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Tropic of Chaos

By Christian Parenti

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The Rev. Jeremiah Wright Recalls Obama’s Fall From Grace

Posted on Sep 19, 2011
Illustration by Mr. Fish

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By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

“You look at old guys like me that were alive during that time,” Wright said. “I’m saying ‘wait a minute, you’re missing something, you’re missing something,’ and my grandson—well, my youngest one is 11, he’ll not know that King. I’ll tell him, but what’s going to happen in terms of the curriculum? What’s going to happen in terms of the schools? What’s going to happen in terms of the millions of visitors who go to Washington, D.C.? They will miss that King entirely. We have an idealistic portrait. I think that does violence to what the man stood for and what he was trying to do.”

More ominously, Wright warns, the sanitizing of King has been accompanied by the primacy of a selfish, hedonistic and violent culture which has turned away from values, including self-sacrifice, that make possible harmony and the common good. This selfishness and narcissism, Wright argues, is a form of blasphemy.

“We got so focused in on being No. 1, on being the superpower,” he said. “When the Cold War ends we reign supreme. Empire, corporate interest and business interests take over. We got so focused on that and the media hype, media of course being owned by the corporations, that the founding principles, the core principles that I feel should have been our guiding principles, in terms of becoming what King called ‘the beloved community,’ and becoming what Howard Thurman called ‘the search for common ground,’ got completely lost. We substituted the prayer of Jesus with the prayer of Jabez. Increase my territory. Enlarge my territory. If you notice, Jesus taught us to pray, and I speak as a Christian minister—I realize that the country is not all Christian—but just in terms of the principles that I believe cut across interfaith lines and boundaries is in the prayer. The model prayer the Lord taught us as the Lord’s disciples has no first person singular pronoun. It’s ‘our,’ ‘we,’ ‘us.’ That got lost.”

“We became a ‘me’-focused, kind of dog-eat-dog, Ayn Rand, social Darwinist, survival of the fittest, be strong, and with no care, no concern, no compassion for those that are not born above the scratch line,” Wright said. “And no concern to make the communities in which they live and the world in which we live a community which really cares about all of God’s children, regardless of their colors and regardless of their faith.”


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Wright has become something of an expert on the commercial media since he was psychologically lynched by them. The media, selecting clips to tar him, have plastered him with derogatory labels and shut his voice out of the national discourse. He has, like all of our greatest intellectual and moral dissidents, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, been rendered a pariah. 

“The media became interested in profits, in selling airtime, in selling newspapers, in selling magazines, in selling ‘if it bleeds it leads,’ whatever will get us a larger market share of the audience, of the viewing audience, of the listening audience,” Wright went on. “That became the focus, rather than sharing factual news with Americans, and the world, in terms of what’s really going on. That’s no longer important. What’s important is profit.”

“Once that media-spun narrative is out there, from that point on all you hear is critiques of the narrative, deconstruction of the narrative, debates concerning the narrative, affirmations of the narrative, attacks on the narrative, with nobody talking about substance, because we don’t even know what substance is,” Wright said. 

Wright insists that the church, especially the liberal church that allied itself with the civil rights movement, is alive, although ignored and unheeded as a voice within the larger society. 

“The average church in America has 200 members,” he said. “But they get no news coverage. The news covers the mega-churches, Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes. We’re talking big churches, large memberships. But the men and women who are in the trenches, who have not ‘bowed to Baal,’ the 7,000 more that God told Elijah that God had, are ignored. They’re still there. They’re still doing it. They are not, perhaps—and this is spoken from a 70-year-old, and I would say 50 years of that as an adult looking back—as numerous as they were back in the ’60s. They are fewer and less vocal in number, but they remain. The problem is that the media is not going to put out what guys like your dad and my dad were doing and saying Sunday after Sunday, not just in worship but throughout the week as they tried to make ministry meaningful after the benediction. That doesn’t get covered. I see them still doing, still trying to do what they did back in the ’60s , but not getting the coverage. Let them marry a gay guy, or a gay couple, that’s going to make the news. Let them go up against Wal-Mart, especially Wal-Mart’s treatment of women or its workers, that doesn’t make the news. Because the Waltons, and the corporate giants who control the news, don’t see that kind of work by the church as important. What’s important is that the Supreme Court sided with the Walton family. So that those churches that are trying, that are dealing with poverty, that are dealing with honest conversations about educational reform, that are not jumping on the ‘Waiting for Superman’ bandwagon or Bill Gates, but who are really in the schools, are relegated to the shadows. And from what I see talking to local pastors they’re trying their best to make a difference in the lives of the poor, they’re doing feeding. I just left Fresno and a little small church out there adopted one of the missions [for the needy] in Fresno. They’ve got a place called Tent City in one of the richest counties in the country. Folks are living in tents as if it was Soweto or Calcutta. The guys from that small church in Fresno are going there, because it’s dangerous for the women to go over there, guys are going over there once a week, and they are taking the youth of this church. But that’s not making the news. I’ve seen the church doing all kinds of exciting things around the country, but it’s below the radar.”

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By wfalco, September 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unfortunately in politics one must lie and cheat a bit to win. That is the way the game is played. Obama may fit the bill as a “typical politician” in that sense.
But can we not agree having him is much better than a Republican ? Can we not agree that this country may have followed a different path with Gore ? Or Kerry ? Both of whom actually won.
Me? I am not rightous. Who is? As for the Reverend, has he never been a hypocrit in his life? Are we all not fallible human beings who lie and cheat, occasionally, to get ahead?

Sometimes the means may jutify the ends. Incrementalism may not be sexy but perhaps it can work. It may be the only solution since we do not have an engaged populace.

If anyone out there thinks like me-isn’t it realistic that a man of Obama’s intelligence is brutally aware of the nonsense re: religion? I have always been aware that Obama is not a religius man. Likely smart enough to be Atheist. He used Mr. Wright only to get into politics. Gotta have some kind of religion, especially if one needs the religious vote-and even liberal African Americans would not likely stomach an Atheist as their political leader.

Maybe I am a minority- but I have seen and witnessed many African American men…leaders of their community…who over play that whole religion hand.
Isn’t this just a new form of slavery? Bondage of the mind. What a world we would live in if everyone came to the realization that the heaven they are so intent on entering is right in front of their noses.

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By weindeb, September 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Truthdig’s resident Jeremiah has struck again, shooting
from the hip with his moral shotgun. As with any such
blast, targets are hit…and missed. Even though I often
find Chris Hedges right-on in his assessments, I just as
often find something quite pompous, holier-than-thou,
and self-serving about him, not unlike Ralph Nader, or
perhaps better identified as Saint Nader, whom he seems
to worship. As he did in his recent piece damning our
Libyan intervention, he prefaces his remarks with a
declaration of his credentials making him an expert on
what he is to pronounce. In this article, we read: “I grew
up as a Christian. My father was a pastor. I graduated
from a seminary. I can distinguish a Christian pastor from
the slick imposters and charlatans…” Well, certainly one
can believe in experts, but moral experts? The Greeks had
a name for it - hubris. And truly Chris Hedges, a most
articulate man no doubt on the side of the angels, could
benefit from some humility that might make him less
Biblical, less black and white, and maybe more like the
rest of us poor suffering sinners as he thrusts about
declaiming what is right and what is wrong. Please, Chris,
a not so much shotgunning and perhaps a little less of
the ad hominem!

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By bonito, September 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

No truer words were ever spoken then those uttered in
Mar. 2008 by Rev. Wright. I challenge anyone to prove
them wrong or inaccurate. As for Obama there can be no
excuse for the way He has betrayed the working people
of this Nation. Those of us whom are old enough to
remember FDR, must now admit We made a large mistake
having voted for him thinking that We were getting
another FDR, instead what We ended up with was another
Hoover. His indecisive manner and cave-in style have
made him less then honorable to many whom expected

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By Don S, September 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, as a fellow ‘Gate alumini of roughly the same vintage, I detect perhaps some influence of Hunt Terrel, unreserved moralist and witness for peace that he was.  Some of us listened; for others, the message may have been more subconscious.  Not to take anything away from your other formatory and unique influences.

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By Grumpy Old Man, September 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

Sanctimonious drivel, if you ask me, which you didn’t.

Aren’t we (Hedges and Wright) the superior people?

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By Arouete, September 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

jimch, While I agree that politicians should not march their preachers into the public square and reasonable men can criticize the Rev. Wright for sound reasons - but not for the disingenuous reasons you proffer. Quoting people out of context so as to misrepresent and twist their intent is the first sure sign of a lack of intellectual integrity and (shocking news!) it fools no one in command of the facts.

This is undoubtedly the most misrepresented sermon in American history and that’s largely because hacks, hucksters, beauty-shop gossips, and other various and sundry bigots, have little respect for historical facts or present context. I’ll not bother trying to disabuse you of your ignorance for, like all of your ilk, you are clearly too invested in it. Object to his tone all you wish but the context of the Rev. Wright’s overly-impassioned diatribe is the essence of criticisms we have seen for years and from the nation’s most respected intellectuals and public figures. The Rev. Wright said *nothing* new and those ignorant of the context and the indisputable historical facts could only be ignorant because they live disconnected from the recent past.

Comments like this are a perfect example of what Christopher Hitchens was talking about in his marvelous essay,  “Goodbye to All That: Why Americans Are Not Taught History” at

You are the model for Controller Ford in Huxley’s Brave New World: “History is bunk.” Just “whisk” it away.  Whisk Nagasaki. Whisk Tuskegee. Whisk Jim Crow. Whisk Strange Fruit. Whisk ...

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By colin2626262, September 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

Dear Chris,

I read this article of yours with the utmost interest.  Some of your past articles have left me with a feeling that you see only darkness for our country and our lives, but this article has a spiritual message that everyone should try to understand.  I wish more people were like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom you interviewed.  He is a true Christian. 

There are 60 million evangelical Christians in the United States.  Imagine if all those who call themselves Christians actually were Christians.  Imagine if they all understood that Jesus preached about the kingdom of God in this earth, which involved compassion for the poor and nonviolence.  We would have a completely different America, a completely different world, if those of us who believe in God and in the message of the Gospel, would put our beliefs into practice.  I’m guilty of not being active enough in trying to fight for social justice.  I sit at home most of the time.  I write a little, but that’s about it.  I try to be a Christian in the sense of Jesus’s great commandment: that all we have to do is love God and our neighbor as ourself. 

Rev. Wright pointed out that Jesus taught us to pray and that this prayer cut across all our differences and essentially made us one, as children of God, since we’re all from God, born of God and existing with God in our souls.  But why is it we have people who say they’re Christians (and who apparently pray) but also support social policies that are in absolute contradiction to Christian ethics?  You can’t blame the media.  You can probably blame self-interest more than anything else.  People want to say they’re Christians but also say they don’t care about the poor and that they support state violence.  Lord, this country is in serious trouble.

I understand why you write about the dark side of America, Chris.  I’m sorry if some of the comments I’ve left you over the years have been sometimes angry or ignorant.  I see now that you and I are on the same side, as it were.  Those of us who want to live a moral life have to remember our faith first and politics after.  Belief has to be put into action, of course, but it has to be the truth, the right belief and the right action.  Otherwise, we’ll be thinking of ourselves as religious when in actuality we’re not.  We don’t want to be hypocrites, and that is a possibility when we’re preaching morality and condemning others for their sins.  May God help us to have peace and live the way we we’re supposed to live, according to the will of God, the will of love and compassion and friendship.

Yours sincerely,

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By Concerned Citizen, September 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

An important piece.  So many think Obama is corrupt to the core and a True
Believer in the the neoliberalist/militarist/Wall Street-first paradigm, but a
broader look at the man’s life leads you to believe that he once was what many of
us on this website now are.  Then power - and his desire for power - happened. 
And to attain a position of power in this nation is almost certainly a death
sentence for who you once were.

Fault lies with both the man and the system.

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By drbhelthi, September 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

When the superficial wears off, the genuine quality of a person is revealed. 
So what is unusual about the basic character of “Barack Hussein Obama
Soetoro” surfacing ?  A review of the influence of the C.I.A. and the Ford
Foundation in the lives of both sides of the parents who raised him, and his
C.I.A. employment since the age of twenty assists to better understand his
adult behavior. It is sad to me that he did not live with his genuine sire a
few years. Learning only fantasy ideas about a fantasized father, does not
contribute to a well-rounded development. Obama´s mother, the Ford
Foundation and the C.I.A. trained him to follow power and wealth. 

Minister Wright spent too much time polishing the surface and identifying
with a fantasized winner in half-Black, similar to other “people of color”
and the poor generally, who voted Obama. Reviewing Obama´s developmental
history, instead of focussing on one or two contrived contributions to
society along the climb to success . . .  Listening for what he wanted to
hear, instead of “hearing,” did not equip him to meet the real Obama. Thus,
Minister Wright continues to experience shock from encountering the real
Obama vs his fantasy projection of Obama. Nor will rationalizations of a
sermonized nature, whether made by Wright or Hedges, improve either Obama or
the Zionist encampment. Obama´s 2012, pre-election promise, taxing the rich
to unburden the poor, a Robin Hood approach, will appeal to many poor folk.
Some folk of color will attach their fantasy of a winner in half-Black to
this banner of deceit. Snake oil requires a slick salesman. And, Obama is
slick. Over twenty years of C.I.A. operative experience makes the slick even

Fall from grace?  One doesn´t fall from where one has never been.  Minister
Wright appears to be less than well-informed on the characteristics for
which certain C.I.A. operatives are selected. Ability to “adapt” and do what
is necessary to “fit in” whenever and wherever qualifies NO ONE for what
some preachers label as “Grace.”  The summary statement at the end of his
first general staff meeting lets the cat out of the bag: “We´ll know our
disinformation program is complete when everything the American public
believes is false.” - William Casey, CIA Director, first staff meeting,
1981, as recorded by the investigative journalist, Mrs. Mae Brussell. It
takes “slick” people to pull off this kind of job. People who promise the
“poor folk wish-list” in pre-election speeches. People who, after election,
fulfil the CIA-Industrial-Military-Zionist wish-list, while making
statuesque speeches that distract, deceive and defraud. People like Obama.

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By Trojan Horus, September 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The King quote I’d have liked to see used would have been this one ... “Cowardice asks the question: Is it safe? Expediency asks the question: Is it politic? Vanity asks the question: Is it popular? But Conscience asks the question: Is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must make it because his conscience tells him that it is right….”

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By jimch, September 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

“Mar 13, 2008 – Barack Obama’s pastor says blacks should not sing “God Bless America” but ” God damn America.” The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor ....”
Does Hedges conveniently forget the damning of the country by this “Reverent?”
Yes, Obama threw him under the bus, but Wright should stick to preaching the gospel, and stay-the-hell out of political diatribe while in the pulpit. “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s….”
So what has the good “Reverent” done so as to become a model citizen? Maybe he should discuss this with Rev. Al Sharpton.

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By caped amigo, September 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Chris for the valuable enlightenment about Reverend Wright. I needed
that. I am already aware of what President Obama has become since being elected
to office.

It’s a bitter pill I must take in order not to have a Republican elected President in

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By jimch, September 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

“Mar 13, 2008 – Barack Obama’s pastor says blacks should not sing “God Bless America” but ” God damn America.” The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor ....”
Does Hedges remember this outburst from this “Reverent?” So what has this “Reverent” done that makes Hedges, and many of the other posters here, think of him as a model citizen? He needed to be thrown under the bus, in fact, out of the clergy. “Render unto Caesar ....” Clergy needs to stay the hell out of politics, and preach “The Word!”

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By Joe Blow, September 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess I am in the minority. Lots of leaders and
people for that matter have a reckoning and abandon
their former religious leaders usually at times of

How many of you can honestly say you have not? How
many of you were in a church or community only to
have a later reckoning of self examination and
discover the unacceptably dark side of your leader or
community? I would suggest many of you have. I have.

Hedges, as usual, avoids the hard anticipations of
counter arguments. A good rhetorical writer
anticipates objections and overcomes them. Hedges typically ignores these and gets wondrous praise from
the already converted.

While I do not like Obama’s stance on Wall Street the
reality remains complex where proposed hard lines
were often resisted by his so-called advisers. The
more deep story of an inability to forward change has
as much to do with the desire for Washington not to
change as it does with Obama’s lack of will to beat
into change. That said Hedge’s connecting Wall Street
to Wright is comical and a non-sequitar. He presents
nothing that makes it make any sense other than
trying to weave a poem.

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By Litl Bludot, September 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

This article conveys Wright’s belief of who Obama was before he was elected. Wright believed Obama was telling him the truth then, when he wasn’t. Obama’s always been posing as a friend to those he will eventually betray: anyone who is not on the side of the rich and powerful.

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By Arouete, September 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

Regrettably, I must concur.  But frankly, with all due respect, I have little sympathy for those who now complain of Obama’s betrayal.  It is utterly disingenuous and self-serving. Right out of “Terence, this is stupid stuff.” by A.E. Housman!

Years later my hands down favorite Op. Ed. is from retired San Francisco attorney John Mortimer who blew the whistle loud and clear before the election in 2006 but no one listened. On the most significant ‘fundamental’ rights ‘equal protection’ issue of the new millennium (marriage equality) Obama played the pettifog and no one called him out.  But now that it’s their ox that’s being gored they screech to high heaven.  How telling!  Mortimer wrote,

“We must respect separation of church and state. It’s the law. However, same-sex couples must be denied the fundamental right of civil marriage. He [Obama] offers no legal reasons mind you. Oh no. This civil rights lawyer never states legal reasons. It’s his “deep faith” you see, his “church history,” and the “religious connotations” to marriage that mandate we be kept “separate but [not] equal.” So much for being a big believer in separation of church and state.

“If a civil rights lawyer walked into court and argued that fundamental civil rights should be denied solely for metaphysical [religious] reasons one could fairly wonder if he were a charlatan who found his law degree in a box of Cracker Jack. Legally, Obama’s position on civil marriage is intellectual rubbish. Audacity indeed!.” (See “UNTANGLING BARACK OBAMA’S AUDACIOUS MUMBO JUMBO” at



Thanks Chris but you have been right all along – the lame liberal left is rotten at it’s core. This is just one more of Obama’s courtiers who now only speaks up when they have nothing to loose and when it’s finally their ox that’s being gored. It’s all right out of pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous poem about the inactivity of German intellectuals!  To paraphrase,“First they came for the gay couples and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t gay…. “

I have a black friend in San Francisco who was made homeless when the Wall Street bubble burst. As a non-believer he can find absolutely no relief and no shelter because virtually all the tax paid housing funding is faith-based dollars filtered through and managed by religious organizations such as Catholic Charities. As a gay black man he will sleep in the park on a bench so as to not beg his sustenance from an agent of the homophobic Vatican or have to suffer the sight of crosses on the wall and the preachings of the tax funded god-talkers! Fortunately his friends offer a couch with no strings attached.

As we have come to expect from such people, the Rev. Wright is silent on that issue too isn’t he? Of course it’s in his best interests to get federal tax dollars for his good work. Like every marriage made in hell, in politics as in religion, ethics and integrity only matter when they come at no personal cost and do not conflict with the complainants’ self-interest.

“Tell the truth”? Pulease. I do admire the Rev. Wright but he “eats his vitals fast enough…”

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By blogdog, September 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

...down on wallstreet doing something… - if it weren’t so far, would join
you - hope you’ve got an alternative program to propose if not, here’s one:

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By JniBGood, September 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was faced with a choice in 2008, It was the same “lesser of two evils” choice that so many face each and every election cycle.

Of course, noone in their right mind could or would vote for McCain/Palin.

And, for me, after hearing candidate Obama speak of “clean coal” I knew I could not vote for him either.

I did the only thing I could do and retain my integrity. For the very first time in my life I did not vote in a Presidential election.

For me, this was not an easy decision. I had been raised in a political family with very deep democratic roots wherein voting was an absolute requirement of citizenship.

But, I can no longer ascribe to that ideation when I know that my choice is no real choice at all and I am merely deciding between the two candidates selected for me by the Military Industrial Complex now firmly entrenched and in contorl of America.

Sadly, Democracy is dead. Not the belief in democratic principles set forth in the preamble to the US Constitution. Those beliefs are eternal.

But, the reality of democracy in America is dead. It no longer exists.  I fear it has been thus for a very, very long time.

We cling to the false hope that the truth that stares us in the face each and every day is not true. We cling desperately to the false hope that our democracy is still alive. But, just as there is nothing more uplifting than genuine hope there is nothing more demoralizing than the false hope held out to us by the current American political system that presents to us fully vetted candidates that support and pursue corporatism with complete abandon in utter disregard for the democrati aspirations of the American people.

It is over. The police state is upon us. Our progeny will suffer immeasurably from our failure to uphold those democratic principles upon which America was allegedly founded.

It is heartbreaking to have to come to this realization but to live with false hope and hypocrisy and political rhetoric that only deepens ones sense of enslavement to corporatism is much, much worse.

In the photo of President Obama watching the assassinaiton of Osama Bin Laden. I hope everyone will review the photo. Look at the positioning of the people in the photo.

Where is Barack Obama in the photo? Where is the “power position” in the photo and who is seated firmly in that position of power? It is a very telling photo.

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By wedemay, September 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

This just underscores the fact that we are not down on wallstreet doing something, in fact we are sitting on are bums talking. Get into the streets, Peascefull Direct Action is what King did and what we fail to do because were afraid to die, and we will, but that does not mean we have to be cowards and live a lie of silent consumption of murder and poverty. Better to be in action than do nothing as that is why we are in this situation. The lack of action.

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By 1cole, September 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hard to know if Obuma ‘changed’ cause we don’t really know what he was.
But we do know that he took the Nobel while doing the debaters trick and praising ‘war’ to justify Peace’. Nice trick.
We do know he hacked or allowed to be hacked his base, the ones who contibuted, worked for, voted for hm as a “Yes we can” guy who spoke of ‘hope and change’ and at the same time he let the crooks stay in power, he gave big bucks not to the needy but to the ‘bankers’ who caused the mess and stated “they know what to do with it’—-sure, they spent it. On themselves.
He yanked the moribund body of the GOP out of the morgue, breathed life back into them. Even as the GOP spoke of making him a failed, one termer he heaped praise of the good ideas republicns have. Appointed righties to anything that came up, esp those things which the righties wanted to shut down.
Now he slips in the polls-who is he going to appeal to? Which worse choice are we to take? The lesser Obuma or the more lesser GOP choice?

Get a bumper sticker—-Vote for Bernie Sanders in 2012

We have a choice, we elected him, we can replace him
Yes, we can.

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By judy neunuebel, September 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank God for Jeremiah Wright and Chris Hedges.

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By katsteevns, September 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

@ balkas,

“isn’t dividing people into classes [categories or species of
people] itself a deception and an offering of a fictive reality”

No classes? How convenient for those who say the US is the land of “equal” opportunity or the anticommunist who claims that Marxism is irrelevant.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, September 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s naive to think that there was a particular moment when Obama “sold his soul.”  Obama is a politician and all politicians live by the creed of expedience.  There is no good reason for believing that becuase Obama is black he has moral obligations to behave differently.  All politicians seek power, and as we ought to know by now, power and morality don’t mix.  As politicians go there are few better and many worse than Obama.

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By Robespierre115, September 19, 2011 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

@RWS, but the church DOES have a strong, leftist history. Consider in Protestant history the German Peasants’ War and Thomas Muntzer, so important to the development of social revolutionary thought that Engels wrote one of his best works on the topic. Or what about the priests who fought for social justice in Central America in the 1980s and were assassinated by Reagan’s death squads?

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By SoTexGuy, September 19, 2011 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Watch out Mr. Hedges, you may soon be included on the list of progressive liberals identified as ‘not with’ this administration…

It’s only a matter of time before Chris finds himself pulled out of line in an airport for ‘secondary’ screening.. or placed on the ‘no fly list’. It will all be a big mistake, of course! They’ll declare between chuckles and guffaws.

And… great article.

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By Gmonst, September 19, 2011 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

A truly excellent article from Chris Hedges.

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By blogdog, September 19, 2011 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

asserting that Obomber is a changed man is wrong - he has always served his
oligarchical masters in advancing their agenda under Left cover

we now have a watershed moment - Obomber, heralded as the Black JFK, stands fully exposed:

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By Dr Bones, September 19, 2011 at 10:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Devil and Daniel Webster, I mean Barack Obama.  An honest and moral man, would never become President in Amerika today not with corporate run Republican and Democratic parties making all the election rules and laws.

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By El_Pinguino, September 19, 2011 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

@ David Cyr ...

“Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest.”—Paul Simon

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By David J. Cyr, September 19, 2011 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Chris Hedges:

“Obama, once the glitter of power fades, will have to grapple with the fact that he was a traitor not only to his pastor, the man who married him and Michelle, who baptized his children and who kept him spiritually and morally grounded, but to himself.”

It sure ain’t easy to reconstruct a liberal.

Hedges’ unreconstructed lingering liberal cognitive dissonance is exposed in that opening paragraph sentence.

1) It’s amply evident that Obama has no power to be faded.

2) There’s no evidence that Obama was ever spiritually and morally grounded.

3) To be a traitor to himself Obama would have to act against himself and his beliefs, which he hasn’t. He’s done what Democrats do.

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By gerard, September 19, 2011 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

Jesus I know.  And Paul I know.  But who have I become?  And who might I become if I gave it a try?

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By El_Pinguino, September 19, 2011 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

It seems today that we do have a corporatocracy. And Obama is a willing participant. For in a corporatocracy matters are discussed in terms of economics.

However, in a democracy matters are discussed in terms of humanity.

Therein lies the disconnect. We, who believed in him, had this idea that somehow Obama was going to guide us back on to a path of humanity.

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By Leefeller, September 19, 2011 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

When I first heard Reverend Wrights sermon, I found myself saying an animated…Amen… Wright on! This coming from a dogmatic believer in the Great Unyun!  When Obama threw Reverend Wright under the bus, I was saddened and felt this was a moral wrong, but what the hell do I know as an Athiest ... about Wrights from Wrongs?

Reading the few posts here as specific posters whom I have respect, I am looking forward to reading and finishing Hedges whole article this time, as time permits. Sounds just this time,  Hedges may have dumped his ego where the Tea Bags mate!

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By RWS, September 19, 2011 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

I love Chris Hedges, but he isn’t seeking nor defending Christianity with its attendant morals. He’s defending leftism. This is fine, or at least his prerogative, UNTIL he confuses the two. When he confuses the two, as he almost always does these days, he’s no different from the right wing Christian fascists he continually exposes who confuse Christianity with right wing politics. For all his redeeming work, Chris Hedges too often these days sadly perpetuates the evil that is destroying this country.

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By balkas, September 19, 2011 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

oh my dear hedges! explain please to us how can one become a
prophet? id est, know the future?
and isn’t dividing people into classes [categories or species of
people] itself a deception and an offering of a fictive reality; in
addition to being divisive?

i aver, and wld stake my life on that averment, that there never
had been such category of people [in nature] nor ever will be.

and even speaking i name of god appears to me as an extreme
danger for life on this planet and as an usurpation of god.
the fact appears that definition of god varies from cult to cult,
believer to believer, and person to person. which means that
wright speaks in name of only his god [his definition of it] just
like obama, and even me.

yes, i also have a defintion of god; namely none; however,
nevertheless a definition! but isn’t a nonopinion also an
opinion? and ab. god or goddevil?

[actually, i am ashamed of myself any time i even think of
defining god to anyone let alone doing it]
however, a ‘fool’ gladly rushes in where the honest joe wld
never tread.

can’t hedges see the obvious? for that is a mark of a thinker:
seeing clearly what semantically blind cannot see? such as a
priest, mullah, rabbi?

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By litlpeep, September 19, 2011 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Of course, Wright’s quotes do justice to the whole article, make the whole article what it is: a paean to the
nation’s integrity, or, absence of it.  Take this quote at the end: “I said to myself, this is the Barack you once knew who cared enough about humankind to work in Altgeld Gardens with the poor, to not run against an African-American female, who now calls for a professional Navy SEAL assassination, a hit, and watches it. It’s like that story you heard your dad preach and you know from seminary in Acts, where the demons said to the seven sons of Sceva, Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you? Who have you become?”

Of course, he is talking about Obama.  He is also talking about the whole nation, the nation whom Obama, more than any other single character, good or evil, in the United States, reflects who we as a people really are.

We should know now why that whole navy seal team was silenced.  Who wants to hear anything from the stout-hearted young men and women who have taken their souls into combat’s searing furnace, and return to the nation that sent them there as “patriots,” when they may come home and choose prophecy rather than any more cheap patriotism, such as flag-waving and bumper stickering and playing footsies with amoral investors while pretending to preside over what was once, perhaps, a great nation, but is now reduced to little more than a few million more or less great notions?

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By litlpeep, September 19, 2011 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Of course, Wright also waxes prophetic at his best, mostly because he has a rich capacity to tell it the way he sees it.  His pointing to Hughes as a great teacher is also indicative of a prophetic teacher.  Just consider this poem by Hughes the truth of which reveals the core of the institution now ruled by the righteous reactionaries:


That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.

We all can do ourselves a favor by spending some time with Langston Hughes and contemplating his prayerful writing.

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By tolstoy, September 19, 2011 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

This excellent piece puts subject first, writer supplemental, and raises the larger question of to what extent the Reverend’s values still resonate with ordinary Americans versus hiding or denying or justifying a power structure amok with imperialist hedonism and arrogance. Obama’s Faustian bargain is well-nailed. The 60’s and MLK saw a strong moral resistance to “the organization man” of that time. Today? The Titanic appears to be sinking at the head. Nevertheless, it’s good to think about revival and the spirit of Martin’s humility and courage.

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By balkas, September 19, 2011 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

however, there is no truth that is not valid for one day only.
the truth that there is no truth, save passing one, appears as [the only?]
eternal verity.

this idea goes under the name “INVARIANCE UNDER
TRANSFORMATION” and, is to me, the only truth that sets us free.

or as the bible says [i am not a believer; i.e., follower of the sacerdotal
class of people]: sufficient onto the day is the rigor thereof.

what did the writer of this utterance mean? well, i am not interfering in
you’re own evaluation of what the person meant by it.
so, be free to use your own head. bozhidar balkas, vancouver

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By litlpeep, September 19, 2011 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

At his best, Chris Hedges not only waxes prophetic, as this article certainly demonstrates.  He also offers little tidbits where the student of contemporary prophecy might begin a line of thought and research: “[Rev. Wright] has, like all of our greatest intellectual and moral dissidents, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, been rendered a pariah.”  This is certainly a classic understatement.  It also offers an insight that can lead the student of contemporary American life into several avenues of contemplation, prayerfulness, and other study.

It is, more specifically, an opening for anyone who wants to begin seeing into the depths of the moral corruptions, from the US imperial departures from its own foundations, to Wall Street’s purely amoral culture, to globablism’s absence of any moral itegrity, and Wal-Mart’s cancerous debilitation of our laboring classes.

As for Obama, well, enough said in the article.  Those of us who yearn for a president with moral integrity will have to look outside the two major parties; meanwhile, voting for the lesser of the two evils is nothing more that what Edward Abby properly called, “voting for the evils of two lessers.”

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By A. Benway, September 19, 2011 at 8:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s not forget that it’s been adjudicated and a jury has spoken about the King murder - it was done, they said, by “...governmental agencies [that] were parties to the assassination plot.”

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By Roger Lafontaine, September 19, 2011 at 7:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Whenever I see Barack Obama on TV I don’t say ‘There’s Barack Obama’. I say ‘There’s the guy who killed Barack Obama.’

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By Silenus, September 19, 2011 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At the onset of a Dark Age, many turn to monasticism. Often I’ve heard this tendency explained as a way of escaping from a dying society. This explanation, however, does not make clean what is probably an important dimension of why so many people might turn to celibate isolation amid a disintegrating society: people suck. Decadent societies are filled with people who cannot be stomached; they are impossible to avoid, they are petty and vicious, and they grow more numerous all the time.

So monasticism is a way to be rid of them from one’s life. The U.S. is filled with awful people. Not surprising, many have dropped out of society and quite thoroughly disengaged, although the full-fledged monastic route has not yet been institutionalized.

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By JackAttack, September 19, 2011 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

As a lifelong practicing atheist, I
have always admired the activist role
local churches played in the civil
rights movement and their attempts
at alleviating poverty.  That they are
compelled to use the “fairy tale” to
achieve those ends is but a minor

Reverend Wright is a discerning
intellectual humanist who happens
to be a preacher.  His critique of
Obama and the forces that
compromised him place Obama’s
Faustian bargain in stark relief. 

Who better to give cover to Wall
Street and the destruction of the
social safety net than a black
president still mouthing the
dilapidated remnants of populist
rhetoric?  I have not seen this level
of cynicism since the incomparable
Thurgood Marshall was succeeded
on the Supreme Court by the
pathetic Clarence Thomas.

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By Elizabeth Tjader, September 19, 2011 at 6:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You get a thousand stars for this piece Chris Hedges! Right on!

Now, let’s hope “President Traitor” reads it and decides to do a Fourth Step on his presidency. (based on AA’s twelve steps) “When we were wrong, we promptly admitted it. Made amends to all those we had harmed”.

That would be one long list of people deserving of those amends beginning with the Reverend Wright at the top of the list.

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By thecrow, September 19, 2011 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

First they murder the man. Then they whitewash his message. Then they build a monument to him.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, September 19, 2011 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

Speaking of Chris Hedges and social movements

See you all in DC on October 5th-6th-7th….....

Man is this thing on Wall Street the beginning? I feel that it may be.

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By katsteevns, September 19, 2011 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

The “scratch line” is not fixed. It ascends and descends haphazardly within each class. Fear, hatred and the sacred status quo are it’s prime movers, as it masquerades as righteous indignation. Examining underlying causes leads to alternate actions and leaves one vulnerable to ostracism. A sheep is then faced with the choice of becoming a leader with no promise of having followers..

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By Zaladonis, September 19, 2011 at 5:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reverend Wright is spot on, every word, until he says, about Obama, “You will not
run against an African-American female? To have that kind of integrity was
awesome to me. He changed. That’s unfortunate.”

Obama didn’t change.  Ask Alice Palmer if Obama would run against an African-
American female, and run dirty.

Obama has been the same, betraying friends in the same way, all his adult life.
His choices as State Senator, lying to constituents, favoring corporate interests,
were the same.

Reverend Wright has valuable insight but it’s a shame he goes blind about Obama
from the moment before Obama betrayed him.

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By french man, September 19, 2011 at 5:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Barack truned into the Corporate life form. Boo Hoo. What else shloud have happened? Fault lies with the people. No body comes from the haven with power and privilage and does the bidding of the average person except very rarely. Hope for meaningful change lies with you. Martin Luther Kings’ message is available on the web. In text and audio. Get and spread it. Or keep doing what you do. Has that brought meaningful change? No. Then keep on merely complaining will be a lunacy. Get the message and spread the message. MLK said in 1967, “Tomorrow may be too late. The book may close.” Do you want to wait some more?

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By katsteevns, September 19, 2011 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

“We became a ‘me’-focused, kind of dog-eat-dog, Ayn Rand, social Darwinist, survival of the fittest, be strong, and with no care, no concern, no compassion for those that are not born above the scratch line,” Wright said.

Ain’t that the truth! Not only within our families, friendships, work places, churches, but from Cambodia to Iraq. Millions dead in the name of a mixture of capitalism coupled with a sick diabolic sense of divine providence.

Thanks, I’ve had my fill of this pathetic mindset. Is there no waking up from this nightmare?....No, because there is no desire for self examination and it is just too much work for those who pull the strings. They are collectively reprobate. And unfortunately, the sheep will remain as sheep to the slaughter.

So, what else can we rely on besides the promise(or what you have called) the myth of Jesus Christ? Even this would allow one to perish with honor, myth or not! It’s a win/win situation.

...Unless, of course, you have figured a way to take the power away from the big-boys….

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By thethirdman, September 19, 2011 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

a) It’s great to hear from Wright.
b) Mr. Fish is also supremely talented.
c) I think it’s funny that the CH article many of you like the most has the least
amount of Hedges in it.
d) Is not running against an African American woman really a demonstration of

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By Inherit The Wind, September 19, 2011 at 3:39 am Link to this comment

Like a broken clock, even Chris Hedges is right twice a day…and this column is that time of day.

I pull no punches in shredding Hedges—and I do it all the time.  So I can’t hesitate to laud him when he deserves it. 

This is the finest article I’ve seen from him in a long, long time.

Bravo, CH.

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By ardee, September 19, 2011 at 2:54 am Link to this comment

One of Hedges best and hardest hitting articles. Of course it is Preacher Wright who makes the piece with Hedges multiple citings of Wright’s responses. This shows a far different , and far more politically and socially accurate Reverend Wright from that which the media and Obama portrayed.

I expect the usual suspects to come out of the woodwork to criticize Hedges for the usual reasons. After all, how else to defend Obama?

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By Robespierre115, September 19, 2011 at 2:14 am Link to this comment

Good to see someone like Wright talk about issues happening in the world of the church that most people are not aware of. Hedges and Wright are men of real morals and integrity. Shows why lunatics like Sam Harris, Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are small men of little importance.

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