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By Chris Hedges
The American empire is coming to an end. The U.S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits, along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade agreements. Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U.S. treasury in the form of bailouts. The nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to do its bidding. Add to this the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia. Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too.
The empire will limp along, steadily losing influence until the dollar is dropped as the world’s reserve currency, plunging the United States into a crippling depression and instantly forcing a massive contraction of its military machine.
The ruling elites, who grasp that the reigning ideology of global corporate capitalism and imperial expansion no longer has moral or intellectual credibility, have mounted a campaign to shut down the platforms given to their critics. The attacks within this campaign include blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of “fake news.”
No dominant class can long retain control when the credibility of the ideas that justify its existence evaporates. It is forced, at that point, to resort to crude forms of coercion, intimidation and censorship. This ideological collapse in the United States has transformed those of us who attack the corporate state into a potent threat, not because we reach large numbers of people, and certainly not because we spread Russian propaganda, but because the elites no longer have a plausible counterargument.
This is a great conversation. Chris Hedges was on fire.
For related articles, see:
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist is joining the RT America team. Author and social critic Chris Hedges will host a weekly interview show called ‘On Contact,’ which will air “dissident voices” currently missing from the mainstream media.
Hedges will interview the black sheep of the establishment, leading discussions that can’t be heard anywhere else.
As president, my top priority is to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class. When I took office, America was in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression — but thanks to the hard work and resilience of the American people, our businesses have created 13.5 million jobs over the past 68 months, the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history. The unemployment rate has been cut nearly in half — lower than it’s been in more than seven years. We have come back further and faster from recession than nearly every other advanced nation on Earth.
That’s real progress. But as any middle-class family will tell you, we have more to do. That’s why I believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership is so important. It’s a trade deal that helps working families get ahead.
– The Myth of the Free Press (Truthdig, Oct 26, 2014):
By Chris Hedges
There is more truth about American journalism in the film “Kill the Messenger,” which chronicles the mainstream media’s discrediting of the work of the investigative journalist Gary Webb, than there is in the movie “All the President’s Men,” which celebrates the exploits of the reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal.
The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy – even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism. They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy. They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia. The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses. The corporations, which own the press, hire journalists willing to be courtiers to the elites, and they promote them as celebrities. These journalistic courtiers, who can earn millions of dollars, are invited into the inner circles of power. They are, as John Ralston Saul writes, hedonists of power.
– They Can’t Outlaw the Revolution (Truthdig, May 18, 2014):
By Chris Hedges
Update: On May 19 Cecily McMillan was sentenced to three months in jail and five years of probation, plus community service. Click on the word Guardian and the words Huffington Post to see articles on the sentencing.
RIKERS ISLAND, N.Y.—Cecily McMillan, the Occupy activist who on Monday morning will appear before a criminal court in New York City to be sentenced to up to seven years on a charge of assaulting a police officer, sat in a plastic chair wearing a baggy, oversized gray jumpsuit, cheap brown plastic sandals and horn-rim glasses. Other women, also dressed in prison-issued gray jumpsuits, sat nearby in the narrow, concrete-walled visitation room clutching their children, tears streaming down their faces. The children, bewildered, had their arms wrapped tightly around their mothers’ necks. It looked like the disaster scene it was.
– “The U.S. Supreme Court Decision … Means the Nation Has Entered a Post-Constitutional Era” (Washington’s Blog, May 6, 2014):
Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com
“We Are No Longer a Nation Ruled By Laws”
Pulitzer prize winning reporter Chris Hedges – along with journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, activist Tangerine Bolen and others – sued the government to join the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans.
The trial judge in the case asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys.
The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge.
The trial judge ruled that the indefinite detention bill was unconstitutional, holding:
– Supreme Court refuses to stop indefinite detention of Americans under NDAA (RT, May 1, 2014):
The United States Supreme Court this week effectively ended all efforts to overturn a controversial 2012 law that grants the government the power to indefinitely detain American citizens without due process.
On Monday, the high court said it won’t weigh in on challenge filed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and a bevy of co-plaintiffs against US President Barack Obama, ending for now a two-and-a-half-year debate concerning part of an annual Pentagon spending bill that since 2012 has granted the White House the ability to indefinitely detain people “who are part of or substantially support Al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces engaged in hostilities against the United States.”
The Obama administration has long maintained that the provision — Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 — merely reaffirmed verbiage contained within the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, signed by then-President George W. Bush in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
– The Trouble With Chris Christie by Chris Hedges (Liberty, Blitzkrieg, Jan 13, 2014):
Christie is the caricature of a Third World despot. He has a vicious temper, a propensity to bully and belittle those weaker than himself, an insatiable thirst for revenge against real or perceived enemies, and little respect for the law and, as recent events have made clear, for the truth.
– Chris Hedges in his latest article: The Trouble with Chris Christie
Chris Christie is bad news. I have been saying this for a while now, and published my first post about it back in late July in the piece: Chris Christie Calls Libertarianism a “Dangerous Thought.” There is no doubt in my mind that Christie is a egomaniac with fascist tendencies, coupled with a temperament and consciousness that craves power for the sake of power itself, as well as to stoke his own sense of self-importance.
On that note, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and courageous, American patriot, Chris Hedges, has written an excellent expose of Christie. I have highlighted some excerpts below.
From Truth Dig:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been Wall Street’s anointed son for the presidency. He is backed by the most ruthless and corrupt figures in New Jersey politics, including the New Jersey multimillionaire and hard-line Democratic boss George Norcross III. Among his other supporters are many hedge fund managers and corporate executives and some of the nation’s most retrograde billionaires, including the Koch brothers. The brewing scandal over the closing of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge apparently in retaliation for the Fort Lee mayor’s refusal to support the governor’s 2013 re-election is a window into how federal agencies and the security and surveillance apparatus would be routinely employed in a Christie presidency to punish anyone who challenged this tiny cabal’s grip on power.
YouTube Added: Nov 7, 2013
Abby Martin speaks to the director of Project Censored, Mickey Huff, about the organization’s release of ‘Censored: 2014’ the annual publication of the top most censored stories in the corporate press, from the trial of Chelsea Manning to the Trans Pacific Partnership.
– Veteran New York Times Reporter: “This Is Most Closed, Control-Freak Administration I’ve Ever Covered” (ZeroHedge, Oct 6, 2013):
American constitutional experts say that Obama is worse than Nixon.
The government has taken to protecting criminal wrongdoing by attacking whistleblowers … and any journalists who have the nerve to report on the beans spilled by the whistleblowers. (The government has also repealed long-standing laws against using propaganda against Americans on U.S. soil, and the government is manipulating social media – more proof here and here).
The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.
The government admits that journalists could be targeted with counter-terrorism laws (and here). For example, after Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge
– Hedges: We Must Grasp Reality to Build Effective Resistance (The Real News, July 18, 2013):
HEDGES: Because the formal mechanisms of power don’t work. We’ve undergone with John Ralston Saul calls correctly a coup d’état, a corporate coup d’état in slow-motion. And it’s over. They’ve won.
– The Death of Truth (Truthdig, May 5, 2013, by Chris Hedges)
– Must Watch Video: Is the NDAA Lawsuit Headed to the Supreme Court? (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Feb 7, 2013):
The NDAA lawsuit is one of the key topics I have written about over the past year or so. For those of you that aren’t up to speed, one of the most popular posts I ever wrote was NDAA: The Most Important Lawsuit in American History that No One is Talking About. Basically, Section 1021 of the NDAA allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens without charges or a trial. Journalist Chris Hedges and several others sued Obama on the grounds of it being unconstitutional. Judge Katherine Forrest agreed and issued an injunction on it. This was immediately appealed by the Obama Administration to a higher court, which promptly issued a temporary stay on the injunction.
Yesterday, oral arguments began in front of this aforementioned higher court; the 2nd Circuit. As Chris Hedges states in the interview below, if they win the case then it will likely be brought in front of the Supreme Court within weeks. On the other hand, if the Obama Administration wins and the Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal, Hedges states: “at that point we’ve just become a military dictatorship.”
To get a full update on the progress of the NDAA lawsuit make sure to watch this video.
– US Totalitarian State Wins After All: Obama Reinstates NDAA Military Detention Provision (ZeroHedge, Sep 18, 2012):
Just over a week ago, we wrote of the challenge to Obama’s NDAA totalitarian bill. Hope remained that Chris Hedges’ view of the indefinite detention as “unforgivable, unconstitutional, and exceedingly dangerous” would bolster judgment. However, as Russia Today reports, a lone appeals judge bowed down to the Obama administration late Monday and reauthorized the White House’s ability to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or due process. On Monday, the US Justice Department asked for an emergency stay on the previous Chris Hedges’-driven order, and hours later US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier agreed to intervene and place a hold on the injunction. The stay will remain in effect until at least September 28, when a three-judge appeals court panel is expected to begin addressing the issue. It would appear the total fascist takeover of Amerika is drawing nearer by the day.
What is ironic, is that in the ongoing absolute farce that is the theatrical presidential debate, there hasn’t been one word uttered discussing precisely the kind of creeping totalitarian control, and Orwellian loss of constitutional rights, that the biparty-supported NDAA would have demanded out of the US republic. Why? Chris Hedges said it best:
The oddest part of this legislation is that the FBI, the CIA, the director of national intelligence, the Pentagon and the attorney general didn’t support it. FBI Director Robert Mueller said he feared the bill would actually impede the bureau’s ability to investigate terrorism because it would be harder to win cooperation from suspects held by the military. “The possibility looms that we will lose opportunities to obtain cooperation from the persons in the past that we’ve been fairly successful in gaining,” he told Congress.
But it passed anyway. And I suspect it passed because the corporations, seeing the unrest in the streets, knowing that things are about to get much worse, worrying that the Occupy movement will expand, do not trust the police to protect them. They want to be able to call in the Army. And now they can.
A lone appeals judge bowed down to the Obama administration late Monday and reauthorized the White House’s ability to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or due process.
These military prisons (= FEMA CAMPS = CONCENTRATION CAMPS) were already built under Bush:
More links and info down below.
– White House demands military prisons for Americans under NDAA (RT, Sep 17, 2012):
The White House has asked the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals to place an emergency stay on a ruling made last week by a federal judge so that the president’s power to indefinitely detain Americans without charge is reaffirmed immediately.
On Wednesday, September 12, US District Court Judge Katherine Forrest made permanent a temporary injunction she issued in May that bars the federal government from abiding by the indefinite detention provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, or NDAA. Judge Forrest ruled that a clause that gives the government the power to arrest US citizens suspected of maintaining alliances with terrorists and hold them without due process violated the Constitution and that the White House would be stripped of that ability immediately.
Only hours after Judge Forrest issued last week’s ruling, the Obama administration threatened to appeal the decision, and on Monday morning they followed through.
At around 9 a.m. Monday, September 17, the White House filed an emergency stay in federal appeals court in an effort to have the Second Circuit strip away Judge Forrest’s ruling from the week earlier.
“Almost immediately after Judge Forrest ruled, the Obama administration challenged the decision,” writes Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist that is listed as the lead plaintiff in the case. According to Hedges, the government called Judge Forrest’s most recent ruling an “extraordinary injunction of worldwide scope,” and Executive Branch attorneys worked into the weekend to find a way to file their stay.
“The Justice Department sent a letter to Forrest and the Second Circuit late Friday night informing them that at 9 a.m. Monday the Obama administration would ask the Second Circuit for an emergency stay that would lift Forrest’s injunction,” Hedges writes. “This would allow Obama to continue to operate with indefinite detention authority until a formal appeal was heard. The government’s decision has triggered a constitutional showdown between the president and the judiciary.”
Attorney Carl Mayer, a counsel for Hedges and his co-plaintiffs, confirmed to RT early Monday that the stay was in fact filed with the Second Circuit.
“This may be the most significant constitutional standoff since the Pentagon Papers case,” Carl Mayer says in a separate statement posted on Mr. Hedge’s blog.
– US Totalitarianism Loses Major Battle As Judge Permanently Blocks NDAA’s Military Detention Provision (ZeroHedge, Sep 12, 2012):
Back in January, Pulitzer winning journalist Chris Hedges sued President Obama and the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act, specifically challenging the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force or, the provision that authorizes military detention for people deemed to have “substantially supported” al Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces.” Hedges called the president’s action allowing indefinite detention, which was signed into law with little opposition from either party “unforgivable, unconstitutional and exceedingly dangerous.” He attacked point blank the civil rights farce that is the neverending “war on terror” conducted by both parties, targetting whom exactly is unclear, but certainly attaining ever more intense retaliation from foreigners such as the furious attacks against the US consulates in Egypt and Libya. He asked “why do U.S. citizens now need to be specifically singled out for military detention and denial of due process when under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force the president can apparently find the legal cover to serve as judge, jury and executioner to assassinate U.S. citizens.” A few months later, in May, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled in favor of a temporary injunction blocking the enforcement of the authorization for military detention. Today, the war againt the true totalitarian terror won a decisive battle, when in a 112-opinion, Judge Forrest turned the temporary injunction, following an appeal by the totalitarian government from August 6, into a permanent one.
The permanent injunction prevents the U.S. government from enforcing a portion of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act’s “Homeland Battlefield” provisions.
– Obama sued over indefinite detention and torture of Americans act (RT, Jan. 17, 2012):
In the past, journalist Chris Hedges has worked for NPR, The New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor. In his latest endeavor, however, he is teaming up with an unlikely pair: a couple of attorneys that will help him take on the president.
US President Barack Obama is the target of a suit filed by Pulitzer Prize-winner Hedges, and the reasoning seems more than obvious to him. The decision to take the commander-in-chief to court comes as a response to President Obama’s December 31 signing of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a legislation that allows the US military to detain American citizens indefinitely at off-site torture prisons like Guantanamo Bay.
Obama amended the NDAA with a signing statement on New Year’s Eve, insisting that while the Act does indeed give him the power to detain his own citizens indefinitely without charge, that doesn’t mean he will do so. Specifically, Obama wrote that his administration “will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” Under another piece of legislation, however, the government is being granted the right to suspend citizenship of any American if the Enemy Expatriation Act joins the ranks of the NDAA as an atrocious act approved by the president.
“Once again, you just have to be accused of supporting hostilities which could be defined any way the government sees fit. Then the government can strip your citizenship and apply the indefinite detention section of the NDAA without the benefit of a trial,” journalist Stephen Foster Jr. wrote earlier this month of the Act.