capabilities to send their own decisions.
As the role of the party’s congressmen is to accurately reflect the wishes of party members, citizens who will integrate the list for Congress could be chosen by lottery among the party members who expressed their desire to serve as delegates, that is, any ordinary citizen can be a congressman.
Similar parties already exist in UK and other countries.
Please see: http://paparty.co.uk/index.html

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By vector56, January 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is an old expression that asks us to “follow the money”. In the case of “Citizens United” if one were to follow the lion’s share of the untraceable, funds being dumped on our political system most if not all roads would lead to the Corporate Media.

Television (broadcast and Cable), Radio, Newspaper and Internet ads are the abyss into which “millions” of citizens and Corporate dollars flow. While the Corporate media modestly pretends to be neutral; in reality, they are the true “King makers!” Back during the last presidential debate MSNBC decided that Dennis Kucinich would no longer be allowed to participate in the debates. Kucinich took them to court, got an injunction; a judge imposed a fine on MSNBC (if they would not allow Kucinich back in the debates). MSNBC paid the fine, but did not let Kucinich back into the debates.

The above is only the tip of the iceberg; countless viable candidates have been rendered “invisible” by the mighty Corporate Media. They decide what voice we will hear; what questions and topics will see the light of day! Most politicians fear them; while filling their coffers with millions.

OTCM (Occupy The Corporate Media); instead of waiting for them to come to us with their cameras to make us relevant, we should show up at their door steps and not leave until our public airways are back into the hands of the public. At the same time we should Occupy the FCC! Keith Olbermann thinks that OWS’s “mic-checks” went too far; I say “to hell with Olberman! Anything that works fake liberals like Oberman, want to remove. They are being pay good money to “talk the talk” of liberalism; but usually discourage us from “walking the walk!”  MSNBC, Current TV, Progressive Radio and most establishment Liberal blogs (Kos, FDL, C&L…) spend 90% of their air time and blog space misdirecting us with GOP gossip. What did “Newt, Mitt, Rick,... say today!”

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By Aquifer, January 25, 2012 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

I think it rather ironic, to tell you the truth, to sanctify Occupy and at the same time diss the concept of electoral politics, especially when there is a candidate with a platform that fits Occupy like a glove.

Occupy is resisting electorsl politics, but i think sooner or later it will come to understand that it would be useful indeed to have an electoral arm - and the way to go about that is to either build its own - it already seems that something like a “platform” is emerging - or to look around and wee if there isn’t one out there that meets its needs.

At this point it seems to me that the basic Green platform and at least the current candidate, Jill Stein, would fill that bill. You don’t have to “join” a party to participate, IMO, just decide that you want to put SOMEONE in office who represents you.

Why not check out

http://www.jillstein.org/

at 8:30 tonite for a new take on the SOTU

What the heck, you have nothing to lose, and just maybe, a lot to gain ...

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By Aquifer, January 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

Dave,

It sounds to me like Peter already IS a part of the movement - he’s holding a house party for Jill Stein, for Pete’s sake!

I am in his camp - a registered indy who is stumping for Stein and who voted for Nader X 4. Why is it necessary to be a card carrying member of a party?

As an indy you don’t carry the baggage that any party inevitably accumulates and you don’t have to worry about party “loyalty” or get involved in party politics - you are free to evaluate the candidate on his or her merits. I am for Stein because i have seen and listened to her, and think she is the real deal, not because I am a “Green”.

Granted, candidates need organizations and funding but that can be done without being formally registered. If Peter is supporting a Green candidate, and you have “vetted” Peter and his positions are suitably “Green” maybe you can support him, too, even if he isn’t a “registered” Green. I think the GP would do itself a big favor if it opened itself up to this idea ....

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By Donna Fritz, January 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Here’s a great round table discussion on the future of the Occupy Movement. Participants include Michael Moore, Chris Hedges, Kevin Zeese, Dr. Margaret Flowers, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, & Jimmy Holovat.

http://blogs.revolutiontruth.org/2012/01/22/revolutiontruth-panel-occupy-2012-battle-for-our-freedoms/

Excerpt (from 38:30) -

CHRIS HEDGES: The fact is, there has to be an astute study of how power functions in this country. And the personal narratives of candidates, which is essentially the only thing politicians offer us in our election cycle, is political theater. It’s irrelevant; it doesn’t matter. And we’re very skillfully manipulated into voting on how we feel. We confuse how we’re made to feel with knowledge. And Obama did it very well and the people around him did it very well.

But the fact is that there is no way in this country, no matter who you vote for, to vote against the interests of Goldman, Sachs; There is no way in this country to stop the imperial projects that are hollowing the country out from the inside; there is no way to control the criminal class on Wall Street, whether you’re Republican or Democrat.

And I think for that you have to look at—I mentioned Wolin’s book [Democracy Incorporated], probably the best—but you have to begin to study how power works and not focus on individual personalities… I come out of seminary. Not only is everybody, finally, all human life is sacred, even the lives of your enemies. Yet at the same time, to think that we are going to appeal to somebody who has cravenly served those systems of power as a Barack Obama, is extremely naïve. The game of politics is the game of pressure, and we have to put that pressure on them. I mean, Saul Alinsky wrote about this in Rule of the Radicals. That’s just good politics, good organizing. And we have to operate from a position of strength by building this movement. We’re beginning to show our hand.

I watched all, for instance, the communist government in Czechoslovakia and the communist government even in Romania under Ceausescu. As soon as they realized what they were facing, they were sort of offering one concession after another – pay raises, I mean you name it, anything to try and buy off the opposition. It didn’t work… It’s a matter of we can’t make demands until we have a position of power… It’s a matter of weakening those columns, weakening the structure by drawing people to our side. I think that’s precisely the tactic. And because we’re non-violent, because we don’t demonize, because we don’t use the language of hate, we don’t use the language of violence, I think that is where we take the moral high ground. And we recognize the humanity, even of our oppressor. But at the same time, I don’t think we
should be naïve and appeal to the oppressor.

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By heterochromatic, January 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Elko~~~~ which reforms from FDR have been removed?

You talking about the Banking Act of 1933 ?

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By ElkoJohn, January 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

Do your research. Watch the videos & look at the pictures from the Great
Depression of the 1930’s. Keep in mind that there were lots of recessions and
financial meltdowns before the Great Depression of the 1930’s. It was then and
only then that people stood up to the government, and FDR was able to put in the
reforms that saved predatory capitalism from it’s own self-destruction. 80-years
later, the 2-major political parties have removed all those reforms. Eventually we
will have another Great Depression. Then and only then will enough people rise up
to challenge predatory capitalism again.

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By robjira, January 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Forgive the blasphemy, but jesus-effing-chee-rist,
Chris you’re about as right on as I’ve read so far.
Thanks especially for underscoring that our political
process can be hardly democratic, or representative,
when less than half of the eligible electorate
participates in any given plebiscite.

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By Dave Schwab, January 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Peter, I’m just asking you to consider the invitation… I think we could do good work together smile Good luck to you!

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By peterwhiteforcongress, January 25, 2012 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

Thank you David, I am honored by the invite!  “The People United Will Not Be Defeated” is my goal, and perhaps being involved in “Independents for Jill Stein” will help more?  I’ve tried the third party route since the Citizens Party of 1980, and maybe the Occupy movement, the Greens, the independents, PDA, and yes even the Tea Party locals can come together to flush Congress and the two-party corporate Goliath…

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By Dave Schwab, January 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

Peter, As you may recall, when Jill Stein ran for MA secretary of the commonwealth, she earned 18% of the vote against the Democrat, and that’s with a lot less money and organizational muscle. As we get more organized and run more candidates like Jill Stein, Howie Hawkins, Rich Whitney and Laura Wells, more people will cast off the lose-lose duopoly and see that there’s nothing radical about being Green. As a Green, you would have a ready pool of volunteers and supporters, and you could help us organize to the point where we could elect clean-money Greens all over Cape Cod, MA, and the US. I’m not trying to argue with you, I’d just love to have you as part of the movement to bring about this kind of change!

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By diamond, January 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Not voting only helps the right to win, since their most fanatical supporters will ALWAYS vote even though they do everything they can to make progressives and moderates despair and not vote. It’s a game they’ve been playing for decades.

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By heterochromatic, January 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

ardee~~~~~ give the guy a break. he didn’t say that the Greens were too radical
for HIS taste, just that of the Mass electorate.

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By peterwhiteforcongress, January 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

I’m sorry to offend any Greens because I’m not a card-carrying member!  In MA the Green-Rainbow Party only gets about 1% of the vote, but over 50% of all voters here are unenrolled independents, so my grassroots democracy key value moves me to try to represent their preference.  I will work for Greens and progressive independents and I’m holding a house party for Jill Stein’s campaign tonight.  Don’t shoot the messenger!

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By ardee, January 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

peterwhiteforcongress, January 25 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

I love the Green Party but it is too far left to unite the people.

Care to illuminate this Green as to what you find so radical about the Green Party platform?

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By heterochromatic, January 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

good luck, peter…..


(and take a look at the wording of your voter pledge…... it’s a touch awkward and
open to misinterpretation)

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By Dave Schwab, January 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

I find labels like “left” and “right” to be unhelpful and very stifling for the free exchange of ideas. Green parties around the world are neither left nor right, but forward. What’s so radical about working for peace, justice, democracy and the planet? Check out Jill Stein at http://www.jillstein.org/ and then tell me that you don’t want to be a part of this movement smile

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By peterwhiteforcongress, January 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

I love the Green Party but it is too far left to unite the people.  My hope is to encourage an independent-Green-other alternatives alliance that will bring the 99% together into the voters revolution!

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By Dave Schwab, January 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

@peterwhiteforcongress - why don’t you come home to the Green Party? We could help you, and you could help us. As you know, Green Party candidates pledge not to accept corporate money, which makes the real difference between Greens and Dem/Repubs. Why don’t you join the team? smile

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By peterwhiteforcongress, January 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

Right on to Chris, Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, and all of those fine people involved with our movement for democratic humane change!  This article presents the truth as I know it, and only a voters revolution will change the course of history!  We need an inside and outside strategy, and supporting progressive candidates such as Jill Stein (Green Party candidate for President) and independents like myself will give the 99% a way to flush out the two-party puppets.  The voters need a way to get out of the corporate two-party trap and show their support for the occuparty!

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By Lumpenproletarier, January 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

“The government officials, from the president on down, have allowed this to happen.”

Yeah, it’s not OUR fault that those politicians are mean to us.

Watch “A Bug’s Life”. Note the lack of signs and standing around in parks.

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By gerard, January 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

Emphasizing two points raised by two prevous commenters touching ‘the heart of the matter’: 

“...Make your voice and opinion heard within the party.”
“,,,So it makes no differenc whether or not Democrats or Republicans are elected? Tell that to union members in Indiana.”
            * * * * * *
  For some time now, it has been almost impossible for anyone with less than a million dollara to “make their voice heard” in either party—obviously. If this were not the case, the needs and wishes of “the people” would have been heard and honored.
  “It makes no difference” because both parties are the same; they are captive to huge campaign contributions and corporate bribes.  (Union members in Indiana (or anywhere else) are victims as well as ordinary citizens in every State.)
  The government officials, from the president on down, have allowed this to happen.  Ideally,they would have come to realize this before things got so lopsided.  Apparently they are still oblivious.
  #OWS is by far the largest more or less united group of people who are trying to “make themselves heard” and they are doing it for all the rest of us ordinary folks, many of whom aren’t even grateful!
  If OWS is successful (along with all the other smaller dedicated organizations working day-in-day-out for democracy) it will have a huge impact on the next election—unless the voting machines are manipulateld by—again—big money interests.
  It’s no simple thing to “make your voice heard”—but essential, here and now.

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By Bklynguy, January 25, 2012 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

So it makes no differenc whether or not Democrats or Republicans are elected? Tell that to union members in Indiana.

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By Lumpenproletarier, January 25, 2012 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

Hedges advises his Disciples to abandon participation in a government which he has declared beyond hope. Instead, he advocates civil disobedience as the only meaningful activity which might result in change.

I can offer an alternative: Reshape the Democratic Party into a people’s party using the power of the masses. Not happy with the Obama presidency? Tell him. Participate. Make your voice and opinion heard within the party. You may find that this is a much more productive use of your time.

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By Roger Lafontaine, January 24, 2012 at 5:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unless you have a lobbyist representing you in Washington you are not getting any democracy. The American people are ‘democracy-deprived’. Getting your democracy from voting in elections is like trying to earn your living by looking for coins on the sidewalk. It will never amount to anything no matter how hard you hope and wish. Obama based his campaign on ‘change’ and if we’re very lucky maybe we’ll find some somewhere.

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By Mark A. Goldman, January 24, 2012 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

Chris,

So you’re going to vote for Rocky Anderson or the Green Party candidate in this next election.  Why would you vote in this next election?  What made you decide to vote for one of these guys and not for Ron Paul?  You tell everyone else that they shouldn’t try to serve in government and yet you took the trouble to decide who to vote for.  Seems a bit inconsistent to me.  And if it’s important for you to vote why do you tell other people it doesn’t matter.  You say thanks for standing up.  Isn’t that what Rocky is doing and others too who stand for public office?  So maybe it does matter that you support those who are standing up to support you.  And why wouldn’t it be a good thing if Rocky or someone like him won, and after winning that someone would try to make a difference?  If you chose to write about it, maybe it’s not a trivial question?  Thank you, Chris for all that you do.  You are an inspiration to a great many people.  I admire your work and your integrity.

Love,

Mark

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By ardee, January 24, 2012 at 3:40 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, January 23 at 4:09 pm

You have, in the past, written some irrelevant posts. This one , however, sinks ot a new level of silliness.

Congratulations.

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By Tuscany, January 24, 2012 at 12:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Voting for the lesser of two evils has brought us to the mess we’re in.  I will vote 3rd party out of principle.  Vote for Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party.

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By Lafayette, January 24, 2012 at 12:01 am Link to this comment

FROM THE WASH-POST:

Romney’s Tax Returns Shed Light On Wealth

Mitt Romney offered a partial snapshot of his vast personal fortune late Monday, disclosing income of $21.7 million in 2010 and $20.9 million last year — virtually all of it profits, dividends or interest from investments.

And we think, with all his millions, he’s gonna put America back to work? This guy is a One PerCenter, who made his wealth by ignoring the 99%!

America IS healing slowly - most economists agree that given the depth and breadth of the recession - and with the Replicants having stymied any further Stimulus Spending, that it would take another few years to get back to around 4% unemployment.

All Mitt wants is to be in the Oval Office to take credit for it - as the head of the party that stymied any Stimulus Spending bills from Congress to put Americans back to work since they took charge of the HofR.

Just so they could put a Replicant in as PotUS. That’s democracy in the US?

Then you can shove it ...

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By Lafayette, January 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment

WE, THE SHEEPLE

WBS: Why is Congress ignoring the will of the people?

Why are you making such moronic statements in a public blog?

Where were you whilst sleeping through the mid-term elections, whereby the Koch Brothers funded the electoral campaign across the country to put the T-Party (T for Troglodyte) into Congress? That has stymied any further efforts to employ Stimulus Spending to get the unemployed 8.5% of our workforce back to work.

Where were you when 52% of Americans stayed away from the polls in 2010 because they were disgusted that Obama could not walk on water and miraculously fix the Greatest Recession 80 years after the Great Depression?

And now we are sooooo indignant about Obama, we think he’s a puppet for BigBusiness. What pitiful ignorance.

Let’s get his straight: The Plutocrats may pay for the Media Messing on TV, but we, the sheeple, are the ones who believe the bullshit and then walk into (or not) the polling booths to elect our Congressional Representative and the PotUS.

Get it? So, what are you going to do about it. Keep bitching-in-a-blog? Or get your duff out and militate to reform America - where it could make a difference. That’s what CH had the courage to do. Why not you?

Yep, we the sheeple. So, if you want to see what is wrong with American politics - then look in the mirror. ”We have met the enemy and he is us” (Pogo by Walt Kelly.)

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By heterochromatic, January 23, 2012 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment

Lorenzo~~~~~  sadly, no. congressfolks have a better likelihood of
understanding this stuff, greater motivation, much better access to the
complicated stuff and a staff dedicated to getting the info, and the ability to
pick up a telephone and get an explanation and/or questions answered from
people who do know all about this shit.

they actually could ask Jimmy Carter about the reason why the limited term for
the presidency of Honduras was urged upon the oligarchy there and whether
it’s still important.


there really are arguments for both direct democracy and representative
government and the discussion is ongoing for more than 2300 years.

how do you feel about eliminating the empaneling of juries and rulings by the
judge and going to a system where the viewers at home vote as to whether OJ
was guilty of murders?

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By LorenzoGonza, January 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic:
If an issue is important and very complicated that most people wouldn’t comprehend, then most congressmen also wouldn’t comprehend; so in this case there is no difference between a REPRESENTATIVE AND A DIRECT DEMOCRACY. Of course, in a DIRECT DEMOCRACY the consequences of a decision should be clearly explained to the citizens by experts so they can act accordingly.
Currently is even worst in America because most congressmen do not even read the bills that they approve.

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By 51st Stater, January 23, 2012 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good on ya Chris!

Joe Bageant’s “Deer Hunting With Jesus” (as well as his follow up book) should be compulsory reading for all the midle class do nothings of America.

Maybe then, after much soul searching and cogitation, we’ll begin to see incremental change for the better.

The view of the U.S. from Australia (the 51st state) is enough to make my eyes water.

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By David Satlin, January 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with Mr. Hedges on most things, but not on the useless of voting.  I can’t.  Not yet.  You should know up front this quote from Albert Camus drives me in my life choices: “The fact we are doomed to failure does not remove from us the responsibility of effort.”  This is why after 35 years of activism (on the streets in my youth, mostly in the classroom the last 15 years) I am running as an Unaffiliated Independent for US Congress in the California 4th District, despite never having run for anything but a bus before in my life, against an unopposed entrenched Tea-Party-endorsed Republican incumbent.  The two party system is undoubtably corrupt as it is poisoned by corporate money, but I HAVE to believe that the people of America can still take their country back peacefully, and I hope I can continue to do so until I die.  We just need true 99%er INDEPENDENT candidates, untouched by corporate lobbyists, to stand up and hit the ground to talk to the people; I am doing so, and I encourage people in every single Congressional district in the country to join me: let’s give the D’s and the R’s a two-year time-out and send 435 ACTUAL CITIZENS to the House, to fix this mess and give our children a chance at life, liberty, and opportunity.  I have no money, no big name backers, no party or celebrity endorsements, nothing really except my brain, my mouth, my heart, a small but growing army of dedicated volunteers and interns I haven’t figured out how to feed yet, and the faith THAT IT CAN BE DONE.  Please remember this meme: Where’s David?  Davidsat.com All of my positions, policies, and promises will be there: the site goes live on February 15th, the day I officially announce.  In the meantime, if you want to know more or find ways to help, you can friend me on Facebook - david.satlin - and see from my copious daily posts many of the things I believe in and where I stand.  Help me run in my district, run yourself in yours - I’m happy to advise on the logistics and share what I’ve learned over the past three months as I’ve been preparing for this run - and above all, DO NOT LOSE FAITH IN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE IDEALS OF AMERICA.  Please.  Thank you for listening, and peace and happiness be unto you all.

David Satlin
Candidate for US House of Representatives, California 4th District.

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By cclauson, January 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In the list of news outlets that are debating the issues that matter—what about Young Turks?  I noticed they were conspicuously absent.

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D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, January 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, Chris.

And thank you for calling out PBS.  Yes, as noted below, Bill Moyers
is great, not to mention NOVA and POV and some of the fine
entertainment such as Outnumbered and the Masterpiece series’. PBS
does have its bright spots. 

The News Hour, however, is largely a toilet bowl full of vomit when
it comes to coverage of elections. It focuses almost exclusively on
the horse race—who is winning, who did something stupid—that
sort of thing. On a good day it will cover topics but mostly it
regurgitates the partially digested news goo of the day. The
difference between its coverage and the coverage of FOX and MSNBC
is one of style, not substance. 

Washington Week is singularly reprehensible, featuring journalists
from all across America who identify themselves as journalists
working for their respective corporations and then sit around and
twiddle each others’ sensitive spots, the result of which is an
obscene ejaculation of the week’s corporate news that has
already been plundered by a long train of savaging media
corporations in the earlier days of the week.

Washington Week makes a singular case for profane allusions.  It is
disgusting. It is obscene. It is horrid.  It is a big fat turd
right in the middle of a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream.

I am sorry, Chris. I know you are much more eloquent and kind and
quite simply more refined than I will ever be.  But PBS coverage of
the news is terrible. Just terrible.  Thank you again for pointing
it out.     

And thank you for the long, extended quotes from Kevin Zeese.  The
man is a genius. We are lucky to have him working for us, fighting
for us, planning for us.

All the best.

D.R. Zing

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By Rob, January 23, 2012 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I didn’t see much discussion about Ron Paul here. I haven’t lived in the US since 1985 and what continually disturbs me is that even liberal voters focus primarily on domestic issues. From my perspective, it’s US foreign policy that does the most damage and should be the biggest issue on people’s minds, unless you don’t mind the slaughter of innocents and the contempt other world citizens feel towards America. I can’t conceive of voting for Barack Obama again - it would be like approval of his many betrayals. Given the choice between him and any other viable candidate other than Ron Paul, I simply wouldn’t vote.

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By heterochromatic, January 23, 2012 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

Lorenzo~~~~~

thank you for the link, but it was extremely non-
impressive…..

....” Direct Democracy has already been proven
successful:

We’ve been using direct democracy for years to decide
the winners of TV programs such as The X Factor,
Britain’s Got Talent, Dancing on Ice and Big Brother
etc. We do this every week by web and telephone and
we do it at vast expense in both time and money.”....

——-

there is a case to be made for direct democracy, but
your site did not make it well…..

and beyond that, the case is not conclusive and your
earlier comment is still poor.

representative government has not been rendered
invalid or indefensible by technological
improvement….

voting as to whether we should curtail support for
the military of a Central American nation embroiled
in an internal controversy over a referendum
concerning amending a Constitutional provision
adopted at the urging of the Carter administration is
not just like voting for the winner of a talent show.

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By LorenzoGonza, January 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic: Please see http://paparty.co.uk/index.html

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By Arabian Sinbad, January 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

And thank you Chris Hedges for standing up to the corporate state!

Thank you for setting an example of not just reporting on Occupy Wall Street movement, but rather taking the extra step of physically participating in the movement!

Thank you for speaking truth to power, particularly you lawsuit against fake Obama!

Thank you for your writings which, in my estimation, are more important, meaningful, relevant and enduring that what is known as the Constitution of the United States. A Constitution so imperfect to the point that it had to be amended so many times, and yet it was not sufficient enough to prevent America from its social, financial and moral failure.

This sad America, which you so jealously try to rescue from the abyss is now, for half of the 99% of its population, a land of broken dreams at best, and for the other half of 99% of its population is a land of nightmares at worse!

You are my hero Chris Hedges, and thank you for your unique form of heroism!

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By LorenzoGonza, January 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

Kibitzer: Within a DIGITAL DIRECT DEMOCRACY probably there will be no mob because they will have an orderly way to express they views and desires. Maybe in the 1770’s was wise to have a representative democracy but not now.
Going UP is going with the DIGITAL DIRECT DEMOCRACY.

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By MeHere, January 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

The question of electing Democrats because of the possible appointments to the Supreme Court always comes up during election times (see earlier post.) It always sounds like the last excuse to keep voting for them. It is understandably hard for many to break up the love affair with the Democrats but, if you think about it, it is just another illusion.  Considering the damage Democrats and Republicans can equally do when they are in power, the Supreme Court issue is not the most important one in any election.  The main issue is to elect people (president and legislators) who can enact appropriate laws in the first place -laws that are based on just principles and democratic equality for all. There’s no point in feeding the Supreme Court laws that are filled with ambivalence and loopholes.

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By Fullblad, January 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment

Just about says it all and beautifully written. Also some great links. The only thing I would question is Occupy’s leaving the big six banks with the power to be able to reassert their dominance almost at will!!
If you leave them the power to create the money the people and the economy uses (and they abuse) you leave them the power to bring everything to heel by destroying the commerce of the nation at will; like perhaps next Monday or six months from now.The chosing of if ,how, or when would be completely their perrogative. The power to create and control the money supply of a nation or (world) economy is the power to hold all at your command! This power for the people to create their own money must be restored to the people or all is for naught!! This is what has allowed the banks, and their centre piece creation the Federal Reserve, and the corporations that have grown up around them to come to dominate our democracy. And by extension internationaly with their other institutions of control, the BIS,IMF,World Bank, GATT etc they mean to dominate the entire planet and have it as their milk cow and play thing. We have to wake up to this or we will remain less than pawns forever.

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By ControlledDemolition, January 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

Chris, love ya bro.

“Politicians like Obama are hostages.” Yeah, and I’ll bet they like Obama to say the right thing and seem conscientiously aware of “the people”—as long as he jumps and begs when they say jump and beg.  I can’t stand to listen to his hypocritical speech, and have to mute him.  He makes me t’row up.

In case you missed it, 60 Minutes had a nice segment on Insider Trading in Congress, pertinent to your discussion.  You know all this, but I’d recommend it anyway (15 mins):

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7388130n&tag=contentBody;storyMediaBox

Finally, I doubt anyone misses the Orwellian doublespeak about the phrase “Citizens United.”  I think we—or someone who has the mic—should play antithesis:  We should call ourselves Corporations United.  People are corporations, too! can be our motto.  As a side effect, that might resolve the same-sex marriage dilemma ... it’s just the merger of two corporations.  And our corporations (99%) outnumber their corporations (1%).  Just a thought!

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By rumblingspire, January 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jethro Tull- Back to the Family
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo_aqcub9j4&feature=related


“masters in accounting
counting all his money.
sister sitting by the mirror
she thinks her hair looks funny.
and here am i thinking to myself
just wondering what i’m pleased to do”

from the album titled STAND UP.

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By OzarkMichael, January 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges said: I was sentenced in the day. I was exonerated in the night.and when i woke up in the morning I cashed another phat check for writing this article

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By lberns1, January 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

You are in my top three favorite writers, Chris.  I
like people who don’t mince words.  The other two are
Glenn Greenwald and William Grigg (I think you’d like
him as well):

http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/

Peace ?

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By heterochromatic, January 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

LorenzoGonza——-  it’s a childish formulation and rather easily dismissed.

representative government is easily justifiable.


take a couple of years and try to do better next time.

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By kavik, January 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can’t I get a comment posted here??Christ..talk about censored…....

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By Patrick, January 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This whole debate about voting or not voting, and agonizing over whether to go with “the lesser of two evils,” etc. etc. gets to look pretty silly when one considers the numbers:

About 129,400,000 votes were cast in the 2008 contest between Obama and McCain. That means each person’s vote was .00000000773 of the vote.

Regardless of whether it matters WHO one votes for, or whether all the corporate money vastly outweighs an individual’s vote, whether one recognizes that it is the electoral college that actually elects a president, whether one realizes that even in elections with no deliberate fraud there are always inaccuracies and missing votes — a strong case can be made that your vote for president can only be considered the very, very tiniest of symbolic acts.

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By William Brandon Shanley, January 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

Why is a Democratic president, a Constitutional lawyer, violating his oath of office
by signing a bill suspending due process for anyone, much less Americans? Why is
Congress ignoring the will of the people? Why has the Supreme Court sent “one
man, one vote” to the ash heep of history with Citizens United? Eventually, we
must come to recognize what is coming into view is the face of evil. Join Chris
Hedges and other notable Americans in America’s Divine Comedy, a Docudrama,
where the Sprit of Dante comes to warn us of a New Dark Age.
http://igg.me/p/52086?a=322219

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By Sovatsky Stuart, January 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not “parties” or “interest groups, etc” but family and
families and a world of families (including orphaned
homeless, whatever) is the only naturalistic organizing
modality. Life Itself as organizing magnet.  We are
approaching the point where everyone is to be “like
your own Mother” or child or ....

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By kavik, January 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To hell with “protesting”,the signs and assoc. BS.The game is rigged and you know it….to hell with the fake “Democracy” and the fake God.We’re overpopulated ,fat,lazy and dumber than a box of rocks.Fuck work..it’s demeaning..anti-human.Sorry for the Chinese working for 33c an hour..glad it’s not me.

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By treehugger, January 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

Maybe it’s worth clarifying… 20 yrs ago, working for corporate america was what a lot of college grads aspired to. However, upon being in corporate america, one often sees values that differ from the true values one was raised with such as fairness, honesty, kindness, humility, etc.

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By kibitzer, January 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

LorenzoGonza@11:24 am: Direct democracy is not the answer because the
American republic was founded on the very wise principle of the danger of
such,  ie, the possibility of ‘mob rule’.  ‘Power corrupts’ the majority as well,
within the framework of the econo-political systems as they are known.  (E.g.,
the majority voting themselves money out of other people’s pockets.)  And, as
we have seen, a representative form of government - even a constitutional
republic - can also be corrupted, when vested interests buy THEIR
representatives. 

So, what is the answer to the future?  To go neither to the Left nor the Right but
Up.  Two characteristics of that position/solution: (1) the acknowledgment that
life has meaning beyond just in and for itself only; and (2) the elimination of
the exchange system that is causing all the problems.  I refer to the interest-
bearing money system. 

We will never solve our problems as long as we fail to recognize their context. 
Their context is living in limited consciousness.  On the one hand, we are living
as if there is no ‘God’ - no larger context to the life experience itself, which
gives it meaning, beyond just in and for itself.  This makes no sense.  On the
other hand, we are living as if the interest-bearing money system is the only
choice for social living.  It is one; and see where it has taken us.  There is at
least another, that does away with the profit motive associated with the above-
named money system (and which requires continued growth; which the
planetary commons cannot support).  And that is to do things - share goods
and services with one another, and give of our best in the process, out of a
higher motive.  Out of the highest motive we could ever hope to have: out of
gratitude to our Creator for life with meaning.  Out of, in a word: Love.  And if
we do - when we do - ‘“all else will be added unto” us.  For our problem, in our
technologically advanced day, is not one of supply (except as limited by the
carrying capacity of Gaia).  It is one of distribution.  And hence the need, and
value, of a moneyless system (just providing people with credits for services
rendered TO the system). 

We have, in other words, the perfect situation to move up to a higher level of
civilization on planet Earth.  Which is that we have great Crisis; therefore being
provided great Opportunity.  We shouldn’t miss this chance.  They don’t come
around very often, as big as this one.

As for the spiritual ‘thing’: If one doesn’t believe that there is something more
than Man - and other dimensions involved in ‘reality’ - one hasn’t done one’s
homework recently.  And probably threw the spiritual baby out with the
religious bathwater some time ago.  Big mistake.  It is, really, our only answer. 

Otherwise the dumb brute will just take over, again; and again And again.  Until
we get it right.  And move - as I say - Up.

As we are supposed to.

For life is a school.  And the purpose is to graduate.

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By Lafayette, January 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

CH: The country’s most egregious criminals, the ones who had stripped some of those being sentenced of their homes, their right to a decent education and health care, their jobs, their dignity and their hope, those wallowing in tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, those who had gamed the system to enrich themselves at our expense, were doing the dirty business of speculation in the tall office towers a few blocks away.

Eloquent, CH. And spot on target.

What a helluva world we have to live in.

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By diamond, January 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

‘The damage that unfettered Republicans could do to
our country is too awful to contemplate.”

Amen to that.

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By ohiolibgal, January 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

I’d vote for the Green Party candidate if it were not for the Supreme Court and what seems to be a good chance of an opening or openings over the next few years.

However it happens we must get money and the influence of money out of politics. The system we have in place is legally bribery even though it’s called lobbying.

If/when we do that then we can go to work to break the 2 party monopoly and go to IRV…voting not involving computers and with strict chain of custody.

With a well run honest and fair election Al Gore would have been named the next president in 2000, imagine how different the 2000s would have been had that been the case. Notice I didn’t say he would have been elected, because in reality he really was.

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By heterochromatic, January 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

poor Hedges, driven to muddled madness, declaring the American electoral
system dead, calling for protests that, since it’s dead, can’t effectively reform it
and left sucking on the empty breasted dream of a revolution that’s unthinkable
remote.

any revolution here, if you agree with the line of hyperbolic slurry that Hedges’
exudes, will move things further away from anything that Hedges would wish.

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By treehugger, January 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

My family immigrated to the US in the 70s. I always found it odd that my mom, deceased 10 yrs ago, seemed so impressed with the idea of working in a bank. On a larger scale than what she may have envisioned, banks can be influential.
Some of us were brought up to emulate corporate values. In addition to stabbing others in the back for personal gain (no, I never did this), we disregard the plight of the less fortunate. Maybe there is some compassion, but we’re too busy, content, afraid, or deserving of our position to do anything about it. Unfortunately, many people who feel any of those ways are humbled when the reality starts hitting close to home. 
Not many people have the resources to attend protests, or the subsequent court appearances. Apart from “liking” (funny how everyone knows the reference) articles that promote social activism, what can other people, who might only have an internet connection, do to support the movement?

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By Dave Schwab, January 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

I generally agree with Hedges’ assessment, but I also see the 2012 elections as an opportunity to build a sustainable progressive party that won’t take corporate money.

I’m talking about the Green Party.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is intelligent, passionate, and articulate about her plans for a Green New Deal and her goal of building a vibrant Green movement that will win real political power for the people, starting from the grassroots up.

Mr. Hedges can do Truthdig readers and this country a valuable service by giving Dr. Stein (and other candidates independent of the corporate-sponsored two-party trust) coverage equal to the attention he pays to Obama and the Republicans.

Check out http://jillstein.org for more information - peace!

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By jbmjr, January 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Creating a public banking system doesn’t really get to the heart of the
problem. Money is not a commodity. It is a contract.  If you give someone a
piece of paper that says redeemable for one ounce of gold, IOU, guaranteed by
the taxpayers, the federal reserve, etc. it is a contract. The point here is that it
is not notational value, but notational trust and it is the fact that civilization has
managed to commodify trust that has first created a global economy and
society and is now driving it over the edge.

Economists have long sought aboriginal peoples using primitive monetary
systems in order to understand how they originated, but haven’t found any
resembling a modern sense of common currency. That is because native
societies are built on organic trust and reciprocity and when they break down,
the result is schism and conflict. It is only as societies grew too large for
individuals to be relatively familiar with most other members of the group that
forms of tradable currencies became necessary.

Centuries ago there wasn’t enough economic data to determine how much
currency the economy needed to function, so a banking system evolved where
the money is essentially borrowed into existence. Since debt tends to grow in
tandem with economic growth, this proved quite effective. The problem being
that growth was required to pay off the debt and debt grew to finance the
growth, so it tends to spiral out of control, until some form of event causes
sufficient debt to be written off and the system resets. Now modern math,
social fears and norms, along with computer information processing have
manage to sustain the growth of debt far beyond any previous bubble. Those
controlling this system have both closed off as many avenues of debt relief
possible, while allowing the growth of debt to continue. The result being that
the currency is being drained out of the larger economy and only those parts of
the economy which sustain the enormous bubbles of stored currency have
access to this flow of funds.

If one were to compare society to the body and the ecosystem, government is a
form of central nervous system, while finance is the circulatory system. For a
long time, government was a private function, from warlords, to their gentrified
descendants, monarchs. Eventually societies grew more dynamic than dynasties
could control and the patent on governance passed into the public realm. Now
we are reaching a point where private banking is proving too inefficient and
corrupt and there is a growing awareness that it really must function as a
public utility. This should be taken one step further and the money itself
should be understood as a form of public commons as well.

What gives money its intrinsic value is the willingness of society to assign it
value and trade you other value for it. As such it is a multi-party contract and
its value is derived from faith in the system it represents. The fact is that we
don’t own it, because it would be close to worthless if it were our own
currency. That’s not your picture printed on it and if it were, no one who did
not know and trust you would take it. Try printing up some and find out who
owns the copyrights. Now if it is a private system issuing that money, be it
Caesar, the king, or a private banking consortium, then everyone else is
sharecropping in their system. That is why it needs to be a public system, with
the profits going back into society.

If people understand that money is a form of public utility and not private
property, then they will be far more careful what value they take out of social
relations and environmental resources to put in a bank account. This would
serve to make people’s own self interest a mechanism to put value back into
society and the environment and building back up the organic forms of trust
and reciprocity.

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By Ezra, January 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Chris is wrong about PBS. Bill Moyers is back on the air, and he is calling out truth
to power.

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By Textynn, January 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges is definitely my hero.  Shortly after Obama proved his character by having Single Payer advocates arrested and allowing Max Baucus to totally flip off the Dem base for a full year, I knew I was done with Obama.  Not only had he failed me and millions like me, but he had set us up and stolen our movement/resources for all of our causes against oppression, misuse, fraud, debt slavery, and, of course, medical disenfranchisement of a hundred shades.  Not only had he let us down, but he had taken the power we gave him and used it for our enemies, against us.  There is nothing the O’poligists could say that convinced me he was on our side, nothing.

Thankfully, there was one voice coming out of the so called liberal media that agreed with me. One smart succinct, well documented voice cutting through the rhetoric, and the three dimensional chess cult, and those moved by well honed false sincerity and a friendly tone.

I will always believe that Chris Hedges is the father of the Occupy Movement. His clarity has kept so many from feeling that they just don’t get it and that the the two party system was real at some level. CH has been adamant with his facts and what they reveal.  Without him, the Occupy Movement would have much more difficulty standing up to the control of the conversation with it’s usual evasiveness and backwards logic, not to mention the false patriotic crap that has been used relentlessly to install power in a few.

Thanks Christ for your bravery and clear sight. Thanks from saving OWS from the co-option of the Obamabots. Thanks for lighting the way.

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By soxin8, January 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Chris,Thank you for taking on the president over the NDAA. I have some information about the “security and surveillance state” you mentioned in the article.You can find it with a search for “New police weapon against homeless” and also “Historic coverup of FBI and police crimes currently taking place”. It is worse than the titles suggest. I hope you and others will read about what has taken place. If you or anyone wants more details of this story, I could send them if I received an email (something no one has requested from those boards)at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Bill Anderson

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By Michael Cavlan RN, January 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

To Vote Republican or Democratic Party is useless.

However, to vote outside of the pro-war, corporate corrupted one money party with two wings is not.

So, do you wonder when will TruthDig and other “progressive” blogs will actually allow articles about the opposition? The resistance? Campaigns like Rocky Anderson or Jill Stein.

Because right now, virtually the only one that does “allow” articles about these campaigns is firedoglake.

This non corporate corrupted, non funded by the 501c3 Industrial Complex has been brought to you by

Michael Cavlan RN
Candidate US Senate 2012
Minnesota Open Progressives

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By Donna Fritz, January 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

I’m convinced that the only way we’re ever going to be
able to restore our representative democracy, which has
been usurped by wealthy individuals, corporations, and
interests—the 1 percent—is when tens of thousands
of us finally say “Enough is enough!” and converge on
Washington and physically storm the centers of power,
using nothing but our bodies, and then occupy those
centers of power until we can form a new government
which answers to We The People.

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By ardee, January 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

ktward, January 23 at 11:04 am

I do appreciate your post, and agree that voting is a duty. But the gist of Hedges comments are certainly correct and he does note that he will, indeed , continue to vote.

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By LorenzoGonza, January 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

Syllogism for a REAL DEMOCRACY.

(a) Any power that can not be justified is IMMORAL.

(b) The reasons justifying the existence of Congress—the size of the assembly and the distance of its members—do not exist anymore with current technology. With Internet, cell phones, digital signatures, etc., it is possible to build a permanent electronic platform for the people to decide DIRECTLY—without a congressman—in all issues that affect the administration of the country.

(c) Therefore, the mere existence of the Congress and the representative or indirect democracy is IMMORAL.
————————————————————————
There is a phrase that says: “POWER CORRUPTS, AND ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY.” The second part of this phrase was used to replace monarchy with representative democracy; and the first part of this phrase will be used to replace representative democracy with DIRECT DEMOCRACY.

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By Gail Anderson, January 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, I agree with you on everything but voting. I will be voting for Democrats this
year because the thought of the damage that unfettered Republicans could do to
our country is too awful to contemplate. The Republican Party has become a
radical, right-wing, extremist group - with a huge amount of money and
influence. I do believe we need to get corporate money out of government - all of
it.  I believe in publicly funded elections with very limited spending. Then I believe
we can force the Democratic Party to be the party of the people.  I wish I had
someone like Bernie Sanders to vote for, but I don’t. Until then, I’m voting for
Democrats.

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By ktward, January 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

I am viscerally opposed to Mr. Hedges reactive and,
IMHO, rather destructive cynicism with regards to
voting: to opine that our vote is useless (even post-
Citizens United) is to render vain the buckets of
blood and sweat sacrificed by activists throughout
our history in demanding this most fundamental right
for every citizen. Venerable folks like Dr. King and
Susan B. Anthony must surely be rolling over in their
graves.

But overlooking that aspect, Hedges brings his
considerable bona fides to point an insightful,
critical lens on the state of present-day US
politics. I stand with him in solidarity with the
Occupy movement, and join him in thanking them for
their altogether successful efforts in changing the
very nature of our national debate.

In fact, even Newt Gingrich ought to thank Occupy.
His attacks on Romney’s role at Bain would have zero
traction among GOP voters—think about it, GOP
voters!—if Occupy hadn’t completely recast the way
we all, Left and Right, look at how corporatism and
plutocracy have come to infect and threaten our very
democracy.

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By LorenzoGonza, January 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

If the Occupy Wall St. movement wants to make a change in the way that America is managed by the professional politicians and the Congress, it must create a political party that complements the existing representative democratic political system with direct democracy. The latter allows the citizens to decide directly (online) in the issues that affect the country.
This new party will empower its members to vote online about the topics that will be discuss in Congress, then the congressmen of this party will follow EXACTLY the directly democratic resolution expressed by its members on the party homepage. For example, if a pending bill is supported by 70% of party members and is opposed by 30% of party members on the party website, and the party has 10 seats in parliament, then 7 congressmen would support and 3 would oppose the bill.
THIS IS REAL PEOPLE POWER. THIS IS REAL CHANGE INSTEAD OF WORTHLESS PROMISES.
Those citizens who are NOT willing to delegate power to a congressman will register and vote for the list of direct democracy since the congressmen of this party are obliged to follow faithfully what members of the party want as explained above.
Those citizens who prefer to delegate power to a congressman can continue with the current system of traditional parties either because they prefer or because they do not have the electronic capabilities to send their own decisions.
As the role of the party’s congressmen is to accurately reflect the wishes of party members, citizens who will integrate the list for Congress could be chosen by lottery among the party members who expressed their desire to serve as delegates, that is, any ordinary citizen can be a congressman.
Similar parties already exist in UK and other countries.
Please see: http://paparty.co.uk/index.html

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By gerard, January 23, 2012 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

Thank you for all you are doing, Chris.  Your work in all its details, your knowledge, and the spirit behind your words and actions are essential and strengthening.
  Here and now I want to speakALSO for the importance of all our efforts, insignificant as they may seem. I can’t allow myself to regard even these seemingly insignificant “comments” as useless. The word is never insignificant, and every effort for peace and understanding, even if “only” as words, helps to build the foundation to encourage change.
  Most of us here, I gather, find physical participation in revolt regretably impossible. That does not mean that we are useless ranters who are wasting our time. Thanks to the nature of the open internet, we have proof of unknown access to the minds of unknown others, who in return have unknown access. We do not “know” to whom we speak and what results,yet we work without assurance of success, just as everyone who “does the right thing” must believe such efforts are not in vain. 
  Years ago, at the first demonstration of Women’s Strike on the Nevada Test Site, we appeared pushing empty baby carriages and carrying placards duplicating hexagonal stop-street traffic signs—simply saying: S T O P in white letters on red. It appears that was the very first time that particular emblem was used.  Since then, for decades I have seen it reappear at protests all over the world—
a success far beyond any conscious purpose or realistic expectation—“spontaneous” transmission passed from unknown person to unknown person—one small indication of universal hope and the power of “godespiel”—(good speech=Godspeech=Gospel)

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By balkas, January 23, 2012 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

yes to getting onside some police people, high army echelons, cia/fbi agents, teachers, politicos, et al.
up to now these columns have been very strongly prowar, protorture; for less freedoms, ‘better’ arms,
ever greater inequality, etc.
yes, stop all supplication of the politicians, judges, bankers, generals, et al. instead of that, work on
lower-ranking individuals of the columns zeese speaks of.
go door to door and talk to people. stand on street corners and pass leaflets—regardless whether or
not it’ll bring necessary fruits.
i often speak to people about what really ails us. some would even say that they don’t care what their
govts do to ‘aliens’.
even my wife thinks i am wrong on some of my observations. she agrees with me on some others.
so, people ARE not dumb, uncaring, etc.  they BECAME that way.
there is enormous difference in saying that PEOPLE DON’T CARE and saying that they had been TAUGHT
NOT TO CARE or to leave the business of running the country solely to a sybaritic class of life, glitterati,
casuists, bankers, generals, politicos, priests, et al.

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