Chris Hedges Chris Hedges Original Election 2020 Original

Chris Hedges: The Ruling Elite’s War on Truth

American political leaders display a widening disconnect from reality intended to mask their complicity in the seizure of power by global corporations and billionaires.
Original illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

Joe Biden’s victory instantly obliterated the Democratic Party’s longstanding charge that Russia was hijacking and compromising US elections. The Biden victory, the Democratic Party leaders and their courtiers in the media now insist, is evidence that the democratic process is strong and untainted, that the system works. The elections ratified the will of the people.

But imagine if Donald Trump had been reelected. Would the Democrats and pundits at The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC pay homage to a fair electoral process? Or, having spent four years trying to impugn the integrity of the 2016 presidential race, would they once again haul out the blunt instrument of Russian interference to paint Trump as Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate?

Trump and Giuliani are vulgar and buffoonish, but they play the same slimy game as their Democratic opponents. The Republicans scapegoat the deep state, communists and now, bizarrely, Venezuela; the Democrats scapegoat Russia. The widening disconnect from reality by the ruling elite is intended to mask their complicity in the seizure of power by predatory global corporations and billionaires.

“This is a disgraceful thing that was done in this country,” Giuliani said at his recent bad-hair-day press conference. “Probably not much more disgraceful than the things these people did in office, which you didn’t and don’t bother to cover and you conceal from the American people, but we let this happen, we use largely a Venezuelan voting machine in essence to count our vote. We let this happen. We’re going to become Venezuela. We cannot let this happen to us. We cannot allow these crooks, because that’s what they are, to steal an election from the American people. They elected Donald Trump. They didn’t elect Joe Biden. Joe Biden is in the lead because of the fraudulent ballots, the illegal ballots, that were produced and that were allowed to be used, after the election was over.”       

Giuliani’s rant was topped by those of Sidney Powell, until yesterday another of Trump’s lawyers, who blamed software designed for Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013, for Trump’s loss, as well as “the massive influence of Communist money.” The software “was created so Hugo Chavez would never lose another election, and he did not after that software was created,” Powell said. “He won every single election and then they exported it to Argentina and other countries in South America, and then they brought it here.”

Compare this to how Hillary Clinton, during the recent primary campaign, warned that the Russians were “grooming” a female candidate, widely assumed to be Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, to run as a third-party candidate to serve Russian interests. Previously, Clinton called the 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein a “Russian asset.” She insisted, although the Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his prosecutors found no evidence to support her charge, that the Trump campaign worked closely in 2016 with Moscow and WikiLeaks — which she insists is a Russian front — to defeat her. Hillary’s staff put together a “hit list” in the final days of her 2008 campaign, according to the book, “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign” by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, listing those who were loyal to the Clintons those who were not. They used a scale of 1 to 7.

“Step back and think about it,” Clinton wrote in her book, “What Happened,” about the 2016 election. “The Russians hacked our election systems. They got inside. They tried to delete or alter voter information. This should send a shiver down the spine of every American.”

Never mind that both ruling parties are silent about the massive interference in our elections by Israel, which uses its lobbying groups to lavishly fund political candidates in both parties and flies members of Congress and their families to Israel for junkets at seaside resorts. Israel’s intrusion in our political process, including when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress in 2015, without informing then President Barack Obama, to attack the president’s Iran nuclear deal, dwarfs that of any other country, including Russia.

The two warring factions within the ruling elite, which fight primarily over the spoils of power while abjectly serving corporate interests, peddle alternative realities. If the deep state and Venezuelan socialists or Russia intelligence operatives are pulling the strings no one in power is accountable for the rage and alienation caused by the social inequality, the unassailability of corporate power, the legalized bribery that defines our political process, the endless wars, austerity and de-industrialization. The social breakdown is, instead, the fault of shadowy phantom enemies manipulating groups such as Black Lives Matters or the Green Party.

“The people who run this country have run out of workable myths with which to distract the public, and in a moment of extreme crisis have chosen to stoke civil war and defame the rest of us – black and white – rather than admit to a generation of corruption, betrayal, and mismanagement,” Matt Taibbi writes.

These fictional narratives are dangerous. They erode the credibility of democratic institutions and electoral politics. They posit that news and facts are no longer true or false. Information is accepted or discarded based on whether it hurts or promotes one faction over another. While outlets such as Fox News have always existed as an arm of the Republican Party, this partisanship has now infected nearly all news organizations, including publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, along with the major tech platforms that disseminate information and news. A fragmented public with no common narrative believes whatever it wants to believe.

I first assumed this job posting from The New York Times for a Moscow correspondent was a parody posted by The Onion. It wasn’t. It speaks volumes about the self-immolation of The New York Times and the press.

JOB DESCRIPTION: Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains one of the biggest stories in the world. It sends out hit squads armed with nerve agents against its enemies, most recently the opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. It has its cyber agents sow chaos and disharmony in the West to tarnish its democratic systems, while promoting its faux version of democracy. It has deployed private military contractors around the globe to secretly spread its influence. At home, its hospitals are filling up fast with Covid patients as its president hides out in his villa. If that sounds like a place you want to cover, then we have good news: We will have an opening for a new correspondent as Andy Higgins takes over as our next Eastern Europe Bureau Chief early next year.

Of course, every charge leveled here against Russia regarding foreign interference can be leveled in spades against the United States, both in the present and past, and even the implied criticism of its pandemic response seems like a textbook case of projection. More to the point, why should the Times even send someone to Moscow to report on what Russians think, feel and how they view themselves and the world if they have already decided they are a cartoon villain? Why have a Moscow bureau at all?

A parody response circulating on the internet imagined a parallel posting by Pravda for a U.S. correspondent:   

JOB DESCRIPTION: Donald Trump’s America remains one of the biggest stories in the world. It sends out its armies, its drones, and its agents around the world to kill its enemies. It has its cyber agents sow chaos and disharmony, undermining and overthrowing regimes, while promoting its faux version of democracy. It has deployed private military contractors around the globe to secretly spread its influence. At home, its hospitals are filling up fast with Covid patients as its president hides out on the golf course. If that sounds like a place you want to cover, then we have good news. We will have an    opening for a new correspondent.

I was a foreign correspondent for twenty years, fifteen of them with The New York Times. My job was to become bicultural, which requires hundreds of hours of language classes, to see the world from the perspective of those I covered and reflect it back to an American audience. But this type of reporting is now anachronistic. The paper might as well rehire the con artist Jayson Blair to sit in his apartment and snort coke while filing fictional variants on the preordained narrative the paper demands. Or maybe computer algorithms can do the job.

I guess I should not be surprised. After all, it was the Times that produced a ten-part podcast by its reporter Rukmini Callimachi based on interviews with a Muslim identified as Abu Huzayfah al-Kanadi who claimed to have been a member of ISIS in the Middle East. He provided lurid accounts of murders and crucifixions he supposedly carried out. His stories, catering to the rampant Islamophobia that poisons American society, were the audio version of snuff films. They were also a lie. The Canadian “Abu Huzayfah,” whose real name was Shehroze Chaudhry, was arrested in September 2020 by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and charged under Canadian hoax laws for fabricating his story.

The flagrant partisanship and discrediting of truth across the political spectrum are swiftly fueling the rise of an authoritarian state. The credibility of democratic institutions and electoral politics, already deeply corrupted by PACs, the electoral college, lobbyists, the disenfranchisement of third-party candidates, gerrymandering and voter suppression, is being eviscerated.

Silicon Valley billionaires, including Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, donated more than $100 million to a Democratic super PAC that created a torrent of anti-Trump TV ads in the final weeks of the campaign to elect Biden. The heavy infusion of corporate money to support Biden wasn’t done to protect democracy. It was done because these corporations and billionaires know a Biden administration will serve their interests.

The press, meanwhile, has largely given up on journalism. It has retreated into competing echo chambers that only speak to true believers. This catering exclusively to one demographic, which it sets against another demographic, is commercially profitable. But it also guarantees the balkanization of the United States and edges us closer and closer to fratricide.

When Trump leaves the White House millions of his enraged supports, hermetically sealed inside hyperventilating media platforms that feed back to them their rage and hate, will see the vote as fraudulent, the political system as rigged, and the establishment press as propaganda. They will target, I fear, through violence, the Democratic Party politicians, mainstream media outlets and those they demonize as conspiratorial members of the deep state, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Democratic Party is as much to blame for this disintegration as Trump and the Republican Party.

The election of Biden is also very bad news for journalists such as Matt Taibbi, Glen Ford, Margaret Kimberley, Glenn Greenwald, Jeffrey St. Clair or Robert Scheer who refuse to be courtiers to the ruling elites. Journalists that do not spew the approved narrative of the right-wing, or, alternatively, the approved narrative of the Democratic Party, have a credibility the ruling elite fears. The worse things get – and they will get worse as the pandemic leaves hundreds of thousands dead and thrusts millions of Americans into severe economic distress –the more those who seek to hold the ruling elites, and in particular the Democratic Party, accountable will be targeted and censored in ways familiar to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, now in a London prison and facing possible extradition to the United States and life imprisonment.

Barack Obama’s assault on civil liberties, which included the repeated misuse of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers, the passage of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to permit the military to act as a domestic police force and the ordering of the assassination of U.S. citizens deemed to be terrorists in Yemen, was far worse than those of George W. Bush. Biden’s assault on civil liberties, I suspect, will surpass those of the Obama administration.

The censorship was heavy handed during the campaign. Digital media platforms, including Google, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, along with the establishment press worked shamelessly as propaganda arms for the Biden campaign. They were determined not to make the “mistake” they made in 2016 when they reported on the damaging emails, released by WikiLeaks, from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. Although the emails were genuine, papers such as The New York Times routinely refer to the Podesta emails as “disinformation.” This, no doubt, pleases its readership, 91 percent of whom identify as Democrats according to the Pew Research Center. But it is another example of journalistic malfeasance.

Following the election of Trump, the media outlets that cater to a Democratic Party readership made amends. The New York Times was one of the principal platforms that amplified Russiagate conspiracies, most of which turned out to be false. At the same time, the paper largely ignored the plight of the disposed working class that supported Trump. When the Russiagate story collapsed, the paper pivoted to focus on race, embodied in the 1619 Project. The root cause of social disintegration — the neoliberal order, austerity and deindustrialization — was ignored since naming it would alienate the paper’s corporate advertisers and the elites on whom the paper depends for access.

Once the 2020 election started, The New York Times and other mainstream outlets censored and discredited information that could hurt Biden, including a tape of Joe Biden speaking with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, which appears to be authentic. They gave credibility to any rumor, however spurious, which was unfavorable to Trump. Twitter and Facebook blocked access to a New York Post story about the emails allegedly found on Hunter Biden’s discarded laptop. Twitter locked the New York Post out of its own account for over a week. Glenn Greenwald, whose article on Hunter Biden was censored by his editors at The Intercept, which he helped found, resigned. He released the email exchanges with his editors over his article. Ignoring the textual evidence of censorship, editors and writers at The Intercept engaged in a public campaign of character assassination against Greenwald. This sordid behavior by self-identified progressive journalists is a page out of the Trump playbook and a sad commentary on the collapse of journalistic integrity.

The censorship and manipulation of information was honed and perfected against WikiLeaks. When WikiLeaks tries to release information, it is hit with botnets or distributed denial of service attacks. Malware attacks WikiLeaks’ domain and website. The WikiLeaks site is routinely shut down or unable to serve its content to its readers. Attempts by WikiLeaks to hold press conferences see the audio distorted and the visual images corrupted. Links to WikiLeaks events are delayed or cut. Algorithms block the dissemination of WikiLeaks content. Hosting services, including Amazon, removed WikiLeaks from its servers. Julian Assange, after releasing the Iraqi war logs, saw his bank accounts and credit cards frozen. WikiLeaks’ PayPal accounts were disabled to cut off donations. The Freedom of the Press Foundation in December 2017 closed down the anonymous funding channel to WikiLeaks which was set up to protect the anonymity of donors. A well-orchestrated smear campaign against Assange was amplified and given credibility by the mass media and filmmakers such as Alex Gibney. Assange and WikiLeaks were first. We are next.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy told CNN during this campaign that Russian disinformation efforts are “more problematic” than in 2016. He warned that “this time around, the Russians have decided to cultivate U.S. citizens as assets. They are attempting to try to spread their propaganda in the mainstream media.”

This will be the official mantra of the Democratic Party, a vicious redbaiting campaign without actual reds, especially as the country spirals out of control. The reason I have a show on Russia-funded RT America is the same reason Vaclav Havel could only be heard on the US-funded Voice of America during the communist control of Czechoslovakia. I did not choose to leave the mainstream media. I was pushed out. And once anyone is pushed out, the ruling elite is relentless about discrediting the few platforms left willing to give them, and the issues they raise, a hearing.

“If the problem is ‘American citizens’ being cultivated as ‘assets’ trying to put ‘interference’ in the mainstream media, the logical next step is to start asking Internet platforms to shut down accounts belonging to any American journalist with the temerity to report material leaked by foreigners (the wrong foreigners, of course – it will continue to be okay to report things like the ‘black ledger’),” writes Taibbi, who has done some of the best reporting on the emerging censorship. “From Fox or the Daily Caller on the rightto left-leaning outlets like Consortium or the World Socialist Web Site, to writers like me even – we’re all now clearly in range of new speech restrictions, even if we stick to long-ago-established factual standards.”

Taibbi argues that the precedent for overt censorship took place when the major digital platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Google, Spotify, YouTube – in a coordinated move blacklisted the right-wing talk show host Alex Jones.

“Liberal America cheered,” Taibbi told me when I interviewed him for my show, “On Contact”:

They said ‘Well this is a noxious figure. This is a great thing. Finally, someone’s taking action.’ What they didn’t realize is that we were trading an old system of speech regulation for a new one without any public discussion. You and I were raised in a system where you got punished for speech if you committed libel or slander or if there was imminent incitement to lawless action, right? That was the standard that the Supreme Court set, but that was done through litigation. There was an open process where you had a chance to rebut charges. That is all gone now. Now, basically there’s a handful of these tech distribution platforms that control how people get their media. They’ve been pressured by the Senate, which has called all of their CEOs in, and basically ordered them, ‘We need you to come up with a plan to prevent the sowing of discord and spreading of misinformation.’ This has finally come into fruition. You see a major reputable news organization like the New York Post — with a 200-year history — locked out of its own Twitter account. The story [Hunter Biden’s emails] has not been disproven. It’s not disinformation or misinformation. It’s been suppressed as it would be suppressed in a Third World country. It’s a remarkable historic moment. The danger is that we end up with a one-party informational system. There’s going to be approved dialogue and unapproved dialogue that you can only get through certain fringe avenues. That’s the problem. We let these companies get this monopolistic share of the distribution system. Now they’re exercising that power.

In the Soviet Union the truth was passed, often hand to hand, in underground samizdat documents, clandestine copies of news and literature banned by the state. The truth will endure. It will be heard by those who seek it out. It will expose the mendacity of the powerful, however hard it will be to obtain. Despotisms fear the truth. They know it is a mortal threat. If we remain determined to live in truth, no matter the cost, we have a chance.


[Chris Hedges writes a regular original column for ScheerPost every two weeks. Click here to sign up for email alerts.]

Chris Hedges
Chris HedgesChris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. 

Copyright 2020 Chris Hedges

48 comments

  1. These are things that Pope francis has been writing about and speaking about his entire time in his job as Pope.

    This from 2015:
    “Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in “lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies”.[”
    –Pope Francis, LAUDATO SI’

    The Economy of Francesco: ‘Young people fighting inequalities’
    In his Letter, the Pope explained that the event would be an opportunity “to bring us together and allow us to meet one another and eventually enter into a ‘covenant’ to change today’s economy and to give a soul to the economy of tomorrow.”
    Originally scheduled to take place in Assisi in March of this year, the event was postponed to November 19-21 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. For the same reason, The Economy of Francesco is now taking place online.
    It will be live-streamed on the website of Vatican News.
    More than 2,000 registered participants from 120 countries will take part in the encounter

  2. Thank you Chris for once again pointing out what ails us. It’s guaranteed that as usual you will be hated and vilified for doing so.

  3. Needless to say, perhaps, but I am deeply grateful for your sanity, clarity, courage and perseverance. Also needless to say, how pissed off I am by the Great Deceit perpetrated by the elites to mask their profound culpability. Their terrible betrayal of what is best in themselves in not just jilting the People, us, but their soiling of all the values of which Trust is composed. We are in a David and Goliath dynamic. On Inc.com the writer poses an interesting view which might spark inspirations. “Scientists wrestled with that detail [colossal size] and have debated for decades whether Goliath might have had a disorder called acromegaly. This condition leads to a person growing extremely tall–but also often leads to double-vision and severe nearsightedness.” Some similarities here, perhaps? The lead in the essay is this. “The next time you hear about a David versus Goliath story, don’t think of an underdog. Think of a confident competitor who is more than happy to be underestimated.”

  4. The lights were blinking out all over Europe in 1939 … and now the LED lights are doing the same thing all over America AND Europe and Western Christendom, ie, “The West” …

    and have been since 9/11 if not earlier such as the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963…

    with this article, Taibbi’s writing, Greenwald’s writing, Glen Ford and Margaret Kimberley’s writing, and the Intercept article yesterday about Tigerswan counterinsurgency of the DAPL Water Protectors in 2016, we hear the dreadful footsteps of death and human extinction get closer and closer and louder and louder …

    Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945:

    “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

  5. It seems like the masters are just as deluded as the slaves. But the situation is unsustainable. When many millions of slaves become homeless and hungry that reality will become unavoidable. Who will they blame? Will they attack one another or will they revolt against the system? Soon we will see.

  6. The censorship of the media is pretty bad, and it appears to be extending to social media users. I’ve been in Facebook jail fairly often this year, once for commenting “White people are stupid” on a black woman’s post. I pay attention to the far-right fascists, and they get away with posting much worse. On Saturday morning, I noticed that every post I tried to share on my timeline just … didn’t. I thought it was an app problem, so I restarted it. Then I began to see the generic “error” message. I concluded that Facebook as a whole was having issues. However, later that day, the generic error message changed to, “you are restricted from sharing posts until Tuesday, 6am.” There was no explanation given. I conclude that I shared something that was “against their community standards,” but WHAT? No post is flagged. The error message tells me nothing else. Just no sharing.

    And this is interesting because I share a LOT of “alternative” media, such as reports like this. I conclude that my sharing of alternative viewpoints is the real problem here.

    1. I share only alternative media since I don’t trust “mainstream” media one iota. I post articles from the World Socialist Web Site, Consortium News, the Grayzone, Caitlin Johnstone and others all the time. I am a socialist. I was only banned from posting on FB once, for criticizing Israel. No surprise there. But I suspect FB of shadow banning, i.e., making it look like you’ve posted an article but making it invisible to others in their news feeds. I first learned of this practice from Craig Murray, another whose articles I post regularly.

      1. That is a chilling thought. I was shadow banned by medium.com a few years ago. It appeared to me that my posts and comments went in, but no one else could see them. At least with them I could tell something was wrong because I had regular conversations with some people. With FB I don’t know if you could ever be sure.

      2. About “stealth censorship” I think I faced it in NYTimes. They usually ran my comments, but sometimes they only appeared at the bottom of the heap, by the time the article was so old that few people were likely to read it.

    2. I’ve been shunned by Facebook myself. I never use it but, just to increase availability of what I write on Medium, I shuttle all my writings to Facebook. I’ve been suspended several times. Which, of course, I consider a badge of honor. I obviously upset some AI’s sense of ‘right; and ‘wrong’.

  7. It’s going to take more than, “simply,” revealing the truth. I think the real challenge is to figure out how to get people to stop hiding from the truth.

    I see some “conservatives,” or whatever label you put on them, out right calling for the genocide of poor people. How can people like that be taught compassion?

    How/when will we stop hiding from the fact that we’re all in this together.

  8. While I don’t agree with you, Chris Hedges, all the time, I believe you are our one. true. journalist. Thankful for your honesty. Insight. Huge intellect. Global experience. I am an “unenrolled” voter— an extremely disillusioned former Bernie Sanders supporter. Truly, I feel like he would have been our closest attempt to achieving a real “citizen government”. What a laughable term that is these days. Bernie never would have had a chance running as a Democrat – absurd. He should have walked out of that convention four years ago and taken his supporters with him. Oh wait- you said that.

  9. CONTAGION
    Cruelty Is nearly as contagious as the pandemic.
    Especially now, with the earth perishing before our eyes
    And virtually nothing being done to address it
    Moreover, world’s end has unleashed an anything goes attitude.
    World leaders and their corporate brethren are so wedded to greed
    And the power that comes with it, that they simply avert their eyes.

    The contagious cruelty extends to humans, many millions of them, nearly always black or brown, uprooted from their lands because of wars not of their making.
    What we have now is a triage system.
    If you are wealthy, white and not old, you are worth trying to rescue from the plague.
    If you are among the many millions who are colored, poor or homeless, you need not apply.

  10. Don’t forget that the selective coverage by the NY Times in this campaign didn’t start when Biden became the nominee. Up to that time, the Times ran one or two articles on Sanders it seems. Whatever the number, it was miniscule. They almost completely ignored one of the most significant campaigns in modern history, thus helping to ensure it died on the vine. And when they did cover it one or two times, it was always negative.

    Thank you, Chris, for your tireless work in defense of our stolen democracy.

    1. A similar disproportionate coverage straw broke the camel’s back and ended my donations to NPR during the 2016 primary. It was as if Sanders wasn’t even running – until they absolutely had to start reporting that he was winning states.

      1. Yes, I too dropped donating to NPR some time before when I got clear my complaints about skewed reporting simply had disappeared into the vapors.

  11. US liberals more fascist than conservatives–long observed by historians/social philosophers
    “amerikans do not converse as Tocqueville wrote, amerikans entertain each other. amerikans do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. the problem w amerikans is not Orwellian–it is huxleyan: amerikans love their oppression: Neil Postman

  12. Glenn Greenwald’s points need stressing: (i) some of the most vociferous proponents of online censorship are mainstream and ‘alternative’ ‘journalists’ who on repeated occasions have egged on the carriers to shut sites, pages, accounts or postings; (ii) these ‘journalists’ aren’t just serving the narrowest band of oligarchic media empires in history, but also are ivy-league bourgeois brats with no interest at all in exposing the injustices or malfeasance of bourgeois society, unlike many journalists of the past; and (iii) that it’s not in the immediate material interests of the carriers to conduct the censorship, especially in the longterm, since it consumes resources and lowers traffic and profits. They’d much rather the government do it and for them to be compensated at taxpayer expense.

    To avoid future potential government antitrust measures or nationalisation (heaven forbid!), Zuckerberg and his ilk have been censoring in heavyhanded and hamfisted ways that aren’t so ‘autonomous’ but for the moment at least can be traced along the usual Democrat-controlled thinktank and CIA/FBI lines, which of course also are beyond public scrutiny. Despite the prospects for freedom of reach (and reach is what it’s really about) apparently growing dimmer with each senate committee appearance by the carrier oligarchs, ways and means will be found to circumvent their draconian measures. While alternative non-censoring platforms have yet to gain significant traction, it likely won’t take much for one to catch on, perhaps sparked by an outrageous event of suppression, that turns Facebook, Twitter, etc, into museum pieces. One might imagine, for instance, Wikileaks-style YouTube, Facebook, Twitter equivalents that act as true carriers, purely machine-based and devoid of human interference, that precludes them becoming the ‘moral guardians’ that Twitter, Facebook etc, are quickly metamorphising into.

    As increasing swathes of the population appear not to be aligning within the bourgeoisie’s preset ideological ‘tribal’ boundaries, there’s a certain schadenfreude in seeing the rulers in dread of the truth getting out and spreading uncontrollably. Their tailored counter-narratives simply are too enfeebled and slight to square with the hard reality that’s hitting everyone, from the most educated and brainwashed to the least. That ivy-league stenographers are being pressed into the service of censorship gives some indication of the desperation of the rulers. We all know, as do they but can never admit it publicly, that censorship and repression are frank admissions that they’ve lost all ‘arguments’ for their very existence.

    To an extent, Trump has been responsible for letting the genie out of the bottle, as the first president probably since before Andrew Jackson to have failed, repeatedly, to put lipstick on the racist, capitalist imperial pig. The efforts by the ruling class at censorship and naked suppression of freedom of reach and of access to sources of truthful information will only increase in desperation as their myth-making narratives become ever more unable to rationalise a crisis that’s they’re beginning to see as intractable and endangering their rule.

    1. As I said above when a large number of Americans find themselves homeless and hungry, they won’t be able to censor that reality. And due to the insouciance of the right wing of the duopoly it looks to be happening soon.

  13. The discovery of Chris Hedges, whose books are not on sale in Britain, has had a profound effect on my Kantian “Categorical Imperative”, such that I’m experiencing some newly liberated free Will to Power. I have become very aware of my own political complacency and am starting to reach out, for example to seek the engagement in the issue of Julian Assange’s liberty of my Member of Parliament. I’ve seen it alleged that British authorities are x-raying Assange every day; this would amount to poisoning. My MP is not bothered; he claims he can’t interfere politically in a political trial.
    But I write to flag up the increasing use of the term “conspiracy theorist” in the British media to discredit anyone who leans toward the view that governments aren’t telling us everything. Which part of the Thirty Year Rule don’t they understand? We all acquiesce in this, effectively making ourselves as a society, a larger fractal of a person without a memory. Then, like Bill Maher, let me propose a New Rule: if you are allowing your government thirty years in which to spin reality for you, you don’t have the right to use the word Conspiracy. You may use the term “my co-conspirators” instead.
    The one conspiracy which I have not seen Chris Hedges address as a threat to the future of civilisation is the huge scientific lacuna in the study of alien abduction, which those lucky enough to be unaware of this E.T. routine will also be unaware is the biggest threat to humanity extant, arising as it does concomitant with climate change itself. Believe that’s a coincidence if you can. Let me say in a premature summation of the arguments no-one would stop to read here that one needs to think in terms of military strategy to get a feel for the big picture: if there is one military advantage prior to the engagement of forces even better than surprise, (outside the metrics of numerical and technological superiority,) what is it ? It’s the advantage of having your opponent not knowing that they have an enemy. This is the level of advantage the aliens seek to bring to the engagement, having now done probably the majority the work of building their hybrid armies out of the flesh of human children. But our scientists would consent to tell you all that if only you would give them the Nobel Prize in advance of their doing so. Unlike Chris Hedges, scientist s don’t work to tell you the truth, they work for Nobel Prizes; their transformation of that Prize into an impediment to truth is apt really, when Nobel’s fortune arose from learning to blow things up. It’s when Oppenheimer went to work that ET seems to have kicked their undertaking into overdrive. To Oppenheimer’s famous recitation of “Lo, I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds, he should have added, in the more Christian vernacular, “This prophesy is fulfilled in your hearing of it.” I’m always curious that many are content to assume that ET just flies around aimlessly. We had Al Qaeda pilots who used to do that. They didn’t appear to be interested in landing either. Are journalists interested in this story? Apparently not, they have been persuaded by Scuence fiction writers that it’s a subculture, that the folklore has adopted their ideas, when the truth is quite the other way round. Reports enter society, by definition, as folklore, by word of mouth. But they are not myth, they are the raw material for study. Science fiction writers pick up on the folklore and are then amazed at the lower if what they take to be their own ideas. They work as a fig leaf for the “hard” scientists who can’t deploy their telescopes I to the children’s bedrooms in which the aliens are still at work.

    1. Is Roland a troll or just a garden variety Psycho? His coherent thought process makes me lean toward troll.

      1. Du snakker om Troll? Her på intellektuelle Hardangervidda har jeg blitt så langt unna fra vanlige spørsmål at det må vel ser ut som om jeg er blitt troll…men skinnet bidrar !

        I take it that that’s the normal reaction you get when you call someone a troll, Mr Easton. I don’t mean to divert your discussion, I thought it was just a taboo I had broken, I’m not exactly introducing new information into the discussion; my argument was only intended to support the proposition on the sometimes disputed point that governments can keep secrets. As the involuntary paradigm shift which led to these views took me some 50 of my 59 years to assimilate, I have little in the way of expectation that you will be set upon by feelings of existential dread any time soon; I would not wish that upon anyone. My admiration goes to those who remain unaffected by the end of civilisation, which topic is Chris Hedges’ métier, and this being the case, I thought my point relevant, and not digressive, as might be the intention of a troll. Sincerely, Roland vdP

      2. “EXISTENTIAL DREAD”? LOL! Don’t get me started. I suppose I should feel sorry for the for the @ssholes who have “EXISTENTIAL DREAD” but the idea is too amusing to take seriously.

      3. But Roland said “My admiration goes to those who remain unaffected by the end of civilisation”, so I see his heart is in the right place.

        “Existential dread” is for atheists, but I have faith in God. I don’t know if God decides every little thing, but the end of civilization would certainly be up to Them, so I trust They would do the right thing, whatever it is.

  14. This shows why Disqus is a better comment system. A troll like Zwerich can filibuster at great length and clog the comment stream. On Discus you would only see the beginning of of it unless you opt to see more.

  15. The only place one can find such a collection of hateful, half (but mostly less than that) truths and outright lies as on display in the pile of demagogic propaganda bile above are the radicalized proto fascist right propaganda media outlets.

    I don’t recall ever reading a text where practically each and every paragraph peddle a lie or an exaggerated and obfuscated version of a fact, though putting so much BS fabrications under the title of ‘truth’ is a Goebbelsian only the most brazen and/or delusional outlet would dare to write or allow.

    Here are a few examples.

    Since the electoral victory in the presidential election, the Democratic party was too preoccupied in trying to counter Trump’s attempts to steal the election, and in trying to figure out its Congressional failures to proclaim that the election was a democratic victory(the 1st paragraph’s lie).
    The claim that the Democratic party criticized the integrity of the 2016 election is false. All the investigations of the Russian interference concluded that without a doubt Russia tried to interfere in favor of Trump, and while the inquiries did not find strong, prosecutable Trump-Putin connection, the Muller investigation clearly stated that it cannot declare that such connections did not exist (the 2nd paragraph lies).

    One of the most egregious Neo Progressive fabrications is equating liberals and conservatives, a lie that each and every Trump administration action had exposed. Trump’s attempt to steal the election using Giuliani-style slime and incompetent is not only extremely unique and unprecedented in US history, but one of the slimiest moments of his entire destructive administration. The 3rd paragraph does not simply draws a parallel with Democratic actions (that remained mysterious and unspecified) but attaches the ‘slime’ adjective to the liberal side of the equation rather than where it clearly belongs.

    The rest of the tiresome, delusional at times text is filled with similar gems that has very little to do with truth outside the confines of the radicalized alternative universe where Hedges comfortably and definitely reside alongside right-wing, as well as Neo Progressive propaganda stars like Greenwald, Taibbi, Scheer, and Tucker Carlson.

    1. I think it has to be another troll. If real this person would not read from this site.

      1. I have read your comments, Paul.

        I would strongly recommend expanding your frame of reference to include more than Neo Progressive demagogues and propaganda buffs like Hedges, Greenwald, Taibbi, and the rest of those who are invested in forcing their narrow, partisan and alternate reality fiction on the rest of us.

        The real world is a polarized one, captured by the near universal (globally speaking) by the two distinct world views – the liberal and the conservative, with few satellite, minority voices such as libertarian from the right and progressive from the left.

        In Hedges (and other Neo Progressive demagogues and propaganda buffs) virtual, alternative world the division is restricted and forced into an absolute good and absolute evil, captured by the abstract distinction, forever war between the 99% enslaved and 1% elites. Hedges’ distinction only simplistic and virtual, but has no correlates in the political world at all. Moreover, it is enforcing some of the worse human social instincts it – the mistrust, even fear and hatred of the different.

        Your comment is a classic example. Because it is critical of Hedges, your response is dismissal as intentionally disruptive (the ‘troll’ quip), or misinformed (the ‘this person would not read from this site’ quip). For the record, it is neither.

      2. “I would strongly recommend expanding your frame of reference to include more than Neo Progressive demagogues and propaganda buffs like Hedges, Greenwald, Taibbi, and the rest of those who are invested in forcing their narrow, partisan and alternate reality fiction on the rest of us.”

        I’m an old one. Have witnessed the dramatic changes of which Hedges et al detail. So you can imagine, perhaps, how ludicrous to the point of almost hilarity, I find your point of view. Yours being one of these instances that only an arrogant self-aggrandizing delusional fool would have the temerity to think, much less to exhort, and much much less the vacuity to believe and follow -” Don’t believe what you see! Believe what I say!” Oh how I wish these keenly sighted writers were but blind and simply – as you say – “forcing their narrow, partisan and alternate reality fiction on the rest of us” and the world were otherwise!

      3. All right I accept that you might not be a troll but you still haven’t explained why you would bother to read and comment here if you have such a low opinion of the content.

      4. I suggest Kierkegaard—a radical Christian or Dostoevsky/Tolstoi also radical Christian existentialists. Existentialism is neither inherently religious or non-religious

  16. I disagree with the opening of this article:
    “Joe Biden’s victory instantly obliterated the Democratic Party’s longstanding charge that Russia was hijacking and compromising US elections. The Biden victory, the Democratic Party leaders and their courtiers in the media now insist, is evidence that the democratic process is strong and untainted, that the system works. “
    It’s carefully worded nonsense. The Biden election proved mailing ballots is more secure than using voting machines is. It proved many of us held our noses and voted Biden. It proved we don’t want a madman in charge of our nuclear arsenal. In the primaries it proved the mainstream media prefers Trump over Bernie Sanders.
    It did not prove that Podesta’s email wasn’t hacked by Russian assets. It didn’t prove Trump didn’t reach out to the Russians in 2016. It didn’t “obliterate” anything.
    That said, I agree with much of the content of the article and with what Mr. Hedges has stated or implied in other articles.. The mainstream media is pathetic. It does blacklist, censor, dissemble and cater to its Washington D.C. sources. It does not clearly connect global warming with ecosystem system collapse. Its coverage during elections of foreign policy is pathetic. It’s coverage of foreign policy in general is pathetic. The mainstream media profits from the horrors the drug war creates and has been a cheerleader for that persecution for decades. Our leaders are vastly overestimating how much time they have before our ecosystem collapses and hundreds of millions of people — maybe billions — are left without food and potable water. The media did give Joe Biden a pass on influence peddling via his son.
    But to start this article with the kind of mealy mouth dissembling and misdirections that our corrupt politicians regularly employ doesn’t help anyone. It just discredits progressives as being socialist Russian sympathizers. It’s not what we need.

    1. nothing has changed in amerika since Hofstadter’s 1965 Oxford lectures, “The Paranoid Style in amerikan Politics”

  17. A note to Selina Sweet.

    Your comment in the thread I started is a typical Neo Progressive quip: strong on aggressive superlative incrimination (“Yours being one of these instances that only an arrogant self-aggrandizing delusional fool would have the temerity to think, much less to exhort, and much much less the vacuity to believe and follow”) and completely devoid of any counter argument, or indeed any indication you bothered reading the entire thread, which begins with claiming that “each and every paragraph [of the Hedges’ text] peddle a lie or an exaggerated and obfuscated version of a fact”, and listing the ones in the first three paragraphs of that same text.

    Even the section of the thread to which you responded includes much more that your quote, specifically detailing the simplistic nature of Hedges’ (faux) analysis and its virtual, alternate reality nature.

    Then there is the usage of tired, empty (i.e., devoid of any content, reference, or support) of denoting views critical of yours with accusation they are of the “Don’t believe what you see! Believe what I say!” variety (a quip which, incidentally, fits your content-poor comment far more than it is even a remotely accurate description of the thread I started above).

    More than anything else, your type of comment accentuates rather than dispels the need for my commentary here and elsewhere in this site.

    Much obliged!

  18. I mean if we were at a party and all boozed up it might be fun to hear your reminiscences. But this is not a social gathering. It is supposed to address the topic.

  19. truth is never cynical, nor is it obvious—it is often dialectical, trialectical, etc. it requires curiosity and traveling into the unknown. banality often informs hedges observations. He may be reasonably accurate but he does not examine deeply or broadly enough. Perhaps this is the sin of journalism—nobody was as harshly critical of journalism than Karl Krauss

  20. “Seraphs will bring thee knowledge, but art o man is thine alone.”

    “If Mr. Easton is even capable of doing anything besides slinging his poopy at me like dumb monkey, what does he think that means?”

    What makes you think it MEANS anything Zwerin? This is KC we are discussing. Does ANYONE there know ANYTHING? I wouldn’t bet on it.

    One thing I can tell you is they don’t know how to spell. The word is “seraphim”.

    1. I’m not angry at my mother. I guess she did the best she could, but she didn’t know what to do. Her mother was even worse.

      I’m not angry at you either. I just give you what you ask for. Maybe I am too generous. Maybe I should stop. But I don’t want to make you feel bad.

  21. fascism is when corporations own the country—this was observed in the mid 1800’s by Vissaron Belinsky: “Tsarist Russia is far more free and just than America where corporations rule and robbery and thievery is made official”

  22. The degree of negativity in this article is deeply disturbing, and just adds fuel to the fire of despair raging across all segments of American society. Hopelessness is not healthy, and what does reading this leave me with but a feeling of hopelessness.

    1. Perfecto! Arthur Hoyle!That is exactly how a “managed democracy” (inverted totalitarianism” google Sheldon Wolin) wants you to feel! See? It works! The more hopeless you – the citizen – feel, the more the corporatocracy/neoliberals/the wealthy can design further legislative , domestic propaganda, judicial, media and educative structures to deepen that helplessness and hopelessness. And free you of any voice at all in legislation. Your Representatives are being very well paid to ignore your priorities. How does it feel to be manipulated? That’s right! Astonishing isn’t it? E.g. That with Gov. Cuomo’s corporatized lens – now soon to be adopted by Congress in a bipartisan fashion – corporations and wealthy owners of nursing homes and other industries will soon be free of liability for crappy working conditions leading to the deaths of those who are paying the bill, the elderly, for example. Yup. They’ll soon have “Immunity” from law suits alleging deaths and illness caused by improper sanitary conditions (e.g.no masks, dirty masks, etc). Not the employers’ fault if your auntie dies because they failed to insure hygienic provisions to the already overworked staff. It’s the staffs’ fault. Be angry. Drop the helplessness and definitely the hopelessness. Anything “man” made is alterable if not eliminated. Don’t allow these indecencies be done to you. Search for power in numbers, groups, that authentically “see” the truth and are devoted to replace this crippling system with true responsiveness to our society’s needs.

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