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The Corporate State and the Subversion of Democracy

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Posted on May 31, 2008

By Chris Hedges

(Page 4)

As the pressure mounts, as this despair and desperation reaches into larger and larger segments of the American populace, the mechanisms of corporate and government control are being bolstered to prevent civil unrest and instability.  It is not accidental that with the rise of the corporate state comes the rise of the security state.  This is why the Bush White House has pushed through the Patriot Act (and its renewal), the suspension of habeas corpus, the practice of “extraordinary rendition,” the warrantless wiretapping on American citizens and the refusal to ensure free and fair elections with verifiable ballot-counting.  It is part of a package.  It comes together.  It is not about terrorism or national security.  It is about control.  It is about their control of us.

Sen. Frank Church, as chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence in 1975, investigated the government’s massive and highly secretive National Security Agency. He wrote:

“That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.  There would be no place to hide.  If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know.  Such is the capability of this technology. ...  I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge.  I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss.  That is the abyss from which there is no return. ...”

When Sen. Church made this statement the NSA was not authorized to spy on American citizens.  Today it is. 

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In a military brig in Charleston an American citizen, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri,  is being held in a black hole set up on American soil.  He was stripped on June 23, 2003, by George Bush of his constitutional rights and declared an “enemy combatant.”  He is being detained without charge, interrogated without a lawyer and held indefinitely.  Lawyers for the Bush administration claim that the president can send the military into any neighborhood, any town or suburb, capture a citizen and hold him or her in prison without charge.  They base this claim on the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress after 9/11, that gives President Bush the power to “use all necessary and appropriate force” against anyone involved in planning, aiding or carrying out the attacks.  But Al-Mari was not captured in Afghanistan or Iraq.  He was arrested in Peoria, Ill., in December 2001.  And if the president can declare American citizens living inside the United States to be enemy combatants and order them stripped of constitutional rights, what does this mean for us?  How long can we be held without charge?  Without lawyers?  Without access to the outside world?  Maybe Al-Mari is, as the government claims, a terrorist.  I don’t know.  But I do know that if this becomes a precedent, if it is not overturned by the courts, habeas corpus, the most important bulwark of our democratic state, will be dead.

We are fed lie after lie to mask the destruction the corporate state has wrought in our lives.  The consumer price index, for example, used by the government to measure inflation, has become meaningless.  To keep the official inflation figures low the government has been substituting basic products they once measured to check for inflation with ones that do not rise very much in price.  This trick has kept the cost-of-living increases tied to the CPI artificially low.  The disconnect between what we are told and what is actually true is worthy of the old East German state.  The New York Times’ consumer reporter, W.P. Dunleavy, wrote that her groceries now cost $587 a month, up from $400 a year earlier.  This is a 40 percent increase.  California economist John Williams, who runs an organization called Shadow Statistics, contends that if Washington still used the CPI measurements applied back in the 1970s, inflation would be in the 10 percent range.  The advantage to the corporations is huge.  A false inflation rate, one far lower than the real rate, keeps equitable interest payments on bank accounts and certificates of deposit down.  It masks the deterioration of the American economy.  The Potemkin statistics allow corporations and the corporate state to walk away from obligations tied to real adjustments for inflation.  These statistics mean that less is paid out in Social Security and pensions.  It has reduced the interest on the multitrillion-dollar debt.  Corporations never have to pay real cost-of-living increases to their employees.  The term “unemployment” has also been steadily redefined.  This has rendered official data on employment worthless.  In real terms about 10 percent of the working population is unemployed, a figure that is, over the long run, unsustainable.  The economy, despite the official statistics, is not growing.  It is shrinking.  And as the nation crumbles we are awash with the terrible simplicity of false statistics.  We confuse our emotional responses, carefully manipulated by advertisers, pundits, spin doctors, television hosts, political consultants and focus groups, with knowledge.  It is how we elect presidents and those we send to Congress, how we make decisions, even decisions to go to war.  It is how we view the world.  Four media giants—AOL-Time Warner, Viacom, Disney, and Rupert Murdoch’s NewsGroup—control nearly everything we read, see and hear.  This growing disconnect with reality is the hallmark of a totalitarian state.

“Before they seize power and establish a world according to their doctrines,” Hannah Arendt wrote, “totalitarian movements conjure up a lying world of consistency which is more adequate to the needs of the human mind than reality itself; in which, through sheer imagination, uprooted masses can feel at home and are spared the never-ending shocks which real life and real experiences deal to human beings and their expectations.  The force possessed by totalitarian propaganda—before the movements have the power to drop iron curtains to prevent anyone’s disturbing, by the slightest reality, the gruesome quiet of an entirely imaginary world—lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the real world.”


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By SRD-BCCM, June 15, 2008 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a very depressing speech by Chris Hedges. Very very depressing indeed. In actuality,  I’ve been telling certain people this is a fake economy, fake educational system, and a fake political system for about three years now. When you carefully put the pieces together that’s what I came up with. Everything is fake.

http://www.bccmeteorites.com/misconduct-planetary.html
http://www.bccmeteorites.com/NASAcert.html

SRD-BCCM

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By Conservative Yankee, June 15, 2008 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maani

“You are entitled to your opinions and your passions, but please control your hatred for all things faith-based, and stop with the accusations, sarcasm and ad hominem attack.”

Never refered to “faith based” anything. Never criticized “faith” In fact I capitalized the “FORMAL” when criticizing religion.

Lie or mistake? In the rabbit hole, or dealing with what I actually wrote?

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By Maani, June 15, 2008 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

CY:

What concerns me is your impatience - indeed, visceral hatred - for all believers, which shows in this particular case in your assumption that I (i) deliberately took your comment “out of context,” and (ii) was “lying,” when neither was the case.  It also shows in your continual - and completely unnecessary - sarcasm (“sorry I led you astray,” “take this down your rabbit hole”).

You are entitled to your opinions and your passions, but please control your hatred for all things faith-based, and stop with the accusations, sarcasm and ad hominem attack.

Thanks.

Peace.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 15, 2008 at 6:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maani

“However, it was clear that my RESPONSE was to your other comment.”

Just like a lawyer to make the small big and the big small.

so let me get this back on track..

I am sorry I led you astray by complicating the issue.

FORMAL Religions represent a theft from ALL the people, and a GREATER theft to people who are non-affiliated (with any religion.)

That was my discussion and point.  You may now take this thread back down your rabbit hole.

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By Maani, June 14, 2008 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

CY:

“No my ORIGINAL comment the paragraph BEFORE your selected out-of-context quote above is: Like religious oligarchies only difference is the religions have removed the middle man and steal directly from the worker. So I guess you “religious” folk can lie just like us atheists?”

Methinks thou dost protest too much.

Yes, you ALSO said “Like religious oligarchies, etc.”  However, it was clear that my RESPONSE was to your other comment.  This is NOT “out-of-context” since the quote I responded to had its OWN context: the copnnection between “money” and “forigiveness.”

As for “lying,” I leave it to others to decide whether what did comes even CLOSE to “lying.”

Peace.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 14, 2008 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Your original comment:

“Call it pablum or opiate it is nothing but a scheme to part people from their money in return for a promise that they can be “forgiven” anything.”

No my ORIGINAL comment the paragraph BEFORE your selected out-of-context quote above is:

Like religious oligarchies only difference is the religions have removed the middle man and steal directly from the worker

So I guess you “religious” folk can lie just like us atheists?

Report this

By Maani, June 13, 2008 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

CY:

Let me show you what occurred, chronologically.

Your original comment:

“Call it pablum or opiate it is nothing but a scheme to part people from their money in return for a promise that they can be “forgiven” anything.”

This comment is prima facie about the connection between “money” and “forgiveness.”  It is NOT about “formalized religions steal[ing] from workers using fear and their ‘special rights’ granted by the government documents UNDER which we all live.”

My response to the issue of a connection between money and forgiveness was:

“The days of televangelists ripping off believers - much less the days of paying for “indulgences” - is long past. Sure, there are still a handful of unscrupulous groups and individuals who continue to prey on believers.  But they are few and far between…Neither the Catholic nor Protestant churches (not even the Pentacostals and other charismatic fundamentalists) REQUIRE either tithing or collections, and there is certainly no “quid pro quo” between such tithes and collections on the one hand and either “forgiveness” or “salvation” on the other.”

Thus, I specifically addressed your original comment.

Your response to MY comment was:

“The Catholic Church is the third largest property holder in the city of New York…No single entity owns more slums (tax free ) and collects rent from more people.  Many religious entities…have their own “hedge funds” (also tax free).  If the Church owned “Father Flanagan’s Boy’s Town’ were listed on fortune 500, it would fall somewhere in the 380’s…
[There are] Many ways of stealing.”

Thus, you COMPLETELY CHANGED the subject, from a connection between money and forgiveness to “many ways of stealing.”

As noted, if you wish to discuss the “many ways of stealing,” that is fine.  But it was not me who “danced” from one subject to another.

Peace.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 13, 2008 at 6:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maani

“What you are NOT entitled to do is change the subject in the middle of the debate.”

You may be “debating” I am not. You (yet again) have inserted your own agenda. As an attorney used to legal nuance I’m sure you are aware one can not “debate” in a forum such as this.

I NEVER mentioned “pay for service” tithing or the collection plate. My point is and was that formalized religions steal from workers using fear and their “special rights” granted by the government documents UNDER which we all live.

Find a reference to collections, tithing, or pay-4-play and I will apologize.

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By Maani, June 12, 2008 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena:

You do bring up a good, solid example of a remaining type of “pay-off” to the Catholic Church.  Shame on them.

I also agree (obviously…LOL) that credit must be given for the fact that Christianity (mostly Catholic, but some Protestant as well) has provided - sometimes solely - much-needed services where urgently needed: after all, both the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are “Christian” organizations, and they provide the lion’s share of GLOBAL relief services during wars, natural disasters, etc. - regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religious or sexual orientation.  As well, it should not be forgotten that the Protestant church in the U.S. either founded or was integral in all the major social movements: abolition, child labor, suffrage, civil rights, etc.

Still, I also agree that there remains far too much hypocrisy in the church in general (which is why I eschew organized, mainstream, heirarchical religion), and in some denominations in particular (which is why I eschew the Religious Right).

Peace.

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By cyrena, June 12, 2008 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

I get your point Maani. I don’t know of any religion that ‘requires’ their congregation to tithe.

As for the ‘services’ though..let’s consider marriage annulments. Thinking of the Catholic Church’s position on divorce and remarriage; they still don’t ‘approve’ and will not recognize subsequent marriages unless the former spouse is dead. So, if a Catholic divorces a spouse, and then remarries, the church does not recognize the new marriage, (though the civil law does) and they are effectively excommunicated. (or at least they cannot receive the sacraments).

The only ‘remedy’ to this, is an annulment of the first marriage, which has to be ‘dispensed’ via the church bureaucracy, based on a petition submitted by the…what? I’m at a loss for what to call the average Joe/Jane Catholic. Anyway, if average Joe/Jane Catholic wants to stay Catholic and receive the sacraments, (but still got divorced and married somebody else) then they can apply/petition to have the first (or however many others) marriage annulled. That is to say that it is not recognized as having been a marriage at all.

Now these ‘petitions’ are rarely honored. The Catholics believe in the “better or worse, richer or poorer’ concept. So while they might accept these permanent separation arrangements or even divorce in the cases of very abusive marriages, they don’t otherwise allow for this remarrying. Now of course if one of the union is unable to bear children, that’s immediate grounds for an annulment. They’re perfectly willing in that case, to wipe out that marriage as if it never existed, so that either party can remarry someone who WILL bear lots of kids.

However, there are EXCEPTIONS, and this is the part where money for services comes in quite handy. Let’s consider the NON-Average Catholic who’s been married for 20 plus years, has a gang of kids from the marriage, and decides, (for whatever the reasons) that he or she wants a divorce, AND they wanna marry somebody else. Well, if you’ve got the necessary clout or the funds to sort of ‘donate’ to the church, you can get the annulment, and marry whomever you want, and still be a perfectly ‘legal’ Catholic. Needless to say, this has always struck me as the biggest hypocrisy in the doctrine or rhetoric. I’ve always wondered, “Ok so..what does that make the kids of the union that now never existed?” Do they just all turn into little bastards after the annulment?

I guess it goes without saying that this mentality is totally unacceptable to me, which is (at least in part) why I ditched the faith as soon as I was old enough to figure it out. (the hypocrisy that is). But it’s not just the Catholic doctrine that I feel this way about. In reality, ALL of these organized religions are Undemocratic. STILL, I must also give due respect and acknowledgement to the fact that the Catholic Church at least, (and maybe others do as well) DOES provide a variety of charitable services, and they DON’T require that the recipients be Catholics, or that they pledge any allegiance to any God or faith.

So I do think they deserve recognition for that. In some areas of the country in fact, they are the ONLY providers of services to the needy, or even the temporary needy. Take for instance a state like TX, that doesn’t collect a state income tax. They provide next to nothing in the way of public welfare for the needy for housing, food, education, etc, etc. (although, that too depends…people with children, sometimes have more resources than others who fall on hard times). Still, Catholic Charities takes up the slack in many areas of providing services where the city/state/county/feds definitely don’t bother. That isn’t to say that some corruption doesn’t exist there, and it’s certainly not in defense of what I think is a basically hypocritical doctrine, but it should be acknowledged.

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By Maani, June 12, 2008 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

CY:

“Dance around the truth any way you wish.”

Sorry, but it is YOU who is dancing.

You are entitled to your opinions about the Catholic Church, Christianity and faith in general.  And you are entitled to your position in any debate.  What you are NOT entitled to do is change the subject in the middle of the debate.

You made a statement about Christianity and the Catholic Church. I debated that statement. However, rather than accept that you were wrong about your original statement, you offered a response to a statement THAT HAD NEVER BEEN MADE, by me or anyone else.  That is, you set up a “straw man” and tore him down - a straw man that had NOTHING to do with the original statement under debate.

This is simply poor debating skills.  Accept that you were wrong re your ORIGINAL statement, and then, if you wish to take up your ADDITIONAL - but unrelated - statement re real estate, taxes, etc., by all means do so.

Peace.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 12, 2008 at 5:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maani

“All of this may well be true.  However, it does not even ADDRESS my comment - “Neither the Catholic nor Protestant churches (not even the Pentacostals and other charismatic fundamentalists) REQUIRE either tithing or collections, and there is certainly no “quid pro quo” between such tithes and collections on the one hand and either “forgiveness” or “salvation” on the other” - much less gainsay it”

Dance around the truth any way you wish, The Church, sheltered by “special rights” and a tacit governmental sanction, is stealing from the workers.  Catholic Church slums in The Bronx, the fact that folks like me have to pay the freight for tax-free religious properties, and the xtian propaganda posted on the doors of the Supreme Court are all thefts in kind from US citizens who do not share your belief in fairy-tales.

Religion is an opiate, a farce, and a mid evil scheme to keep the peasants in line. 

In pieces

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By Maani, June 11, 2008 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

CY:

“The Catholic Church is the third largest property holder in the city of New York. Only the City itself, and Columbia University own greater shares. No single entity owns more slums (tax free) and collects rent from more people. Many religious entities (including the Church of the Latter Day Saints) have their own “hedge funds” (also tax free). If the Church owned “Father Flanagan’s Boy’s Town’ were listed on fortune 500, it would fall somewhere in the 380’s.”

All of this may well be true.  However, it does not even ADDRESS my comment - “Neither the Catholic nor Protestant churches (not even the Pentacostals and other charismatic fundamentalists) REQUIRE either tithing or collections, and there is certainly no “quid pro quo” between such tithes and collections on the one hand and either “forgiveness” or “salvation” on the other” - much less gainsay it.

Peace.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 11, 2008 at 10:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maani

” Neither the Catholic nor Protestant churches (not even the Pentacostals and other charismatic fundamentalists) REQUIRE either tithing or collections, and there is certainly no “quid pro quo” between such tithes and collections on the one hand and either “forgiveness” or “salvation” on the other.”

Up to now, I believed that you were at least “informed” now I learn that you are either;

Poorly versed in this century’s method of theft,
or so pumped up in your own ego you believe you can sell this crap.

The Catholic Church is the third largest property holder in the city of New York. Only the City itself, and Columbia University own greater shares.

No single entity owns more slums (tax free ) and collects rent from more people.

Many religious entities (including the Church of the Latter Day Saints) have their own “hedge funds” (also tax free)

If the Church owned “Father Flanagan’s Boy’s Town’ were listed on fortune 500, it would fall somewhere in the 380’s.

Many ways of stealing

If St Patrick’s caught fire, the taxpayer supported New York City fire Department would be employed to fight that fire, ALTHOUGH the Catholic Church contributes little to the City of New York.

What century are you living in?  LOL.

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By Maani, June 11, 2008 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

John (and all):

If you have not done so, you owe it to yourself to read “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder,” by Vincent Bugliosi.  As you probably know, Bugliosi was the prosecutor in the Charles Manson case, and the author of (among others) Helter Skelter, and The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President.

Peace.

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By john doraemi, June 11, 2008 at 4:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

KUCINICH has entered Articles of Impeachment against the Bush regime including 35 high crimes and misdemeanors, including:

“Article XXXIII

Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.

Article XXXIV

Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001

Article XXXV

Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders”

More:
http://crimesofthestate.blogspot.com/2008/06/holy-fucking-shit.html

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By Sleeper, June 10, 2008 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

CY,

I don’t think I was all that far off topic.  Its all about a lust for power and fortune for Corporation.  I personally have a problem with organized religion for a few private reasons that are not on topic.

I see money as a tool that is most often used to deprive the righteous utilized by the unrighteous.

I believe in God as far as Jesus Christ.  I believe he followed the Word of God as far as it is humanly possible.  I believe our bodies are made of earth and water. I believe our spirits are fire and air.

Christ did not seek earthly power or money.  He taught by example.  Corporations seek power and profit.  Not always profit if the CEO can rob enough for the right key players.  Less profit less taxes.  Many churches do want to raise money to help spread their word.  Personally, I believe the true church is where two or more gather in his name.  It has nothing to do with buildings, poscessions, or bank rolls.

Both Corporations and some religious leaders are artists at deception which is certainly not Holy.

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By Maani, June 9, 2008 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena:

Thank you for your comment.  As my comment reflects, I am aware that “there’s still SOME of that going on.”  However, there is increasingly less of it (is that an oxymoron? LOL).  As an aside, although it seems counterintuitive on its face, the churches that preach the so-called “prosperity gospel” (Osteen et al) actually “ask” LESS of their congregants than other churches.

Ultimately, my comment was meant to address CY’s comment, which seemed to suggest that we were still living in the age of Catholic “indulgences” and Swaggart-type rip-offs.

Peace.

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By cyrena, June 9, 2008 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

““...it probably got a little off topic.” You think?”

CY…it’s supposed to be ‘YA think?” smile

Yeah maybe…just a tad, eh?

Meantime, I would add a slight contradiction Maani, to your suggestion about the tithes and all. There are many churches still sort of ‘demanding’ them, in a rather forceful way. Now they don’t do it at gun point, but it still exists.

And for the Catholics, the Novena’s are still a big hit, and they cost money, as far as I know. I mean, you can’t buy them at Wal-Mart, and they are obtained by way of ‘donations’ but it still amounts to buying prayers for certain purposes…usually to recover from illnesses, or mourning, or similar other things like that. Probably the most ironic of them these days are the ones that are supposed to improve one’s economic situation. Kind of like spending one’s last dollar on a lottery ticket. 

So, there’s still SOME of that going on.

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By Maani, June 9, 2008 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

CY:

“Call it pablum or opiate it is nothing but a scheme to part people from their money in return for a promise that they can be “forgiven” anything.”

Are you sure we are living in the same decade, or even the same millennium?  The days of televangelists ripping off believers - much less the days of paying for “indulgences” - is long past. Sure, there are still a handful of unscrupulous groups and individuals who continue to prey on believers.  But they are few and far between, and most believers are hip to their schemes - largely BECAUSE OF what they learned after the “take-down” of Swaggard, Bakker, et al.

Neither the Catholic nor Protestant churches (not even the Pentacostals and other charismatic fundamentalists) REQUIRE either tithing or collections, and there is certainly no “quid pro quo” between such tithes and collections on the one hand and either “forgiveness” or “salvation” on the other.

What century are you living in?  LOL.

Peace.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 9, 2008 at 11:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“...it probably got a little off topic.”  You think?

“The Corporate State and the Subversion of Democracy” does tie in.  Corporations are soulless entities “

Like religious oligarchies only difference is the religions have removed the middle man and steal directly from the worker.

Call it pablum or opiate it is nothing but a scheme to part people from their money in return for a promise that they can be “forgiven” anything.

At least corporate entities admit (when peddling their stock) that its’s all a crap shoot… just like life!
aT LEAST CORPORATIONS

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By cyrena, June 9, 2008 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

Well, this might take us back to what a large part of the piece focuses on…

In part, Chris is letting us know where we are…

•  “The growing desperation across the United States is unleashing not simply a recession—we have been in a recession for some time now—but the possibility of a depression unlike anything we have seen since the 1930s.”

Like everything else in the language of the rabbit hole since 2000, the propaganda machine (MSM) is still telling us, (when they mention it at all) that we might be experiencing a recession coming along, sometime soon, maybe, if things don’t improve. And, we’ve been hearing that about a year or so now.

And of course we’ve been in a recession for far longer than that, and we’ve been in a depression for a while now as well. So, it’s more than a ‘possibility’ at this point. It’s already HAPPENED. But, just as there were back in the 1930’s, there are still Americans who have yet to be ‘affected’. Those are the ones who’ve still got the ‘big bucks’.

Meantime, here’s a look at a larger reality, outside of the one that folks pray on.

Rural America Takes the Biggest Hit on the Gasoline Crisis

But then, rural America and the inner cities ALWAYS take the biggest hit on EVERYTHING! For rural America though, this is even worse because of the lack of any public transportation system. I recognized this from my time in Texas, where some of the rural areas were developed into ‘upscale enclaves’ but they were STILL RURAL areas, and resistant to any forms of mass transportation. Now they can’t get to work, and it’s hard to ‘work from home’ when one is employed in the building of major weapons and other war toys.

http://www.truthout.org/article/rural-us-takes-worst-hit-gas-tops-4-average

Meantime, everybody’s grocery money, (if not being spent on gas) is still pouring though the MIC in Iraq, and continuing to create the on-going disaster and destruction there.

I wonder if the average American has gotten around to connecting these dots yet? Or understanding that they just REALLY DON’T LIKE us being over there?

http://www.truthout.org/article/us-military-is-iraqs-top-problem-says-iranian-leader

Oh well. I guess if we just keep praying and all, God will work it all out.

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By Sleeper, June 9, 2008 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Maani,
I didn’t think our discussion took over anything.  I enjoyed it and it probably got a little off topic.

“The Corporate State and the Subversion of Democracy” does tie in.  Corporations are soulless entities run by their boards who have been refining the art of milking these paper monsters since they came into being.  Democracy allows the freewill of the souls of the voters to be expressed.

The masters of these monsters have been finding ways to reduce their own liability while not only reducing any regulation but deriving as much business as they can from government.

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By Maani, June 7, 2008 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

CY:

“Another thread taken over by the fundis.”

Taken over?  Who or what is preventing you (or anyone else) from weighing in or offering your opinions or comments on the original article or anything else?

And as for “fundis,” lumping every believer together in a big box marked “fundamentalist” is not only theologically wrong, it is insulting to those of us who have been fighting for years to undo the damage of the narrow, unloving, unforgiving, homophobic, misogynist and ultimately UN-Christian views of the Religious Right.

Peace.

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By colin2626262, June 7, 2008 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment

To Chris Hedges:

I just read your most recent article on the Iraq war.  Thank you for giving us the truth about the war over there and about war in general.  We need more reporters like you.  God bless you, and keep writing.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 7, 2008 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another thread taken over by the fundis. “God,Santa, the easter-bunny ... actually Santa doesn’t really belong there c’cause, ONCE there was a “St Nick.”

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By Maani, June 7, 2008 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

Sleeper:

I’d like to recommend two books to you.  The first is “Jesus Among Other Gods,” by Ravi Zacharias.  The other is “But Don’t All Religions Lead to God?,” by Michael Green.  I think you will find these both interesting.

Peace.

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By Sleeper, June 7, 2008 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father but through Me.”

I aggree with this.  Yet there is a difference.  In John, It states that in the beginning there was the Word.  The Word was God.  The only path to God is through the same path in which it was created.

Jesus Christ was led by the Word of God.  Other prophets have also been led by the Word of God.  We all should listen for the Word of God for God will speak to all.

The God of Abraham made a covenent that Blessed the Blood of Abraham.  Ishmael, Isiac and their descendents are all Blessed and worship the same God.

Some would choose to deceive the masses to these Truths.

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By Maani, June 6, 2008 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

Sleeper:

“How well do you know about the teachings of Judaism?  I recently learned that many Jews do not know that within Judaism some believe in reincarnation.”

I know much (though certainly not all) of Judaic teaching.  (You have to to be ordained.)  Re reincarnation, this is largely a Kabbalist teaching, not a mainstream one.

“There are many early Christian writtings that I have not read.  They were excluded from our Bible because some human in a powerful seat declared many books to be heresy and others to be the inspired word of God.”

True, the NT as we know it was as much a “political” creation as a theological one.  This does not make it without merit or significance.  I have read many of the non-NT writings (gnostics, etc.) and, to my mind, there are certainly good lessons to be gleaned from some of them.  But one needs to remember to use “discernment” (in its strictest Christian definition) in gleaning them.

“Some Christians believe that Christ taught his disiples reincarnation where the Catholic Church has stated he taught reserection.”

Jesus taught resurrection (the word used by all four of the Gospel writers); there is no statement by Him or anyone else that points to a teaching of reincarnation.

“Is it somehow less of a sin to have to convince someone else to do the killing for you.”

Not if you take seriously Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44-48.  There is no equivocating here, no “only if” or “only when.”  “Love your enemies,” “Bless them that curse you,” “Do good to them that hate you,” “Pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.”  These are COMMANDS, not suggestions.

“In my Fathers House there are many Mansions, many paths to the one TRUTH.”

I disagree.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father but through Me.”

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

These do not sound to me like “many paths,” though they do seem to assume “one truth.”

Peace.

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By Sleeper, June 6, 2008 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

Jesus was a Jew.  How well do you know about the teachings of Judaism?  I recently learned that many Jews do not know that within Judaism some believe in reincarnation.  Some teach of a finite number of souls.

There are many early Christian writtings that I have not read.  They were excluded from our Bible because some human in a powerful seat declared many books to be heresy and others to be the inspired word of God.

Some Christians believe that Christ taught his disiples reincarnation where the Catholic Church has stated he taught reserection.  Is it somehow less of a sin to have to convince someone else to do the killing for you.  I suppoose that would be along the lines of the philosophy advanced by Dick Cheney and George Bush.  The Empire does the killing those that lie to create a situation where others will kill are not responsible?

The masses have been hearing a censored message advanced by an elite group who lusts for power and fortune.  We know Truth in our Heart, yet we try to convert others to believe the teaching that indoctrinated us.  In my Fathers House there are many Mansions, many paths to the one TRUTH.

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By Maani, June 5, 2008 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

Sleeper:

“The Temple rulers sought a death sentence because he challanged their authority.  They tried many ways to get rid of their problem and finally did with their torture and loaded questions.”

You are conflating things.  The Temple Priests were not allowed to physically torture Jesus; only the romans could do that.  Remember that when Jesus is first brought before Pilate, Pilate refuses even to address Jesus’ guilt or innocence, since the original charges were theological, and he sent Jesus back to Herod - who also refuses to take action, bounding Jesus back to Pilate a second time.  It is only when the Temple Priests convince Pilate that some of Jesus’ words and actions are POLITICALLY SUBVERSIVE against ROME that Pilate sentences Jesus to death.

Re “He taught Judaism.  His version was somewhat different then that of the ruling Jewish figures of the temple.”  “Somewhat different?!”  It was about as radical a departure from strict Jewish teaching as one could get!

Not only did He introduce the concept - the requirement! - of salvation through faith (rather than through works, which is what Judaism teaches), He introduced the “kingdom of heaven” to which one’s eternal soul goes after death (this is NOT taught in Judaism), He dared to “re-interpret” some of the Ten Commandments (in such as way as to expose the Temple Priests’ hypocrisy), He preached the superiority of the “spiritual” vis-a-vis the “temporal,” and He was inclusive of EVERYONE, including many shunned or disdained by the Temple Priests.  To say nothing of preaching the Beatitudes, which turned the teaching of the Temple Priests topsy-turvy: saying that it was the “poor in spirit” who would “see God,” “the meek” who would “inherit the earth” and “the merciful” who would “obtain mercy.”  To the Temple Priests - rich, arrogant, acting as gatekeepers (often for money) for the people’s spiritual lives - this was tantamount to throwing down a guantlet.

Jesus’ “brand” of Judaism was nothing less than a revolution.  It was a rebuke to and repudiation of the corruption and hypocrisy of the Temple Priests, an inclusive message in a religion of exclusion, and a message of love, peace, forgiveness, humility, charity, selflessness, service and justice in a world in which these virtues seemed sorely lacking - particularly from those (the Temple Priests) whose “job” it was to help people properly grow their spiritual selves.

Peace.

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By cyrena, June 5, 2008 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Hi Maani,

I hadn’t forgotten Columbia and Ahmadinejad at all, but didn’t include that example specifically because of what you’ve already noted. We’ve been discussing this in terms of a college commencement address, (since that is the situation here) and that was of course not the case when Ahmaddinejad was invited to speak at Columbia. It was not for a commencement, but rather as a speaker invited to participate in a discussion/address at that institution.

The distinction is critical to the point of the discussion, the subversion of democracy. The circumstance with Ahmadinejad was a travesty and an embarrassment, proving yet again the arrogant hypocrisy of Americans and this subversion of democracy. They invited the guy here to speak and take part in a public forum, and then (symbolically at least) tried to undo the invite after the fact, when a bunch of people started whining, even though Columbia is a private school, and nobody was FORCED to attend, listen to him, or partake in the event.

It brings to mind an event that I attended here some weeks ago. As it so happens, that turned out to be an excellent example of this “Language of Politics” that you reference here. I wasn’t familiar with the speaker, a John Q Wilson, but the title of the lecture was on “American Exceptionalism”. My ‘interpretation’ of that turned out NOT to be what his lecture was at all. In fact, his address was the concept of American Exceptionalism as Americans and the political structure as being BETTER than all others, rather than the exceptionalism that the US (under this administration and others) has taken in ‘excepting’ itself from the rest of the established world/legal order, as well as the domestic order established by our Constitution here at home.

Suffice to say that was a surprise for me, and quite frankly, and unpleasant one. On the other hand, it DID serve a useful purpose for yet another reason that we’ve addressed recently, and that is the need to be aware of varied opinions and viewpoints. So, I chose to evaluate it (at least from a personal experience) in that light. Now I would have been pissed if I’d actually spent money to hear him, but it was a free event, since he was promoting one of his own books. And, while the event was sponsored by our campus as part of the Arts & Lectures Series, it was (as they all are) an event open to the general public.

Now in THAT case, (as with the event that involved Ahmadinejad at Columbia) it would have been very inappropriate, (in my view) for anyone to be making a big protest stink about his presence, or inclusion in the series of lectures and other presentations. People were free to attend or not attend, and that is in keeping with a democratic principle.

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By John Hanks, June 5, 2008 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Like most of the figures in the Bible, Jesus was a composite, like Betty Crocker.  Nobody can say for certain which parts of the Bible have any real relation to him.  It is easy to identify Greek thinking in his statements as opposed to Jewish thinking, for instance. He is made up of various texts that were combined many years after the years that he supposedly walked the earth.  The sermon on the mount is essentially an exercise in obscurantism which was a common characteristic in many religions.  It is all things to all men.  (I find the Bible to be infinitely more valuable and interesting once it is treated as a human rather than skygod text.  I also think it is truer to Jesus’ hatred of phonies and blockheads.  I think he would dislike today’s “Christians” intensely.)

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By thebeerdoctor, June 5, 2008 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

“To me there is no contradiction: given the horrors, the brevity and the pain, an intense joy is the only rational response; dance till they drop you, exalt while you can.”
Dale Devereux Copeland

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By Sleeper, June 5, 2008 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

The Temple rulers sought a death sentence because he challanged their authority.  They tried many ways to get rid of their problem and finally did with their torture and loaded questions.

His answer concerning ceasars money was to give ceaser that which belongs to him and give to the father that which is his.(The Soul)  In other words money has nothing to do with what is sought by the father.

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By Maani, June 5, 2008 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

All:

Relevant to this thread and discussion, I want to HIGHLY recommmend a book: “What Orwell Didn’t Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics.”

Riffing on Orwell’s famous essay, “Politics and the English Language” (with nods also to Animal Farm and 1984), it is a collection of essays by mostly left-thinking writers, including (among others) Michael Massing, Victor Navasky, Aryeh Neier, Patricia Williams and George Soros.

Peace.

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By Maani, June 5, 2008 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

Cyrena:

Thank you for your response.  One recent example you forgot was Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia University.  And this brings me to modify my statement.

You seem to be implying that graduating students only get one commencement, so they should have some control over who speaks at it.  With this I would have to agree.  Thus, with regard to the specific fact that this was a commencement speech, the students certainly had a right to say “no” to the speaker chosen by the university.

However, I maintain my position vis-a-vis other university-chosen speakers - no matter how controversial - in that I believe the more true-to-democracy response would be protesting them once they got there (in whatever manner(s) students chose to do so), rather than trying to prevent them from speaking at all.

Sleeper:

Jesus was not crucified as a result of His outburst at the Temple.  The Sanhedrin found Him guilty of blasphemy by comparing Himself directly to God.  And as you know, the neither Herod nor Pilate initially wanted to carry out a death sentence.  However, Herod was loath to go against the Sanhedrin, and agreed ONLY if “Rome” (in the person of Pilate) also agreed.  And as you also know, Pilate initially did NOT agree, preferring simply to physically punish Jesus.

What changed his mind was that the Sanhedrin convinced Pilate that Jesus was “politically subversive” by declaring Himself a “king” (which was true, to a point), and that He was suggesting that His followers not pay tribute to Caesar (which was untrue).

Thus, Jesus was put to death for “political” crimes against Rome (which He was completely innocent of), and NOT for any “crimes” against the Temple or the Temple Priests.

Peace.

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By Sleeper, June 5, 2008 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

At the very least Jesus was a teacher.  He taught Judaism.  His version was somewhat different then that of the ruling Jewish figures of the temple.  He offered his life in defiance of a human lust for money in the name of his religion.

There is a lesson in that, but it is up to us to interpret that lesson for ourselves.  There was an Empire then as there is a pursuit of Empire today.  It is our pursuit of Virtue that will please our creator and redemption is an initial step toward Peace and ultimately LOVE.

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By John Hanks, June 5, 2008 at 6:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Bible has some wisdom in it, even taken out of context, and I refer to it like any other memorable book.  I love the fact that Jesus might have hated phonies and blockheads, for instance.  I say “might” because we know little about the man.  All we have is good and bad writings in wild translation.

Basically we now live in a giant dirty book.  It is all pornography in the sense that every institution we have is bogus and empty.  This especially goes for every “ism” that we embrace from fundamentalism to academicism to atheism.  We are stuck having to rely on our pathetic selves.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 5, 2008 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

“There was a door to which I found no key,
There was a veil through which I could not see.
A little talk awhile of me and thee,
There was… and then no talk of thee and me.”

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By Sleeper, June 5, 2008 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

I have read some scripture and have read where John said, “I baptise in water yet one is coming who baptises with the spirit and fire.

I have also read,“Blessed Are the Peacemakers & also those persecuted for righteousness sake”.  I believe there are a sizable number of Blessed souls in our world.

I also think Christ was killed for his display of anger and militancy when he enterred the temple and threw over the tables of the money changers.

“Vengence is mine sayeth the lord” I am all for letting my father do his job.  I also think it is my duty to “Shout at The Devil”  “The Deceiver” “The Tempter” for after all isn’t it “The Truth that shall Set Us Free”

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By cyrena, June 5, 2008 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

I get your point here Maani, but in the reality of it, I’m not sure that I can agree with your conclusion.

What you’re suggesting here - if I can play the devil’s advocate just a bit further…is that these students didn’t have a right to say ‘no’ to something that was clearly in violation of their principles.

In other words, should this graduating class, (or any other for that matter) been forced to have their ceremonies addressed by say, the head of the KKK, (whomever that is now) or maybe Louis Farrakhan, just because they have a right to free speech, and maybe somebody on the staff or faculty thought it was a good idea to invite them to deliver the address?

Should Jeremiah Wright been invited to deliver the commencement address even if a majority of the graduating class didn’t want him to? Would that not have been the same thing as ‘preventing him from speaking’?

I don’t think so. I think that you would probably see it differently in those cases. From what I can tell here, this is a private college, and the ‘democratic’ thing would have been for them to agree (by a majority of those who cared) on who their commencement speaker would be.

But, as for your alternative, that HAS actually happened in other similar situations. There was an equal resistance to Condi Rice at a Standford Univ commencement back in I believe 2004..(could have been 2005..one or the other). The class didn’t want her at their commencement, but she came anyway. SHe gave the address, they booed, and that was that. (I think a few turned their backs as well).

Same thing at Boston University a few years back, and I can’t remember now who it was that they didn’t want..either Cheney or Bush. It’s a Catholic University, and they have a problem with them being mass murderers, so they didn’t want whichever one it was that had been invited. In that case, (like here at Furman) it was as much the faculty that was having a major issue with it as the students. But also as is in most cases, it’s someone at the top, (like the Chancellor or whatever) who accepts these arrangements, or maybe even solicits them.

And, that’s just a few of these that come to mind. There have actually been several in the past 5 or so years. So MY only curiosity is why they (any of them…Cheney, The Shrub, Condi, or any of their minions) have continued to do this. Seems like at least Dick and George would just settle for the military institution addresses, where the students and faculty already know they don’t have a choice for who’s gonna be ‘invited’ to deliver their address. Just by their attendance and graduation from such an institution is automatic acceptance of that. I mean, did anyone other than Hitler ever address the Nazi Military?

Now of course nobody other than Hitler ever addressed ANY of the German population during his reign, so maybe that’s what ALL of the graduation classes are now supposed to accept, eh? Apparently that’s what it’s become, but we can’t really see that as much in terms of democracy though. So yeah, I think this might have been a subversion of democracy..when the clown showed up where he wasn’t wanted, and their only choices to avoid him would have been to miss taking part in their own commencement ceremony.

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By cyrena, June 5, 2008 at 3:32 am Link to this comment

Laurel700…

Thank you so very much for this reference. I’m adding it, (as well as the author and the book) to my list of sources.

The ideology, (and the double talk) is all wrapped up together. This is a bit more difficult to absorb than some of the other theory related information at a different level. But, it still comes to few of that same conclusions that have been reached by Hannah Arndt, (the Banality of Evil) and few others using similar science.

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By colin2626262, June 4, 2008 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment

“Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”

In his speech, Chris Hedges said we’re being spiritually impoverished.  This is only true for him.  Nothing in the world can make us spiritually poor.  Only we can do that to ourselves, through lack of faith in God.  The truth is, no one with faith is evil.  Only those without faith are evil.  True faith is known by deeds.  Violent, hateful deeds are not the fruits of faith.  Even if someone says he or she believes in God, if his or her deeds are unloving, he or she doesn’t believe in God; he or she has no faith.

Hedges’s speech is well intentioned, but he doesn’t write with true faith.  I say that because, at the end of his speech, he says war is sometimes necessary.  He also says we must be angry and militant.  He judges those who’ve committed sins, such as the people responsible for waging the war in Iraq.  God is the judge, and anyone who disobeys God’s law is already being punished.  The souls of sinners are dead unless they repent. 

Everyone dies in the flesh.  There’s no need to be focus on politics, which will pass away just like our bodily lives.  True life is eternal life, the life in God, which doesn’t pass away.  Chris Hedges is not a pacifist, he said in an interview.  Yet he gives speeches about the immorality of the war.  Unless we love with God’s love and love our enemies, we’re hypocrites. 

Let the money changers, the corporations, be like the man in the Gospel who hoarded wealth and then died the next day.  Hedges quotes Augustine, but Augustine also said nothing happens in the world unless God either wants it, or allows it, to happen.  We should only worry about doing the will of God, our Friend.  We can’t live with anger or militancy.  We can only live with love, for ourselves and for all of our fellow human beings.  May God help us to do that every day.

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By Sleeper, June 4, 2008 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

I’m glad I saw this article.  I think with me it is the subversion that irritates me the most.  When I was young I believed that we Americans were Blessed.  I believed we were somehow virtueous.  The assault described needs to be corrected.  We cannot allow it to be swept under the rug.

It is not only recent history that needs to be cleansed but all the way back to the October Surprise.  This theory has been advanced by many criminal acts.  At some point it adds up to Treason.

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By Lisa Holt, June 4, 2008 at 7:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
This article needs to be read thoroughly by each and every person on the planet!
But that’s just my opinion…

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By Laurel700, June 4, 2008 at 3:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges writes: “The country I live in today uses the same words to describe itself, the same patriotic symbols and iconography, the same national myths, but only the shell remains.”

Polish clinical psychologist, Andrzej Lobaczewski wrote about how ideology can mask the corruption of any ideological group (including political) in his book “Political Ponerology: The Science of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes.”  The following remarks are his lead-in to the topic and are well worth considering in this context:

“It is a common phenomenon for a[n Evil] association or group to contain a particular ideology which always justifies its activities and furnishes certain propaganda motives. ... Human nature demands that vile matters be haloed by an over-compensatory mystique in order to silence one’s conscience and to deceive consciousness and critical faculties, whether one’s own or those of others.

“If such an [evil disguised as good] union could be stripped of its ideology, nothing would remain except psychological and moral pathology, naked and unattractive. Such stripping would of course provoke “moral outrage”, and not only among the members of the union; even normal people, who condemn this kind of union along with its ideologies, would feel hurt, deprived of something constituting part of their own romanticism, their way of perceiving reality. [...]

“An ideology of a [corrupted] association is formed by gradual adaptation of the primary ideology to functions and goals other than the original formative ones. A certain kind of layering or schizophrenia of ideology takes place during the ponerization process. The outer layer closest to the original content is used for the group’s propaganda purposes, especially regarding the outside world, although it can in part also be used inside with regard to disbelieving lower-echelon members. The second layer ...is more hermetic, generally composed by slipping a different meaning into the same names. Since identical names signify different contents depending on the layer in question, understanding this “doubletalk” requires simultaneous fluency in both languages.

“Average people succumb to the first layer’s suggestive insinuations for a long time before they learn to understand the second one as well. [...]

“Comprehending this doubletalk is ... a vexatious task, provoking quite understandable psychological resistance; this very duality of language, however, is a pathognomic symptom indicating that the human union in question is touched by the ponerogenic process to an advanced degree.”

THE book for our times.  If we don’t understand what is happening in exact, scientific terms, we can’t fix it.

http://www.qfgpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=54&osCsid=fa25795324cbe101f6eaf92c2a960fcf

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By Maani, June 3, 2008 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment

At the risk of playing devil’s advocate (which is truly ironic, given my vocation…LOL), and speaking to the original point, I wonder about the title of this article and how it actually applies to the movement to prevent President Bush from giving the commencement address.

If we are going to talk about “the subversion of democracy,” is it not also a subversion of democracy to prevent someone from speaking simply because we do not like them or what they have to say?  Isn’t “free speech” - INCLUDING speech we vehemently disagree with - protected by the very First Amendment that helps undergird the “democracy” we are discussing?

Bush may be a repugnant, repellent person who has engaged in many outrageous, horrible, immoral, even perhaps illegal things.  But does that give anyone the right to prevent him from speaking?

If the students at Furman truly understood and supported “democracy,” they would not have prevented Bush from speaking.  Rather, they would have allowed him to give the address, but perhaps (i) not attended, or (ii) attended and, at the point at which Bush began speaking, stand up en masse and turn their backs to the stage.  These would have been far more “legitimate” (via the First Amendment) - and powerful - messages to send then “we don’t want you to speak at all.”

To my mind, the fact that the students successfully prevented Bush from speaking is a “subversion of democracy” different from Bush’s subversions only in degree.

Peace.

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By colin2626262, June 3, 2008 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

Stuart,

“God is love” is from the first letter of John in the New Testament.  And I wrote God is joy after reading Matthew Fox, a priest whose outlook on life I found interesting, even if I didn’t completely agree with it (he’s sort of like the person above who left a comment about pain and suffering being a falsehood).  I’ve found joy in God in my own life, though, so it’s not just based on what I’ve read.

The other part about God living in our souls is found in many different sources, such as the Bible, the Bhagavad-gita, Tolstoy, Emerson, Meister Eckhart, and Gandhi, just to name a few.  But the only real place to find the relevance is in your own soul, in your own life.

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By colin2626262, June 3, 2008 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

I don’t see your point about pain and suffering being a falsehood.  I’m not really thankful for my pain and suffering, even though I said I was in my prayer.  I hate to suffer just like anyone else, but Eckhart also said God bears the suffering of those who suffer with God.  And I never claimed to understand anything.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, June 3, 2008 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

By stuart, June 3 at 12:04
“people too lazy to investigate”

“just like those lazy slugs at popular mechanics. This speech is brilliant. Your knee jerk ad hominem attack is irrelevant and a grave dissapointment. “

Perfect example of the lazy spoon fed ignorance I alluded to.  Popular Mechanics hit piece has a demonstrable 9/11 LIE on their website right now:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1227842.html

“Intercepts Not Routine.”

“FACT [SIC]: In the decade before 9/11, NORAD intercepted only one civilian plane over North America: golfer Payne Stewart’s Learjet, in October 1999.” -Popular Mechanics, Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report

Government Accountability Office Report:

“Other reserve and active units are well equipped to handle what has become the defense force’s current focus—intercepting drug smugglers. (...) Overall, during the past 4 years, NORAD’s alert fighters took off to intercept aircraft (referred to as scrambled) 1,518 times, or an average of 15 times per site per year. Of these incidents, the number of suspected drug smuggling aircraft averaged one per site, or less than 7 percent of all of the alert sites’ total activity.\3 The remaining activity generally involved visually inspecting unidentified aircraft and assisting aircraft in distress.”—Continental Air Defense: A Dedicated Force Is No Longer Needed (Letter Report, 05/03/94, GAO/NSIAD-94-76)

http://www.fas.org/man/gao/gao9476.htm

That’s not the only lie put out by Benjamin Chertoff, the editor at PM, and the cousin of the Homeland Securty chief, himself involved in the cover up.  You can find several good critiques of PM’s lies, particularly David Ray Griffin’s Book: Debunking 9/11 Debunking, which goes chapter by chapter. 

Or just stick your ignorant head back up your ass.

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By HeyZeus, June 3, 2008 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges writes an eloquent article, but, with all dues respect, he has a classic textbook understanding of America and American history, a textbook written by the government.  He idealizes the paternal-type government in Washington.  Ask the Native Americans if America has ever been anything than what Mr. Hedges is just now finding out about it.

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By cyrena, June 3, 2008 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

OK..sounds like a real good start to me.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, June 3, 2008 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

From now on, when people ask me why I’m a Nader supporter, I can point them to this article.

It merits stating again that the mechanisms eroding America’s ideals, along with its’ working and middle classes, won’t be reversed by having a democrat in office.

Nader, and clearly Hedges too, know the house is up in flames. But capital hill, with all it’s cronies, opportunists, and lobbyists in situ, continue to insist that the Evian in their collective pocket is going to deliver the country from harm.

To survive in this brave new world:

think portfolio, not passport.
think logo, not flag.
think brand, not identity.
think fame, not privacy.
think privilege, not community.
think desire, not fulfillment.
think Darwin, not Ghandi.

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By stuart, June 3, 2008 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“people too lazy to investigate”

just like those lazy slugs at popular mechanics. This speech is brilliant. Your knee jerk ad hominem attack is irrelevant and a grave dissapointment.

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By stuart, June 3, 2008 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“God lives in the soul of human beings… and God is love and joy”

uhhh, first, I’d like a cite for that. Second, relevance?

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By thebeerdoctor, June 3, 2008 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Perhaps the idea is to go from a malevolent mercantile empire, to a benevolent mercantile republic.

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By John Hanks, June 3, 2008 at 7:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I spent time in the Navy I spend most of my time rehearsing for an imaginary enemy.  It cost the taxpayer millions (just me).  A military is a destabilizing force because it gives crooked leaders power they are unfit to lacking in smarts to use.  (It doesn’t really matter whether the crooked leaders are military or civilian.  In the endless lies and fog of diplomacy, every country threatens every other one endlessly.  We are the Nazis this time, but India or China might be the Nazis next.) 

Huge militaries are destablilizing because they are spread all over the place waiting or looking for trouble.  Even if they don’t want to, they turn into huge protection racket bureaucracies worried about their rice bowl.  The 911 American military traitors came from such a culture.  Being right-wing idiots, they probably thought they were being patriotic.  Patriotism is the worst of the “isms”.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 3, 2008 at 6:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

W@ith all due respect, “The corporate State” was born as such.  We get all this whoie in school about settlers coming for “freedom of religion” BS

The Dutch, Spanish, French, and English established colonies here to make MONEY!!

They exploited resources, people and the ignorance of the times to set up a country similar to the old South Africa. The ships in New England brought African slaves to Charleston, exchanged them for Cotton which the brought to England in exchange for British pounds to buy more boats. They made molasses in Boston, Brought it to Cuba where they exchanged it for Rum, then over to Africa where they traded the rum for more slaves.

This nation was a money operation from its inception.  Now it is our job to change it… wonder if we’re up to the task?

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By thebeerdoctor, June 2, 2008 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

What kind of SM is this? This is a direct quote from Meister Eckhart. Obviously you do not understand: all pain and suffering is a falsehood.

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By John Hanks, June 2, 2008 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Republicans and their media have been blinding and stealing from this country right from the start.  The Democrats have always been enabling the process.

Our salvation lies in all of us cultivating a black habitual hatred for any person with wealth.  Out of that hatred with can tax their power away once and for all.

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By colin2626262, June 2, 2008 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

I was doing just that a few days ago.  I was saying, “Thanks be to God for my pain and my suffering.”

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By Robert B Stanfield, June 2, 2008 at 9:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We need to first resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act separating retail and investment banking. Then we need to triple++ the size of the DOJ ant-trust division and pursue several dozen software, agricultural and other firms, then change the rules on the media on corporate ownership, and finally create a governmental health insurance agency to compete with the private sector (no-holds barred mandate).

Then we need to remove the income SSI cap, restore the pre-1970s tax rates for the over $200k, increase the estate tax for the over $10M to 60% and reduce the size of the tax code by 30% per year until it reaches 400 pages.

While we are about it, stock holder votes should be made easier and the results be mandatory.

OK.

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By Max Shields, June 2, 2008 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor

Yes, you are right. As long as we think there was a “time and place” when America was the shinning city (or whatever metaphor) we keep the fantacy alive and begin to believe that the idiot in the White House started this whole mess. He DID NOT. He was guided by the hand of his precessors. The USA was an empire in the making from DAY ONE.

I suspect Chris Hedges was softpeddling what he knows to be true, because of the audience.

The relatively progressive domestic policies (FDR) have always been to save the empire. It is only during certain passing moments in US history that there has not been a huge gap between the wealthy/powerful and everyone else. The Great Depression reduced that gap, but it long ago rebounded.

In fact our Constitution reflects that of many corporate entities. We can look to our Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights to find some hopeful signs, but these are never the center of legislation and decision making.

The Civil War (half a million dead) was fought to preserve the empire, much as the Spanish American War and others were to save and expand US holdings. If we simply say “well all the Presidents lie” and leave it at that we miss the whole point. Why have we so structured ourselves so as to sustain an empire throughout the world, and expect and submit to an oligarchical shadow government that runs the show?

When was there ever democracy in the USA? I see it in some local towns and villages, but nationally, its a tragic joke that saps the life out of real democracy and an alternative to the status quo. To be sure, when Bush is out, we’ll reflect on how he was really part of a long legacy of empire…the difference was how he (and Republicans) sustain the Empire domestically. But in the end, Dem and Repub are all responsible for endless war and the violations of international law on every human scale imaginable.

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By cyrena, June 2, 2008 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

Regan was truly bad news CY…and we can’t blame it all on Carter, even if we tried. Carter may have mustered in some of this deregulation, but Regan is the one who used it to kill us. Carter didn’t ring in the trickle down shit, (that never trickled down) and he didn’t find a way to systematically destroy the unions either.

As for the propaganda, I hear that much loud and clear. Everybody I know laps up this State Sponsored propaganda, and it’s pickled their brains with consumerism and more alternative realities.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 2, 2008 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

Just a technical question: How many posters on this site use the Firefox browser? Nearly one fifth of all the desktops in the world use this open source application. Folks complain about corporate control using Internet Explorer? Am I missing something here?

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By Conservative Yankee, June 2, 2008 at 5:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“GOOD GOD! Will anyone ever wake up to reality, and use their own brain to figure things out, instead of lapping up propaganda”

Propaganda like yours?

Nixon began deregulation with gas and oil at the wholesale level. Carter continued this pattern with Telephone and airlines, trucking, railroads and Oil and natural gas retail sales. Carter also began the deregulation of banks in their loan departments, and took the cap off interest rates which (contrary to what the “news” media reported) is the reason he lost the White House after one term. in 1979 home loans had increased to an average of 11% when they had been at 6% when he took office. Oh yeah, and this is the period of time where Banks began distributing credit cards Carte Blanche (pardon the puns)

I voted for Reagan in 1980, but he lost me by ‘84.

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By cyrena, June 2, 2008 at 3:18 am Link to this comment

SamoSamo..

Thanks for this info on Truthout. I discovered the ‘new format’ last week, and you’re right, I’ve been devastated at the ‘make-over’ even while I’ve held out hope that I would eventually ‘adjust’ to it, and I was very pleased that they had included an option to comment now.

Actually, they DID have that long ago, in the form of what they called a ‘Townhall Meeting’ but I guess it just got to be too much.

Anyway, I did leave one comment for the webmaster, and I’m going to wait it out, since it has been my own most valuable and reliable source for info. I think they’ll be able to get it up to par with helpful suggestions.

The amazing thing to keep in mind with Truthout and other similar sites, is that unlike the MSM, they’ve operated solely on donations to their cause. That makes it a double whammy to realize that the corporate MSM that feeds us the propaganda is actually being paid for by the same people who they are feeding the propaganda to. (US). They have all of the tools, and all of the resources they need, provided by the corps, to feed us the State Sponsored propaganda, (since the corps and the state are the same)

Meantime, the truthtelling outlets like truthout (since they have NO advertising) have to rely on our donations, to get the truth to us. Talk about the cruelest of paradoxes. That’s what happens in a fascist state though.

Anyway, thanks again. I’ll cruise on over to check out the comments. I did try to leave a few, but I have no idea whether or not they ever posted.

Meantime, I know you were getting frustrated with the slow response here at truthdig. I’ve noticed an improvement lately, for whatever that might be worth. It seems that there has been a rather enormous increase in participation, and while I don’t claim to know anything about administering these sites from the technical end, I can assume there would be an upgrade in equipment needed to handle that.

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By cyrena, June 2, 2008 at 2:57 am Link to this comment

This is brilliant! I wish I had to talent to say so much so efficiently.

Thanks ChigarraSan.

I’ll only add that the CORPORATISM you describe here, has long been identified as primary element of any AUTHORITANIAN State, along with militarism, religiousity, and a few other venues and/or components that are results of the same.

Anyway, thanks…this is very helpful for those who haven’t had a chance to consider these things. The same ones that have been “lapping up the propaganda like it’s honey”, (great descriptive) and/or too lazy or otherwise illequipped to figure it out. (after so many years of lapping up the propaganda, they honestly CAN’T use their brains to figure it out).

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By thebeerdoctor, June 2, 2008 at 1:27 am Link to this comment

Conservative Yankee, how do you keep coming up with these gems? If you so much as withdraw a large sum from your own bank account, the bank will call the authorities and you will be questioned. But you know, this is the one zinc lining to the dark cloud of poverty: when you are poor, banks and airports do not come into the picture. Neither does a passport.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 2, 2008 at 1:18 am Link to this comment

If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 2, 2008 at 1:04 am Link to this comment

Yes Max Shields, you are correct. Think of the raids enacted by Attorney General Palmer during the Wilson administration. A domestic battle against “hyphenated Americans”, as Wilson called them. “Hyphenated Americans have poured the poison of disloyalty into the arteries of national life. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty and anarchy must be crushed out.”
Hyphenated Americans. Let’s see, did he mean African-Americans? We know that Woodrow did not care for them much, since he re-segregated the post offices in Washington. Hyphenated Americans. Is that Muslim-Americans? Native-Americans? Mexican-Americans? Italian-Americans? Jewish-Americans? Russian-Americans? German-Americans?
Tyranny depends on the erasure of collective memory. It is not surprising that factual books of history are starting to be banned.

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By ChingarraSan, June 1, 2008 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

Ronald Reagan was a fake cowboy, and a snake oil salesman! There wasn’t one thing that he ever did that wasn’t a media invention! His main job while in office, was to create a partnership between government and corporations, and dismantle the middle class! His involvement in the Iran Contra scandal should have landed him in prison! Instead, the brain dead cool aid drinkers showered him with praise, and named airports and buildings after him!

He is responsible for most of the deregulation of corporations! We now see the results of that effort! Anyone with a heartbeat knows that if you allow capitalism to go unregulated, the result will be that corporations will run amok! The bottom line is their only consideration! And by the way, who is responsible for corporations having the same rights as a person? That is a really BAD idea! It allows power to reach out from beyond the grave!

GOOD GOD! Will anyone ever wake up to reality, and use their own brain to figure things out, instead of lapping up propaganda as if it were honey? Finally people are feeling the pain to the extent that positive change may happen in America. Obama may be the one to step in, and illuminate the masses, so that that they will take action to improve their lives, and save democracy!

I’m surprised that as bad as things are, people just bumble along in a stupor, when they should actually be storming Washington with pitchforks and torches! These criminals that have hijacked our country must be held
to account! They are guilty of a huge number of various crimes, and deserve long prison terms!

The people of this country are the ones who must act to save democracy! The politicians will never act on the behalf of the people! They are being paid off by the very corporations that are destroying democracy!  What do you think that taking IMPEACHMENT OFF THE TABLE is all about! The constitution mandates impeachment as the legal remedy to throw crooks out of government!  The speaker of the house does not have the legal right to impede a constitutional remedy! She is in violation of her oath to uphold the constitution along with all the others in congress that are aiding and abetting this criminal administration!

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By Earthianguy, June 1, 2008 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

This is a groundbreaking, important speech. The more of us who can write and deliver such speeches, the better. The essence of the idea is the “corporate state.” Charles Derber in his book “Hidden Power” elaborates the concept under the name “corporate regime.” Since it spans political parties, and takes them over, it expands the debate about history, and therefore, gives us a better vision of the future beyond rule by the other party. In Derber’s terminology, the vision is a new progressive regime (in Hedges terminology the corporate state would become a progressive state, like the New Deal state of 1932 to about 1975). Of course solutions to transform the corporate regime (or state) into a new progressive regime (or state) remain to be developed and implemented. But he made reference to anger, courage and hope, surely emotional resources for each of us. And his call is clear: “militancy, to challenge those in the Democratic and Republican parties who herd us towards the corporate state.” How shall we challenge those in both parties? THAT is the solution for progressives. It will involve the Green Party. It will involve infiltration of the Democratic Party. It will involve activism, and movements, and militancy, and constitutional conventions and amendments, and political unity we have yet to invent. But we can, we must, rise up to bring about a progressive regime from what will be the ruins of the corporate regime of America.
Corporate State: 1980 to 20__? RIP

Let us implement the new New Deal. And expunge the militarist, imperial, military-industrial-corporate-congressional complex and its corruption of our nation forever.

Bravo Hedges! And bravo to all of you posters who don’t yield to cynicism: the rejection of solutions with self-fulfilling, psychological defense of weakness to power.

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By samosamo, June 1, 2008 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Since my computer runs as 56.6k dial up speed when I get on this site, I gave it up and did not intend on coming back for a while because it is obvious that there is a problem here and that is most likely the site cannot handle the volume of people that come here for information and dialog. So, I went to Truthout.org. It is a train wreak. They have remodeled their site and there are many issues they have to overcome, one being a lot of visitors cannot comment to posts which is a new feature for Truthout.
But anyway I came back as I found a very interesting and hopeful post there.
http://www.truthout.org/article/wholl-unplug-big-media-stay-tuned
This is by Robert McChesney and John Nichols and it describes a turnaround in congress to the state of affairs with the MSM. This could be just a desparate attempt for the incumbents acting as though the are concerned about the consolidation of the media and the lack of real information for the people in this or what is left of this democracy. It is encouraging and I suggest everyone link to it or go to Truthout and go to it there. This article is also very related to this post as a very major subversion of our democracy is the corporate manipulation of the MSM.
And for the sake of helping Truthout which I believe is a true source of real information, try to comment and if your comment does not appear, contact their web masters and let them know, they are trying to correct this issue.

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By Max Shields, June 1, 2008 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

Truth is, much as I generally like Hedges, there is NOTHING that G.W. Bush has done that does not have a precedent, the legacy is long of up ending citizens, incarcerating them (think American Japanese), think about the slaughter of native Americans by say, Andrew Jackson, the lynching of American Germans in the run up to WWI, and the censorship of socialists newsletters/newspapers via US Postal service; and the countless arrests throughout American history, and of course slavery, and the endless wars and the Civil War that was about not breaking up the empire and the elimination of habeas corpus to do that and more and over and over…

No, GW Bush and Bill Clinton have a whole history of previous administrations of both parties who have run rough shod of a constition that could be seen as first and foremost a corporate empire governance…

No, Mr. Hedges, there aint no Santa Claus and the America you “remember” never was.

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By x, June 1, 2008 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My theory of why this blatant criminality is ignored is due to the threat of violence, like gangsters. Or the threat of being sent to jail, declared “enemy combatant”. 90 men and 60 thousand women are raped in institutions every year. There is a nod-nod-wink-wink smirking air about it. We have the highest incarceration rate, and prisons are being privatized, the prisoners are truly slaves, working for a business whose only product is human misery. I think George Feuerstein, a writer of yoga books supplied the above statistics. And the church continues to rape the children of those who trust them. Why? Simply to destroy them, they will be gay musicians, only concerned with such things, and not prepared to resist our impending doom.

So there it is. I believe that we are actually being held hostage. The violence is very hush-hush nod-nod-wink-wink. Does that make sense?

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By Judas Disney, June 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“If 9/11 was an inside job there would be 300 Scott McClellens writting best sellers about it.”

What a clown.

(1)  Scott McClellan’s father was LBJ’s personal attorney.  Barr McClellan asserts that LBJ was personally responsible for the JFK assassination.  I wonder why the Corporate Nooz isn’t pushing the father’s story like they’re pushing the son’s story.

(2)  Sibel Edmonds was an FBI translator who became a whistleblower on what she says is an international organized crime ring operating in all branches of the U.S. government, including narcotrafficking, money laundering and funding False Flag terrorism and real terrorism.  Where is the Corporate Nooz media?

Sibel Edmonds’ story is well-known to Congress.  Here at this video clip you can see “progressive crimefighter” Henry Waxman refusing to investigate Sibel’s information whilst simultaneously defending his office’s investigations of steroid use in professional sports.  I wonder what the debunker assclowns here have to say about this:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=mMy3xylXS9k

You can find Barr McClellan’s book here:

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Money-Power-L-B-J-Killed/dp/0963784625/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212362682&sr=8-1

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By Conservative Yankee, June 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A little known fact:

In the United States, the money is not yours. You may hold it, use it, flaunt it, BUT if the government wants it back, it is their money.

If you do not believe this, attempt to take $10,000 out of the country in a suitcase.

“They” are the government, the banks, and the corporate oligarchy.

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By colin2626262, June 1, 2008 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

I’m sure there are outward differences.  Also, I was wrong to say what Chris Hedges is writing and speaking about are unimportant.  Material life does matter, since the soul is wrapped up in it.  Despair is a part of life.  That’s what I should’ve said.  Instability, Chris said, leads people to despair.  That’s true.  Outward instablility leads to inward, or spiritual, instablility.  I was in despair when I wrote my comment. 

God lives in the soul of human beings, so it was also wrong to say that humanity is in despair.  If human beings live in the soul, then they live in God, and God is love and joy.  There is no despair in God.  There is despair, at times, in human beings, who can choose whether or not to live in God.  We have to live a spiritual life, a life of prayer, in order to overcome despair.  God is in the soul, and God loves the soul, but the soul doesn’t always love God.  Sometimes the world, or material life, gets in the way of God, so that the soul loses sight of God.  But God never loses sight of the soul.

I’ve been reading Meister Eckhart, and something he said was that “the poor belong to God.”  Poor can be taken to mean any kind of bodily defect or deprivation.  Eckhart, a great preacher, said also that “the soul loves the body.”  He felt human beings were divine, and that it was our job to realize the unity between ourselves and God.  That unity is also for human beings in relation to one another.  In other words, we’re all one in God.  So we should treat others with love, just as we love ourselves.  We can only love ourselves in God.  I’m finding out that it’s important to love myself and not to separate soul from body, or spirituality from the world—because when I do that, I end up hating the world and myself.  That leads to despair, not to God, who deserves only honor and praise.

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By johndoraemi, June 1, 2008 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“If 9/11 was an inside job there would be 300 Scott McClellens writting best sellers about it.”

This is the knee jerk non-argument that we typically see from people too lazy to investigate.

Counterterrorism investigations were squashed before the attack.  Those responsible were PROMOTED.

Links to “foreign governments” were found, and yet covered up and made classified after the attacks.  That meets the constitutional definition of treason.

At least learn a few basic facts before shooting your mouth off without anything to back it up.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 1, 2008 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

“When you reach the broken promise land, and every dream slips through your hand, you’ll know it’s too late to change your mind. Because you paid the price to come this far, just to wind up where you are. And you’re still, just across the border line.”
Ry Cooder, The Border

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By troublesum, June 1, 2008 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

Even illegal aliens have stopped trying to get in.  What does that tell you?  And it isn’t because of increased surveillance at the borders.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 1, 2008 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges makes some telling points about our present situation. But his pinning for a Democratic party that protects the citizens is ludicrous. That Democratic party does not exist. FDR, it should be said, did enact much needed domestic reforms, that also saved the capitalist system, despite the howling objections of those whom it saved. But the ownership class always wanted to get revenge for The New Deal, and this was finally accomplished with the Clinton presidency. Now I know we live in what Gore Vidal calls the United States of Amnesia, but I do remember the passionate objections to NAFTA from members of Congress, objections that were completely ignored.
The United States empire is built on the delusion that the US knows best. Baby Bush is the manifestation of this attitude, without any mask. Bill Clinton killed many many Iraqis during his administration. It just wasn’t called war, it was called embargo and no-fly zones.
And it is true there is a smothering sense of doom in the air, especially among those who are fully aware that there is no place to escape to. Around 20% of the population has passports. Is it any surprise that they have become expensive?

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By troublesum, June 1, 2008 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

If you think that these times are not different politically, socially, and economically from anything previously known, you should see the documentary films of Adam Curtis shown on the BBC.  A few months ago they were available through a link at the dailykos.com.  I don’t know if the link is still there but you could try googling “adam curtis on youtube.”

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By felicity, June 1, 2008 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

Yeah, why aren’t they especially since the laissez-faire, free-market champions who swear their allegiance to Adam Smith, the ‘inventor,’ of laissez-faire economics repeatedly warns that trusts, cartels, monopolies, syndicates and consortiums (sound familiar) will naturally occur in the system and must be curtailed if not stopped.

The efficiency and viability of Smith’s system depends on competition, opposed to mercantilism, which actually functions much like trusts etc.

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By colin2626262, June 1, 2008 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges writes that fear engenders despair.  He says the Christian evangelical movement is where those in despair go, because they’re without hope.  I haven’t read “American Fascists,” but I’d like to.  I just don’t think what he’s writing about in that book or what he spoke about in this speech is that important.  It’s important in a superficial way.  People die in wars, yes.  People live in poverty, yes.  But this has happened throughout human history.  It’s nothing new.

He writes about corporations.  The rich have always lorded over the poor masses.  Is this something new?  It’s not.  It’s nothing but the way the world is and has always been.  He talks about wanting to reclaim America.  What is there to reclaim?  It’s not a good country, and it never has been.  There’s nothing good about an abstraction anyway.  And that’s what “America” is. 

I’m against the Iraq war.  I’m against all the totalitarian policies, like spying and torture.  I’m against corporate greed.  But this is human nature.  This is humanity.  It’s not something peculiar to our time and place.  Chris said in his speech that he prayed.  What is there to pray for?  He prayed for change of policies in the country, so that people could live happier lives.  That’s a noble thing.  But no one is going to be happy because policies in this country change.  We’re all in despair no matter what.  Life itself causes despair.  Life is despair.  Humanity is despair.  Only God is not in despair.  I pray that I can escape from my personal despair.  I pray for others too.  I don’t want to be selfish.

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By PatrickHenry, June 1, 2008 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

I understand why anti-trust laws exists.

Why aren’t they enforced more.

A diversity of businesses will make a stronger America than a wholly owned corporate one.

Exxon-Mobil, BP-American, Time-Warner, WSJ-Murdoch, coupled with the endless bailouts of Wall Street firms from the Federal Reserve (another private institution I must add), why should we the people pay for bad business decisions by private, profit making entities.

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By Chris Horton, June 1, 2008 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

Awesome article Chris!  You ‘de Man!  Best summary of our situation, our danger and our potential strenght that I have seen yet!

One thing that Hedges emphasizes is the centrality of news control to the corporatist/fascist enterprise.  He quotes Hannah Arendt’s great words:  “totalitarian movements conjure up a lying world of consistency which is more adequate to the needs of the human mind than reality itself; ... The force possessed by totalitarian propaganda ... lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the real world.” 

The failure of the Major Media to cover vital news stories is now a daily event.  We have no hope under present conditions of fielding a full-blown rival news network, but if people start emailing the news to each other freely, their power to block the news can be broken!

Below is today’s News Chain Alert.  (it was a tough call as there are several other stories being given the “silent treatment”!)  Snip it and mail it to your address list.  If your recipients trust you it may go far!

  *** snip ***

“They must think we’re mushrooms…”
NEWS CHAIN ALERT: The following important news item received little or no coverage in the “Major Media”. If you received this from someone you trust, open and read it and then, if you agree that it should have been “on the news” and you didn’t see it there, please forward it to your list.
**This news article doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of the sender.**
………………………………………………..

Army Judge Is Replaced for Trial of Detainee

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080530/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/guantanamo_judge_removed_1

………………………………………………..

ABOUT NEWS CHAIN ALERTS:
“News Chain Alerts” are a response to the problem of important news stories not being covered by the “Major Media”. If on average half the people who get this “News Chain Alert” forward it to 20 people on their list who haven’t yet received it, it will take only 8 steps to reach 100 million people!

SUGGESTED RULES FOR NEWS CHAIN ALERTS:
1. Anyone can start a News Chain Alert, and each person who receives one gets to decide whether to keep it going.
2. The article should be a NEWS story - not opinion or analysis - from a credible source, of general interest, and not being covered by the Major Media. The ultimate test is your answer to the question “Should this story have been on the national news?”
3. The content of a News Chain Alert is just a headline, a link to a recent news article, and an explanation of “News Chain Alerts”. Nothing else. That way nobody’s trying to push their opinions on anyone, and no one is starting an argument.
4. Before starting a new News Chain Alert, check whether it really is being given the “silent treatment”. Go to yahoo.news.com, advanced search: article key words, last week, and a list of top news providers: ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NPR, CPB, some big and local newspapers, etc.

“… because they feed us manure and keep us in the dark!”

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By PatrickHenry, June 1, 2008 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

Most of it was outsourced.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 1, 2008 at 5:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If You believe that Clinton was the Best “Republican” President, you really need to brush up on Teddy Roosevelt (Franklin’s Cousin) Much like Frank Sargent, He was a blue-blood Wall-streeter. He hailed from Oyster Bay Long Island. Began life as an adventurer, hunter, and soldier of fortune, but changed as president. He went after the Enron’s and Bear Stearns of the day, broke the Oil monopoly of his friend and fellow Republican John D. Rockefeller. Established the National park system which he felt should be FREE FOR ALL!

During his 1912 Independent campaign to wrest the presidency from W.H. Taft, he was shot in the chest. The bullet went through his 50 page speech and his eyeglass case before penetrating 3 inches into his body.

He pulled the bloody speech from his pocket and remarked to the crowd, “You’r lucky today,” my speech is ruined, and my glasses are broken so I can not read another. He gave a speech anyway, then reluctantly allowed them to take him to the hospital.


I voted for Ross Perot in ‘92, and Bob Dole in ‘96. I’d sooner cross a picket line (which I have never done) than vote for a Clinton!

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By troublesum, June 1, 2008 at 4:26 am Link to this comment

“...save some for the gas tank.”  Don’t rub it in just because you use a broom for transportation.

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By troublesum, June 1, 2008 at 3:59 am Link to this comment

If 9/11 was an inside job there would be 300 Scott McClellens writting best sellers about it.

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By cyrena, June 1, 2008 at 12:50 am Link to this comment

You’ve certainly got some good points here Crimes of the State. Chris has squandered his integrity, which is unfortunate, because he DOES have it, and the acumen that you mention as well.

I think my own largest beef with him is not so much that he hasn’t attacked this, if only because so many people want absolute proof that either no longer exists, (like all of the physical evidence left from the WTC, as well as the multitude of FAA records that have disappeared) or because they are too lazy to prove the case without it.

No, my complaint about Chris Hedges in this respect is that he has been so willing to demonize those who HAVE wanted to find out the truth, when he should have been willing to help them. I do hold him professionally responsible for that.

That’s not to say that he’s alone. I’ve learned more and more in the past couple of years, that the academic community in particular, is determined to hold fast to their ‘Blowback’ theory, which provides them a safe space to hold some an unidentifiable group of ‘policies’ responsible, without targeting any specific individuals.

I can’t say that I don’t understand a reasonable fear on their parts, (I lived in fear of ‘rendition’ myself for a while there, and I don’t even KNOW as much as I really need to, nor would it matter, since nobody would pay any more attention to me, than they have to all of these other witnesses). Still, we are not unaware of how potential truthtellers are disposed of, and the fates that have come to many whistleblowers.

So, it takes some major guts and courage, and one better be damn sure they have all of their ducks in a row, before they try to start exposing what they think they know, when none of it (known by any ONE person) is enough to prove the case without other pieces of information from others…those who may not even know what they know.

Still, by now…because there IS so much more information that has come to the fore, our intellectuals need to embrace the realities, and put it out there.

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By culheath, June 1, 2008 at 12:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now I’m *really* depressed.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, June 1, 2008 at 12:20 am Link to this comment

Sort of disengenous Chris.  When you had the opportunity to look at 9/11 honestly, and investigate, you chose to attack the “truth movement”, that amorphous group of millions, for whom any “wacky conspiracy theory” can be attributed.  All you have to do is type it.

The only thing that can save the nation is a reckoning over the HIGH TREASON of September 11th 2001.  Only this “sacred” event has the gravitas and the power to spur revolutionary tendencies across the population.

You keep asking “what do we do?”, when a whole lot of us have been doing it, for years, trying to get through to the self-satisfied “debunker” types that something smells real bad about those attacks.  Read what the FBI whistleblowers had to say.  Read about the 118 firemen reporting explosions, bombs, “secondary devices” etc.  See numerous engineers and architects who cannot accept the government’s account (which NIST never did explain how the collapses occured in their own report, and chose to punt).

I’m astounded that no one (in your paid journalism class) had the guts to stand up and call out Bush sitting in the Booker elementary classroom after being told “AMERICA IS UNDER ATTACK.”

As “Commander in Chief” of the US armed forces, there is very little argument that his inaction rose to the level of treason (aiding and abetting the attackers) right there.

9/11 stinks to high heaven.  And someone with Chris Hedges’ acumen must know that.  They just won’t talk about it honestly.

The 9/11 attacks were the trigger event, the “catastrophic and catalyzing event” in their own parlance (PNAC, Rebuilding America’s Defenses) for serial wars of aggression and obscene attacks on the US civil liberties.

To hide your head in the sand on 9/11 is “squandering” your “integrity” too.

The Facts of September 11th 2001

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By cyrena, May 31, 2008 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment

Troublesum, you beat Chris Hedges and all of the other gun-tottin’ god clingers on the bitterness ‘prize’...hands down.

Don’t forget to claim it. (Coupon might be good for a free 3-room carpet steam cleaning, and a much needed trip to your community psychiatrist..you’re on your own with the prescription anti-depressants though).

Of course by the time Obama moves in to the White House your bitterness will probably have reached suicidal levels, so many then you’ll qualify for free drugs.

Meantime, I suspect the more mentally healthy among us will ignore your crystal ball about an “Obama-world” that wouldn’t allow Chris Hedges to say these things. THAT is the world we’re moving away from, the opposite of the totalitarian existence that we now find ourselves subjected to.

So yeah, we’ll all feel much better when we regain control of our government again, and it won’t be an ‘Obama” world at all.

What’s up with you and the ‘family values’ issues? How does that connect to Obama? Are you drinking again? Be careful not to pour all of your tip money down your throat. How will you get to work next week? Save some for the gas tank.

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By Marc Schlee, May 31, 2008 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

FREE AMERICA


Direct Democracy

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By cyrena, May 31, 2008 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

Good post CY. I get the difference between “Country” and “Nation” but there is also a difference between ‘Party’ and ‘Person’, which is why I changed to a Independant status myself, during the years that I lived in Texas. It didn’t do any good though.

Based on the ‘old’ understandings of the principles of parties, the Democrats were the party of the people, or the party of the working class. Based on those old understandings, we (or most of us anyway) always recognized William Clinton as the best “Republican” President we ever had. Now of course I would take that back, because of exactly the things that Hedges points out here. The major slashing of the services that had provided a safety net for the least fortunate among us, as well as the disasters of NAFTA and the distruction of the Unions, (though that came long before him) and on and on.

So, that means that he was no better than any other REPUBLICAN President, though maybe not any worse. The issue though, is that he was attached to the Democratic Party, and claimed to be a Democrat, and most of the world saw him as a Democrat, even though these are NOT Democratic principles.

So, your guy Frank Sargent was a Republican who apparently DID practice democratic principles, (I was unaware of him, but back then, I wasn’t particularly aware of ‘politics’ anyway…not even old enough to vote).

But, you get my point, right? Whatever ideals or principles these parties have stood for in the past, have NOT necessarily been carried out by their respective representatives in positions of power. If Republicans have been ‘known’ for fiscal conservatism, we have seen a radical departure from that from the ‘republicans’ in office now. In other words, we can no longer make those old associations between the Party and the Person.

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By felicity, May 31, 2008 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

Historically it’s been true that people will be pushed just so far and then no farther.  Whether it was George III or Louis XVI or Nicholas of Russia or the disastrous six Popes that led to the Reformation, just so far.

Historically it’s been the upper middle classes and the intellectuals who start the revolutions and the truly suffering lower classes who finish them - and that’s when revolutions get ugly by the way. 

Gas prices, food prices, the price of health care, the collapse of the housing market to name a few - when these conditions begin to affect the lives of the haves, the haves get pissed.

Revolutions start small, one chink in the armor of power, one Tea Party, one open letter from the faculty and perhaps students of a South Carolina college saying that George Bush is not welcome on their campus may just be the beginning, the chink in the armor, that seemingly small thing to waken all of us. Just might happen.

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