In advance of his talk in Santa Monica this Sunday, the Truthdig columnist spoke with the host of KPFK’s “Uprising” about how the ongoing government shutdown “is illustrative of an entire system that is unraveling.”

“The political theater unfolding in Washington, D.C. over the past several weeks has not just left Americans disgusted at the apparent inability of Congress to do its work; it has left hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions, without wages, or without access to government programs,” said Kolhatkar, who is a new columnist for Truthdig. “The real questions of startling economic inequality are, as usual, left off the table even as both major parties take aim at the last vestiges of government benefits like Social Security and Medicare, cynically referred to as ‘entitlements.’ “

“Meanwhile,” she continued, “elite U.S. forces conduct raids in other countries and secret U.S. programs watch our every move in a manner that puts even Orwell’s dystopian vision of Big Brother to shame. While the planet continues to warm dangerously, oil and gas companies simply use newly melted vistas as venues for more oil exploration. And yet many of us put our trust in human progress to save us.”

The danger of believing in the “Myth of Human Progress” is one of Hedges’ main themes. When Kolhatkar asked Hedges how he saw what was happening in Congress today, he replied: “In the twilight of empire, any empire — including ours — you vomit up these inane, feckless, idiotic figures, from Cruz, to Boehner, to Obama, whose, I think, only legacy is going to be utter capitulation to the security and surveillance state, the military-industrial complex and Wall Street, and the system essentially implodes on itself, and I think that’s what we’re watching with this kid of absurd carnival act that is going on in Washington. That’s emblematic of an entire direction that is embraced by empire that is utterly self-destructive, whether that’s the inability to deal with the crisis of climate change, to curb the speculation on Wall Street, to stop the disemboweling of the country itself — I mean, our infrastructure is falling apart, 40 million American children go to bed every night without food, our health insurance system is a joke, and so what we’re seeing is the kind of public face of incompetency. But that incompetency and inability to deal with reality, perhaps while better masked before the crisis, has been with us for some time.”

Hear the rest of Hedges’ conversation with Kolhatkar on KPFK radio here. Get tickets and information on his talk at the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club this Sunday here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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