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Posted on Apr 23, 2012
AP/Francois Mori

A supporter wears a T-shirt depicting French Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande and the legend “H is for hope,” echoing the Obama campaign of 2008.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

The political theater staged by the Democrats and Republicans, bloated with corporate money, will not work much longer. The game will soon be up. There are four countries in Europe with socialist governments—Belgium, Austria, Denmark and Slovenia. All have had to implement austerity programs. None have effectively defied the power of the banks. This paralysis is a ticking bomb both in the U.S. and abroad. And when it explodes it will be far more deadly than anything cooked up by a group of radical jihadists.

Paris was convulsed by riots led by unemployed youths in 2005, many of them immigrants living in the depressing high-rise housing projects in the poor suburbs of Paris known as banlieues. These riots swiftly spread across France. The French government declared a state of national emergency. Now, the simmering rage of the underclass could easily boil over again. The French unemployment rate of 10 percent is the highest in 12 years, but for those in the banlieues the rate is more than 40 percent. We in the United States have similar numbers, only without France’s health care system or safety net. And public unrest could soon pit the disorganized rage of the dispossessed against organized crypto-fascists such as Le Pen, who once compared Muslims praying on French streets in front of overcrowded mosques to the Nazi occupation.

A breakdown of liberal democracy, which seems to be where we are headed, may not bring with it a salutary change. The most retrograde forces within the corporate state, such as the Koch brothers, will lavish racists, homophobes, demagogues, birthers, creationists and gun-carrying, flag-waving idiots with money once the political center crumbles. The left in Europe, and most certainly in the United States, could prove to be too weak to battle against figures like Le Pen or those in the U.S. who rally around the perverted ideologies of the Christian right and the tea party and who receive tens of millions of dollars in corporate backing. The left, in short, may find that it has done too little too late to be an effective counterweight. And widespread discontent could very easily be manipulated by the corporate elites to ensure our enslavement. I watched this happen in the former Yugoslavia. This is the real battle before us. And it has nothing to do with the election charade between Obama and Romney and, I expect, Hollande and Sarkozy.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, April 26, 2012 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

gerard—I don’t see how government can escape being tainted by its fundamental coercive functions.

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By heterochromatic, April 26, 2012 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

thanks John for helping to underline just how nebulous and varied and generally
unhelpful is the term “elite”.

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By John, April 26, 2012 at 6:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Generally, I’m sympathetic to what Hedges says here.

Alas, although he may claim otherwise, he really is part of an elite—educational at least. His belief that members of labor unions and others are dumb when they vote in ways of which he disapproves is diagnostic. This is the famous “What’s the Matter with Kansas” argument. I must confess, I share his frustration and I am very tempted to agree.

But I think a better analysis than “What’s the Matter With Kansas” is Corey Robin’s “The Reactionary Mind,” in which it is pointed out that conservative voters are voting to repress others whose rising status from some sort of liberatory movement threatens them.

Union members in Kansas don’t vote the way they do because they are stupid. They do so out of fear of blacks, Mexicans, women, and gays.

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By diamond, April 25, 2012 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

“The French tend to vote their hearts in the first round and their wallets in the second. Sarkozy has a long row to hoe, but he can win.”

No. He can’t. The French are absolutely sick of him. They don’t want him showponying around on their television sets any more with his trophy wife. Nothing can overcome that fact. And if you don’t see that this is a ‘change’ election then how do you explain the swing to the far left? More than one in ten voters have said they will vote for Jean-Luc Melenchon, who is promising full pensions at sixty and a 20% minimum wage rise. The truth is even Hollande has criticized the Greek bailout deal as too harsh and voters are in flight from Sarkozy and his far right, neo liberal economic policies. The headline on the newspaper article on the French elections says it all: ‘No Merci for Sarkozy as election nears’. No one has lost in the first round since 1958 so you can hardly dismiss it as unimportant that Sarkozy did.

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By heterochromatic, April 25, 2012 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

nice sentiments. I used o hear them a lot in the late sixties and forty years later
that 20-30 years appears to be no closer.

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JesuBuddha's avatar

By JesuBuddha, April 25, 2012 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

My fellow Truthdiggers,
have none of you not realized that a genesis has begun? That indeed things are being turned around? People worry that the RightyNutsiesCrazies are in control of the world:but who are they? But those who have no respect for Earth and Life; whose god is Money and whose altar is sacrifice of soul for Capital; and but see and use politics as a thing to write laws to serve their own false selves; to make themselves rich with money and to provide their material selves with sense of right to damn all others who do not follow their false god? Have you liberals not been following the many Churches, Synagogues, temples and shrines who are working together to stop the colossus, to halt the leviathan, that the Capital has made? Do you liberals not realize that God is neither liberal or conservative but has set in motion by which the human soul can realize attain the knowledge of what life and love is all about, of what and why creation is? The conservative juggernaut is running out of steam; its hateful bile and angry engine that motored for these years no longer can feed off the frustration of the masses who are now the ones most victimized by the worshippers of Money and who sold their souls for the delusion that their god Capital would protect them. People around the world are now working to kill the beast that corporate politics has kept alive. Man has been severely wronged by how the “modern” world has come to be. And that is ending. As it must. It is natural for the human to rebel against the enslavement of the soul—and debt to banking houses, debt to insurance companies, debt to all the marketeers who sell fantasy, lies and delusion…they have no place in the future. For we all are born of universal spirit…not of corporate concerns about shareholders value. In 20-30 years will the Conservatives realize they have no children, that they ideals have proven to be false and in fact, are anti-God.

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By drb48, April 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

@CH - “The longer the political elite—whether in Washington or Paris, whether socialist or right-wing, whether Democrat or Republican—ignore the breakdown of globalization, refuse to respond rationally to the climate crisis and continue to serve the iron tyranny of global finance, the more it will shred the possibility of political consensus, erode the effectiveness of our political institutions and empower right-wing extremists.”

You say that like it’s a bug not a feature.

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By gerard, April 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

Anarchissie:  Let me clarify the “government” problem:  People will of necessity form “governments” of one kind or another.  I favor as much “self-government” as can possibly be formed that supports political liberty and economic justice (as defined by the people concerned). It is self-evident that overpowering governments supported by overwhelming corporate influences are not doing right by most of the people any of the time.
  My plea for systematic and creative investigation into possible alternative governments doesn’t mean tinkering with failing power systems.  Capitalism as it proposes and disposes is not all that different from kingships and dictatorships. I contend that there are (and we should somehow be among them) people thinking and planning some better form or forms—involving less exploitation and more cooperation, less war and more peace, less starvation and illness and more “general welfare”. Forms of self-government, and specific suggestions of how to get from here to there.
  Somehow we have to step beyond the present stale-mate of accusation and blame. Not that accusation and blame are unjustified.  They are justified. But
something better probably won’t be found and tried till we apply our energies in finding possibilities, inventions, experiments, innovations, understandings, practices etc.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

diamond: Even if you can’t work out what’s wrong and who is to blame it seems the French can and have.

Right, you live in France and know how the French think. Now pull the other leg.

The French tend to vote their hearts in the first round and their wallets in the second. Sarkozy has a long row to hoe, but he can win.

It is so patently obvious that he is the more qualified candidate. For all their talk of “Cartesian Logic”, unfortunately the French are a very emotional people. (They could indeed vote the jerk into office.)

Unlike Americans who just don’t give a damn about politics and prefer to call politicians “all lying bastards” and in that manner excuse themselves from voting. (French voter turnout rates are at about 75% whereas ours are around 50%. (See here.)

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By Alastair, April 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

@Duppy Durruti

Your understanding is correct although I think more like 0.0025% Tobin tax on each transaction is likely. The key is making massive quick buying and selling (hence leading / making the market) difficult to do without cost.

The UK will never accept a tobin tax. So in my opinion, it will be implemented only within the Eurozone. The UK government works for the City as shown by their AAA credit rating (which shows ability to control the population under austerity NOT its debt situation which is the worst per person in the western world).

This kind of Tobin Tax action is already being discussed and happening without the UK as seen by the seminal Euro-finance ministers ONLY event last December (UK excluded).

Alastair

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By Anarcissie, April 25, 2012 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

gerard, April 25 at 9:39 am:

‘... Yet if we, who have little else to do but “blog” can’t begin to explore together fresh ideas, plans and methods to inspire and support a possible future, aren’t we betraying some fundamental values we pretend to hold dear?’

You did say ‘governments’.  Governments are not the totality of all possible futures.  Once you focus on the government as your instrument for whatever good you envision, all questions become the question of getting power over other people.  But this is a depressing and degrading practice.  Like war, its parent, that might be excusable for immediate self-defense, but it’s not going to lead beyond the present condition of things.

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By diamond, April 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

“Right ... now pull the other leg.”

Sarkozy lost the first round and that hasn’t happened since 1958. Even if you can’t work out what’s wrong and who is to blame it seems the French can and have. Bulldozing Gypsy encampments makes the French queasy, their economy is a mess and that mess is part of Sarkozy’s legacy. He’s a neo con and was never going to survive in a country as wedded to social justice as France is. Sarkozy is addicted to wealth and all its trappings: ‘he fancies Rolex and yachts’. But the real problem with Sarkozy is that he’s a racist twit who is not far from the positions of Le Pen.

‘France’s six million Muslims are among a population of 63 million. Under Sarkozy they have often been in the headlines for controversial reasons. (Sarkozy) has backed a ban on Muslims praying in the street (France is short of mosques) and a ban on the burqa,  saying the full veil was ‘contrary to the values of the republic’, opposed separate hours for men and women at swimming pools and attacked the unlabelled sale of halal meat to non-Muslims (a claim that turned out to be unfounded). He also refused refuge to 25,000 people from Muslim Tunisia, a former French colony, fleeing revolutionary violence in their homeland.’

Sarkozy claims he will cut the number of immigrants in half but Hollande’s immigration adviser says:

‘Sarkozy and the right are using the subject to divide the French people. They are using immigration as an excuse for a number of social and economic problems. Foreigners are being stigmatized and used as scapegoats.’

She also says his promise to cut immigration in half is not feasible because most of it is related to family reunions, including spouses, which would breach European union laws on the rights of the family. Opinion polls show that the economy is the number one preoccupation of voters, with race coming ninth, well after joblessness and purchasing power. Sarzkozy has tried to run an American campaign just as he’s tried to run an American government but he’s in France. There’s the rub.

France will make a good recovery from the ‘American disease’ described by one (American) commentator, Jonathan Tasini, a ‘US political and media strategist’ as ‘an ideology based on a phantom idea called the ‘free market’, whose purity and virtue can only be realized by tearing down any regulation deemed ‘anti-business’, cutting every tax ever conceived and shovelling most of the wealth created in society into the hands of a few. The American disease has been wildly successful. It has killed the middle class, diverting 30 years of wealth growth from the people who created the value into the hands of the few. More people live in poverty in the US - 46 million - than at any time in the half century the US government has measured that figure.’
(The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘News Review’, April 21-22, 2012).

By any measure France is doing much better than America where, ‘the widening gap between rich and poor in the US does have some benefits: a few billionaires can now afford, thanks to rulings by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court, to spend unlimited amounts of money to buy elections and to own pliant politicians of both major parties who in turn show their gratitude by pimping for laws that hand even more wealth into the hands of the few.’
(Tasini, Sydney Morning Herald)

Before you start telling the French what to do have a look at your own dilapidated back yard.

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By Korky Day, April 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

People try to make one of the Duopoly parties good.
Ron Paul is trying that now (Republican).
Dennis Kucinich tried it 4 years ago (Democratic).
When those movements fail, though, we must not fall for the lure of the lesser of 2 evils.
Vote only for anti-Duopoly candidates, either within or outside the Duopoly:  Paul, Kucinich, Green Party, Libertarian Party, Socialist Party, etc., and maybe Americans Elect.
If there were no possibility of replacing the voting system which creates the Duopoly, I would not be so hopeful.  There is no solution which excludes pro-rep (a proportional representation voting system).

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By heterochromatic, April 25, 2012 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

shant——I’ve lived to see the Democratic Party completely transformed…..from
the DIxiecrat-based thing of the middle of the last century to the entirely
different party of the early 1970s

it’s now neither of those two quite distinct things.


Domhoff ‘s essay is interesting, and I thank you for a fine link. he reminds me
of may grandfather, father, many of my professors from high school and on,
and younger self…. all hoping and expecting revolutionary change and
frustrated that the overwhelming majority of Americans reject it.

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By shantideva, April 25, 2012 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

@ heterochromatic

I don’t mean to discourage people from trying. I think you are correct in assuming
that there is a better chance for third parties by starting locally.

I wonder what you (and others) make of this article, by G. William Domhoff, Third
Parties Don’t Work: Why and How Egalitarians Should Transform the Democratic
Party? He makes a number of good points, and backs it up with historical analysis,
but transforming the Democratic Party seems equally as daunting a task as
creating a viable third party strong enough to compete against the Dems and the
Repugs. 

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/change/science_egalitarians.html

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By shantideva, April 25, 2012 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

@ Korky Day

Yes, we essentially have an apathetic electorate here in America, which,
considering the stakes, is frankly mind-blowing. I’m sure there are a multitude of
reasons for this, i.e., many of us are too comfortable, lulled to sleep by our
trance-like popular culture; many of us are expending every ounce of our energy
each and every day just to put food on the table for ourselves and our families;
many are simply discouraged, or worse, utterly disgusted with our political system
as it exists today and have given up participating; or depressed; or young and
inexperienced, thinking that politics has no relevance in their lives, etc.

Which gets me back to my reply to you: perhaps things are going to have to get
far worse before we see more participation? Suffering is, unfortunately, what often
finally motivates people to pay attention and take action.

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By heterochromatic, April 25, 2012 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

shant—- any party is viable if they can convince poeple to join….third parties
won’t be winning presidential elections any time soon, but they certainly can win
local contests and grow…...and influence one or another of the major parties
along the way.

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By Korky Day, April 25, 2012 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

“shantideva” wrote, ‘Nobody, least of all me, is “standing on the sidelines,” or “moping.”’

Maybe you aren’t, but almost half the electorate don’t vote.  Neither are they volunteering as poll-watchers to try to make the elections honest.

And only about 1% are active in a political party.

Many fewer campaign for electoral reform.

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By gerard, April 25, 2012 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

Apparently, to my question of 4/24—2;44 pm. i.e.“Are there, anywhere in the world, groups getting together etc… planning cooperative steps toward forming centers of humanistic, rational and practical plans for future governments which would encourage just, workable and humane principles?” the answer (judging from subsequent comments) is an unspoken but resounding NO!
  Further, the question doesn’t even stir interest, or divert attention from rehashes of the failures of world politics in general, or hopeless declamations of an inevitable “end-times”. The cynicism over past and present completely occludes the possibilities of a future. Apparetly, such questions are thought to be “unrealistic”—even boring.
  Yet if we, who have little else to do but “blog” can’t begin to explore together fresh ideas, plans and methods to inspire and support a possible future, aren’t we betraying some fundamental values we pretend to hold dear?

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By shantideva, April 25, 2012 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

@ Korky Day

I appreciate the sentiment, and, yes, there are a number of third parties available
to choose from, but their mere existence doesn’t make them viable. Nor does my
decision to choose one of them. By viable, I mean a party that has a snowball’s
chance in hell of actually competing within our current two-party system, and
especially these days now that Citizens United is the law of the land with unlimited
corporate money flooding into the election process.

Even if you were to somehow convince the general public to allow for majority rule
and more political parties where it would take a majority of the votes to win the
office and people would rank each candidate in order of preference (San Francisco
has tried this), it is extremely unlikely that you will succeed in convincing
Republicans and Democrats who control state legislatures and Congress to risk
their power by adopting instant runoff voting for state and national elections.

Nobody, least of all me, is “standing on the sidelines,” or “moping.” Clearly, for
third parties to have a realistic chance, the system, as it exists presently, is going
to have to undergo a radical transformation (or be demolished). I can only imagine
that things are going to have to get far worse before a sizeable majority of us
wake up and demand that extreme degree of change.

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By Korky Day, April 25, 2012 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

“shantideva” wrote, “Unfortunately . . . no viable third party.”

There are plenty:  my Green Party, Americans Elect, the Libertarian Party, independents, etc.

If you don’t think that they are “viable”, you’ve been brain-washed by the mainstream media.

Any of them are “viable” as soon as YOU and your associates get on board.

Stop standing on the sidelines and moping.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 25, 2012 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

MR.DUMPLING ...

... that’s what I’ve heard him called. Amorphous and tacky-sweet.

Hollande is a graduate of the prestigious Ecole National d’Administration (ENA), which is why he is called an ENArque. These people rule France and therefore many think it is their destiny to be President.

Sarkozy beat Hollande’s ex-wife in the last presidential elections, which should give anyone a fine idea of the dearth of presidential timber in the Socialist Camp.

A good number of recent past-presidents of France have graduated from the ENA. And that’s just the problem with France’s political class. If our politicians are besotted with an overweening belief in the virtue of accumulating money which automatically leads to a calling as a political candidate, in France it is less money and more supposedly “intellectual content”.

Some may think that nice, but it isn’t. The French have a tendency, over just about any complex subject, to play the parlour debate-game, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Debates go on and on and on ... and nothing gets either decided or done.

Which is why a mover like Sarkozy is both admired and detested. Like it or not, he takes the risk of decision-making. Because he knows that, confronted with a complex problem, no decision to act can be worse than whatever decision one takes.

MY POINT?

France’s Numero Uno Problemo is the myriad of “labor protection” laws it has passed, which have had just the opposite effect. One must play very deftly with Labor Law - or it can come back to haunt you. Which is France’s case.

It is thus extremely difficult to downsize a company once consumer demand diminishes such that companies can rebuild competitive stance. So companies have exiled themselves in droves to more favorable labor climates - like Slovakia, Romania and the Far East. And France is left with higher unemployment.

Which is why France’s youth cannot find jobs and are exiling themselves as well to London and Amsterdam - those that speak English, that is.

The Socialists introduced the 35-hour work-week (at the 40-hour pay-rate) in 1990 and France’s unit-labor-cost skyrocketed into non-competitiveness.

In the 1960s/70s, when the French steel industry went to hell in a hand-basket, abracadabra, all those made redundant were sanctified as “retired” on full-pension. Is there any wonder why sovereign debt is so ridiculously high and that French politicians have been rolling it over for the past thirty years?

They were spineless and, after the Great Reconstruction Period after WW2 was spent, politicians took the easy way out. Namely - debt, debt, debt, debt and more debt.

And what is Hollande’s response to the competitiveness challenge? More of the same nonsense. Neither he nor the Socialist Party have a farthing’s worth of a notion of how business and commerce works, but François is going to work miracles for the French economy nonetheless.

Yes, Mr. Dumpling is going to “protect the French worker”.

Right ... now pull the other leg.

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By shantideva, April 25, 2012 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

I have to agree with Hedges’ jarring, clear-eyed assessment of not only what is
happening in France, etc., but what is going on here. The system we have is
thoroughly broken with very little difference now between Republicans and
Democrats. Yes, Obama would be marginally better than Romney, but we need
nothing short of a new paradigm. Unfortunately, I don’t see anything at the
moment by way of an alternative, i.e., no viable third party. Meanwhile, as Hedges
alleges, the “perverted ideologies of the Christian right and the tea party” just
seem to be growing in power and strength. Aside from those who hate people of
color, anyone in the LGBT community, we now seem to be carrying out a war on
women! Look at the legislation that is getting passed these days, thanks, in no
part, to ALEC. As we lose our civil liberties, we are also losing our democracy at
the same time. It is actually already way past time that all of us fight back.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, April 25, 2012 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

gerard—The idea of government, which is an institution whose purpose is to enable some people to control others by force, is fundamentally at odds with ‘just, workable and humane principles’.  Several thousand years of war, imperialism, and oppression should have taught us that by now.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, April 25, 2012 at 2:46 am Link to this comment

@ gerard

Re: Are there, anywhere in the world, groups getting together to get one step ahead of world crisis by thinking about and planning cooperative steps toward forming centers of humanistic, rational and practical plans for future governments which would encourage just, workable and humane principles?

As far as world crisis goes and trying to be one step ahead of a particularly important one that is already begining to unfold, I like 350.org .

As far as the rest I might rephrase it a bit…

...rational and practical (and humane and just etc.) SOLUTIONS…

We have seen in Occupy, the erruption of a consciousness raising/resistance movement.

blah blah blah I won’t go on.

Oh wait… RELIGION!!!

There is some good stuff in there, but be warned…

The magic of sucking your own dick often kills the pain, but you can never quite reach, unless you are exceptionally well endowed, in which case I advise, don’t get stuck in never-never land, or choke, if you can help it.

For females… when you give birth to ... oh never mind.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, April 24, 2012 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

David Cyr

Take a look at Noam Chomsky and his five filters of media manipulation and censorship in his works Manufactured Consent.

It applies just as much here at “progressive” blogs like TruthDig as it does with “corporate media.” I call it the 501c3 Industrial Complex at work.

It is why I just do not visit here much anymore. If people can’t see past the constant Look at Romney articles here and the complete lack of articles about Rocky Anderson or indeed Jill Stein, then there is nothing I can say to convince them otherwise.

It is that blatant.

ROCKY ANDERSON FOR PRESIDENT

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By Michael Cavlan RN, April 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

Hollow politics? You know where I see hollow politics?

Right here at truthdig.

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By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

yeah, rahmat the Jews control Western Europe , Australia and the UDS…...

it’s because they’re super-humans and they deserve it.


Good thing them Jews arew willing to live among inferior humans and they only
are going to take over most of the Middle East and allow the locals to live in
designated zones and pay extra taxes without having legal rights.

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By Rehmat, April 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

The political landscape is controlled by powerful Jewish lobby groups in the US, France, Germany, Britain and Australia. In France - top two candidates are Israel-Firster Jews and the third one is a Christian extremist seeking blessings from Israel and the 500,000-strong French Jewish population.

Germany’s next chancellor could be a Jewish. In February, German Opposition Die Linke (Left Party) nominated Beate Klarsfeld, 73, as its candidate for the Presidency. Beate Klarsfeld’s qualification is that she is a Jewish Nazi witch hunter who became famous for tracking down Nazi official Klaus Barbie in Bolivia where he was working for German intelligence BND and CIA with the help of Israeli Mossad…....

http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/german-presidency-and-the-israeli-factor/

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By gerard, April 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

A primary fault of organized Christianity IMO is the glorification of the Christ person (based on ancient mythology plus the translated, doctored, retranslated stories told by his “disciples”) presenting him as “perfect” (the Son of God, special birth, magical dispensations etc).
  Though the magical stories are inspiring, the idea of the man himself as being magical seems to have been in some ways a tactical error, because in making him “perfect” the church separated him from “normal human beings” and made them seem so much “less than” that they became satisfied with themselves as pale simulacrums, and felt self-righteous if and when they happened to do any good which was the least bit sacrificial on their part. 
  I wonder if I made myself clear. Christ as “the Son of God” is painted as so far above human capabilities, so saintly, so perfect that “normal” people easily “opt out” in favor of the more comfortable belief that they cannot, therefore they need not.
  If there was such a human being—and there must have been some person or persons who at least created the inspiring imagination of a perfect human being—then judging from statements and behaviors attributed to him, he would have been the last to take credit for being “perfect.”  He would have wanted his speech and his work to have been regarded as fully possible, not due to divine dispensation such as walking on water, for instance.
  The very gift of life on earth is enough divine dispensation for anyone, god or no god.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, April 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

Gerard asked:

“Are there, anywhere in the world, groups getting together to get one step ahead of world crisis by thinking about and planning cooperative steps toward forming centers of humanistic, rational and practical plans for future governments which would encourage just, workable and humane principles?”
____________

Well, the Greens have been proactively doing so for over 30 years now.

However, only about 1% of America’s voters have demonstrated any interest in proactively voting for sane and sensible 21st Century socialist policies based upon humanistic principles and the existential necessity to respectfully preserve and protect Nature from the sociopathic neoliberal policies of the corporate (R) & (D) party.

Seduced by the trickle-down spoils of a ruthlessly exploitive empire, 99% of voters have regularly flocked to the polls to affirmatively vote for America to do unto others elsewhere what Americans would not want done unto themselves here at home… in the land of the depraved.

The only evidence for the existence of any democracy in America is that the corporate (R) & (D) party’s voters have gotten the completely evil criminal government they’ve kept voting together for, over and over again.

The Propaganda Broadcasting System’s PBS News Hour has habitually provided Charles Koch’s Cato Institute opinion shapers carpet bombing access to the public’s hearts and minds, without ever inviting any of these people from the Green Institute to offer an alternative non-corporate view: http://greeninstitute.deanmyerson.org/about/board

Jill Stein for President!

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org

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By prisnersdilema, April 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Anarcrissi..organized religion provides a solace, for emotional distress, it provides
an antidote for emotional pain, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for everyone, it provides
relief from pain.  Unfortunately it gets used, as a tool, this is why there are so many
Christians and not enough Christs, so many Buddhists, not enough Buddha’s,...and so
many willing to be led, by those claiming some sort of special relationship with God.  And
all this is made possible because people have lost touch. There are unpleasant
problems that result from sacrificing your pain. Too many Christians not enough
Christs…Which one are you?

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By gerard, April 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

A couple of questions came to mind as I reviewed Chris’s article and the comments:
  1. Could merely the growing global awareness of huge populations to this “hollowness of governments” worldwide be, in itself, a necessary first step in the direction of overall democratization?  And thus, a good thing.
  2. Are there, anywhere in the world, groups getting together to get one step ahead of world crisis by thinking about and planning cooperative steps toward forming centers of humanistic, rational and practical plans for future governments which would encourage just, workable and humane principles?

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By Anarcissie, April 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

prisnersdilema, April 24 at 4:41 am:

‘No….Religion is just a pain killer….’

Just?  Just???

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By Marshall, April 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Which issue did Gandhi resolve?

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By Alan MacDonald, April 24, 2012 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

per colin’s OWS comment to me and redteddy’s comment on jimmy’s comment:

“@jimmmmmy-“Pointing out the failings of your own country than moving onto the
next popular outrage does not fix with the original problems. Mr. Hedges should
,like Gandhi, pick an issue then ride it until resolved.”

Yes, like Gandhi, we should “pick an issue then ride it until resolved”—- and like Gandhi, that issue, indeed, that meta-issue, not only should be, but has to be EMPIRE.

And yes, tip of the hat to colin, that issue has to be religious, moral, spiritual, humanitarian, etc.

Fortunately, we have some good religious, moral, spiritual, humanitarian guidance about the focus of our “picking an issue and riding it until resolved” not only from Gandhi, but also from at least one prophet of a few thousand years ago (and perhaps two others) that the meta-issue we should “ride until resolved” is Empire.

In fact, if we add up all the contemporary prophets, like Gandhi, MLK, Vonnegut, etc., and all the ancients who seemed to agree on the issue of confronting Empire, and those who agree with the method of confronting it with love (or at least non-violence), then we would seem to have almost a singularity of convergence.

Best luck and love to the Occupy Empire educational and revolutionary movement.

Liberty, democracy, justice, & equality
Over
Violent/Vichy
Empire,

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By balkas, April 24, 2012 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

colin, with respect [every human deserves it, but not every human gets it] the label “religion” appears overly euphemistic and is always misleading; so,
i avoid using this label to limn a caste of mostly old men and structured like an army, telling children and adults lies or imbue them with an apriori
thinking.
mine comes a posteriori; ie, after seeing, smelling, touching, hearing, and tasting—‘religious’ [cultic] does not.
we acquire knowledge only via our five senses. knowledge acquired by any other means is, to me, delusional, extremely vitiating/hellish when applied
to daily living.
——
we’ve had organized religion for ca 10 k yrs, and look where we are.
recall, please, that we cannot blame peasants, fishers, tool makers, women, weavers, hunters, miners, for the mess we got in, say, 8 k yrs ago.
and why not? because they were not permitted to have a voice in what went on then; and, i may add,  they are not permitted even now to voice their
opinions in most lands and in US also.
and ‘religions’ [bunch of old and clazed men] make sure that the people they own/control never ever think the ‘wrong way’ and say it. that’s why i call
such behavior “cultic”—but calling it “criminal” might be even more adequate-accurate.
note please that i am not attacking any individual but only a collection.
——
about love and preaching of it? can one love another w.o. first respecting her/him and her/his thinking. and is calling people “godless” being
respectful or conducing to knowledge or hate? and who teaches people to call other people “godless” or that they shld be stone d to death fro not
believing in what they believe in?

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By balkas, April 24, 2012 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

colin,
to me. praying=thinking and parts thereof are wishing-hoping-raging-hating-condemning-etc.
the reason i hyphenate above aspects is the fact that they are integral parts of thinking—we are talking here about one entity.
i often think about my thinkings; i am told most people do not.
eg, when i wish [pray] for s’mthing, i analyze how i came upon that wish; whether it wld be of any value, how it wld be carried
out; how many people wld benefit from it, and how many wld be hurt by it, etc.
however, there are two kinds of thinking: nonverbal and verbal.
when one says, I have a hunch, premonition, picture in my head, etc., that represents nonverbal thinking.
when one says that there is deity, it’ll save me, religion is good/bad, etc., that’s the verbal part of our thinking; however, both
thinkings, nevertheless, parts of one phenomenon.
——-
this is, i think, why priests teach people to think of praying as a separate entity; and extraordinary, miraculous, godly, all-
curing, etc., almighty, unexpainable, beyond our understandings, etc.
when i said that i also pray, i had in mind that i am just THINKING! and i always leave it undefined; except when i say it is
probably undefinable; ie, it means whatever it means to each person!!
and each person has an inalienable right to her/his thinking regardless how s/he had acquired it.
———
so, let’s be easy on palin, bachmann, gingrich, bush, obama—-they are just thinking. they do have the right to it—not, of
course, to waging wars, exploiting people, arrogating themselves powers/monies, etc.
this way, one cld win palin, et al, over, but never by directly attacking their thinking let alone their being.

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By SharonMI, April 24, 2012 at 6:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

God is love. Love is God. Intolerance, war, killing, cheating, lying are anti-love, therefore anti-God. I don’t need to pray to the Almighty Love/God. I just act on it daily. And ask that others do so also. If I can’t tell you love God by your actions, then you are not truly loving God.

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By prisnersdilema, April 24, 2012 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

No….Religion is just a pain killer, it has nothing to do with God. And in the end, of us all,
when Reactor 4 explodes at Fukishima, showering the northern hemisphere with lethal
doses of cesium for every man woman and child, it may provide some solace. 
However, there are other religions whose prayers, are only of Gratitude,for the gift of life.
Fundamentalist right wing Christianity has made the Wars of Bush, Obama, possible.
Along with conservative economic polices that have starved millions of American
children. Without Christian prayers, and political support right wing republicans would still
be jerking off to the John Birch society. They are an organization of lunatics that believe
in their on psychotic process nothing more. They are just the flip side of the Taliban.
Self delusion, only testifies, to the War that goes on inside, between what you are and
what you’ve been made to be,  a form of self rejection.  They also pray in Afghanistan,
and Iraq, and Guantanimo and countless other countries where we’ve, bombed, and
murdered, poisoned children with DU, and tortured, thanks to our God loving Christians
on the right.

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By Duppy Durruti, April 24, 2012 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

To think that I was concerned about hijacking the thread by discussing the larger implications of the French election. Leave it to religion to stifle an interesting discussion!

@colin2626262

Is there a mandate from the Almighty that no virtual discussion shall exceed N amount of posts before His presence and indisputable divinity needs to be interjected?

We are hardwired for spirituality and there’s no question that love and hope are essential to a meaningful human existence. However, we don’t need to get down on our knees, subvert our intellect and submit to archaic dogmas to fully appreciate those experiences that religion has tried desperately to monopolize. The plain truth is that you don’t have any more insight than any one else, regardless of who you think you’re communing with.

I’ll be the first to admit that modern Christianity has many themes that would be echoed in a just and equitable society but shackling that belief system to the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent being is not necessary.

The Epicurean gambit is still waiting to be addressed so please post up on every thread once you’ve come up with a solution. I genuinely hope you solve it and take your place next to Aquinas, but more likely, you’ll come to the same conclusion that all rational people reach after they’ve worked their way through all the “Free Will” pitfalls…

Organized religion is foolish and prayer focused on communing with the Creator of the universe is silly. God is for children, the elderly and the terminally ill- everyone else should know better.

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By colin2626262, April 24, 2012 at 2:23 am Link to this comment

Donna Fritz,

I have read those columns, and I appreciate the thoughts that Hedges expresses.  He is ethically a religious writer, though not necessarily metaphysically a religious writer.  It’s my understanding, based on closely reading his columns and books and also listening to his speeches and interviews, that he believes morality is what makes one a religious person, rather than religion making one a moral person.  He may quote Martin Luther King saying “thank God Almighty”, but in his book on atheism he wrote that religion cannot save us.  So I think my comment directed at him was justified, even though I wasn’t just directing it at him but at everyone. 

To prisnersdilema:

Like most people who don’t pray, you don’t understand prayer when you write that “prayers are about your selfish requests.”  Asking God for help is why many people pray.  Okay, if you want to call that selfish, you can.  But the ultimate meaning of prayer is having a relationship with God, a relationship of love.  When you pray, you experience God’s love and know that there is a God, a God who not only exists but loves you.  The evidence for God’s existence is love, the fact that you no longer feel alone in the world and also that you feel love for others.  It certainly is not selfish to love others, and the only way we can love others is to first love God, so that God’s love will be in us and we will be able to give that love to others.  This is the only way to change the world, through love.  This is the only way to create a more just, more peaceful, more compassionate society.  That’s why I say prayer is the only thing that will save us.

balkas,

I’m glad you pray.  Then again, I wouldn’t call other religions cults, a derogatory term, just because you’ve rejected traditional religion.  I like the idea that you feel your God is “accepting.” If God is accepting, you should be accepting of other faiths.  The only unacceptable belief is that there is no God to pray to.  The people who hold that belief don’t pray.  If they did pray, they would know there is a God, a God of love.   

Alan MacDonald,

You’re right, Occupy isn’t completely dead, but you have to ask how much life it had in it to begin with.  I oversimplified it by saying it was just a critique of corporate control of America and financial greed.  It’s not just people fed up with wealth inequality.  There are some spiritual aspects to it, yet the problem is that our culture isn’t a religious culture.  I haven’t been inspired by Occupy Wall Street.  I’ve been inspired by the Arab revolts, especially in Syria, where they’re facing the most brutal, fascist, inhuman violence and oppression imaginable, all the while keeping their faith in God and demonstrating in the name of God.

That’s what we have to do here.  But the people there are believers.  God is central to their lives.  I know there are millions of Christians in America, many of whom are people Hedges refers to as the Christian Right.  I am a progressive.  There’s no reason why those on the right can’t understand that Christianity is about loving one another, especially the most vulnerable, and our politics could change as a result of a religious movement.  Occupy Wall Street, for all its good, is not a religious movement and won’t galvanize the country like a religious movement could. 

Before we have a religious movement, however, we have to be religious.  That’s the hardest part.

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By Duppy Durruti, April 24, 2012 at 1:55 am Link to this comment

@alistair

thanks for all the info. As far as the Tobin Tax, do you see a scenario where it could be approved when the City is fighting it so vigorously?

Last I read the suggested tax rate was miniscule, something like .001 for derivatives, yet Cameron had vowed he’d never support it unless it was adopted globally, which seems very unlikely. Could Germany and France get the leverage to adopt it if the UK remains entrenched against it?

Also, I should have been more clear when I said “intend to support Le Pen in the next round”. What I was curious about was what % who voted for her in the first round will support whomever she endorses in the final round?

I heard some of her rhetoric this morning and apparently she has no intention of endorsing Sarkozy, but do you think that’s likely to change before the election?

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By Nemo, April 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment

Exactly. ‘Merica needs a more myopic and xenophobic world view. Don’t let yourself actually get sophisticated guys. Half your charm is your ignorance.

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By Marshall, April 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment

Ah but Mr. Hedges is a professional whiner and when he’s momentarily in-
between domestic whines (I suspect the collapse of OWS is what did it), he moves
right on to globalization of his whining, which is his major export.

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By Bill Lee, April 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You’ve had your chance, pseudo-progressives.  Now, get out of the way and stay out of the way, or your skulls get crushed with the fascist filth.  This planet can only be purged by bloody revolution, and that’s what it’s going to get.

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By redteddy, April 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

@jimmmmmy-“Pointing out the failings of your own country than moving onto the
next popular outrage does not fix with the original problems. Mr. Hedges should
,like Gandhi, pick an issue then ride it until resolved.”

I agree.  My concerns are not for France, they can take care of themselves, my
concerns are for what is happening here.

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By Isernia, April 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Whoever wins in France is immaterial…what fascinates me about the election there is (l) how quickly it starts and is over before you know it -4 months compared to our interminable “race”  (2) no huge French campaign chests donated to by powerbrokers to buy media time and enrich the communication moguls
(3) how easy it is for candidates to get loans from banks for their campaigns and how little of this borrowed money actually is spent on a) gaining name recognition…the French citizen is so much more savvy than our electorate b) dumbing down the “base” of the political party (c) trying to convince the electorate that one political party’s position on issues is seriously different from the competitive candidates…the French citizens already know that!!!....our choices in the US are still as Thomas Nast said several generations ago…TWIDDLEDEE & TWIDDLEDUM…because, as Hedges et al always remind us, our country is a CAPITALIST/CORPORATE OLIGARCHY…a sham democracy.

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By EmileZ, April 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

from The Society Of The Spectacle by Guy Debord…

54

Like modern society itself, the spectacle is at once united and divided. In both, unity is grounded in
a split. As it emerges in the spectacle, however, this contradiction is itself contradicted by virtue of a reversal of its meaning: division is presented as unity, and unity as division.

55

Struggles between forces, all of which have been established for the purpose of running the same
socioeconomic system, are thus officially passed off as real antagonisms. In actuality these struggles
partake of a real unity, and this on the world stage as well as within each nation.

56

This is not to say that the spectacle’s sham battles between competing versions of alienated power are not also real; they do express the system’s uneven and conflict ridden development, as well as the relatively contradictory interests of those classes or fractions of classes that recognize the system and strive in this way to carve out a role for themselves in it. Just as the development of the most advanced economies involves clashes between different agendas, so totalitarian economic management by a state bureaucracy and the condition of those countries living under colonialism or semicolonialism are likewise highly differentiated with respect to modes of production and power. By pointing up these great differences, while appealing to criteria of quite a different order, the spectacle is able to portray them as markers of radically distinct social systems. But from the standpoint of their actual reality as mere sectors, it is clear that the specificity of each is subsumed under a universal system as functions of a single tendency that has taken the planet for its field of operations. That tendency is capitalism.

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By heterochromatic, April 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

it’s always been a precarious project, inches from collapse and borne by belief in
large part.

it’s always possible to see that we’re headed for collapse and we muddle through
somehow.

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By BR549, April 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic, April 23 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment
“Always impressive that no matter where Hedges goes, he manages to be amazed that people simply don’t behave as he would prefer….and from this and so little else he’s able to reach back and pull out a sweeping sort of opinion…....“A breakdown of liberal democracy, which seems to be where we are headed..” “

Hetero, ....... the scary part is ........ what is Hedges is right and too many of the rest of the population has just been successfully anesthetized by media pablum?

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By prisnersdilema, April 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

No Colin, then you better get down on your knees, because it was the witless right, and
their right wing faith in fundamentalist christians whose, prayers to someone brought us
here.

And it was the prayers of the Taliban, and fundamentalists Islamic Jihadists, that keep
us there..

While they argue about who worships the true religion, and who has the pipeline to god,
the world slips into cataclysm…

All your prayers are about your selfish requests for what you what the world to be, as
are the others religions who denounce it as fake….

Just a pain killer, for the intolerable, realization that all religions are the same, they just
go by other names.

Time is wasting,  while you wait on your knees, in schizophrenia.

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By JesuBuddha, April 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

MenschGuy can be an optimist because he is a Jewish Buddhist! One gets used to things like American over reaction and down right craziness to looking at the world. As depressing as Chris Hedges reports here and as ignorant as are many of Americans about the way our system works—or doesn’t work—those who are corrupt and place their faith and belief in money, like the Wall Street/Financial Industry people, really are the ones who have not a clue they way life works and humans actually succeed; which is engagement with people whose souls and minds and hearts are respectful and dependent on each other and not the artifice of man-made concoctions: which is exactly what capital, political parties and religions are. We are all living in an era where the old institutions are fading, failing and falling away and new ones will be erected by the emerging generations to serve the new realities. That is the whole problem with not just the Republicans but also the Democrats who cannot change even if they wanted to, while the world is changing all around them. No matter what, the human being as a creation and product of Providence will continue to survive. It is those people in power today—be it in politics, the military, the Wall Street/Financial world…they are the ones who will not make it to the emerging tommorrow. Regardless of the current state of things, we are all part of the ecological order that is LIFE and those can’t live with respect to that very simple and clear fact are those who have separated themselves from the vitality and brilliance that is cosmic in scope and eternal in range. Despite today’s political/economic problems…true believers have faith in the mystery, marvel, magic and wonder that is life. We will survive.

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By heterochromatic, April 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Always impressive that no matter where Hedges goes, he manages to be amazed
that people simply don’t behave as he would prefer….and from this and so little
else he’s able to reach back and pull out a sweeping sort of opinion…....

“A breakdown of liberal democracy, which seems to be where we are headed..”


had Hedges been covering the French political scene any time after 1870 he would
have been equally amazed

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By Oceanna, April 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

“Politicians such as Obama—and, I fear, Holland—who carry out corporate agendas
while speaking in the language of populism become enemies of liberal
democracies. “

But the liberal democracy still supports Obama.  CH also interchanges the liberal
democracy with class, which may be more accurate.  I don’t think the liberal class
has ever been very supportive of populism.  I find it (as a class or democracy)
more centrist than anything else.

I don’t think the French shifting away from the center is a bad thing.  It resembles
the US support for Ron Paul that came from both the right and left.  A center
approach isn’t working well in either country.  Maybe liberalism is becoming an
anachronism.

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By Korky Day, April 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

The article neglected the essentials of reporting:
François Hollande, Parti socialiste 28.63%.
Nicolas Sarkozy, Union pour un mouvement populaire 27.18%.
Marine Le Pen, Front national 17.9%.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Front de gauche 11.1%.
François Bayrou, Mouvement démocrate 9.13%.
Eva Joly, Europe Écologie–Les Verts 2.31%.
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Debout la République 1.79%.
Philippe Poutou, Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste) 1.15%.
Nathalie Arthaud, Lutte Ouvrière 0.56%.
Jacques Cheminade, Solidarité et Progrès 0.25%.

Also, Chris Hedges fails to mention that Iceland rejected the predatory banks, let them fail, and is now doing well.

By Sombrio, April 23, 7:42 am:  “is all this devolution by accident, flawed cultural understanding, or by design?”

All of those, but beginning with the accidental creation of the 2-party system in the USA before proportional voting was invented.  No progress will endure in the USA which doesn’t remedy that mistake.

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By Donna Fritz, April 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

“We should be treated as sacred, since we were all
born in the image of God and we all have God within
us.  We have to realize that this is the meaning of
dignity, and if our president and our political
system doesn’t recognize the dignity we’re entitled
to, we have to rise up.” Keep writing and speaking,
Chris.  But remember, you’re not helping anyone if
you’re not a believer, least of all yourself. -
colin2626262

You need to familiarize yourself with more of Chris’
writings. From Finding Freedom in Handcuffs
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/finding_freedom_i
n_handcuffs_20111107/

Those who resist—the doubters, outcasts, renegades,
skeptics and rebels—rarely come from the elite. They
ask different questions. They seek something else—a
life of meaning. They have grasped Immanuel Kant’s
dictum, “If justice perishes, human life on Earth has
lost its meaning.” And in their search they come to
the conclusion that, as Socrates said, it is better
to suffer wrong than to do wrong. This conclusion is
rational, yet cannot be rationally defended. It makes
a leap into the moral, which is beyond rational
thought. It refuses to place a monetary value on
human life. It acknowledges human life, indeed all
life, as sacred. And this is why, as Arendt points
out, the only morally reliable people when the chips
are down are not those who say “this is wrong,” or
“this should not be done,” but those who say “I
can’t.” [...]

There are streaks in my lungs, traces of the
tuberculosis that I picked up around hundreds of
dying Sudanese during the famine I covered as a
foreign correspondent. I was strong and privileged
and fought off the disease. They were not and did
not. The bodies, most of them children, were dumped
into hastily dug mass graves. The scars I carry
within me are the whispers of these dead. They are
the faint marks of those who never had a chance to
become men or women, to fall in love and have
children of their own. I carried these scars to the
doors of Goldman Sachs. I had returned to living.
Those whose last breaths had marked my lungs had not.
I placed myself at the feet of these commodity
traders to call for justice because the dead, and
those who are dying in slums and refugee camps across
the planet, could not make this journey. I see their
faces. They haunt me in the day and come to me in the
dark. They force me to remember. They make me choose
sides. As the metal handcuffs were fastened around my
wrists I thought of them, as I often think of them,
and I said to myself: “Free at last. Free at last.
Thank God almighty, I am free at last.”

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By ControlledDemolition, April 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

Chris,

Contemplating your writing about the percolating global unrest and hollow facade of our empty leaders (like Obama), it occurs to me how much the U.S. Military is a communist state. —CD

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By Wits End NJ, April 23, 2012 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

I made the mistake of trying to engage in thoughtful discussion at the Democratic
Underground last night - way to prove Chris Hedge’s point!

http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2012/04/democratic-despots.html

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By Arianna Marie, April 23, 2012 at 10:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is sad that we have allowed our Republic to be hi-
jacked by the globalists.  Our once proud nation was once the pinnacle of success and achievement on almost
every level.  Alas, it is that success, which causes our own demise.  We became so lulled into a false sense of security, that no one is watching the store.
We have allowed ourselves to be propagandized by corporations, believing every lie they spew, like children being ushered into an amusement park, where all the attractions are free.
Even as adults, we lack the maturity and the temerity
to see past the charade and realize the severity of our failings.  In this light, or lack there of, we fail to understand that no matter who we cast our vote
for, we lose.  None of the prime candidates will ever
effect a change that will embrace the public and not the corproate whores that have taken bailouts.
Don’t complain if you are not an activist.  Don’t complain if you would rather watch “reality TV”  Don’t
wait for someone else to do something about our current predicament.  This is what the globalists count on.  They know our psychology all too well.  If the bad guys aren’t wearing black, we think they are good guys.  Heaven help us if we don’t turn this around.  Tyranny is staring us in the face and we are benignly staring back.

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By BR549, April 23, 2012 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Eric L. Prentis, April 23 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
“The right has been dumbing down TV news and politics for decades. I am surprised the masses understand anything, when TV news is all spin, propaganda and lies.”

Agreed, but the left is just as culpable as the right. The true litmus test is whether the candidates and/or their parties support the Constitution over NAFTA and globalism. Looking at it from that standpoint, the list of the seemingly UNcorrupted and UNcorruptable candidates gets really short, really fast.

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By jimmmmmy, April 23, 2012 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

anarcissie, Historically change comes out of chaos, then the intellectuals and historians move in and write themselves into the narrative. Read Howard Zinns or Bertrand Russells excellent histories. I fear Mr Hedges is becoming more intellectual and less activist, and writing yourself in before anything has happened usually means deletion when change does occur.

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By Xenon, April 23, 2012 at 9:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I fear that the majority of the people and some of the commentors on this blog fail to see the depth of control exerted by the fascists who dominate the world structure. The rulers have removed the gloves and there is now very little effort to hide their fascist ambitions. The task of changing the empire, while leaving the present hierachy and system in power, through non-violent means is dubious at best. This is not to say it CANNOT be accomplished, but it will take a lot more than “occupying” buildings, banks and parks. The rulers can easily back off on exerting pressure (appeasement) making it appear the protests are actually achieving something.

I would also point out that the rulers during the Vietnam era finally backed off when the violence in the streets escalated to the point where the fabric of this country would be shredded - blood was being spilled. Rather than lose the entire house of cards, the rulers made the decision to back off and end the war which had become the albatross that may have choked the life out of their empire building plans. They took a step back and patiently re-grouped and developed to the point where we now have to battle fascist forces that are more solidly entrenched.

Although we speak of the 99%, we must remember that the entire 99% is not of one mind. Included in that 99% is a large percentage of neo-conservatives and proto-fascists that will side with their rulers and aid in diluting the power of the occupiers.

Is there a civil war in our future?

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By jimmmmmy, April 23, 2012 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

Like a lot of American Proressives Mr. Hedges complains bitterly and rightly so about U.S. intervention all over the world . Then he jets into France to “watch”, and pontificate on their political failures. While his own organization is collapsing thanks to his overt purging of people he dissagrees with, and his strong support of muslim fanatics. Pointing out the failings of your own country than moving onto the next popular outrage does not fix with the original problems. Mr. Hedges should ,like Gandhi, pick an issue then ride it until resolved. This scattershot effort to mobilize does not work . Especially when occasionally the leaders like yourself seem to be riding offf in the wrong direction. The article itself was well written and informative as usual.

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By caped amigo, April 23, 2012 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

Once again, Chris, you have given us important insights and valuable reading.
You, and a handful of others, are my only touch with reality. I’m coping and thanks
to you folks I am doing well. I peacefully dissent.

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By Sombrio, April 23, 2012 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

All very good observations, but is all this devolution by accident, flawed cultural understanding, or by design? What reporter can find that story?

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By David J. Cyr, April 23, 2012 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Chris Hedges:

“A breakdown of liberal democracy, which seems to be where we are headed, may not bring with it a salutary change.”
____________________

The liberal system of demockery (here, within the American branch of the global market-state) is not broken. It is still succeeding very well in doing what enlightened liberals deliberately designed it to do… to protect the greediest entities, and eliminate possibilities for development of a people’s democracy.

America’s “progressives” have never been part of the Left. From the early beginnings of the corporate-state that resulted from the Civil War victory of the industrialized northern states, the progressive movements have always been dedicated to protecting America’s undemocratic system — an oligarchic system originally designed to benefit the wealthy white landed gentry who eventually evolved into becoming the corporate persons.

It has always been the job of the “progressives” to preserve and protect America’s oligarchic system from any and every threat that ever rises up from the Left.

Liberal Democrats were never any part of The Solution. The corporate party’s Democrats are still successfully doing now what they’ve been so corporate obediently doing for generations — resolutely and reliably being the bigger part of The Problem.

Jill Stein for President!

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org

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By Ed Lytwak, April 23, 2012 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, yes, political action can be a part of a constructive program.  This is particularly true when it comes to transitioning to the new horizontal social structure.  Efforts such getting the money out of politics can be very valuable in getting from here to there.

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By Eric L. Prentis, April 23, 2012 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

The right has been dumbing down TV news and politics for decades. I am surprised the masses understand anything, when TV news is all spin, propaganda and lies. 

Authority figures constantly lying 24/7/365, does not support democracy.

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By mrfreeze, April 23, 2012 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

Alastair - Thanks so much for your response. All-too-often we here (especially the bloghounds) listen to ourselves too much and never get an on-ground-zero perspective of what’s going on around the world. As you know, here everyone who doesn’t stick his/her nose up the butt of capitalism is a “socialist” or worse a “commie.”

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By Anarcissie, April 23, 2012 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

Ed Lytwak, April 23 at 6:49 am:

‘... Most of the American (and traditional European) left pays little or no attention to the constructive program, focusing almost all energy on political action, particularly protest, non-cooperation and civil disobedience, under the mistaken belief that a new society can be built after taking power. ...’

Just based on casual observation, I’d say that much of the American Left is involved in some form of the constructive program, but that they’re not highly visible, which may be a good thing.

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By Alastair, April 23, 2012 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

@Mr Freeze et al.

Well, firstly, Hollande will win the run off in two weeks so “what happens next with Hollande” is a very important question.

Hollande is a strong believer in the Euro and Europe so I believe we will see some good progress towards sorting out structural problems especially around finance. Expect a Tobin Tax in the Eurozone countries (financial transaction tax).

Internally in France he has a problem because France is saddled with an antiquated and highly centralized system based solely on Paris institutions. Interestingly, Hollande has talked about doing something about this, but we will see what happens.

Regarding foreign affairs, I believe Hollande will be better because he seems to understand that there is a current financial attack by the City and Wall Street on the Euro. In any case, this will be evident during 2012 as the dollar and pound collapse (with a corresponding stock crash, I would expect). The US/UK financial powers have been trying to point at Euroland precisely because they are in such a catastrophic debt position (far, far worse than the Eurozone).

Domestically, this year is going to be tough especially for average French people. Some fiscal austerity measures will be needed and although Hollande is a believer in a growth rather than an austerity model, this will only work if he can convince Merkel (Germany) and Monti (Italy) to also play the same game.

Despite lots of negative press comments about Hollande’s style and lack of ministerial experience, I am hoping that his consensus building style will fit this multi-lateralism requirement much better. It is also vital that non-Euro countries are excluded from decisions in this area (I’m thinking especially of UK & Sweden who just block all initiatives).

It is vital to understand that the Anglo-American media is completely deluded (or deliberately lying) about who has the real problems here.

Try reading this article for a view of 2012: http://www.franck-biancheri.eu/2012-a-crucial-year-for-the-world—an-interview-of-Franck-Biancheri-in-Dutch-magazine-HP-De-Tijd_a88.html

2012 will be a seriously scary year for all of us but I am actually more hopeful with Hollande than Sarkozy that France and the EuroZone will be able to weather it better than most.

For full transparency, I deliberately left the UK (and the USA) because I wanted a safer, more community-oriented place for me and my family to live in. So I am probably more committed to France than the average, which I’m sure makes me biased in favour of optimism. I was born in Boston, grew up under Thatcher in Britain (aargh!) and spent years in US, UK and France as an adult.
I have made my decision where I want to be!

Again, I hope this is informative and helpful.
Alastair

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By peterjkraus, April 23, 2012 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

Right, Chris. All true, all depressing, all
leaving no or not much hope.

The question is: What now?

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By mrfreeze, April 23, 2012 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

MenschGuy - Wow, I’m amazed that you can be so “optimistic” in light of the fact that most of the people I know (even in “liberal” Western Washington State) are virtual dummies about the way our political system works….how it really works. Even here our state legislature has done little to change the mechanics of running the state: tax loopholes abound for the big players (Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon…farm subsidies, and many more) while they cut spending on the poor, disabled and to the public educational institutions. Add insult to injury, we have an initiative process (as does CA) which almost always results in the citizens voting themselves more services while at the same time hamstringing the government by NOT allowing tax increases…especially tax increases to the entities who can afford to pay them.

In short, I don’t know where you’re going to find enough regular folk to fight against the moneyed interests that now own this country. If liberal WW can’t muster up a good fight against them, just think about all the dunderheads out there in America…...yikes!

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By Jeff N., April 23, 2012 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

dini - I’m right there with you, got to keep the hope alive my friend and just keep fighting the good fight.  I think Occupy still has great potential, it has certainly made an impact on the political landscape in the past year or so.  We’re just getting started though; this is an awareness that has to be built and nurtured and maintained, these things take time.

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By Ed Lytwak, April 23, 2012 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately, CH is unable to see transformative social change as something fundamentally different from all past political revolutions – the substitution of one patriarchal hierarchy for another.  What Occupy and millions of people around the world , i.e. the food movement, have been quietly doing is creating a totally new and different kind of revolution.    This transformative change is what John Holloway calls in his seminal book “Changing the World Without Taking Power.”    It is also what Gandhi calls the “constructive programme” – “building the new society in the shell of the old.”    Most of the American (and traditional European) left pays little or no attention to the constructive program, focusing almost all energy on political action, particularly protest, non-cooperation and civil disobedience, under the mistaken belief that a new society can be built after taking power.    Gandhi understood that a strong constructive program was the necessary foundation for effective political action.  Gandhi also understood that nonviolent struggle was more than just tactics and strategy for resisting the patriarchal hierarchy.    The kind of powerful (creating our own power rather than “taking” theirs) constructive program necessary for transformative change must be based in a much broader effort to build a new non-hierarchical (horizontal) society based on social justice, economic self-reliance and ecological harmony.

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By MenschGuy, April 23, 2012 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

It took the ultra conservative right wings more than 45 years to get to this point of political power as people such as the Koch brothers, Texas oil tycoons, the Coors….funded think tanks and schools. The situation is only now turning around as the liberals finally are seeing the results. Please remember that FDR’s programs were not overnight—they began with the Progessive movement at the beginning of the 20th century. This is a long drawn out battle about political direction. But it is only now that the Liberals are realizing what they have to do. Nonetheless, it will be at least 10 years before sanity, justice, equality and fair prosperity makes a come back. As the middle class will be the bearer’s of the cost of society, programs like Ryan’s budget plans transfering costs away from the wealthy and unto all others…when the middle class organizes to turn around the current corporatocracy will America then have a secure future.

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By D.R. Zing, April 23, 2012 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

There is a profound misstatement of fact in this
article.  Namely, here, in this quote: 

There was the final shout of “Vive la France.” I
could, with a few alterations, have been at a
football rally in Amarillo, Texas.

Obviously, without the statement of “the smell of cow
shit permeated the air,” this rally could have never
occurred in Amarillo, Texas. 

Other than that, the article is spot on.

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By mrfreeze, April 23, 2012 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

Alastair - I’m sincerely interested in your perspective given that you’re in France. Please, I’d like to know what you think is going to happen in France/Europe should Hollande win? I’ve heard several journalists here in the states mention that he’s really not that radical (more a centrist) and that he won’t bring about much change. Of course, the Stock Market has dropped today due to the impending “destruction of the world” by the idea that a “socialist” might be running France…....

So, please tell us more!

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By balkas, April 23, 2012 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

let’s note please that there is now an awakening in US and elsewhwere that is in
importance, hope, etc., unlike any previous one.
one of the novelties that this awakening has come up with is the repudiation of an
hierarchical or ladderlike order of people.
so, in this regard—at least—the movement has obtained an, what i call, idyllic
order; and as such a great threat to the old one.
we are now in a new, revolutionary, era that can be, i expect, stopped only by
violence of diverse kind; includes military, economic, miseducational one; also
continuation of cultic [religious/mafioso] violence or assault on our nervous system.
the assault will become frontal, unprecedeted, vicious; in short, unlike all previous
ones.
can we withstand it? i am 90 now; so for me that is very easy!

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By Anarcissie, April 23, 2012 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

Why does the supporter of the candidate of the French Socialist Party wear a shirt with a slogan in English on it?  Is this not likely to rub the French the wrong way, or have they changed since I last saw them?

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By balkas, April 23, 2012 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

colin,
beg ur pardon, socialists do not, as far as i know [i know i don’t]
‘promise’ a or the paradise or absolute equality.
and i do pray to a deity, but IT IS SOCIALISTIC/GREGARIOUS/ALL
SMILES/ACCEPTING one in nature+ peaceable, just, truthful, good-
natured….
this deity of mine is not baptist, catholic, hindi, buddhist, or of any other
cult.

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By Larkin, April 23, 2012 at 6:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is an answer to Colin2626262 who thinks prayer is the
answer and the the Occupy movement is full of hippy
dilettantes. 

1st of May, MayDay Occupy Strike in NYC.  9am, Bryant Park
in Manhattan.
No School!
No Work!
No Shopping!
No Banking!

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By BR549, April 23, 2012 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

CHris Hedges, one of the last objective journalists.

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By Alan MacDonald, April 23, 2012 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

Advice for dini at 5:38 re. what can be done.

Occupy is not dead, as Colin at 5:32 implies, it just needs to clarify what it is “calling-out”.

Generalized post explaining why simply “calling-out” the Empire will start the ball rolling and really work:

Here’s the famous picture of Obama, Clinton, Panetta watching their ordered assassination from a bunker:

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/05/03/article-1382859-0BE03DE700000578-150_964x642.jpg

I’m only showing you that the nominal or so-called leaders of our former country just did something that rulers of an Empire (the Nazi Empire) often did, only Hitler didn’t watch his Empire assassinate people on live secure TV.

Now, here’s what I strongly suggest for the “action” to confront this Empire, and I’ve also included the WHYs of how this WILL WORK.

First, I like the non-violent technique of simply ‘calling-out’
the Empire as an Empire, not a democracy.

After ‘calling-out’ the Empire for what it is, I like the 2nd
stage of proving it with a simple Empire-Index that I’ve developed, and with the particulars of this current Empire acting like an Empire, with proof (like the invading of countries, drone killings, and sick pleasures of Empire power like the picture above).

Third, the steps of broadly “calling-out” and then proving
that it is an Empire will get many more of the 99% discussing, and
thinking about it actually being an Empire——which will lead to millions of discussion of average Americans somewhat like this, “You’re right, Harry, it certainly smells like an Empire to me.”  “Yes, Joe, I talked with Bill and all the guys at work and everyone agrees, we’ve got a serious problem with this damn Empire posing as a phony democracy”.


Fourth, non-violently confronting the now fully discussed,
understood, and proven Empire, by using massive “Occupy the
Empire” demonstrations—- everywhere, all over the Empire; in
places like Wall Street, Washington, Boston, Chicago, the media, the
schools and colleges, the Pentagon, and all the places that the Empire currently
occupies to control us and our whole country everywhere—- will
empower ‘action’ targeted specifically and uniformly “Against
Empire” [Michael Parenti].

And fifth, the real benefit is that although Empire is the single
target of this ‘action’—- Empire itself is the proximate CAUSE of
all the various ‘symptom problems’ that we are now being divided,
distracted, and disabled by the Empire in addressing too many
‘symptom problems’ to confront the core pathology of Empire itself.

Since the Empire is already Occupying the whole country and all
its cities, financial, political, social, media, educational, and
military locations—- we need to “Occupy the Empire” to
stop it from occupying us.

Luckily, since the current Occupy movement is already occupying 
most of these sites, all we have to do is declare that  in
occupying these sites and elements of our society we are “Occupying
the Empire”.

Nice coherence, eh?

Best luck and love to the “Occupy Empire” educational
movement.
 
Liberty, democracy, equality, & justice
Over
Violent/Vichy
Empire,

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By dini, April 23, 2012 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

I wanna know what to do that will be most effective to turn this madness around
without money.  I know we have to all protest but how?  My only hope is a spiritual
awakening which is what keeps me going day to day in this world of greed, hatred
and delusion.  We each make a difference and can but there needs to be a lot of
us.  How do we persuade the many??

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By colin2626262, April 23, 2012 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

The commenter before me is wrong.  Prayers are the only thing that can save us.

Hey Hedges, what happened to your own hope?  What happened to the great Occupy Movement?  Weren’t you all going to dismantle corporate capitalism and bring about a socialist paradise?  Oh, I guess that didn’t work out.  Now you’re writing your usual dire prognostications, filling your role as a secular prophet of gloom. 

Hedges is right in one sense.  If you expect any change to come from politicians, you’re going to be bitterly disappointed.  The only change will come from us, but it won’t be in the form of a secular movement, like Occupy Wall Street, which has faded away.  It will only come from people with faith, like the people of Syria, who know what real dignity is and who have a real connection to one another as believers in the one God.

What Hedges says here may come true, though it doesn’t have to.  There is such a thing as real hope, and it starts with a prayer, which betters us as individuals so that we can change society for the better.  The mass delusion is that Americans think they can separate politics and religion, leading spiritual lives in a secular society.  It doesn’t work that way.  You have to choose one or the other.  Some have chosen to lead entirely secular lives and have forgotten why they’re alive.  We’re here to serve God.  We’re not here for anything else. 

Will there be demonstrations in America with people who are poor and out of work calling for change?  We saw a glimpse of that.  I’m not trying to denigrate the Occupy protesters, because they had geniune grievances.  However, their message just does not resonate.  Why?  It’s materialistic, for one.  You need a spiritual message, something more profound than saying, “Corporations and banks are bad.”

I would like to see a real movement in America, one that is aware of what Hedges is writing about, namely that the political system in the United States is corrupt and not democratic, not responsive to the needs of the masses.  There’s a lot of poverty in our country.  There’s a lack of compassion towards the poor.  There’s also a lack of meaningful work.  All this needs to change.  But we have to make the change by going out on the streets, not as Occupy Wall Street protesters but as human beings who know how we should be treated.  We should be treated as sacred, since we were all born in the image of God and we all have God within us.  We have to realize that this is the meaning of dignity, and if our president and our political system doesn’t recognize the dignity we’re entitled to, we have to rise up. 

Keep writing and speaking, Chris.  But remember, you’re not helping anyone if you’re not a believer, least of all yourself.

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By Usha Abramovitz, April 23, 2012 at 6:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So what is an immediate solution. What can we do?

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By balkas, April 23, 2012 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

i dare suggest that most people are overly word-oriented. they shld be much
more fact-oriented.
this observation elucidates why people so patiently and often eagerly listen to a
type of speech that one cld describe as mostly promisory.
they don’t seem to know the fact that all promises are structurally lies and those
made by politicians, media, and clergy; in addition to that, also very brazen,
blatant, unsettling, harmful to all life, etc.
being aware of this fact, i almost never read what obama or other politicians say.
but if people think that MSM columnists are any better at accuracy-adequacy-
elucidation of what really goes on, they are mistaken.
once again i stress the fact that people are not stupid, uncaring, warlike, but do
stress the fact that schooling [in schools, churches, and life] makes them behave
that way. thanks, bozhidar b, planet earth!

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By david tarbuck, April 23, 2012 at 6:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article is right on but there is no real surprise in finding French “Socialists” wanting in progressive ideas or leaders.

After all a few years ago a a serial rapist who requires $3000.00/night hotel accommodation with extra services from female staff included, was projected to be the socialist candidate; that is until he out did himself in New York and was exposed for what he really is!

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By prisnersdilema, April 23, 2012 at 6:03 am Link to this comment

Like survivors of a world wide catastrophe we are struggling over what remains of
western civilization. Rather than address the calamity, our political class has used what
little rationality it has left, to offer lies. Promises and prayers cannot save us, they are
mass delusions, while their real solution, a murderous and crushing police state is being
created disguised as our protector.

They will not save us from them.  Nor will they save us from the undoing of our lives,
because they created it, and they use it as a means, for their own security.

The corporate state can rule but it can’t govern. It’s appetite is too large. But it can
deceive, and it can medicate, while hardening it’s fists and heels.

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By IMax, April 23, 2012 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

Duppy Durruti,

Don’t give up on democracy due to being in the minority.  National moods and politics will again swing your way.  You’ll want to be there, participating, when that happens, even if your personal choice doesn’t take office.

‘Occupy’ your local School Board, City Council, County Seat, State House and the U.S. Congress.

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By Jean-Marie V., April 23, 2012 at 5:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The same battle. The same struggles. You are right.
A politic pundit says that the French have understand the “real” issues of this election in putting Holland and Sarkozy for the 2nd round. It’s just an another form of fear. The ones who are very afraid, vote for the far-right party. Those who are afraid to lost some little things in more fiscal or social justice, and may be, more, in a civic revolution, shut their eyes on the social catastrophe it’s coming !
Philippe Marlière write : “Our societies have never been as productive and wealthy as today, but the majority of the population are getting poorer despite working harder and harder. The problem is not a question of wealth production (as
neoliberals and Blairite social democrats would have us believe), but of redistribution of wealth”
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/15/jean-luc-melenchon-
france-presidential-candidate).
Today, an authentic radicalism want to restore and develop the social state, with the full employment, a redistribution and a
financial regulation to disappear the people’s fear which is like a social plague.
This last is our very deep question.

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By Alan MacDonald, April 23, 2012 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

Hedges’ excoriation of even the conventional Socialist parties in Europe, makes his latest column both entirely acceptable for publication in the WSWS web site, and also truthful, accurate, and of great concern to the most dumbed-down and propaganda-deluded audience in the world—- here in the nominal and quite likely temporary HQ of the DGE (Disguised Global Empire) in the country previously known as America.

The seminal problem in relating what Hedges writes with the delusional illusion that most Americans share is that Hedges writes of the seminal problem of global empire, but there is no breath of an understanding in America that we are in the belly of that global empire because it and its paid political and media help do such a marvelous job of covering-up the reality of this global empire with their politely propagandist term “globalization”.  The deceits and delusions that Global Empire employs have been cogently written about by Hedges himself in such works as his “Empire of Illusion”.  But in reality the term “globalization” is merely the camouflage (or Illusion) that hides the harsh reality of ‘global empire’.

Timothy Parsons’ fabulously revealing book, “The Rule of Empires” is the most insightful and educational resource to truly understand both the history and evolution of the methods, metastasizing, and deceitful myths of empire.  Essentially all of human history is the history of empire, and the evolution of empire shows the progress (sic) of empire’s success in ruling ‘subjects’ without arousing revolution.

The current state of the post-nation-state world’s 21st century DGE (Disguised Global Empire), which uses empire’s perfected predatory trick of employing disguises to hides its true nature, is extant on a wider basis than ever before, but is nominally head-quartered, not surprisingly, in the most powerful and most deluded previous nation-state, the United States—- but clearly encompasses other previous nation-state/countries like; UK, France, Israel, et al. in the global empire’s realm.

Parsons points out of all empires, “when stripped to its essence, empire is nothing more than the political embodiment of unchecked avarice”—- to which I would add only that stripping away this most modern disguise of the DGE requires an understanding of the corporate/financial/militarist (and media)  Empire that has quietly captured and now fully “Occupies” our former country, by hiding behind the facade of its modernized two-party “Vichy” sham of faux-democatic and totally illegitimate government—- as much as the earlier Nazi Empire employed a crude one party “Vichy” facade in captured and “Occupied” France c. 1940.

Best luck and love to the “Occupy Empire” educational and revolutionary movement.

Liberty, democracy, justice, & equality
Over
Violent/Vichy
Empire,

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By Alastair, April 23, 2012 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

The Polls I have seen say that of people that would vote Marine Le Pen (Far right) in the first round:
- 48% will vote Sarkozy in the second round.
- 24% will vote Hollande in the second round.

However, of people who voted Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Far left) in the first round, 85% will vote Hollande in the second round. Eva Joly (Green) has already said her followers should also vote Hollande.

You should also note that Marine Le Pen got only 6.5% of the vote in the Paris region (versus 17.9% overall).

Check out - http://www.google.com/elections/ed/fr/results. It is useful for seeing the swing.

I am 100% convinced (as are the pollsters and most everyone I have spoken to, regardless of their allegiance) that Hollande will win the second round.

I am only hopeful in that he does seem to understand that France must stop sucking up to the USA and supporting their hegemony. Will he act on it? Will it be enough? Frankly, I expect to see people on the street here too!

Hope this helps
Alastair

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By jeanpalmer, April 23, 2012 at 5:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Massachusetts Democratic primary race for the Senate seat now held by reactionary Brown has a real progressive -Marisa DeFranco - trying very hard (and since March of last year - I have been involved since May of last year)to run a very real grass roots campaign (i.e. no money). She has been all over the state meeting and listening to people and when people meet her they are inspired by her and most come on board immediately. She inspired me, and that is very, very hard to do.  The press and the corporate democratic party have annointed Eliz Warren (which is resulting in a very non-democratic race) have all but ignored DeFranco. All the male competitors in the race dropped out immediately like good lackeys when the democratic party told them to do.  Marisa did not because she cares and is determined; we can’t give up, not yet.  She is real, smart, and actually cares about what is going on.  I wish someone in the media - like Chris Hedges - would tune into this race so more people can hear about the real issues and Marisa.  MarisaDeFranco.com.  Feel free to contact her; she is very approachable and might actually bring a breath of what is needed in DC.

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By Duppy Durruti, April 23, 2012 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

You’re there so I defer to your insight and experience but doesn’t it seem irrational to cast a vote for the far right knowing that it will ultimately empower the party, especially if your beliefs are completely the opposite of what that party represents?

I certainly understand a protest vote but it seems plausible that Sarkozy would move farther to the right if he believes that any percentage of Le Pen’s support is up for grabs- especially given some of the ignorant things he’s said already.

Have you seen any polls suggesting what percentage of those that voted for Le Pen say they will support Sarkozy? Or what percentage intend to support Le Pen in the next round?

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By WendyC, April 23, 2012 at 4:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow! After reading your article, Mr. Hedges, I am speechless. What a sad state of
affairs.

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By Tom Degan, April 23, 2012 at 4:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What must be understood is that while the Democrats are a useless and incompetent party, the Republicans are not a party at all. They haven’t been in decades. They’re now an organized criminal enterprise. Wake up and smell the elephant shit.

http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

Tom Degan

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By Alastair, April 23, 2012 at 4:25 am Link to this comment

I am a US/UK Citizen living in France. This strong showing by Marine Le Pen must be seen in the correct context. France runs a two-stage voting process and it was inconceivable that anyone would win the first round outright. Therefore, for people protesting against both the main parties (Sarkozy’s & Hollande’s), a vote for Marine Le Pen could be done while posing no risk that she would actually get in. In fact, polls that asked those who said they would vote for Marine Le Pen in the first round showed that 24% of them intended to vote for the socialists in the second round! Hardly, true Front National material.
It is indicative of the same malaise we see in the USA and the UK where the main parties are seen as not representing the common people. I would say however that this feeling is a gradient with this concern being less true in France than either the UK or USA (where it is now more or less universal).
Alastair

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