Thursday, October 27, 2011

At Last Something Sensible (and a Great Piece of Writing) About the Killing of Quaddafi

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Dictators Get the Deaths They Deserve

San Francisco

Sam Vanallemeersch

Related

Related in Opinion

Readers’ Comments

“ALL political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure,” wrote Enoch Powell, the controversial but often perspicacious British politician, “because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.” But the political lives of tyrants play out human affairs with a special intensity: the death of a democratic leader long after his retirement is a private matter, but the death of a tyrant is always a political act that reflects the character of his power. If a tyrant dies peacefully in bed in the full resplendence of his rule, his death is a theater of that power; if a tyrant is executed while crying for mercy in the dust, then that, too, is a reflection of the nature of a fallen regime and the reaction of an oppressed people.

This was never truer than in the death, last week, of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. The only difference between his death and those of so many other tyrants across history was that it was filmed with mobile phones, a facility unavailable to contemporaries of, say, the Roman emperor Caligula.

Despite brandished phones and pistols, there was something Biblical in the wild scene, as elemental as the deaths of King Ahab (“the dogs licked up his blood”) and Queen Jezebel (thrown off a palace balcony). It was certainly not as terrible as the death of the Byzantine emperor Andronicus I, who was beaten and dismembered, his hair and teeth pulled out by the mob, his handsome face burned with boiling water. In modern times, it was more frenzied than the semi-formal execution, in 1989, of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, but not as terrible as the ghastly lynching, in 1958, of the innocent King Faisal II of Iraq (age 23) and his hated uncle, who were supposedly impaled and dismembered, their heads used as soccer balls. In 1996, the pro-Soviet former president of Afghanistan, Najibullah, was castrated, dragged through the streets and hanged.

Western leaders and intellectuals find Colonel Qaddafi’s lynching distasteful — Bernard-Henri Lévy worried it would “pollute the essential morality of an insurrection” — yet there are sound political reasons for the public culling of the self-proclaimed king of kings. Colonel Qaddafi’s tyranny was absolutist, monarchical and personal. The problem with such dictatorships is that as long as the tyrant lives, he reigns and terrorizes. As Churchill put it, “dictators ride to and fro upon tigers from which they dare not dismount.”

Only death can end both the spell to bewitch and the prerogative to dominate — and sometimes, not even death can snuff out power. “The terror inspired by Caligula’s reign,” wrote Suetonius, “could be judged by the sequel.” Romans were so terrified of the emperor that it was not enough to assassinate him. They wanted to see him dead: fearing it was a trick and lacking cellphone footage, they had to be convinced. The mile-long line of Libyans who were keen to see Colonel Qaddafi’s cadaver in its shop-refrigerator-tomb would understand this perfectly.

When Catherine the Great overthrew her husband, Peter III, in 1762, she knew that if anything happened to him, she would be blamed. Yet her entourage, led by her lover, Grigory Orlov, realized that as long as he lived, he remained the legitimate autocrat: they strangled him. His body was displayed to prove that he was dead, but nonetheless, Peter III impostors tormented Catherine for the rest of her life. Henry IV experienced similar troubles after the death of Richard II; a host of pretenders haunted the usurper.

But such comebacks may be history: the cellphone videos, which show Colonel Qaddafi being beaten, and later, the bullet holes in his dead body, rob his last followers of the mystique necessary to lead an insurgency in his name, charged with all the excitement of a (Saddam Hussein-style) heroic leader on the run. His preposterously exuberant cult of personality was surely shattered by the spectacle of his pathetic demolition.

Sometimes the killing of tyrants is specially designed to echo the leader’s vices. Shajar al-Durr, an Egyptian sultan’s widow who became (uniquely in Muslim history) a sultan in her own right, was notorious for her extravagance. When she murdered her new husband in 1257, his concubines beat her to death with her own clogs — both a sign of Arab contempt and the medieval equivalent of death by stiletto. It was said that Edward II, notorious for homosexual relationships with his favorites, was killed with a red-hot poker. The upside-down suspension of the dead Mussolini with his mistress in a town square signaled the end of his pretensions to Caesarian heroism and Casanovan machismo.

For someone who so thrived in the age of television, an impresario of many a circus of public violence, Colonel Qaddafi faced an entirely fitting end. When he asked his frenzied killers, who had known no other ruler in their lives, “Do you not know the difference between right and wrong?” he had already taught them the answer. We may call this auto-tyrannicide. The manically terrifying but ruthlessly brilliant Mamluk sultan Baibars I, was more literally a victim: according to some accounts, he regularly poisoned his guests until, in 1277, he absentmindedly downed a glass of poisoned fermented camel’s milk himself. During the Crusades, the Atabeg of Mosul and Aleppo (in today’s Iraq and part of Syria), Zangi, who liked to castrate the children of enemies, and possibly his boy lovers as well, was supposedly stabbed in his bed by one of those humiliated eunuchs. When Stalin suffered a stroke in 1953, he had recently arrested dozens of doctors for treason. He lay in his own urine for more than 12 hours before his henchmen dared to call a doctor. He was not murdered — like Colonel Qaddafi, he was the author of his own destruction.

There is no greater achievement for the tyrant — short of immortality — than to die in his own bed. He must control the time, place and consequence of death. This is possible with a gradual illness. “Now Herod’s sickness greatly increased upon him ... God’s judgment upon him for his sins,” wrote Josephus about the king of Judea. “His entrails had ulcers ... an aqueous and transparent liquor had settled itself around his feet and the bottom of his belly. His genitals were rotting and gave birth to worms.” Yet the suppurating Herod managed to kill one rebellious son and arrange the succession of three more before succumbing.

Unlike monarchs, who pass power to their heirs at the moment of death to ensure the survival of the regime, tyrants must simply survive as long as possible. Hence inhumane struggles by indefatigable doctors to keep ailing dictators — Chairman Mao, Leonid I. Brezhnev, Marshal Tito, General Franco — alive. Only the ingenious North Koreans have solved this problem by declaring Kim Il-sung immortal, perpetual president.

The courtiers of modern tyrants have sought to avoid the inconvenience of death by creating new hereditary monarchies. Outside the Arab world, the Kims of North Korea, Kadyrovs of Chechnya, Kabilas of Congo and Aliyevs of Azerbaijan all achieved this dictator’s dream. Few in the Arab world have done the same. Hafez al-Assad of Syria, who ruled from 1970, died in his bed in 2000, passing the presidency to his son Bashar. Colonel Qaddafi, Mr. Mubarak and Mr. Hussein all dreamed of it. But the spoiled heirs of such hereditary tyrannies usually lack the talent of their fathers.

ALL tyrannies are virtuoso displays over many years of cunning, risk-taking, terror, delusion, narcissism, showmanship and charm, distilled into a spectacle of total personal control. Tyrants are the greatest of all actor-managers — omnipotent impresarios. They will last only as long as prestige, prosperity and a vestige of justice are maintained. Uninhibited bloodletting can also work — as Bashar al-Assad and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have demonstrated — until luck eventually runs out in the shape of treason, outside interference or a tsunami of rebellion like the Arab Spring. It is hard to imagine that there would be anything but giblets left if those two now fell into the hands of their people.

If a tyrant cannot die in his own bed, the best he can do is try to stage manage his downfall, because such characters find it unthinkable to exist without ruling. Colonel Qaddafi, like many others, was so narcissistic that he first denied the fact of the revolution before embracing his own reckless, heroic role, the drama of the last stand: “I have set my life upon a cast,” says Shakespeare’s Richard III, “and I will stand the hazard of the die.” Colonel Qaddafi could have saved his family and thousands of lives by retiring to a villa and later facing the International Criminal Court. Yet the narcissist envisages his downfall only as a mise-en-scène featuring his followers, family and country, consumed in his bonfire of egomaniacal nihilism. Colonel Qaddafi must have planned to die in battle like Richard III and Macbeth, or to kill himself. Yet this monstrous poseur totally bungled his own death.

The master class in the death of tyrants was given by Hitler who, even as Russian legions fought their way into Berlin, kept control long enough to plan and execute his testament, marriage and suicide: control to the end in a kerosene-fueled garden Götterdämmerung. But not even he achieved the brilliant dignity of the death of Charles I, denounced as a “man of blood” by his Puritan tormentors, whose grace before execution set a standard that Colonel Qaddafi could only dream of: “I am a martyr of the people,” he said before facing the ax. “I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown where no disturbance can be, no disturbance in the world.”

Simon Sebag Montefiore is the author of “Jerusalem: The Biography.”

Monday, October 17, 2011

Corporate Elites Should Be Petrified of Occupy Wall Street

OCCUPY WALL STREET
comments_image 127 COMMENTS

Why Corporate Elites Should Be Petrified of Occupy Wall Street

The occupation of Wall Street has formed an alternative community that defies the profit-driven hierarchical structures of corporate capitalism.
LIKE THIS ARTICLE ?
Join our mailing list:

Sign up to stay up to date on the latest Occupy Wall Street headlines via email.

www.jpmorganchase.com/corporate/Home/article/ny-13.htmKetchup, a petite 22-year-old from Chicago with wavy red hair and glasses with bright red frames, arrived in Zuccotti Park in New York on Sept. 17. She had a tent, a rolling suitcase, 40 dollars’ worth of food, the graphic version of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and a sleeping bag. She had no return ticket, no idea what she was undertaking, and no acquaintances among the stragglers who joined her that afternoon to begin the Wall Street occupation. She decided to go to New York after reading the Canadian magazine Adbusters, which called for the occupation, although she noted that when she got to the park Adbusters had no discernable presence.

The lords of finance in the looming towers surrounding the park, who toy with money and lives, who make the political class, the press and the judiciary jump at their demands, who destroy the ecosystem for profit and drain the U.S. Treasury to gamble and speculate, took little notice of Ketchup or any of the other scruffy activists on the street below them. The elites consider everyone outside their sphere marginal or invisible. And what significance could an artist who paid her bills by working as a waitress have for the powerful? What could she and the others in Zuccotti Park do to them? What threat can the weak pose to the strong? Those who worship money believe their buckets of cash, like the $4.6 million JPMorgan Chase gave to the New York City Police Foundation, can buy them perpetual power and security. Masters all, kneeling before the idols of the marketplace, blinded by their self-importance, impervious to human suffering, bloated from unchecked greed and privilege, they were about to be taught a lesson in the folly of hubris.

Even now, three weeks later, elites, and their mouthpieces in the press, continue to puzzle over what people like Ketchup want. Where is the list of demands? Why don’t they present us with specific goals? Why can’t they articulate an agenda?

The goal to people like Ketchup is very, very clear. It can be articulated in one word—REBELLION. These protesters have not come to work within the system. They are not pleading with Congress for electoral reform. They know electoral politics is a farce and have found another way to be heard and exercise power. They have no faith, nor should they, in the political system or the two major political parties. They know the press will not amplify their voices, and so they created a press of their own. They know the economy serves the oligarchs, so they formed their own communal system. This movement is an effort to take our country back.

This is a goal the power elite cannot comprehend. They cannot envision a day when they will not be in charge of our lives. The elites believe, and seek to make us believe, that globalization and unfettered capitalism are natural law, some kind of permanent and eternal dynamic that can never be altered. What the elites fail to realize is that rebellion will not stop until the corporate state is extinguished. It will not stop until there is an end to the corporate abuse of the poor, the working class, the elderly, the sick, children, those being slaughtered in our imperial wars and tortured in our black sites. It will not stop until foreclosures and bank repossessions stop. It will not stop until students no longer have to go into debt to be educated, and families no longer have to plunge into bankruptcy to pay medical bills. It will not stop until the corporate destruction of the ecosystem stops, and our relationships with each other and the planet are radically reconfigured. And that is why the elites, and the rotted and degenerate system of corporate power they sustain, are in trouble. That is why they keep asking what the demands are. They don’t understand what is happening. They are deaf, dumb and blind.

“The world can’t continue on its current path and survive,” Ketchup told me. “That idea is selfish and blind. It’s not sustainable. People all over the globe are suffering needlessly at our hands.”

The occupation of Wall Street has formed an alternative community that defies the profit-driven hierarchical structures of corporate capitalism. If the police shut down the encampment in New York tonight, the power elite will still lose, for this vision and structure have been imprinted into the thousands of people who have passed through park, renamed Liberty Plaza by the protesters. The greatest gift the occupation has given us is a blueprint for how to fight back. And this blueprint is being transferred to cities and parks across the country.

“We get to the park,” Ketchup says of the first day. “There’s madness for a little while. There were a lot of people. They were using megaphones at first. Nobody could hear. Then someone says we should get into circles and talk about what needed to happen, what we thought we could accomplish. And so that’s what we did. There was a note-taker in each circle. I don’t know what happened with those notes, probably nothing, but it was a good start. One person at a time, airing your ideas. There was one person saying that he wasn’t very hopeful about what we could accomplish here, that he wasn’t very optimistic. And then my response was that, well, we have to be optimistic, because if anybody’s going to get anything done, it’s going be us here. People said different things about what our priorities should be. People were talking about the one-demand idea. Someone called for AIG executives to be prosecuted. There was someone who had come from Spain to be there, saying that she was here to help us avoid the mistakes that were made in Spain. It was a wide spectrum. Some had come because of their own personal suffering or what they saw in the world.”

“After the circles broke I felt disheartened because it was sort of chaotic,” she said. “I didn’t have anybody there, so it was a little depressing. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

“Over the past few months, people had been meeting in New York City general assembly,” she said. “One of them is named Brooke. She’s a professor of social ecology. She did my facilitation training. There’s her and a lot of other people, students, school teachers, different people who were involved with that … so they organized a general assembly.”

“It’s funny that the cops won’t let us use megaphones, because it’s to make our lives harder, but we actually end up making a much louder sound [with the “people’s mic”] and I imagine it’s much more annoying to the people around us,” she said. “I had been in the back, unable to hear. I walked to different parts of the circle. I saw this man talking in short phrases and people were repeating them. I don’t know whose idea it was, but that started on the first night. The first general assembly was a little chaotic because people had no idea … a general assembly, what is this for? At first it was kind of grandstanding about what were our demands. Ending corporate personhood is one that has come up again and again as a favorite and. … What ended up happening was, they said, OK, we’re going to break into work groups.

“People were worried we were going to get kicked out of the park at 10 p.m. This was a major concern. There were tons of cops. I’ve heard that it’s costing the city a ton of money to have constant surveillance on a bunch of peaceful protesters who aren’t hurting anyone. With the people’s mic, everything we do is completely transparent. We know there are undercover cops in the crowd. I think I was talking to one last night, but it’s like, what are you trying to accomplish? We don’t have any secrets.”

“The undercover cops are the only ones who ask, ‘Who’s the leader?’ ” she said. “Presumably, if they know who our leaders are they can take them out. The fact is we have no leader. There’s no leader, so there’s nothing they can do.

“There was a woman [in the medics unit]. This guy was pretending to be a reporter. The first question he asks is, ‘Who’s the leader?’ She goes, ‘I’m the leader.’ And he says, ‘Oh yeah, what are you in charge of?’ She says, ‘I’m in a charge of everything.’ He says, ‘Oh yeah? What’s your title?’ She says ‘God.’ ”

“So it’s 9:30 p.m. and people are worried that they’re going to try and rush us out of the camp,” she said, referring back to the first day. “At 9:30 they break into work groups. I joined the group on contingency plans. The job of the bedding group was to find cardboard for people to sleep on. The contingency group had to decide what to do if they kick us out. The big decision we made was to announce to the group that if we were dispersed we were going to meet back at 10 a.m. the next day in the park. Another group was arts and culture. What was really cool was that we assumed we were going to be there more than one night. There was a food group. They were going dumpster diving. The direct action committee plans for direct, visible action like marches. There was a security team. It’s security against the cops. The cops are the only people we think that might hurt us. The security team keeps people awake in shifts. They always have people awake.”

The work groups make logistical decisions, and the general assembly makes large policy decisions.

“Work groups make their own decisions,” Ketchup said. “For example, someone donated a laptop. And because I’ve been taking minutes I keep running around and asking, ‘Does someone have a laptop I could borrow?’ The media team, upon receiving that laptop, designated it to me for my use on behalf of the Internet committee. The computer isn’t mine. When I go back to Chicago, I’m not going to take it. Right now I don’t even know where it is. Someone else is using it. But so, after hearing this, people thought it had been gifted to me personally. People were upset by that. So a member of the Internet work group went in front of the group and said, ‘This is a need of the committee. It’s been put into Ketchup’s care.’ They explained that to the group, but didn’t ask for consensus on it, because the committees are empowered. Some people might still think that choice was inappropriate. In the future, it might be handled differently.”

Working groups blossomed in the following days. The media working group was joined by a welcome working group for new arrivals, a sanitation working group (some members of which go around the park on skateboards as they carry brooms), a legal working group with lawyers, an events working group, an education working group, medics, a facilitation working group (which trains new facilitators for the general assembly meetings), a public relations working group, and an outreach working group for like-minded communities as well as the general public. There is an Internet working group and an open source technology working group. The nearby McDonald’s is the principal bathroom for the park after Burger King banned protesters from its facilities.

Caucuses also grew up in the encampment, including a “Speak Easy caucus.” “That’s a caucus I started,” Ketchup said. “It is for a broad spectrum of individuals from female-bodied people who identify as women to male-bodied people who are not traditionally masculine. That’s called the ‘Speak Easy’ caucus. I was just talking to a woman named Sharon who’s interested in starting a caucus for people of color.

“A caucus gives people a safe space to talk to each other without people from the culture of their oppressors present. It gives them greater power together, so that if the larger group is taking an action that the caucus felt was specifically against their interests, then the caucus can block that action. Consensus can potentially still be reached after a caucus blocks something, but a block, or a ‘paramount objection,’ is really serious. You’re saying that you are willing to walk out.”

“We’ve done a couple of things so far,” she said. “So, you know the live stream? The comments are moderated on the live stream. There are moderators who remove racist comments, comments that say ‘I hate cops’ or ‘Kill cops.’ They remove irrelevant comments that have nothing to do with the movement. There is this woman who is incredibly hardworking and intelligent. She has been the driving force of the finance committee. Her hair is half-blond and half-black. People were referring to her as “blond-black hottie.” These comments weren’t moderated, and at one point whoever was running the camera took the camera off her face and did a body scan. So, that was one of the first things the caucus talked about. We decided as a caucus that I would go to the moderators and tell them this is a serious problem. If you’re moderating other offensive comments then you need to moderate these kinds of offensive comments.”

The heart of the protest is the two daily meetings, held in the morning and the evening. The assemblies, which usually last about two hours, start with a review of process, which is open to change and improvement, so people are clear about how the assembly works. Those who would like to speak raise their hand and get on “stack.”

“There’s a stack keeper,” Ketchup said. “The stack keeper writes down your name or some signifier for you. A lot of white men are the people raising their hands. So, anyone who is not apparently a white man gets to jump stack. The stack keeper will make note of the fact that the person who put their hand up was not a white man and will arrange the list so that it’s not dominated by white men. People don’t get called up in the same order as they raise their hand.”

While someone is speaking, their words amplified by the people’s mic, the crowd responds through hand signals.

“Putting your fingers up like this,” she said, holding her hands up and wiggling her fingers, “means you like what you’re hearing, or you’re in agreement. Like this,” she said, holding her hands level and wiggling her fingers, “means you don’t like it so much. Fingers down, you don’t like it at all; you’re not in agreement. Then there’s this triangle you make with your hand that says ‘point of process.’ So, if you think that something is not being respected within the process that we’ve agreed to follow then you can bring that up.”

“You wait till you’re called,” she said. “These rules get abused all the time, but they are important. We start with agenda items, which are proposals or group discussions. Then working group report-backs, so you know what every working group is doing. Then we have general announcements. The agenda items have been brought to the facilitators by the working groups because you need the whole group to pay attention. Like last night, Legal brought up a discussion on bail: ‘Can we agree that the money from the general funds can be allotted if someone needs bail?’ And the group had to come to consensus on that. [It decided yes.] There’s two co-facilitators, a stack keeper, a timekeeper, a vibes-person making sure that people are feeling OK, that people’s voices aren’t getting stomped on, and then if someone’s being really disruptive, the vibes-person deals with them. There’s a note-taker—I end up doing that a lot because I type very, very quickly. We try to keep the facilitation team one man, one woman, or one female-bodied person, one male-bodied person. When you facilitate multiple times it’s rough on your brain. You end up having a lot of criticism thrown your way. You need to keep the facilitators rotating as much as possible. It needs to be a huge, huge priority to have a strong facilitation group.”

“People have been yelled out of the park,” she said. “Someone had a sign the other day that said ‘Kill the Jew Bankers.’ They got screamed out of the park. Someone else had a sign with the N-word on it. That person’s sign was ripped up, but that person is apparently still in the park.

“We’re trying to make this a space that everyone can join. This is something the caucuses are trying to really work on. We are having workshops to get people to understand their privilege.”

But perhaps the most important rule adopted by the protesters is nonviolence and nonaggression against the police, no matter how brutal the police become.

“The cops, I think, maced those women in the face and expected the men and women around them to start a riot,” Ketchup said. “They want a riot. They can deal with a riot. They cannot deal with nonviolent protesters with cameras.”

I tell Ketchup I will bring her my winter sleeping bag. It is getting cold. She will need it. I leave her in a light drizzle and walk down Broadway. I pass the barricades, uniformed officers on motorcycles, the rows of paddy wagons and lines of patrol cars that block the streets into the financial district and surround the park. These bankers, I think, have no idea what they are up against.

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute. He writes a regular column for TruthDig every Monday. His latest book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wall Street Protests and the Religious Right

If the Wall Street protests are to mean anything long term they have to also focus on the enablers of the top 1 percent that have raped the 99. Fundamentalist religion made this rape possible.
The source of the empowering of the top 1 percent super wealthy and the economic rape of rest of us is the religion of Evangelical fundamentalism. Note I didn't say religion per se, but religious fundamentalism is responsible.

Why?

Because without the fundamentalists and their "values" issues the lower 99 percent could not have been convinced to vote against their (our) economic self-interest, in other words, vote for Republicans serving only billionaires instead of the rest of us.
Wall Street is a legitimate target for long overdue protest but so are the centers of religious power that are the gate keepers of Republican Party "values" voters that make the continuing economic rape possible.

Fundamentalist religion -- Evangelical and Roman Catholic alike -- has delegitimized the US Government and thus undercut its ability to tax, spend and regulate

The fundamentalist have replaced economic and political justice with a bogus (and hate-driven) "morality" litmus tests of spurious red herring "issues" from abortion to school prayer and gay rights. The result has been that the masses of lower middle class and poor Americans who should be voting for Democrats and thus their own economic interests, have been persuaded to vote against their own class and self interest.

This trick of political sleight of hand has been achieved by this process:

  1. Declare the US Government agents of evil because of the fact that "the government" has allowed legal abortion, gay rights etc.,

  • Declare that therefore "government is the problem" not the solution,

  • Now that the government is the source of all evil thus anyone the government wants to regulate is being picked on by satanic forces. The US Government is always the bad guy,

  • Thus good God-fearing folks will always vote for less government and less regulation because "the government" is evil,

  • So unregulated corporations, banks and Wall Street are always right and represent "freedom" while government is always wrong and represents "tyranny."

  • Like most Evangelical/Roman Catholic fundamentalist movements in history, from the Bay State colonies to the Spanish Inquisition, the American Religious Right of today advocates the fusion of state power and religion through the reestablishment of the "Christian America" idea of "American Exceptionalism" (i.e., a nation "chosen" by God), the form of government adopted by the Puritans' successors during the age of early American colonialism.

    Thus the division between "Real Americans" and the rest of us is the "saved" and "lost" paradigm of theological correctness applied to politics. Thus President Obama isn't a Real American, or even a born American, he's the "Other," a Muslim, an outsider, above all "not one of us."

    In other words you're not just wrong but evil if you disagree with the Elect over abortion or for that matter trying to bring peace to the Middle East and thus "not supporting Israel." Because God has "chosen" the Jews to fulfill prophecy etc., etc..

    "Bring America back to the Bible" is really no more subtle than the claim of the Iranian Mullahs to rule in "God's name" so that Iran too can come back to God. And if you can get Americans to worry about the Bible and not fairness and justice then you have handed a perpetual victory to Goldman Sacks and company.

    How Did We Get Here?

    The unstated agreement went like this: Republicans will pander to the Religious Right on the social issues - abortion, gay rights, prayer in schools, creationism in text books, and not so subtly the endorsement of religious schools to help white evangelicals and Roman Catholics avoid integration, as long as the Religious Right turned a blind eye to the fact that the Republican Party would A), do nothing substantive to change much about abortion etc., and, B) sell the soul of the country to corporate America, a country-within-a-country where one percent of the population have more wealth than the 99...

    What few people seem prepared to do is look at or admit the larger problem: no political protest will change anything in America until the masses protest the religious fundamentalist's stranglehold on this country via having hijacked the Republican Party too. Deference to religion masquerading as politics must end, now.

    Religion Masquerading as Politics

    Religion masquerading as politics is not true religion or politics-- it is a theocracy-in-waiting. This charade of power grabs in God's name needs to be exposed then destroyed.

    Democracy will not survive the continuing dirty combination of theocracy and oligarchy. That's where we're headed bankers running the world backed by preachers who don't care about God but care about power.

    The timely destruction of the economic elites and their religious facilitators begins by calling fundamentalist/Evangelical/Roman Catholic "religion" what it is: a political grab for power based on literal madness of the sort that makes the not-so-bright terrified of modernity, truth, science and facts and leads them to deny evolution and global warming while believing that Jesus will come back any day now.

    To the post-Roe Religious Right, hating America became the new patriotism. If it had not been for the Evangelicals demonizing the Federal Government over abortion and gay rights (as they did before over civil rights) how else would the economic oligarchy have gotten away with making the underclass vote against their own interests?

    The "I vote pro-life" bumper sticker says it all

    And that is why we need to strip off the mask of moral and religious posturing masquerading as politics. We're dealing with our own version of the "holy" men who run Iran and Saudi Arabia. And they are just as backward here as they are there. They are also winning -- in the short term anyway.

    The Evangelical Right has stalled and perhaps destroyed the Obama presidency. And they are only getting going as their 87 "Tea Party" congressional freshmen proved by being willing to plunge the US economy over a cliff in order to satisfy their hunger to clip the wings of the "evil" US Government and render it useless.

    What we face is not a loyal opposition but a force within America as alien as the Taliban, and with the same alienated aims where our government is concerned. What we witnessed in the last congressional elections was not an election as we understand the term but the start of a putsch.
    When back in the 1970s and 80s my late evangelical father and I were running around signing up Republican leaders like Ronald Reagan to "take a stand on abortion" we were outsiders and agitators. But today the agitators are now actually running the heart of the Republican Party. Some of the most extreme of their number -- Perry and Bachmann -- are actually running for president.

    Rick Perry et al

    That's why no one was surprised that Rick Perry kicked off his presidential race with a prayer meeting surrounded by extremist bigots from the far, far Evangelical right. This was as "normal" today as it is to see the Saudi Royals paying tribute to Shariah Law and giving ten lashes to women who drive.

    Conclusion Protest Churches and Religious Organisations, not Just Wall Street

    Again: If the Wall Street protests are to mean anything they have to not just protest Wall Street and inequality but also protest the root source of America's tilt to the far unregulated corporate right . It is time to also protest outside mega churches, Evangelical publishing houses, religious organisations that lead the "moral" crusades against women and gays and all the rest.

    Fundamentalist religion of all kinds is the enemy of democracy and thus of America. It is the enemy of working people everywhere too when it's bogus moral crusades empower the rich to thumb their noses at our government.

    Fundamentalist religion here and around the world must be stopped in its anti-fact, anti-progress crusade. The alternative is chaos, decline, oligarchy and theocracy.


    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    The Truth

    Hedges: No way in US system to vote against banks

    3,104 videos
    19,228

    Uploaded by on Oct 6, 2011

    Between Occupy Wall Street, in New York, and the other cities it's spread to, as well as the October 2011 movement that just began here in D.C, something seems to be happening in this country. Earlier at Freedom Plaza Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author, tells us what this could lead to.

    Top Comments

    • A clear and articulate analysis. Hedges is courageous in telling it like it is. He is one of the few public intellectuals not afraid to use words like "fascism" and "Marxism" objectively. Most people use these words to instil fear or to skirt critical criticism. Pity the Tea Partiers will not spend 10 minutes to sit down and follow Chris through this interview with an open mind.

    • Chris Hedges is as serious, moral, adult, informed and relevant as this RT show could aspire to. TY for this interview with him. Keep it up, I'll re-subscribe. His comments on teaparty and the fascist hatred of regulations imposed by the people (as government when it works) are well understood - he has seen this in other places before now. Alex Jones, seen here occasionally, is not "news" but is the ideological agenda of exactly that fascist entity represented by Texas Freedom Works.

    see all

    All Comments (192)

    Reactions (5)

    Sign In or Sign Up now to post a comment!
    • @mbonnar I believe you are the one to be schooled. mises.org/daily/5752/The-Fasci­st-Threat

      Point 3. Government administers a capitalist system with an immense bureaucracy.

      6. Government sustains economic life through spending and borrowing.

      You can read the article though. Maybe you will stop supporting the real fascist.

    • @dude4gold You lack a concerted understanding in political principles of you think fascism is "more regulations".

    • He calls Tea Party fascist? He himself is asking for more regulations, which is fascism. Funny how fascist call their enemy the description that belies their own mantra.

    • @TheVikingNinja Serously? Seriously? "Progress of white people"? And here I thought it was all about ALL Americans. You really do fail.

      

    • @bigscarytigermonster The Vietnam war was a racial national struggle under the banner of communism. The guy in this video gives two shits about western civilization or the preservation and progress of white people.

    • It is not by a chance that Baghdad had seen a “House of Translations” some 1,000 years ago, but Washington does not speak any other language but that of the brute force and deception.

      This speech by Chris Hedges is a phenomenal one and at its end he offers hope and the REASON for the culture of resistance: v=GirI5ahatIo

    • The culture of resistance must be created; the fascist state managed to manipulated the American collective mind into all kind of magical thinking and brainwashed too many, but the real danger is that the fascist state, undisturbed by the culture of resistance, may end up destroying the very fabric of humanity, in the same way it does in Moslem countries.

    • @TheVikingNinja This coming from a person quoting from the Vietnamese Communist leader who formed a communist government until he lost his position in 1955 under the guise of "democracy." Fail troll is fail.

    • 2:40 fuck this marxist. guns are crucial to a free society. The flood of "undocumented workers" or illegal immigrants has devastated the lower class of america. Mestesos have high birth rates and low iqs and if america doesn't wise up to the genetic decline we are doing nothing about, we will become a nice country like brazil or mexico.

    Unsaved Playlist (0)
    1. Your queue is empty. Add videos to your queue using this button:
      or sign in to load a different list.