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The Scorched-Earth Politics of America’s Four Fundamentalisms

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Posted on Mar 7, 2012
me'nthedogs (CC-BY)

By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout

(Page 4)

The influence of militaristic values, social relations and ideology now permeates American culture. For example, major universities aggressively court the military establishment for Defense Department grants and, in doing so, become less open to either academic subjects or programs that encourage rigorous debate, dialogue and critical thinking. In fact, as higher education is pressured by both the Obama administration and its jingoistic supporters to serve the needs of the military-industrial complex, universities increasingly deepen their connections to the national security state in ways that are boldly celebrated. As David Price has brilliantly illustrated, the university is emerging as a central pillar of the national security state.[22] Unfortunately, public schools are faring no better. Public schools not only have more military recruiters creeping their halls, they also have more military personnel teaching in the classrooms. Schools now adopt the logic of “tough love” by implementing zero-tolerance policies that effectively model urban public schools after prisons, just as students’ rights increasingly diminish under the onslaught of a military-style discipline. Students in many schools, especially those in poor urban areas, are routinely searched, frisked, subjected to involuntary drug tests, maced and carted off to jail. The not-so-hidden curriculum here is that kids can’t be trusted; their actions need to be regulated pre-emptively; and their rights are not worth protecting.

Children and schools are not the only victims of a growing militarization of American society. The civil rights of people of color and immigrants, especially Arabs and Muslims, are being violated, often resulting in either imprisonment and deportment or government harassment. Similarly, black and brown youth and adults are being incarcerated at record levels as prison construction outstrips the construction of schools, hospitals, and other life-preserving institutions. As Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri point out in “Multitude,” war along with savage market forces have become the organizing principles of society and the foundation for politics and other social relations.[23] The consequences of their power as modes of public pedagogy shaping all aspects of social life is a growing authoritarianism that encourages profit-hungry monopolies; the ideology of faith-based certainty; and the undermining of any vestige of critical education, dissent and dialogue. Abstracted from the ideal of public commitment, the new authoritarianism represents political and economic practices and a form of militarism that loosens any connections among substantive democracy, critical agency and critical education.

Education becomes severely narrowed and trivialized in the media, or is converted into training and character reform in the schools. Within higher education, democracy appears as an excess, if not a pathology, as right-wing ideologues and corporate wannabe administrators increasingly police what faculty say, teach and do in their courses. And it is going to get worse.

Conclusion

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In opposition to the rising tide of authoritarianism, there is a need for a vast social movement capable of challenging the basic premises of an ever-expanding, systematic attack on democracy. The elements of authoritarianism must be made visible not simply as concepts, but as practices. The Occupy movement and others arising in its wake need to build a network of new institutions that can offer a different language, history and set of values, knowledge and ideas. There is a need for free schools, universities, public spheres, and other spaces where learning can be connected to social change and understanding translated into the building of social movements. As I have written many times, young people, parents, community workers, educators, artists, and others must make a case for linking learning to social change. They must critically engage with and construct anew those diverse sites where critical pedagogy takes place. Educators need to develop a new discourse whose aim is to foster a democratic politics and pedagogy that embody the legacy and principles of social justice, equality, freedom and rights associated with the democratic concerns of history, space, plurality, power, discourse, identities, morality and the future. They must make clear that every sphere of social life is open to political contestation and comprises a crucial site of political, social and cultural struggle in the attempt to forge the knowledge, identifications, affective investments and social relations capable of constituting political subjects and social agents who will energize and spread the call for a global radical democracy.

Under such circumstances, pedagogy must be embraced as a moral and political practice, one that is both directive and the outgrowth of struggles designed to resist the increasing depoliticization of political culture that is one hallmark of contemporary American life. Education is the terrain where consciousness is shaped; needs are constructed; and the capacity for self-reflection and social change is nurtured and produced. Education across a variety of spheres has assumed an unparalleled significance in shaping the language, values and ideologies that legitimate the structures and organizations supporting the imperatives of global capitalism. Rather than being simply a technique or methodology, education has become a crucial site for the production and struggle over those pedagogical and political conditions that offer up the possibilities for people to believe they can develop critical agency—a form of agency that will enable them individually and collectively to intervene effectively in the processes through which the material relations of power shape the meaning and practices of their everyday lives.

Within the current historical moment, struggles over power take on a symbolic and discursive as well as material and institutional form. The struggle over education, as most people will acknowledge, involves the struggle over meaning and identity; but it also involves struggling over how meaning, knowledge and values are produced, legitimated and operationalized within economic and structural relations of power. Education is not at odds with politics; it is an important and crucial element in any definition of the political and offers not only the theoretical tools for a systemic critique of authoritarianism, but also a language of possibility for creating actual movements for democratic social change. At stake here is combining an interest in symbolic forms and processes conducive to democratization with broader social contexts and the institutional formations of power itself. The key point here is to understand and engage educational and pedagogical practices from the point of view of how they are bound up with larger relations of power. Educators, students and parents need to be clearer about how power works through and in texts, representations and discourses, while at the same time recognizing that power cannot be limited to the study of representation and discourse.


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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, March 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

That’s the best you can come up with? Getting old eh?

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By OzarkMichael, March 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

Actually it was so long and stupid that it would take me a long time to complain about it all. I am overwhelmed by the choices and dont know where to start.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

“Its 4 pages too long. It is typical Leftist prejudice that just goes on and on… which I suppose ‘packs a wallop’ if you like that sort of thing. “ Ozark Michael

Typical of a Rightist complainant about something else other than directly about what was actually written about. On that you must agree since it was only its length that bothered you.

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By OzarkMichael, March 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

This article packs a wallop.

Its 4 pages too long. It is typical Leftist prejudice that just goes on and on… which I suppose ‘packs a wallop’ if you like that sort of thing.

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LocalHero's avatar

By LocalHero, March 17, 2012 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment

This article packs a wallop.

I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again. We will never grow up as a species until the profession of “soldier” is viewed with the same disdain as the neighborhood pedophile.

Every form of military implement needs to be scrapped, demolished and buried - except for a few tanks, planes & ships to display as monuments to our infinite stupidity.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 10, 2012 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Well since scientific truth doesn’t affect you what can I say? I guess like the Evolution fundamentalists an the ones on germs cause disease too have power you don’t like. As for Obama what exactly is he fundamentalist about that you don’t like? (Hint: he is to the right of Reagan.) If it is the corporate based forced to join health care then blame your side since that is where he got it from. But then you should know that being a Regressive shouldn’t you? Heritage Foundation an all that.

So if science an the truth it uncovers affects your ideological world view you wish to shut it up like Bush the Shrub did? Really the rattle snake flag waving supporter of Truth, Justice an the “Dont Tread On Me” person?

So since you really had nothing to say you just redress it an hurl it back? Sad.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, March 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

Just remember than being a fundamentalist anything isn’t a danger unless they have authoritarian tendencies. Want plenary powers to enforce their fundamentalism of whatever sort. So we must be sure to be as precise as possible when we speak of this.

Two examples of those who already have plenary powers to enforce their fundamentalism on all of us: Global Warming Fundamentalists and the Obamacare Fundamentalists.

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moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, March 9, 2012 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

Jim Shea:  What civilization would that be, dearie?

What I would call civilization was destroyed many years ago—and we have had at least 5 centuries—if not more—of barbary.

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moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, March 9, 2012 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

Surfboy:  try that one again, please.  I am an educator (almost 50 years of being oone) and I have lived in mexico for the past 20, and I could not make heads nor tails of your post.

Exactly what are you trying to say, or are you just belching out bits of channeled comments by Francisco Franco?

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moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, March 9, 2012 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

gerard:  Thanks for a thoughtful post—in all senses of the term.

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By Gulam, March 9, 2012 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

You do not help dim witted people, the majority of the electorate, to understand
the importance of maintaining basic freedoms when you add the right to abortion
and homosexual marriage to your list of basic freedoms. That these may one day
be seen as basic freedoms may well be a laudable goal, but that is another issue
entirely. Those things have not been acceptable practice in any past, major
civilization that has emerged through survival of the fittest in the real world, and
though thes freedom to openly do this things may well be a desirable goal for
some new civilization in the future, it is a severe tactical error to try to join them
to basic freedoms that have a track record in our present society. By joining such
sexual matters that have long been condemned to our basic civic freedoms you
dangerously risk the basics in order to bring dignity to transvestites, which is not
perhaps a fair trade for an entire society.

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By balkas, March 9, 2012 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

zilch, thanks for info,
some of these billionaires my be from hong kong or macao. they may have been
billionaires before these two areas became part of china.
chinese communists are not making mistakes which soviet communists made and which
helped destroy equality building there.
for one thing. they do not spread their ideology [and whatever it may be] thru the world
to the degree soviets had; and they realize that they have to use billionaires in order to
industrialize china and thus also acquire needed weaponry in order to stave a fascist
attack against it.
but there are many communisms and many ways to get to a more or less an equal
society! thanks

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By Jim Shea, March 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I thought this article was excellent, BUT it had one SERIOUS flaw. It didn’t
even mention the critical problem facing us that the conservative anti-
intellectuals are refusing to acknowledge: global warming. If we don’t stop
global warming, millions of people will die and civilization may be
destroyed.
Jim Shea

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By Night-Gaunt, March 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Just remember than being a fundamentalist anything isn’t a danger unless they have authoritarian tendencies. Want plenary powers to enforce their fundamentalism of whatever sort. So we must be sure to be as precise as possible when we speak of this.

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By gerard, March 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

I never thought to define what I meant by “fundamentalism” and what I think the author meant. The word of course comes from “fundamental” meaning basic, foundation, at the root etc.
  The way “fundamentalism” is frequently used these days in connection particularly with religions—both Islam and Christianity commonly—means insistence on everybody believing (not so much the moral/ethical principles at the root) but the literal interpretation of the ancient writings in the Koran and the Bible.
  Just one example:  The (usually) right wing belief that the words in the Bible mean exactly what they say:  i.e. The world was created in six days, several thousand years ago, and man was created in the image of God the Creator in the Garden of Eden, etc. etc. right on through.
  Many Christians do NOT believe such things really happened that way. They believe (from scientific evidence in stones, trees, the study of ancient civilizations etc.—geology and anthropology) that much more time was involved, and that all things developed because of natural scientic laws, took much longer, and could not have possibly happened as told in ancient books written by unknown authors and translated by later people, often to suit their own beliefs.
  Belief in Fundamentalism assures people of certain unchanging beliefs and make them feel safe because they know for sure.  Relativism teaches that there is much we do not know for sure, especially as concerns religion, that science has brought evidence of other possibilities, and that change is inevitable. Relativists feel, if not safer, at least closer to reasonable beliefs based on evidence, and tend not to fight so hard against change.
  It is hard for the two types of people to understand and accept each other. Fundamentalists tend to try to force others to believe as they do, and relativists are more likely to be willing to try to accept fundamentalists as they are—but that’s hard, too.
  Sorry this is so over-simplified.  It’s just an attempt to put into words some basic differences that are being used by power structures to tear the world’s people apart.

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By gerard, March 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

Maybe:  The “fundamentalist frame of mind” so prevalent now in the U.S. is due to excesslve insecurities—material, spiritual, diseases, poverty, dysfuncitonal governments worldwide. Attempts toward change that are being made, various experimental movements to attempt to right grave injustices everywhere are necessarily untried and uncertain.
  In addition, we are haunted by such future uncertainties about global warming and overpopulation plus threats of atomic disaster and religious prophesies of disaster.
  The constant awareness (in varying degrees but all degrees worrisome) of big problems creates a worldwide desire for relief from stress and a need for reassurances which leaders in civic life seem unable or unwilling to provide. The very enormity of problems leads people to feel defeated by forces beyond their ability to influence. 
  As efforts to control (rather than eliminate) such huge problems fail, the urge for reassurance only increases.
  Nor are significant efforts made to help people understand the present “human condition” and provide some practical plans to usher in a more humane “way of thinking” and restore the broken confidence of the human race in its ability to face the future and “cope.”
  The vacuum offers a grave opportunity for hysteria and universal degradation. The very idea of possibilities is being lost and creativity discouraged by pessimism and fear, much of which is being instigated by those who have the present power to influence populations but not the wisdom to do it altruistically.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Micheal unlike Bill Maher who did really apologize even though very few people can watch him on TV even knew about it. (Expensive cable package.) He didn’t fudge on his apology. Unlike Limbaugh who has done all of this before. (It is part of what he does as a professional scum-bag.) I don’t like anyone who gets gross with personal insults but you should clean up your pig stye first before coming over here shouldn’t you? Did you even criticize Limbaugh? Didn’t see it. Playing favorites again sight unseen?

By-the-way the rest of the wolf pack has already done this thing you have done an sooner. You are lagging behind them.

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By william colwell, March 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

there is also a fifth fundamentalism!!!  Law and Order Fundamentalism that puts nearly 3 million people in jail.  the USA, home of the free, has 25% of the world’s prisoners with only 6% of the global population.  Democracy does not exist in the USA and has not for 20 years.  White progressives are only now seeing the end of democracy in the US because the poor have already been crushed.

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By moonraven, March 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

balkas:

Thanks for seeing through the patriotic pimping that’s become the norm on this site—not only from its commentators but from the folks who write the articles that Truthdig publishes here.

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moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, March 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

But but but….The U.S. was never intended to be a DEMOCRACY.  It was founded as a PLUTOCRACY—with rights only for rich white male landthieves.

I mean, how is it any different NOW?

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By zilch, March 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Balkas writes:
“as far as i know, there are no multimillionaires or billionaires in china—there seems to be there
a lot of people who were not long ago dirt poor and are no longer that poor.”

What China are you talking about?

China is communist the way USA is democratic…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_billionaires

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By wildjoy, March 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

Responding to Berniem—“velvet glove fascism” as
compared with, say, Syrian, for instance?

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By berniem, March 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

The US of A is the model for what may currently be described as “velvet gloved fascism”. Make no mistake; unless the trend is halted the inevitable end will be every bit as ugly as what has been seen previously in other societies where greed, intolerance, and hatred were allowed to predominate. The fact that Mussolini created the vatican as a sovereign state does not compensate for his atrocities! FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!

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By jdean, March 8, 2012 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Palin and Nalkin are equal to Fluke? One has a personal stake in the game and the other two are actually prostitutes that Rushbo refers to.

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vector56's avatar

By vector56, March 8, 2012 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

““US has no longer a moral compass”??? what the hell had US while killing
and herding ‘indians’, invading nearly all c.american countries, holding
slaves, killing up to 4 million s.e.asians, aiding a criminal/colonial state
for nonjews like israel, attacking korea, a-bombing japan, etc? thanks “

Bravo balkas for bitch-slapping the Elephant on the room!

I have often wondered myself what “fantasy” America exists in the minds of most?

When I hear statements like; “that’s not the America I know”; or, That’s UN-American!” I wonder if there might be any hope of ever seeing beyond this “new iron curtain” that surrounds us?

Our corporate media (TV, radio, print and movies) maintain the facade, which allows us to claim the moral high ground while soaking the planet with blood of others.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, March 8, 2012 at 1:46 am Link to this comment

GETTING FURTHER FASTER

wj: People are afraid. They’ve seen the brutal tactics of the state on their TV’s. But what is most lacking is that sense of solidarity Jonathan Schell speaks of which has overcome the most oppressive of empires throughout history.

Good point, well put.

For as long as we think a two-party system (first-past-the-post, winner-take-all) voting system is “normal”, then not much will change.

The only viable solidarity going around nowadays - of those most indignant of the present political circus in LaLaLand on the Potomac - is that amongst progressives, which have a hard battle ahead of them.

Again, I say, ask Ralph Nader who went up against the Iron Maiden of the American electoral system. With its rot of District Gerrymandering and which has just cost Dennis Kucinic his job much to the joy of the Rabid Right. (Read here.)

The process of electoral districting must be based upon a purely demographic basis and not placed in the hands of two-party politicians wrangling to preserve their “voting majorities” and thus ensconced in power.

Only a Banana Republic would preserve the grid-lock power-status rather than want a continuous dynamic renewal based upon new ideas from new minds. Term-limits for the lot of them, not just the PotUS!

Given today’s electoral process, it is almost impossible to increase the Progressive Caucus in Congress, which is 83 out of 435 seats (or barely 20%).

Perhaps the progressives can get their act together, without internecine strife, and decide upon a common Political Agenda and teach it to grassroots America. Then Americans might just have a third choice.

But first, this must be done with the concordance of existing progressives and not against their interests. Let’s build on the present Progressive Caucus and not destroy it. On a long and difficult road, the Progressive Movement would get further faster.

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By Lafayette, March 8, 2012 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

WHERE’S THE BEEF?

A long-piece of work, admirably written, but long on tendentious insinuation and short on factual proof.

It is one thing to capture marines on photo burning Korans and quite another to assume that Civil Liberties in the US have been suspended. (As for the drones … well, what is the alternative? We give Afghanistan back to the Taliban – and al Qaeda uses it as a base to renew its activities? Yeah, right …)

This last claim requires proof, Mr. Giroux, not just insinuation. When talking about Civil Liberties being destroyed, the level of supportive factuality is a lot higher than for Climate Change.

For instance, the “spying on citizens bit”.  For the past fifty years or so, the Echelon Program has had ears in the skies in the form a several round dishes in the pastoral English countryside. They are not “listening” in the conventional sense. The data stream from both conversations and texts are fed to a large computer, which - like google – will search them for indexed keywords that might indicate (based upon experience in the process) terrorist activity.

Only when such is verifiable, according to whatever algorithm employed, are the coordinates of the caller/receiver noted and pursued. All the rest goes through with the usual level of privacy. That is, if someone – not the government – wants to tap your line, they can probably find a way to do it. If the government wants to tap your line, they need a judge’s warrant based upon probable cause to do so.

DUE PROCESS OF LAW

Because, believe it or not, any evidence obtained must be admissible in a court of law. Meaning a warrant is necessary.

And we have what is known as Habeus Corpus – where a government must show proof before a judge of retaining an individual for eventual charging. So, are we shipping illegally Americans off to Gitmo? Proof please.

I remain skeptical when the Left does not do its homework properly. Freedom is too precious a societal attribute to be either trammeled legally by Congress or left to surreptitious agents cloaked by impunity. The first is a matter of the kind of Congress we want and therefore vote to represent us. Which is our civic duty.

Then there’s a question of what the Executive feels free to do in order to respond to his/her first duty to the nation – its Defense.  That is inscribed in law, which is why Bush went to Congress to attack Iraq.  The invasion was thus legal by our national standards but remains illegal by standards of the UN, which never approved of that war between two member states. (Btw, refraining from mutual aggression by member-states is within the UN Charter signed by the United States.)

MY POINT?

Putting the finger of blame on state-agencies for transgression of our Basic Rights as citizens is not an easy process. And it certainly takes more factual evidence than this piece offers.

Besides, Giroux has bitten off more than he can chew. The Four Fundamentalism are certainly plaguing America, but each deserves better treatment (more in-depth) individually.

Nonetheless, the article is well worth reading since, at least, it circumscribes the difficulty of understanding grassroots sentiment in America. Americans are confused because the traditional boundaries separating right from wrong have been trampled underfoot. Which is what happens when Presidents wrap themselves in Ole Betsy and pose holding a Bible.

What are a people to believe with all the media bombardment?  That question requires a Great TruthDig to separate the wheat from the chaff.

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By wildjoy, March 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

Mostly some very good points following Giroux’s
essay. Very often I talk with people around town and
find that they already know how screwed-up our
corporate-controlled society is, but feel powerless
to do anything and so simply live with the injustice
and misery as best they can.  People are afraid.
They’ve seen the brutal tactics of the state on their
TV’s. But what is most lacking is that sense of
solidarity Jonathan Schell speaks of which has
overcome the most oppressive of empires throughout
history. Is it the fear or still being able to
distract ourselves and cling to our comfort zones
which keeps us from standing together? They don’t
have that luxury in places like Syria, but in time
“here” will resemble Syria. Shall we wait and “hope”
for our luck to change?

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By balkas, March 7, 2012 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

“it is a war on america”, yes, it would be a war on america if there is
one now or if one ever existed. but it never had existed, but for the
one percent only.
as people say some things don’t change. percentage of a governing
class [tho also scalar in structure] say, at 20%, remains same or about
same. it solely writes/always knows/understands and interprets the
laws.
and this 20% is not destroying any US govt or its one and only
governance [system of rule].
seems to me it’s uphoding and fulfilling it as commanded by the laws
they write.
as to why people believe the biggest lies; such that there is an america
[with many implications contained in that label] i’ll leave that to
scientific minds to explain to ‘americans’.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, March 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

Think of Rush Limbaugh’s cruel and hateful attack on Sandra Fluke

and think of Bill Maher’s hateful and cruel attack on Sarah Palin.  And think of Keith Olberman’s cruel and hateful attack on Michelle Malkin.

Oh wait. When liberals make cruel and hateful attacks on conservative women those liberals have nothing to do with the stated ‘fundamentalisms’ in the Truthdig article, so it must be ok…

I guess I am way off topic again.

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By balkas, March 7, 2012 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

so, all these ‘lefties’, from chomsky, klein, moore, nader, hedges, giroux,
goodman, et al keep on listing on and on very well know facts; however,
not ever even once posit or even postulate the causes—the genesis so
to speak of why all these events happen.
nor do they favor setting up a political party which only bring about
changes for better.
so, who are they working or what they are working for? aren’t they
morally and legally obligated to tell us that?
i think they are! and maybe if we press them, they may come out of the
closet so that we can see if they are naked or not! thanks, bozhidar b

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By balkas, March 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

“US has no longer a moral compass”??? what the hell had US while killing
and herding ‘indians’, invading nearly all c.american countries, holding
slaves, killing up to 4 million s.e.asians, aiding a criminal/colonial state
for nonjews like israel, attacking korea, a-bombing japan, etc? thanks

Report this

By balkas, March 7, 2012 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

but why does giroux call china’s govt “authoritarian regime”? and thus agrees in this name
calling with both the Dems and Repubs”.
and why is there no authoritarIan regime in US? when all salient facts prove that what we have in
US is an absolute diktatorship of the ONE PERCENT, but in favor of the rich and super rich!
china’s diktatorship, on the other hand [or am led to believe] favors or looks also after poor and
poorer of its citizen. and that’s where china’s strength is: treating people equally
whenever/wherever it can.
suppose communists don’t do that? why not then say it, instead of calling them names?
as far as i know, there are no multimillionaires or billionaires in china—there seems to be there
a lot of people who were not long ago dirt poor and are no longer that poor.
and how many wars has china waged in the last few decades? and does china now
threaten/occupy militarily several countries, as do US and nato lands?
thanks

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By Night-Gaunt, March 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

“The broader contours of the attack on democratic freedoms have become obvious in recent years. While the Bush administration engaged in torture, shamelessly violated civil liberties and put a host of Christian extremists in high-ranking governmental positions, the Obama administration has not only continued many of these policies, but has further institutionalized them. As Glenn Greenwald. has reminded us, Obama has continued the Bush-Cheney terrorism and civil liberties policies, further undermining constitutional rights by promoting indefinite detention, weakening the rights of habeas corpus for prisoners in Afghanistan, extending government power through the state secrets privilege, asserting the right to target American citizens for assassination and waging war on whistle blowers.[2] More specifically, there are the ongoing revelations about the Obama administration’s decision under the National Defense Authorization Act to allow American citizens to be held indefinitely without charge or trial; the government’s increased role in using special operations forces and drones in targeted assassinations; the emergence and use of sophisticated surveillance technologies to spy on protesters; the invocation of the state secrecy practices; the suspension of civil liberties that allow various government agencies to spy on Americans without first obtaining warrants; and the stories about widespread abuse and torture by the US military in Afghanistan, not to mention the popular support for torture among the American public.[3] It gets worse. As the war on terror degenerated in a war on democracy, a host of legal illegalities have been established that put the rule of law if not the very principle of Western jurisprudence into a chokehold. How such assaults on the rule of law, justice and democracy could take place without massive resistance represents one of the most reprehensible moments in American history. Most Americans caught in the grip of simply trying to survive or paralyzed in a relentless culture of fear ignored the assaults on democracy unleashed by a burgeoning national security state. The assaults loom large and are evident in the passage of the Use of Military Force Act, the passage of the Patriot Act, the 2002 Homeland Security Act, the Military Commission Act of 2006 and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Jim Garrison rightly raises the question about whether these acts inspired by 9/11 and the war on terror are worth sacrificing the Republic.”David Giroux

This was a long time in coming. First the wage stopped growing for the first time in US history in 1970. (Always below inflation. The kind the Federal Reserve overlooks.) They worked to alter the laws an write the laws that gave them breaks they didn’t need. However putting the financial onus on us was okay. Infiltration, co-opting, buy outs, moving over seas free of regulation an worker protection while “normalizing” the wages here by lowering them an forcing the Unions to cut back from so much of the hard fought an won benefits.

It didn’t happen over night an it was planned. Let loose the dogs of greed helped to do the job. They are tired of the effort put into “inverted totalitarianism” they would rather have it streamlined in open dictatorship under their governing boards of CEO’s The 1% with absolute power over life an death. What they wanted in 1934 they are very close to getting now in this century.

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By ToyotaBedZRock, March 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

I know you guys like to see your own words in long form.

But a simple list with slide out info cards that link to the longer version would be more useful and allow many more people to absorb the message.

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By gerard, March 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Comprehensive and overwhelming.  However—although thorough diagnosis is vital, specifics of methods for treatment and cure of such a vast disease are also essential.  “There is a need for a vast social movement capable of challenging the basic premises of an ever-expanding, systematic attack on democracy.”  That we know. But who?  How?
  Giroux lays most emphasis on “young people, parents, community workers, educators, artists and “others”.
  Okay. Young people have begun (Occupy Wall Street etc.) They are getting some support from “others” in spite of (authoritarian) corporate, media, police attempts to frustrate their actions and efforts.
  The key “missing link” IMO is millions of individual decisions to unite in a vast “class action” effort (at any and every level) to free the country, the government, the schools and churches, and themselves by grasping their full rights and opportunities as living human beings.
  Many small evidences indicate that a wider public is catching on slowly, in spite of attempted intimidation. The need for change is manifest in so many areas in so many places that it is difficult to sum up efforts that might indicate progress.  Hence a need for constant encouragement.
  It took time to fall as low as we are.  Time will be required to crawl uphill again, but the climb has begun. Every aware individual everywhere, doing whatever s/he can, day after day, month after month ...  The goal is too precious to forsake.  The heroes of tomorrow are already among us.  Our worst enemy is our tendency to predict defeat and turn away.

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