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Paine did for the American Revolution what we must do for our present-day revolution against the corporate state: He created a political language that exposed the realities of despotic power and demanded a rational response. Paine did for the American Revolution what we must do for our revolution against the corporate state: He created a political language that exposed the realities of despotic power and demanded a rational response.

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On this Independence Day-themed show, Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer and the other "Left, Right & Center" panelists ponder the meaning of America. If our nation was founded by revolutionaries, what would they think of our current surveillance practices, economic opportunities, gay rights and foreign policy? Is NSA leaker Edward Snowden in the tradition of the founders of this country?

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The Obama administration has passed or made use of a host of laws to infringe our civil liberties, obliterate the balance of power, legitimize a military dictatorship, and control the dissemination of truth in the name of protecting its "secrets." Soon we will have lost our freedom, not to some foreign nation that hates it, but to our own devices.The Obama administration has passed or made use of a host of laws to infringe our civil liberties, legitimize a military dictatorship and control the dissemination of the truth.

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After the first few years of the Great Depression there was a sense that “we’re gonna get out of it." It's quite different now. For many people in the United States, there’s a pervasive sense of hopelessness, sometimes despair. I think it’s quite new in American history. And it has an objective basis.

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