Chris Hedges Economy Forever Wars Original

Hedges: Democrats, the More Effective Evil

The US is a de facto one-party state where the ideology of national security is sacrosanct, unsustainable debt props up the empire and the primary business is war.
“Let’s Make a Deal,” an original work by Mr. Fish.

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

When all else fails, when you are clueless about how to halt a 7.5% inflation rate, when your Build Back Better bill is gutted, when you renege on your promise to raise the minimum wage or forgive student debt, when you can’t halt the Republican suppression of voting rights, when you have no idea how to handle the pandemic which has claimed 900,000 lives – 16% of the world’s total deaths although we are less than 5% of the world’s population – when the stock market fluctuates on wild rollercoaster rides of highs and lows, when what little help the government offered to the labor force — half of whom, 80 million, experienced a period of unemployment last year — sees the termination of the extended unemployment benefits, rental assistance, forbearance for student loans, emergency checks, the moratorium on evictions and expansion of the child tax credits, when you watch passively as the ecocide gathers momentum, then you must make the public afraid of enemies, foreign and domestic. You must manufacture an existential threat. Terrorists at home. Russians and Chinese abroad. Expand state power in the name of national security. Beat the drums of war. War is the antidote to divert public attention from government corruption and incompetence. No one plays the game better than the Democratic Party. The Democrats, as journalist and co-founder of Black Agenda Report Glen Ford said, are not the lesser evil, they are the more effective evil.

The US, burdened by de facto tax boycotts by the rich and corporations, is sinking in debt, the highest in our history. The US government budget deficit was $2.77 trillion for the 2021 budget year that ended Sept. 30, the second highest annual deficit on record. It was exceeded only by the $3.13 trillion deficit for 2020. Total US national total debt is over $30 trillion. Household debt grew by $1 trillion last year. The total debt balance in our government Ponzi scheme is now $1.4 trillion higher than it was at the end of 2019. Our wars are waged on borrowed money. The Watson Institute at Brown University estimates that interest payments on the military debt could be over $6.5 trillion by the 2050s. None of this debt is sustainable.

At the same time, the US is facing the ascendency of China, whose economy is projected to overtake the US economy by the end of the decade. Washington’s slew of desperate financial tricks – flooding the global market with new dollars and lowering interest rates to near zero – staved off major depressions after the 2000 crash, 9/11 and the 2008 global financial meltdown. The cheap interest rates led corporations and banks to borrow massively from the Federal Reserve, often to paper over shortfalls and bad investments. The result is that US businesses are deeper in debt than at any time in US history. Added to this morass is rising inflation, caused by businesses that have increased prices in a desperate effort to make up for lost revenue from supply chain shortages and rising shipping costs, the economic downturn and the slight wage increases triggered by the pandemic. This inflation has forced the Fed to curtail the growth of the money supply and raise interest rates, which then pushes corporations to further raise prices. The desperate measures to stave off an economic crisis are self-defeating. The bag of tricks is empty. Massive defaults on mortgages, student loans, credit cards, household debt, car debt and other loans in the United States is probably inevitable. With no short-term mechanisms left to paper over the disaster, it will usher in a prolonged depression.

An economic crisis means a political crisis. And a political crisis is traditionally solved by war against enemies inside and outside the nation. The Democrats are as guilty of this as the Republicans. Wars can get started by Democrats, such as Harry S. Truman in Korea or John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam, and perpetuated by Republicans. Or they can get started by Republicans, such as George W. Bush, and perpetuated by Democrats such as Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Bill Clinton, without declaring war, imposed punishing sanctions on Iraq and authorized the Navy and the Air Force to carry out tens of thousands of sorties against the country, dropping thousands of bombs and launching hundreds of missiles. The war industry, with its $768 billion military budget, along with the expansion of Homeland Security, the FBI, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the National Security Agency, is a bipartisan project. The handful of national political leaders, such as Henry Wallace in 1948 and George McGovern in 1972, who dared to challenge the war machine were ruthlessly hounded into political oblivion by the leaders of both parties.  

Biden’s bellicose rhetoric towards China and especially Russia, more strident than that of the Trump administration, has been accompanied by the formation of new security alliances such as those with India, Japan, Australia, and Great Britain in the Indo-Pacific. US aggression has, ironically, pushed China and Russia into a forced marriage, something the architects of the Cold War, including Nixon and Kissinger with their opening to China in 1971, worked very hard to avoid. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, after meeting recently in Beijing, issued a 5,300-word statement that condemned NATO expansion in eastern Europe, denounced the formation of security blocs in the Asia Pacific region, and criticized the AUKUS trilateral security pact between the US, Great Britain and Australia. They also vowed to thwart “color revolutions” and strengthen “back-to-back” strategic coordination. 

Warmongering by the Democrats always comes wrapped in the mantle of democracy, freedom and human rights, making Democrats the more effective salespeople for war. Democrats eagerly lined up behind George W. Bush during the calls to invade Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of “humanitarian intervention” and “liberating” the women of Afghanistan, who would spend the next two decades living in terror, burying family members, at times their children. Even when Democrats, including Barack Obama, criticized the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while running for office, they steadfastly voted to fund the wars to “support our troops” once elected. Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), says “an assault on Ukraine is an assault on democracy,” the same argument Democrats clung to a half-century ago while launching and expanding the disastrous war in Vietnam.  

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, is currently crafting legislation he proudly calls “the mother of all sanctions bill.” The bill led in the House by Gregory Meeks of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also a Democrat, demands that the administration “not cede to the demands of the Russian Federation regarding NATO membership or expansion.” NATO expansion to Ukraine along Russia’s borders is the central issue for Moscow. Removing this for discussion obliterates a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Sanctions under the legislation can be imposed for any act, no matter how minor, deemed by Ukraine to be hostile. The sanctions cannot be lifted until an agreement is reached between the government of Ukraine and Russia, meaning Ukraine would be granted the authority to determine when the US sanctions will end. The proposed sanctions, which target Russian banks, the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline, state-owned enterprises and leading members of the government and military, including President Vladimir Putin, also calls for blocking Russia from SWIFT, the international financial transaction system that uses the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. 

 “The legislation would grant at least $500 million in foreign military assistance to Ukraine, in addition to the $200 million in new assistance sent over the last month,” writes Marcus Stanley.  “This makes Ukraine the third leading recipient of US military assistance globally, after Israel, and Egypt. While it wouldn’t come close to giving Ukraine the ability to combat Russia on its own, it may come with US military advisors that would increase the danger the US would be drawn into a conflict. The bill also takes steps to directly involve countries bordering Russia in negotiations to end the crisis, which would make it much more difficult to reach an agreement.” 

While cutting Russia off from SWIFT will be catastrophic, at least in the short term, for the Russian economy, pushing Russia into the arms of China to create an alternative global financial system that no longer relies on the US dollar will cripple the American empire. Once the dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency the dollar will precipitously drop in value, perhaps as much as by two-thirds, as the pound sterling did when the British currency was abandoned as the world’s reserve currency in the 1950s. Treasury bonds, used to finance America’s military-based balance-of-payments deficit and the ballooning government budget deficit, will no longer be attractive investments for countries such as China. The nearly 800 US military outposts abroad, sustained by debt – the Chinese have lent an estimated $1 trillion to the US on which they collect hefty interest – will dramatically shrink in number. Meanwhile, the massive US interest payments, at least in part, will continue to fund the Chinese military.

 The US domination of the world economy, after 75 years, is over. It is not coming back. We manufacture little, short of weapons. Our economy is a mirage build on unsustainable levels of debt. The pillage orchestrated by the capitalist elites and corporations has hollowed the country out from the inside, leaving the infrastructure decayed, democratic institutions moribund and at least half the population struggling at subsistence level. The two ruling parties, puppets for the ruling oligarchs, refuse to curb the rapacious appetites of the war industry and the rich, accelerating the crisis. That the rage of the dispossessed is legitimate, even if it is expressed in inappropriate ways, is never acknowledged by the Democrats, who were instrumental in pushing through the trade deals, deindustrialization, tax loopholes for the rich, deficit spending, endless wars and austerity programs that have created crisis. Instead, shooting the messenger, the Biden administration is targeting Trump supporters and winning draconian sentences for those who stormed the capital on January 6. Biden’s Justice Department has formed a domestic terrorism unit to focus on extremists and Democrats have been behind a series of moves to de-platform and censor their right-wing critics.

The belief that the Democratic Party offers an alternative to militarism is, as Samuel Johnson said, the triumph of hope over experience. The disputes with Republicans are largely political theater, often centered around the absurd or the trivial. On the substantive issues there is no difference within the ruling class. The Democrats, like the Republicans, embrace the fantasy that, even as the country stands on the brink of insolvency, a war industry that has orchestrated debacle after debacle, from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq, is going to restore lost American global hegemony. Empires, as Reinhold Niebuhr observed, eventually “destroy themselves in the effort to prove that they are indestructible.” The self-delusion of military invincibility is the scourge that brought down the American empire, as it brought down past empires. 

We live in a one-party state. The ideology of national security is sacrosanct. The cult of secrecy, justified in the name of protecting us from our enemies, is a smoke screen to hide from the public the inner workings of power and manipulate public perceptions. The Democratic courtiers and advisers that surround any Democratic presidential candidate – the retired generals and diplomats, the former national security advisers, the Wall Street economists, the lobbyists, and the apparatchiks from past administrations – do not want to curb the power of the imperial presidency. They do not want to restore the system of checks and balances. They do not want to challenge the military or the national security state. They are the system. They want to move back into the White House to wield its awful force. And now, with Joe Biden, that is where they are.

Chris Hedges writes a regular original column for ScheerPost. 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.  Author Link

Copyright 2021 Chris Hedges


    1. Same old story goes back thousands of years. There is no cure for this madness.

      “The bag of tricks is empty” is another old story.

      What’s coming, in all of its horror, is (sadly) as old as the hills.

      Thank you Mr. Hedges for another exposé of the Real World. 🙂

      1. @Chris Wolf
        The cure is to lower human population and live a lot more naturally in much smaller groups. The problem is civilization, not how civilization is run.

      2. Looks like the comment section for this article is closed. will add my comment here.

        A handful of powerful men have always manned the helm of the human condition.

    2. I like this piece. It’s very on point and believable. However, I just don’t understand why identification and/or more secure election procedures is viewed as “anti-voting rights.” I have always shown my card and ID when I go to vote. What is the problem with this? We have to have ID for many, many activities. I’ll have to agree with Tulsi Gabbard. She introduced a bill to secure elections and it was shot down by her own party. She knew exactly why. This matter has people enraged over what you call the “more effective evil.” I don’t believe our current president got more votes that Obama and Hillary. It’s laughable.

      1. @Donna
        Many poor people, including many Black people, don’t have the IDs that are required under these new restrictive laws. Furthermore, the claim that there’s any substantial voting fraud is a complete lie. Voting fraud is practically nonexistent, and the only reason for these laws is to keep Black and poor people from voting, because they tend to vote for Democrats. I hate the Democrats too, but on this issue they’re right and the Republicans are wrong.

      2. The problem of ‘voter i.d.’ is that is a fine, acceptable policy except when voters cannot get one. The ways that certain states implement policy tends to restrict certain classes of voters from getting proper voter i.d. It is a partisan issue because those making restrictive policy tend to be Republicans while those restricted tend to be Democrats.
        As to your other point, the Democrats are perhaps only a little less guilty than the Republicans in ensuring democracy as one person one vote.

      3. Those opposed to the voter ID laws say poor people find it difficult to get them. They can show no examples of this. If it was difficult but the need for secure elections was important then the caring Democrats could offer service to help. Poor people have ID for beer and cigarettes. Before you start your usual name calling because you can’t debate, I’ll let you know I grew up poor in government housing and know of the many poor choices they make. We wouldn’t have enough to eat but dad would have his cigarettes.

    3. Poignant and succinct describing in exact detail the current state of affairs, without vitriol and malice, or political rhetoric-well done. My concern is if the FED can’t raise interests rates, if so the nation defaults on debt. We are past the point of no return: a market correction is not enough. A gut of all entitlement programs and a strict diet of the federal budget won’t be enough. This is the end of the United States. Thanks, Nixon, August 15, 1971, and that charge card without a limit.

      1. The FED interest rate is policy intending to control inflation and insure ‘full employment’. It has nothing to do with paying interest on the national debt.
        Nixon went off the gold standard in favor of fiat money because the nation essentially ran out of gold due to foreign, adventurous wars–Vietnam and Korea, but lots of others run by the CIA–and could no longer cover its current accounts. Rather than raise taxes and devalue the dollar to curb imports, the Americans sold T-bills. In time, that debt became the global reserve currency.
        Michael Hudson calls this a ‘free lunch’ that allowed America to keep up foreign wars and bases and maintain a high level of consumer and social spending. As China, Russia, and other sanctioned countries move away from the dollar, America will have to change its policy. Hopefully, she will abandon militarism and begin to tax the wealthy. Remember, the other side of a debt is someone’s asset, and the largest portion of America’s national debt is held domestically.

      2. @Ted+Tripp
        Nixon replaced the gold standard with the petrodollar, which explains the U.S.’s unquestioning and unequivocal support for Saudi Arabia and its leaders no matter what they do.

  1. So what are the solutions to putting all of this to rest and creating a more perfect government for us all.

    1. Kick the D/Rs out – elect 3rd parties …. yeah, it’s doable, if we decide to do it – these folks have been in for decades, because WE keep putting them there, and we can kick them out …

      1. …voter majorities, 43% today identify INDEPENDENT of either corporate oligarchy corruption of political duopoly HORror…

        circa 25% each for Hedges properly apportioned, “one party state”…and as voters $ee through – leave both – the one – the other…

        reason both – the one – the other attempt 3rd, 4th, party candidacy goalpost “motion”….

      2. I did my part. I voted for Jill Stein and was a big supporter of Bernie. I had to hold my nose & vote for Biden as I can’t stand Trump.

      3. @patricia Weidl,
        And that’s the problem – the LOTE choice – indeed Trump is a schmuck, but Biden is no better in terms of getting us where we need and want to go – in ’00 Nader got ~3% of the vote – if he had gotten more in ’04 and more again in ’08, then Stein more in ’12, etc. we would have had a “green” gov’t by now because the Ds would have understood that the writing was on the wall, or in the ballot box, that they would not win unless they gave us what we need or they would disappear, as the Whigs did, but we chickened out every time – refusing to vote 3rd party because it “spoils” it for Ds, but Ds, along with Rs, have spoiled everything else for us. By voting our fears, of those “awful” Rs, by whatever name, instead of our wants and needs – we get what we fear only in a slightly more “pleasing” wrapping. We have lost decades voting LOTE and we are running out of time ….

      4. @patricia Weidl
        As SH pointed out, voting for Biden or any other Democrat is the problem. Don’t hold your nose and vote for someone; vote for people with whom you agree on political and ideological positions, and with whom you share priorities, the latter usually even more important. The Democrats are just as much the enemy as the Republicans, and any votes for them just support them, including financially.

        As to Trump specifically, the establishment couldn’t have lucked into a better foil and distraction. He knows how to push everyone’s buttons (don’t know whether he’s secretly smart and consciously knows, or he just naturally acts and talks that way) both for and against him, and he broke the brains of the large majority of Americans who thought they were progressive. What he actually did in office was, overall, no different than any other president, but everyone got distracted by his boorish and generally rude public comments and behavior. Then we had the Democratic Party/CIA Russiagate propaganda that cemented the broken brains into place, so now everyone thinks that Russia is the prime evil on the planet (couldn’t be further from the truth, though like all large countries, Russia IS evil) and Vladimir Putin is the devil incarnate. This almost certainly explains the extreme hysterical gross overreaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when there was no international reaction to all the U.S. invasions over the past 20 or so years that were much worse and had absolutely no justification (not that Russia’s invasion was justified because it wasn’t, but Russia at least had some very legitimate grievances against NATO expansion up to its borders and Ukrainian Nazis killing and otherwise oppressing ethnic Russians in Ukraine).

        If you want real change, don’t vote Democrat and don’t give them any money. I know it can be tempting, I’ve been tempted occasionally to vote against Republicans too by voting Democrat, but you have to resist that evil temptation, because the Democrats need to be brought down every bit as much as the Republicans do. The No. 1 things we should be working for regarding elections are replacing our unrepresentative electoral system with proportional representation, and eliminating all private campaign contributions. Getting those things done could effect some real changes; electing a Democrat in order to stop a Republican will not.

      5. To Jeff,
        Thanx! I agree with your comment about not voting D or R – we need to vote for what we want as we have supported over and over in opinion polls on various issues – M4A, student debt cancellation, etc. If we voted at the electoral polls the way we do in opinion polls, we’d have that stuff by now!

        And i agree with you that the changes you suggest would help us to do that – but there is a strain I often see with these suggestions and that is we will not be able to succeed until we get them .

        The problem, I think, is that we are putting the cart before the horse – we won’t get any of them with the Ds and Rs in power – the current arrangements suit them just fine, they are mechanisms designed to keep 3rd parties from challenging them – Citizens United was decided over 10 years ago – for all the moaning and groaning about “money in politics”, where is a concerted effort to pass a Const Amendment that says Corps are not people within the Const. framework, and money is not speech? Pretty simple idea – and it would allow Cong to actually pass election financing restrictions, which they say they “can’t” do now because of the CU decision – an Amendment would take care of that, but that would remove their excuse!

        The same for other reforms, take RCV (ranked choice voting) e.g – that would remove the so-called “spoiler” effect – 3rd parties wouldn’t be “spoiling” anything – but D/Rs, especially Ds, want folks to keep believing that voting 3rd party “spoils” it for them – that seems to be a powerful argument for folks, though it seems to me it’s time, way past time, to “spoil” it for all the duopoly who have spoiled just about everything else for the “99%” for quite some time …

        So hard as it may be, and it is getting harder and harder, between more and more restrictive ballot, debate, and Matching Fund requirements, all designed for expressly that purpose, for 3rd parties to make a dent – we cannot wait for those reforms, because they are not forthcoming as long as the duopoly is in power – we have to support and vote for, over and over, in ever greater numbers, 3rd parties who stand for what we want – “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” That, I have to say, is the only way …. We are lions in the streets, but chickens at the polls – we have wasted way too much time, decades, on LOTE voting, we gotta turn that around lickety split…. And we, and the rest of the planet, are running out of time …

      6. @SH
        I have no opinion on which must come first. I also strongly believe that in this corrupt and unrepresentative system, there are as many legitimate reasons not to vote as there are to vote. I don’t have a solution except for educating people and waking them up to reality. As usual, realistic expectations are very dim, but I always maintain hope and continue to try.

    2. The problem is that we no longer have a democracy, but a loose oligarchy or dictatorship of the rich, a form of economic tyranny. To restore democracy, it must be stabilized by:
      1. Amendments to protect elections and mass media debate from economic power;
      2. Restriction of executive power; checks and balances within federal branches;
      3. Investigation and purging of our corrupt judiciary and Congress;
      4. Monitoring of government officials for corruption;
      5. Regulating business so that oligarchic bullies cannot control economic power;
      6. Re-purposing 80% of our MIC to foreign aid, later making that a distinct agency;
      7. Reforming our secret agencies to end secret political wars and operations.
      Only when we have the power to do that, can we dump AUMFs, join the ICC, dump our law to attack the Hague etc., re-negotiate NATO as strictly defensive, limit foreign wars to UN auspices, repudiate deals with warmonger nations, end our secret wars, and thereby eliminate US warmongering.
      Only then can literature, media, education, and public interaction encourage moral community, and only then can public debate find the moral policies that honor the rights of all persons and seek justice for all.
      The Means of Reform:
      1. Executive overreach to dismiss the corrupt and hold new elections requires massive replacement of agency top levels by a well organized political coalition;
      2. Organize new parties that truly represent voters and form majority coalitions;
      3. Use small groups, false names, no email, and eliminate possible informers;
      4. Organize strikes, riots, and visible demonstrations to demand action;
      5. Infiltrate military/intel/police/nat guard and deny these to oligarchy in strikes and riots;
      6. Blow the whistle on corruption wherever it is found, but hide your identity;
      Individual Actions To Recommend:
      1. Never watch mass media or vote Rep or Dem, and advise others to do so;
      2. Let people know where you stand, but not coworkers, relatives, or broad social groups;
      3. Watch candidate funding and dump any with MIC or zionist sympathies;
      4. Boycott military companies and BDS Israel; carefully denounce MIC and zionists;
      5. Refuse to take mortgages or keep large sums in banks or investments;
      6. Support foreign rejection of US products, currency, and NATO.
      Do Not Expect Pacifism to Remove Tyranny:
      1. Restoring democracy requires elimination of oligarchy funding of mass media and elections, which cannot be done peacefully because those are the tools of democracy.
      2. The judiciary has no role at all in reform: it is almost 100 percent corrupt fake patriots who deny rights or law beyond their party and identity group;
      3. Political demonstrations are no longer covered by mass media;
      4. Political commentary groups are educational families but do not achieve the results;
      5. Functioning movements do not end tyranny without a political and a militant wing;
      6. The US is run by tyrants, who are persuaded only in their language of force and fear: organized attacks on the rich/media/parties/officials, infiltration of agencies to deny enforcement, riots, and strikes: those are the only first signs of progress;
      Action, Not Identity Squabbles:
      1. Alternative groups must create a substitute power, not an alternative social milieu;
      2. Neutral luxury issues like climate change, maternity leaves, gun control, and gay bathrooms are mass media squabbles to divide reformers and maintain oligarchy;
      3. Lives are more important: ignore luxury issues until we have restored democracy and eliminated war and the tyranny of the rich;
      4. Action requires courage; but without political Action there is no progress;
      5. Do your duty as a citizen while limiting the personal cost, otherwise all is lost for your future and your children; otherwise you consent to the enslavement of all humanity.
      6. The challenge is to speak the language of force without losing moral perspective.
      US democracy may not be restored by political action. It may be a slow train wreck much celebrated in the future. But surprises happen, and we must be prepared to sweep in and do all that can be done. This is the good fight, and humanity will win at last.

      1. Wow! I am very pleased to read this, the first thorough Manifesto for success. I agree fully with the need for a direct action, third party approach to upending the oligarchy/plutocracy of the current ‘bipartisan’ system.

      2. Climate change is a “Neutral luxury issue?” Please explain that one when NOAA predicts the U.S. will experience a one foot rise in sea level in the next 30 years instead of 100. Tell that to the millions of working people struggling to live along America’s coasts who face the increased risk of flooding and loss of livelihood.

      3. @Captain Radical
        Climate change is a “Neutral luxury issue” until the USG is reformed, because nothing will be done until then, as has been the case for the last 50 years. Like other such issues, it greenwashes corrupt parties and officials to speak of it, and their bribe sources know that they will do nothing about it. All it takes is a few green promises and something to blame for inaction, to prevent those concerned from seeing the real problems.

      4. @Sam F
        The fact that politicians only pay lip service to actually doing something about global warming/climate change (or any other environmental issue) doesn’t make that issue “neutral luxury issue.” In fact, that and the potential nuclear conflict or war that the U.S. is moving the world toward in the Ukraine are the most immediate and existential problems on the planet (not talking about root causes here, just things that need to be fixed in order to continue life on Earth).

        The environment is by far the most important issue, now and always. First and foremost, other species have every bit as much right to live and thrive as humans, and any position to the contrary is as immoral as it gets. Second, humans can’t live either without a healthy natural environment. I strongly suggest that you rethink your position on this.

      5. @ Tedder: Thanks, we need new people to take cautious but vigorous direct action. For more details, check sources like Aric McBay’s “Full Spectrum Resistance.”

      6. OMG! Thank you. Someone offering possible solutions is really refreshing. Hedges’ article reminds me of #18 in Stuff White People Like, i.e., raising awareness. They feel self-satisfied because they raise awareness, but they offer no solutions. That is too hard and would require deep thought which he is obviously not capable of doing. They should change the name of the Pulitzer Award to the George Michael award.

      7. @barge finster
        It is not the job of a journalist to offer solutions. If they can do so, great, but that’s in addition to their journalism, not a necessary part of it. These ridiculous complaints that people who point out problems didn’t offer solutions amount to advocating for the status quo and therefore the establishment.

        ChrisHedges is one of if not THE most moral journalist(s) around, and has an excellent spiritual attitude (not talking about his religious background). Hedges’s critiques of this rotten society — politically, socially, and spiritually — are first rate, and I challenge you to provide ones that are even close.

    3. A most excellent question! For now, and in the spirit of ‘educate, organize, agitate’ : keep receiving, integrating, and transmitting the problem (amongst ourselves) with more & more clarity until Its magnitude transcends into some kind of healing & wholesome critical mass of ever-evolving solutions and answers. How else to counterbalance & overcome this sociopolitical plague of anti-soulcrafting and unwholesome ”brutish nature of nature naturing.” ?!

    4. A most excellent question! For now, and in the spirit of ‘educate, organize, agitate’ : keep receiving, integrating, and transmitting the problem (amongst ourselves) with more & more clarity until Its magnitude transcends into some kind of healing & wholesome critical mass of ever-evolving solutions and answers. How else to counterbalance & overcome this sociopolitical plague of anti-soulcrafting and unwholesome ”brutish nature of nature naturing.” ?! to be continued . . .

    5. I advocate for supporting the Socialist Equality Party related to the World Socialist Web Site. This is a genuine democratic socialist structure based on the works of Marx and Trotski. Unlike the fake socialist entities of the DSA and Jacobin Magazine whos end game always leads back to supporting capitalism. Who support fake socialist of the likes of the Squad and Bernie Sanders. In which their end game always resorts to supporting capitalism also. You can do a search at WSWS where they expose the truths of these people, the DSA, and Jacobin Magazine. I also highly suggest following the site Hedges mentioned in the article BAR (Black Agenda Report). Who expose the workings of our black elite politicians and the black caucus they form in our government. If I can help you with any information feel free to ask!

      1. Hmm, raising the specter of Trotsky and Jacobin will do nothing more than divide the socialist movement.

      2. These seem to be very good solutions..but until we can get a voice for others to hear…the current media powerful will continue to do their best to keep the current ideas up front.

      3. It’s up to us to spread the oppositional message as far as our circles go. Education from the resources we obtain that they are suppressed from is essential to combat their managed perception. Those who can be potential partners with us don’t want to be ignorant. With the right group of information sources exposed to them they can become more aware of how the agenda works to keep them ignorant.

      4. @William E Flowers
        Fully agree about Sanders and the Squad. Their job is to shepherd progressives into the Democratic Party, thereby neutering them. I was happy when Ocasio-Cortez got elected, but as is obvious, she didn’t change the Democratic Party, it changed her. Same with the rest of the Squad. As to Sanders, I’ve always said that he’s no Dennis Kucinich (whose San Francisco presidential campaign I worked on). I am registered and vote Green, but I would probably have held my nose and voted for Sanders if he had gotten the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. He’s gotten worse since then, and I wouldn’t vote for him now even if he got the nomination. His comment to Hedges and Nader that after having the 2016 nomination stolen from him, he wouldn’t run as a 3d party candidate because he didn’t want to become ostracized like Nader tells you all you need to know about him.

    6. End corporate power at its source: As Pres. Teddy Roosevelt proposed in 1906, create one federal law that preempts all the state laws, then set the rules there. E.g. all boards of directors will be AT LEAST 50% labor & public representatives; no use of funds for anything other than direct corporate business (no donations of any kind, no corporate funded think tanks, university chairs/department s, no lobbyists EVER, etc.); no stock options….. Make that the no. 1 issue for everyone & it can be done.

      1. I have a better idea: All companies except for natural monopolies must be worker-owned. Natural monopolies, such as utilities, must be owned by the government. Corporate charters must be temporary and should only be granted occasionally where they serve a strong public purpose. The corporate charter must be renewed every 2 years if the project is not completed, and will not be renewed if any malfeasance on the part of the corporation is found.

      1. You want folks to revolt in the streets? We can’t even get them to revolt at the polls …

    7. @Kathleen Scott
      In order to have anything resembling a representative government, the following changes are required:

      1. Replace the winner-take-all electoral system with proportional representation. Every democracy in the world beside the U.S. and U.K. has proportional representation, ridiculous that we don’t.
      2. Replace all private campaign contributions with equal public funding for all candidates in order to give every candidate a fair chance.
      3. Free and equal TV time for all candidates, again in order to give all candidates a fair chance.
      4. Eliminate the executive branches at all levels of government to the greatest extent possible. Replace the president with a prime minister, and strictly forbid presidents, governors, and mayors from vetoing any legislation. This would have the added benefit of also eliminating the undemocratic electoral college.
      5. Eliminate the Senate. This totally undemocratic body is the U.S. version of the House of Lords.
      6. Replace tyrannical strong mayor governments with city managers and weak mayor governments, the city managers to be elected by the city council.
      7. Have Congress appoint all federal judges and replace lifetime appointments with 5 year terms, after which Congress must either reappoint or replace them.

      Note that these are just starting points. The political rot in this country is so deep and widespread that it would take a book to list all the necessary changes.

    1. Yes..Chris Hedges has been a voice for the betterment of humanity for sure…we need more rich and powerful to be as evolved as he is…

    1. Yep..wish more peopke would listen to his very wise obversations! so we can affect more positive changes in our world!

  2. Kathleen Scott
    When all of a Nations people owned ‘public commons’ assets have been sold-off (privatized), at bargain basement prices, by those who own and operate the ‘Government’ of the Nation to individually held (stockholder), corporate banks; and all of the country’s debts (government budget deficits) are owed, and payable to these privately held banking systems, “the solutions to putting all of this to rest and creating a more perfect government for us all” are straightforward!
    Change the system of private ownership and exchange of the Nations assets to a community operated, and cooperatively owned, and truly democratically shared country, as Chris Hedges so literarily alludes to… before it really is too late; and we are almost, if not already there!

  3. As always I am impressed with Chris’s ability to avoid the daily bs and keep an eye on the big picture. To think, most of my adult life I had sided with Democrats. They are the more effective evil.

    1. Bernie Sanders has been trying for years to balance the human economic equation…thank gawd for his persistence…we need moe people to get on board who can effectively bring about changes!

      1. You put to much faith and or glorification on Sanders. Sanders is actually part of the problem when it comes to the fact he has supported the capitalist system on virtually every front. Supports legislature, both past and present, that goes against his very own speak. He, and the squad, receive advocacy from 2 fake democratic socialist entities of the DSA and Jacobin Magazine. These entities are not of a democratic socialist structure. Their job is primarily to herd the youthful socialist minded citizens, and others, in the US into that party under the notion of a false perception that they can change the democratic party from the inside. I assure you that will never happen. The squads and these 2 entities actions have gone virtually the same direction as Sanders career. They are virtually the same type of deceptive outliers the Paul’s have been for libertarians within the republican party.

        I would highly suggest you re-examine the 2016 primary cycle where he handed our democracy over to Clinton and the DNC betraying his supports. Then jumped on the false Russian narrative with those who rigged the system against him as a coverup for their actions. Hedges and Nader spelled out virtually how Sanders would do this in a discussion months before the vote. I was currently on a large scale advocacy adventure for Sanders on facehack when I seen the discussion and dismissed it myself. It was heartbreaking for all the work I put into advocating for him and how it left me basically leading many people from various party affiliations and walks of life to vote for him, after realizing the measure of betrayal he deceptively manufactured, along with the discovery that the DNC can lawfully pick the candidate they want to “represent” us as they obviously did. Sanders still silent about this and obviously willfully compliant. Democracy has always been at odds with the ruling class wealthy elite from the beginning. If there was any real genuine sense of democracy at any point, it is surely dead today. It was dead in 2016 and well before that.

      2. Yup! There is so much to be said about Sanders, but you said a chunk – he makes a lot of good sounds, but when push comes to shove, he backs down – he has done this time and time again – In ’16 when it was clear what the Dems were doing to him, Stein invited him to join her in the GP – their platforms were soooo much alike, except hers was better on FP – he never even bothered to respond. Instead he wound up backing Clinton in the election, a women whose platform was almost diametrically opposed to his. It has been clear to me for some time that if it is a choice between the DP and principle, he picks the former every time. He may have “bucked” the party on a few votes, to please his supporters, – but only when it was safe to do so, when the bill would have passed without him, or been defeated even with him –

  4. Excellent review of the doom clouds on the US horizon, and the tyrant’s wars to distract from domestic disaster.

    If democracy is ever restored in the US, it must be stabilized by amendments to protect elections and mass media debate from economic power, better checks and balances within the government branches, purging the corrupt judiciary and Congress, monitoring of government officials for corruption, and regulation of business so that oligarchic bullies and scammers do not rise to control economic power. Only then can literature, media, education, and public interaction encourage moral community, and only then can public debate find the moral policies that honor the rights of all.

    But the moral thinkers and concerned citizens cannot prevail by reason and education in our society of economic tyranny, they must come to understand force, the only language of tyrants, without losing moral perspective. Otherwise they consent to the enslavement of all humanity. Maybe the role of the West is to oppress everyone so much that they are forced to unify under communism and then gradually move toward democracy. Now we have to figure out how to restore democracy in the West by the same means. No doubt our oligarchy will be glad to oblige.

      1. @Dick Double
        I vote for Siddhartha (the Buddha), but either one would be infinitely better than this.

  5. Planning on moving to costa rica or dominican Republic.. I have had enough
    No incentive to stay here anymore once Medicare and social security destroyed

  6. About time you spoke plainly and named it out loud and in their face. I know, I get it all the time about my delivery so white people can hear what I’m saying. But I’m thinking they aren’t my audience and I don’t have to “tone it down” for their sensibilities. Can I get an “amen” for my brother, Chris. 🙂

  7. The Dems are indeed the “more effective evil.” When the so-called moderates usurped the D party, their rightward push enabled the Rs to go full out fascist. At least the contemporary Rs are upfront with their disdain for fairness and sanity.

    The elephants in donkeys’ clothing also ditched the New Deal and abandoned labor. Never, ever forget these same Ds did for the Rust Belt exactly what they did to the Wall St. predators who caused the ’08 crash–NOTHING! The gall of claiming they care about the US majority working class despite unwavering support for deeply inequitable neolib economics. A system now terminally ill, kept alive artificially by militarism, prison labor, and ecological devastation.

    And could there be any greater irony–or gaslighting; take your pick–than Speaker Pelosi’s “an assault on Ukraine is an assault on democracy”?! Uh-huh. Let us know when you and the other pseudo-Ds are as bellicose about fighting a system where the fake people, corporations, have rights while real people are losing theirs to the R gerrymandering you’ve enabled.

    1. @Rafi Simonton
      The Ukraine comment is even worse than you made it out to be. The U.S. is supporting literal Nazis in Ukraine. Not to mention that the U.S. deposed a democratically elected president and imposed “our guy” in his place. But hey, Pelosi shared with the whole country how much ice cream she has in her freezer, so democracy, right?

  8. I feel sick to my stomach every time I vote for a Democrat. It makes me ill. The Republicans are evil incarnate, but the Dems are the more effective devils masquerading as angels.

    1. So why do you vote for a Dem.? If it makes you sick, why do it? There are other choices ….

    2. @Prem Chand
      Stop voting for them. Either vote for someone whose politics you support, or don’t vote at all. A vote for the Democrats is a vote for neoliberalism, the deep state, the military/industrial complex, and war.

  9. The Republicans are vulgar and vicious economic rapists and proud of it. They love the cruelty they inflict on the poor. The Democrats are vicious but more refined economic rapists but they try to pretend they feel badly about it. At least the Republicans are honest about their depravity, the Democrats lie about it and try to distract folks with virtue signaling.

    1. Here’s my description – the Rs will face you, frown, and shoot you in the belly, the Ds will come alongside, smile, put their arm around your shoulder, and stab you in the back …

      1. The Rs will still give you a chance. They will give vouchers for inner city black kids. More jobs available. Look at the core Republican Party. They were as straight as they came.
        Yeah, many may be corrupt, but they will still give you a chance. Inflation won’t happen.
        Oh yeah, if no one has figured this one yet. Climate Change is a recycled scam. Look up 1922 Washington Post article Global Warming.

  10. Simplistic explanations for complex issues often miss the mark, but one could make the case that our maniacal expenditures for “defense, by themselves, are leading the country into a death spiral. The irony in all this is that a transition to massive investments for renewable energy, expanded and universal healthcare, free education, and a refurbishing of a collapsing infrastructure, would create far more economic activity, with a focus on people and the planet, and with dividends for decades to come, but that seems beyond the comprehension of the sociopaths who are in control. Sadly, we seem incapable of ridding ourselves of these parasites, as they have almost total control of the electoral process.

    1. Fossil fuels are essential for military operations, that is, gasoline and diesel run their equipment, natural gas creates their explosives. Thus, if humanity has even a prayer of mitigating climate chaos, the military must go.

  11. We still have wonderful agricultural lands left with which we could feed the world and demand high prices for it if we respond to the demand for organic and grass fed. Regenerational and organic or Regen/organic is answer to what could be one of our leading products as we find our place, products and markets in a changing climate. Studies have shown that regen/ag soils have up to a 40% more yield in times of drought than conventional agriculture soils. I pay a lot of money for food shipped to me from a neighboring whose animal raising practices match my demands for clean for. Such demands are growing and can be open to low income as well by accepting EBT. There’s a way to make the world different than it is now. Bill Gates aside, it’s up to the states to see this opportunity and aid their farmers and ranchers to grab hold.

    1. @Paula
      Agriculture is very ecologically destructive, and animal agriculture is the worst of it. There is no “good” way to graze farmed animals, especially cattle, who totally destroy any land they graze on. Grass fed beef is yuppie BS and is far more destructive than conventional beef, though it’s all very destructive. If you care for the environment, don’t eat meat more than once/week, and don’t eat beef at all.

      FYI, I’m a lifelong environmentalist and I was an Earth First! campaigner when I was younger. One of my campaigns was getting the damn cattle off of a state park near us, a campaign that we won. That was in the late 1980s, and the land is in exponentially better shape now that the hooved locusts have been removed. The reason I’m telling you this is that I expect you to respond with the usual rancher lies and propaganda. Please don’t bother, I’m not interested. Cattle grazing is one of the most destructive things that humans do, and there’s no “good” way to do it, despite rancher BS to the contrary.

      1. Some environmentalists are closed-minded bigots, such as shown in this comment about animal agriculture. Of course, farming cattle, sheep, goats, et al animals has been and still is enormously destructive, but so has almost every other element of modern life.
        Vast numbers of humans have been herd followers since ancient times, and we bare this legacy today with our meat and dairy consumption. It is 1) hard to give this up; and 2) necessary to bring this into ecological balance. Those with closed minds such as Jeff will not see this, nor will Jeff be able to clearly address the ecological problems we face.

      2. @Tedder
        I’m not a bigot, I’m a misanthrope, and for damn good reason: humans fit the medical definition of being a cancerous tumor on the Earth. This is a provable fact, not my opinion. I love the Earth and all life on it, hence my misanthropy.

        The worst thing that humans ever did was to start using agriculture instead of continuing to live as hunter-gatherers, as we have for 95% of our existence, as all other animals live, and which is the only natural and environmentally friendly way to live. And again, animal agriculture is by far the worst of it. Creating unnatural (i.e., bred by humans instead of naturally-evolved) animals like cattle is bad enough, but humans have also done things like replacing native grasses with grasses that cattle like, fencing off previously open areas to contain their cattle, grazing cattle in very sensitive arid and semi-arid areas like the western U.S., and killing trees to graze cattle. Humans should be eating wild meat, not farmed meat, simple as that. Of course humans also eat far too much meat, both individually, and as a species because we’re grossly overpopulated. The grazing industry has caused more environmental and ecological harm in the western U.S. than any other industry. Think about that considering the other hideous industrial industries!

        Your childish name-calling doesn’t address one point that I made. The fact that animal agriculture and specifically cattle & sheep grazing is only one of many harms that humans cause is no reason not to raise this issue when someone states that we should be doing more harmful things like eating grass-fed beef.

        The fact is that before I moved to the west and started learning about all the massive ecological harms caused by cattle grazing, I’d never even heard of this issue. My mind was OPENED, not closed, by learning about this. You, on the other hand, can’t refute anything I said, and instead make totally conflicting statements that on one hand say we need to change our behavior, and on the other hand that my advocacy for doing so renders me incapable of seeing what ecological balance is or addressing ecological problems. Contrary to these ridiculous comments, I very strongly advocate for people to return to living in complete ecological balance with both the Earth and their ecosystems, which they can only do by eventually returning to living as hunter-gatherers (a very long-term goal that will probably take thousands of years).

  12. The Democrats in America and the Liberals over here in Canada are tone deaf just like the Uber wealthy who think invest their wealth in space travel while ignoring the needs of everyone else who isn’t fortunate enough to be part of the .5 per cent of the wealthiest people like themselves. People like Justin Trudeau look like arrogant, out of touch tyrants when they refuse to listen to the demands of truckers precisely because they’ve never bothered to listen to anyone outside their echo chamber. Trudeau, in the words of one former MP doesn’t give a (expletive) and never will. Just look at Canada’s housing crisis if you need proof. When you’ve perfected the art of demagoguery who needs the opinions of others.

    1. I am not willing to give much of an opinion on the truckers’ strike in Canada, except to say that 1) things are usually not what they seem; 2) the apparent goals of the strike are nonsensical.

  13. Hedges, as always, writes with the power and passion of the brilliant author (and preacher, by training) that he is. Our world would be a poorer place if he ever stopped writing (but you know, he never will!) And the illustration by Mr. Fish is typically outstanding. (I highly recommend his book of interviews, BTW.)

    In this particular time and place, though, I don’t 100% agree with what Hedges is saying about imminent economic collapse. There are long-term worries, and the Pentagon are a den of thieves, but I don’t think it’s time to start stuffing money under the mattress just yet.

    COVID caused many people to reassess their overwork at underpaying jobs. Those who could find a way not to go back to those jobs, did so.

    As a result, employers have had to raise wages. Since the trend for decades has been employers getting an ever-higher proportion of profits, paying better wages isn’t just morally sound (which is is), it has important economic benefits.

    I agree that the Pentagon budget will eventually bankrupt the country; all empires collapse under their own weight, eventually. But not right now.

    And yes, “centrist Democrats” deserve all the scorn we actual liberals give them. Manchin responding petulantly to voters from the deck of his yacht is, well, it’s what it is.

  14. Hedges leaves out the most critical aspect of kicking Russia out of SWIFT- Russia has been creating the framework for a CBDC, and this would speed its implementation. CBDCs = technofeudalism. Putin was one of the WEF’s/Klaus Schwab’s young global leaders, but Hedges will never mention that, either. For more details, check out Whitney Webb’s recent interview of Riley Waggaman:

  15. From outside of America Chris, it greatly distresses me to hear of so many of your countrymen, women and children struggling under burdens effectively imposed upon them by an economic system that really cares little for them, other than as units of consumption. As you correctly for-see, those burdens are steadily getting worse and ultimately may drive those without a future to take up pitchforks, for only then do they stand a chance of getting noticed.

  16. Remember imperial Roman names like Caligula, Commodus and Nero.

    Rome loved them all, up until incompetence of leadership, economic mismanagement, internal power struggles and imperial misadventures doomed the Roman empire.

    Are we not looking at something similar here?

  17. Putin’s decision to force the issue, through military threats of invasion, of Ukraine’s wish to join NATO is a point of no return.

    Europe and the US cannot and must not allow Putin’s inability to attract the Ukrainians into support of an alliance with Russia legitimize his militaristic, war-mongering aspirations.

    Whether or not the text above is correct in its assessment that the explosive situation at Ukrainian eastern border is intentionally and entirely of the US making is, in fact beside the point and a Red Herring.

    Since the end of world war II Russia has been the only military aggressor in Europe – Stalin’s reign of horrors, the conquest of the former Soviet satellite states prior to its fall in the early 1990’s, and Putin’s bombardment of Chechnya, his war on Georgia, his annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, his trickling invasion of Eastern Ukraine and now his emassing of more than 150,000 troops in preparation of an invasion. While Russia under Putin is, globally, only the second largest arms exporter and about third that of the US, its economy is 13 times smaller, and in terms of GDP percentage, Russia’s military expenditure is 30% larger than that of the US (Russia’s 4.3% to US’ 3.2%). That is, Putin’s dependency on the war industry is nearly 5 times that of the US.

    In the least, than, it is not simply the fact that Putin is the only side in the conflict that resorted to the flashing of military might, as well as the positioning of forces in an actual invasion formation, but his entire career as a Russian head of state is mired by heavy economic and political dependence on war.

    Each and every aspect of Hedges’ text above is an irrelevant absurdity, most of all is his attempt to paint Putin as the aggrieved party in the looming militarized conflict, and his subterfuge attempt to distract us by regurgitation of tired (and largely faulty and false) anti liberal vitriol.

    1. Are you being paid by the US government to post absolute crap that denigrates Chris Hedges? If there are paid Russian trolls, as we are told, then there must be an American equivalent.

      1. @Reg, @Michael O Malloy

        The only trolling here is Hedges’, and goons like you…

    2. Democracy Gone Astray –

      Putin has no desire to invade Russia. In fact , he has shown great restraint in the face of multiple Western provocations, including, most egregiously, the Obama/Clinton 2014 coup of Ukraine’s democratically elected government, which you leave unmentioned.

      Since then, U.S. supported Neo-Nazi forces in Kiev have continued their assault on the Russian aligned Donbas region of Ukraine in the hopes of provoking a larger military confrontation.. To his credit, Putin has resisted larger military involvement in Donbas despite the region’s cultural and linguistic ties to Russia.

      Further, Russia has no aspirations that impinge upon Ukraine’s sovereignty. Its only request is that Ukraine not become a NATO staging ground for western medium and long range missiles. Russia has made these concerns clear, and they are reasonable and justified.

      The presence of Russian troops on its western border remain consistent in number to those present since at least 2014, despite media outlets, such as NPR’s , breathless exclamations suggesting otherwise. With no intention by Russia for war, the question remains, why is the U.S. Government, affiliated public and private agencies, and the false propaganda media seeking one?

      Regarding the larger point of Hedges’ essay, what he makes clear, although leaves unmentioned here, is that we are in the midst of collapse. The solutions are numerous and well known, as some readers have expressed. However, it’s important to note the difference between having solutions and enacting them.

      As Hedges has noted, all levers of power have been seized, making mass resistance extremely difficult, and more likely impossible. With this, in addition to abrupt climate change and ongoing mass extinction, we bear witness to our demise.

      1. @Charles Badal

        1. The populist ouster of a corrupt Russian figurehead for his refusal to sign a free trade agreement with the EU has absolutely nothing to do with the US, which its expression of support of that ouster hardly constitute a ‘proof’ in support of the outlandish conspiratorial naming of that legitimate act as “the Obama/Clinton 2014 coup”.

        2. The presence of 1000 or so Neo-Nazis is restricted to the fight against Russian Guerrilla agents terrorizing the eastern Ukraine Donbas region (and not Kiev), and while it is entirely possible US companies sold them arms, “ U.S. supported Neo-Nazi forces in Kiev ” is a complete demagogic fabrication simply since they are neither at the US’s back and call nor do they have any meaningful presence in Kiev. Furthermore, the Ukrainian military might is around 170,000 strong. In addition, the Ukrainian population is 44,000,000 people. The idea that the Azov Battalion – a tiny minority which importance doesn’t extend beyond a straggle against the Russian insurgency in Eastern Ukraine – can be used to smear the Ukrainian straggle against Russia’s right to dictate economic and military alliances to its neighbors is one of the more outlandish and outrageous Russian propaganda talking points.

        3. Russia had already annexed Crimea and its demand that Ukraine refrain from joining NATO or have any meaningful economic ties to Europe and the US, as the annulment of a trade agreement with Europe by the Russian patsy Viktor Yanukovych clearly demonstrates, are making Putin’s aspirations with respect to Ukraine very clear, namely that in his eyes Ukraine is either part of Russia (the Crimea annexation is a case in point), or a Russian satellite which economic and security concerns are subject to Russian needs and wants.

        4. The Russian military is around 1,000,000 strong. The idea that 15% of it are regularly required to be stationed on the Russian Ukrainian border defies any reason, logic or facts. Even if your claim that it is present there since 2014 – the year Russia lost its Ukrainian head-of-state patsy and its annexation of an entire Ukrainian region (in a militarized coup, as it were) – was true, it only confirms that its invasion plans go back at least that far rather than absolves Putin from such ‘aspirations’.

        5. The larger point of Hedges here, made abundantly clear by the title of the text, in addition being a Red Herring with respect to the looming Ukraine-Russia military conflict, is false. There are two Americas – a Liberal democratic one and a Conservative fascistic/authoritarian one. It is not simply the fact that they are constantly growing further apart, but the idea that Liberals are worse than Conservatives in any respect is factually dubious, to say the least.

        6. We cannot even begin to offer viable solutions if we disagree on the facts of the problems we face. Hedges’ (and in general the left’s) attempt to restrict reality only to those facts that support his (their) politicized opinions and goals is as demagogic (and as destructive) as the right’s fabrication of ‘alternative facts’, just as false, and because of it can offer no viable solution at all.

      2. Sorry, but your position holds little water and seems factually and attitudinally off. For one, you parrot the notion that Putin is a foolish little man presiding over a gas station masquerading as a country.
        In fact, Putin is a master statesman and navigating very difficult waters successfully. We will see what comes of all this kerfuffle in Eastern Europe, but it will not make the Americans look anything but foolish.

      3. My comment printed below was addressed to Charles Badal, NOT to “Democracy Gone Astray”

      4. @Charles Badal
        A request from the Ukraine not to join NATO is a clear attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty!
        How do you think Russia would react to a NATO request , complete with troops movements to its borders, not to sign treaties with China?

      1. @alteyid48

        It’s not clear to what extent the population of Ukraine seeks NATO membership. Ukraine is a diverse country that is largely Ukrainian, but also has a large number of Russian and other ethnic groups. Casting aside any question of NATO’s relevance in today’s world, given the very real threat of nuclear war, I ask you, is Ukraine NATO membership a rational pursuit?

        @Democracy Gone Astray

        Thank you for your detailed response. Here are a few additional points for you to consider.

        The evidence of the Obama administration’s involvement in Ukraine’s Government prior to the 2014 coup has been well documented and is abundantly available for those seeking it.

        I encourage you to read the transcript of the intercepted phone call between Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt in which they openly plan for the ouster of Yanukovych and options for his replacement.

        In addition, as early as 2013, Nuland, in a speech to the National Press Club, revealed the Obama Government’s five billion dollar investment in western backed NGO’s toward regime change in Ukraine

        Regarding Crimea, the widespread reporting of Russia’s annexation of Crimea was blatant anti-Russia propaganda and a complete lie. Crimea, for 300 years aligned with Russia, held a vote amongst its citizens, largely ethnically, culturally, and linguistically Russian, and with an 84% turnout rate voted 97% to stay aligned with Russia. This act of self-determination was mis-represented by the U.S. government and its stooges in the corporate media as an invasion.

        Viktor Yanukovych wisely chose against accepting loans from the West as these would likely be structured through the IMF with demands for economic austerity and an open door to corporate kleptocracy and the economic looting of Ukraine.

        It’s important to note that the E.U. was not unanimous in its support for U.S. backed regime change in Ukraine, as you suggest. Many were hesitant to cross Moscow in light of its economic ties to Europe. A similar pattern holds today, as noted by Germany’s refusal to allow British arms shipments to Ukraine cross German air space.

        The question remains. Why is the U.S. insistent on its continued isolation and war provocations with Russia – the former, through economic sanctions (an act of war), the latter, through the continued push of NATO eastward, a clear existential threat to Russia?

      2. @Charles Badal
        “Why is the U.S. insistent on its continued isolation and war provocations with Russia …?”

        Some of these jerks are old cold warriors in the mold of Dr. Strangelove and/or General Ripper. While that movie was hilarious, it’s horrifying how closely and accurately it portrayed the sick minds of these people. Hatred of Russia is continually being baked into U.S. minds by propaganda and lies as it has been ever since the Russian revolution, the latest major propaganda being Russiagate. Americans are so brainwashed by all this that they think that Russia is the aggressor in the current situation, when it’s actually the U.S. and Russia is basically just defending itself.

    3. @ Democracy Gone Astray
      Somebody with the courage to say that the CH King is naked!

  18. Good men do nothing and evil reigns unopposed. Not far now to our destination…..Hell, the ninth circle I believe.

    Enjoy your day.

  19. As a brilliant man, and in the context of yet another brilliant article, I wish, Rev Hedges, that you would learn something about Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)!
    Almost everything you said about the monetary system is wrong. We are not spending trillions on the military (much as I hate *any* spending on the military) “that our children will have to pay back.” It is all new money that Congress creates every time they pass an appropriations bill.
    “The debt” isn’t what you think it is: Stephanie Kelton has some informative videos on YouTube about it.
    The deficit isn’t as horrible as you have been told; in fact, if the government (which *can’t* go broke) has a high deficit,that means that the private sector – ordinary housholds – won’t be as far in debt. Once again I refer you to Stephanie Kelton and her book “The Deficit Myth.”
    It’s just fear-mongering, which you oppose, to repeat these mistaken ideas to the public. Our economic situation is bad enough without continuing the ignorance of how our monetary system works. Definitely the elite understand it and use it to their benefit: it’s time and more than time for everyone else to understand it as well.

  20. Rarely do I find myself disagreeing with Chris Hedges. But government files declassified in the wake of Oliver Stone’s film “JFK” show that Jack Kennedy would not have gone to war in South East Asia. I’ve written about this elsewhere. To wit:

    University of Alabama historian Howard Jones said that when he began his study he “was dubious” about the assertions of “Kennedy apologists [that] he would not have sent combat troops to Vietnam and America’s longest war would never have occurred.” But “what strikes anyone reading the veritable mountain of documents relating to Vietnam,” Jones admitted to his own surprise, “is that the only high official in the Kennedy administration who consistently opposed the commitment of U.S. combat forces was the president.”[13] “The materials undergirding this [Jones’] study demonstrate that President Kennedy intended to reverse the nation’s special military commitment to the South Vietnamese made in early 1961.”[14]

    Echoing Jones, journalist Fred Kaplan wrote that, “the argument that Kennedy would have withdrawn from Vietnam becomes truly compelling only when you place [JFK’s] skepticism about the war in the context of his growing disenchantment with his advisers … .”[15]

    Historian Robert Dallek came to much the same conclusion. “Toward the end of his life John F. Kennedy increasingly distrusted his military advisers and was changing his views on foreign policy. A fresh look at the final months of his presidency suggests that a second Kennedy term might have produced not only an American withdrawal from Vietnam, but also rapprochement with Fidel Castro’s Cuba.”[16]

    Dallek produced a JFK quote that gives a sense of the newly visible JFK: “The first advice I’m going to give my successor is to watch the generals and to avoid feeling that just because they were military men their opinions on military matters were worth a damn.”[17] This is much closer to the crazy director’s version of JFK than Noam Chomsky’s, George Will’s or The Nation’s.

    Once-secret records demonstrate a pattern in Kennedy we are unaccustomed to seeing in presidents: rather than JFK following his senior advisers on critical issues – the way “good” presidents usually do, the way LBJ did – Kennedy often ignored it.

    He withstood pressure from the CIA and the military to follow-up the foundering Bay of Pigs invasion with a military assault on Cuba.[18] He rejected advice to use force in Laos, pushing against the defense establishment to achieve an ultimately successful negotiated settlement.[19] He shouldered aside the defense and intelligence establishments to advance a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviets.[20] And as historians Ernest May and Philip Zelikov discovered from live voice recordings made during the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK was often “the only one in the room [full of the highest officers in the country] who is determined not to go to war.”[21]

    This is the same Kennedy we discover in “Perils of Dominance,” an important book by Gareth Porter.[22] Porter documents in chilling detail that, in isolation and with virtually no real allies to help him, Kennedy orchestrated numerous Machiavellian ruses to frustrate the “national security bureaucracy’s” determination to march headlong into war.

    Hot-linked sources are available here:,%20Vietnam,%20and%20Oliver%20Stone/JFK,%20Vietnam,%20and%20Oliver%20Stone.htm

  21. Capitalism ‘progresses’ by crisis. ‘Creative destruction,’ Schumpeter’s revision of Marx, is what maintains the imperative of ‘accumulation through disposession’ (Harvey). Or to paraphrase Baron von Rothschild’s more eloquent version, when there’s blood in the streets that’s the time to profit.

    Should it come as a surprise that our ruling class overlords plan and plot crisis in order to expand their investment opportunities and usher us in to the next stage of our subjugation? From wagging the dog and regime change ops to false flags and propaganda campaigns, war above all stands as clear evidence of what these same interests would have us dismiss as sedition or conspiracy theory or domestic terrorism.

    War itself, like the rest of our ‘civilized’ society, has been revolutionized by technological advances in ‘creative destruction.’ Those still conceiving combat in nineteenth century terms were not prepared for the industrial warfare of WWI. And those today still conceiving warfare in conventional terms of bombs and bullets remain oblivious to the world war that’s been rolling out against humanity in terms of the ruling class’ plandemic.

    But it’s because of the plandemic that the increasing destruction of masses worldwide accumulates profit and power for global oligarchs as never before in history. Rather than risk collapse of social-economic systems more directly traceable to them, most recently and relevantly in 2008, the architects of the covid coup are covering their tracks with ‘pandemic’ pretenses, particularly prison lockdowns now revised as public health protocols, the primary cause of our new abnormal austerity.

    And thanks to professional class critics like Hedges, still dutifully passing on the narrative of lies in the pretense of independent and investigative journalism, the consent of many is manufactured for marching down dead ends any proletarian or peasant on the planet. Whether it be digitial IDs and passes and currencies and credits scores, or eugenic experiments in radical modification of our present species with ‘vaccine’ injectables and our present environments, including oceans and space, with 5/6G EMFs, or converting the last of the public commons of land into their private property with natural assets companies, or…war is being waged against us on multiple fronts.

    And if now the pandemic narrative turns down new misdirections, there’s climate change contrivances to keep the coup on course, perhaps necessitating, for our own good, of course, more lockdowns. Meanwhile, transnational supply chain breakdowns keep insuring there’s more than one way, besides kill shots, to depopulate us useless eaters.

    The old abnormal world order is being destroyed for global governance by the biosecurity state and a totalitarian technocracy to put Big Brother to shame. There will be no place for humanity or any life as has been known to evolution on earth in the synthetic ‘solution’ to the ‘problems’ the transhumanists have planned for their gain, whereby our losses amount to annihilation, the final final solution for the “masters (or monsters) of mankind” (Adam Smith).

    There’s no need for the Washington consensus anymore in the new abnormal world order. The post-WWII hegemony of the U$ over global capital is being replaced by corporate state fascism now directly assuming full spectrum dominance. National soveriegnty of any sort, already made negligible by neolibearlism, and especially any still maintaining or carrying pretense of liberal democracy, will be made extinct.

    And if wars between nation-states be waged as both distraction and destruction for the plandemic, the global coup, the Great Reset, what more time honored means can be found for moving present subject populations into its death and dystopia?

    If we now fail to fight the class war that’s been waged against us across all the crimes of humanity throughout the “muck of ages” (Marx), we will be irretrievably, forever lost.

    And both bought and paid for parties of the capitalist class will lead us there.

  22. Don’t have to look any further than unemployment – those 80 million people. One party says they oppose taxes. The other says they want a stronger safety net. Yet, when it comes to not taxing unemployment pay neither could bring themselves further than alleviating it for more than just a year. Despite the pandemic obviously not being over and shutdowns still occurring in places.

    1. We need more people with common sense, a strong backbone and sense of ethics and humanity working in the political arena.

      1. That’s true – the problem is when they show up, and they do, we don’t vote for ’em – because, unless the run as a D or R, in which case they are already compromised, we have allowed ourselves to be convinced they “can’t win” – the most seductive and effective lie in politics …

  23. You’ve got to feel for China and to a lesser extent Russia in this ongoing face off with the United States. It’s in their interests to have an economically and politically viable America. Somebody you can do business with and hopefully all parties prosper. They have no fear of competition as America does. They will take the rough with the smooth, having a long history of struggle and adversity their expectations are tempered and sanguine. But from the American side, their sense of exceptionalsism will not admit of anything other than hegemony. If it comes to a showdown China (and Russia) is in a lose lose situation. China can pull the plug on America with the dollar gambit but they will pay a heavy price themselves. That is why it is trying to build trade alliances away from America with other Asian, European and African economies. America is unreliable. Its actually a rogue, a pariah. It cannot adhere to international norms of buy and sell. As Chris points out, one of its chief exports is arms. But equally they conduct their trade in other goods and services packing a couple of shooting irons. There’s a whiff of violence about the premises

    1. The Americans have very good reason for hegemony. Since WW II, exacerbated by the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the US has run a scam on the rest of the world, forcing the world to finance its wars and occupations, its purchase of foreign assets, its export deficits as it imposed T-bill diplomacy. Once the dollar domain is broken, America will lose immense value of its supposed wealth; it will have to pay for its overseas bases and adventurous wars, its imports, and imported goods’ prices will soar as the dollar devalues.

  24. What is to be done? Well, one could invest in the up and coming China and Russia like the elites and their politicians do. When the Dutch empire began to implode, Dutch elites invested in the rising British empire and when the British empire imploded, elites invested in the flash in the pan U.S. empire. Now, they are all pissed off cuz their 300+ year plans to control the Far East are backfiring. Russia and China were patient and persistent and turned the tables on them. Western elites can’t get the ‘commanding heights’ they feel entitled to and boy, are they ever P.O’d over that! They actually may have to work for a living someday! Anyway, real dangerous situation for the rest of us. Recommenations: Fight only for needs, never wants–especially the wants of elites like foreign direct investment. Stay out of debt as much as possible. Eat, love, dance. Read history- it enlightens and helps us think critically. Propaganda is a constant, the most insidious being from the governments and institutions closest to you. I am grateful for Mr. Hedges work and the work of so many others.

  25. Mr Hedges write that( under the legislation proposed By Mr Menendez ) “The sanctions cannot be lifted until an agreement is reached between the government of Ukraine and Russia, meaning Ukraine would be granted the authority to determine when the US sanctions will end.”
    Does this not give Russia more of a motive to become the government of Ukraine?

  26. I am not willing to give much of an opinion on the truckers’ strike in Canada, except to say that 1) things are usually not what they seem; 2) the apparent goals of the strike are nonsensical.

  27. Chris,

    I would argue that you as well as most readers here (including myself) live in this complex society because to some degree it works for all of us: it provides food, clothing, energy, shelter, even comfort and affluence, but not forever, and not sustainably as you have given many reasons for. Corporations have developed over a long period of history (think back to the Hudson’s Bay Company chartered in 1670), and concentrate power and organize specialized knowledge to produce the goods and technology we use today. As you’ve explained, this concentration of power, while it provides for society to some degree, leads to corruption due to self-interest.

    As the economy abandons more people due to neoliberal policies and fallout from climate change, political revolution will gain momentum, as we are witnessing today under Trump. Due to the successful suppression of Socialist movements in the US, partly by the deception and betrayal of Democratic party leaders, a peaceful, utopian transition to a better society is less likely, and many, including yourself, are warning of tyranny and Christian fascism overtly seizing power.

    I understand you are asking for as many people as possible to wake up, and they will once they are pushed against the wall by a predatory economy and climate change. If we are to build a better world, it’s going to come with wisdom gained from many mistakes and much suffering, as much as anyone with compassion would wish otherwise.

  28. the world does feel so hollow – chilling – you do begin to feel it all fall apart

  29. Go back and read the comments from @Democracy Gone Astray.

    And if you still believe this shite, google “Chris Hedges and plagiarism”. I used to think of him as a serious person that I should listen to, but he revealed his lack of integrity long ago.

    Demonization of liberal democrats and apologizing for crypto faschists has become the force that gives Chris Hedges meaning.

    People, starting looking into the history of your radical heroes. You may just find some ugly facts you didn’t know. Like these fun facts about the rad (libertarian) Glem Greenwald:

    1. As suggested in the comment, I did search for Chris Hedges plagiarism. I found some material from the New Republic, a magazine I now have little respect for; more important, I found Chris Hedges’ rebuttal.
      What baffles me is why such minor textual elements would bother anyone in the first place. To me, the charges sound like a hit job conducted by someone personally antagonistic to Chris Hedges. The comment author is likely of the same ilk, a ‘sour grapes’ poser.

      1. @Tedder
        Anyone who comes to this website and disses Hedges generally like that is nothing but a troll. Trolls do not make legitimate comments that address facts or opinions on websites they don’t like, but instead resort to name-calling, lying, deflection, and other propaganda, all in opposition to what the website generally stands for. They disrupt; they don’t engage in any meaningful discussion. We should ignore them; responding to them does more harm than good, though it’s hard to resist.

  30. Yes, there is a lot to worry about in terms of the direction of our society, but an inevitable huge change for the better is building just below the surface and will occur. It just takes time. There is so much that can be done. The website is one source for independent analysis and action recommendations on a myriad of issues such as local politics, global economics, environmentalism, mental health, and family court.

  31. Another excellent column by Chris Hedges! Totally agree, with the following minor exceptions:

    The fact that Clinton got NAFTA passed when Bush I couldn’t is a the best example I can think of for why the Democrats are the more effective evil. The world would probably be much better off because of NAFTA alone if Bush I had gotten reelected.

    So these immoral fools are trying to sanction Nord Stream, which is basically a major pipeline deal between Russia and Germany, the latter supposedly a strong U.S. ally? Wonder what Germany would think about that? Even if you agree with this U.S. crap, that seems rather counterproductive regarding the evil empire.

    “Once the dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency … [t]he nearly 800 US military outposts abroad, sustained by debt … will dramatically shrink in number.”

    Good! All foreign military bases should be closed, there’s no excuse for their existence (as opposed to the REASON, which is to support the empire) and that existence is totally immoral.

    There ARE major differences between Democrats and Republicans on two major issues: the environment and abortion/birth control. The Democrats are clearly better on those issues (though as Jerry Brown put it when he was out of politics and could be honest, the only difference is in the pace of destruction). The environment affects the entire planet and all life here, and is objectively the most important issue, despite the fact that modern humans who are totally disconnected from the natural world don’t recognize or understand that. Abortion/birth control also affects the entire planet due to human overpopulation, which is the most fundamental physical problem on the planet, thereby also the biggest and worst one. The abortion/birth control issue also affects all women, who are over half of the human population. So while on the big issues of war & peace and the economy — the economy is only a big issue because most people think that it is; it doesn’t affect any other species and it’s just people fighting for what’s good for them individually — there is little to no difference between these two gangs masquerading as political parties, there ARE differences. Much better to characterize this as the differences between us and the Democrats being much bigger than between the Democrats and Republicans.

    1. Both D/Rs are driving us over the cliff – the Rs @95 mph, the Ds @65mph – either way, stick with them and we are toast, probably literally …

      1. @SH
        I don’t know if your comment was addressed to me or to the general U.S. public. Personally, I gave up on Democrats decades ago. I’m registered Green and vote that way. I haven’t voted for a Democrat since Barbara Lee sold out years ago, and I haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since George McGovern in 1972.

        We need proportional representation and elimination of private campaign contributions so that we can get other parties into office. Democrats and Republicans are far more like gangs than legitimate political parties. The only place I differ with you is your M.P.H. approximations; they’re driving humans and life on Earth in general off a cliff at a much higher rate than you stated in geological terms, and the difference between them isn’t as great as you stated.

  32. Yes, they’re all corrupt, it’s all pointless, don’t vote and watch the Christian fascists in the GOP take power.

    Progressives have already helped the left lose the SCOTUS, the lower courts and almost definitely our abortion rights, but we can still destroy education, social security, the already-ruined healthcare, as well as banning books and also elections.

    Keep fighting for everything you want… you’ll be so happy when everything gets worse because of it.

    1. @Matthew
      More Democratic Party pro-establishment garbage. No one said to do nothing, but voting for or supporting Democrats is definitely the wrong thing to do.

      Fight for proportional representation like just about every other democracy has, and eliminate private campaign contributions, so we can get a lot more than 2 parties into office. Americans are so brainwashed by having only 2 parties in office their entire lives that they think this is normal. It is clearly not, look around the world!

  33. A profoundly astute, if not frightening, descriptor of our geo-global state in the present time. This is rather stark and bleak; what can be done to stem this awful geopolitical tide… rather depressing, I say.

  34. Hedges is clearly correct on some points (even a broken clock is right twice a day,) merely uninformed on some points, and completely delusional on other points. On first reading, it’s like I got on an elevator in the Empire State Building and found all the buttons pushed. Hedges didn’t miss one button, he pushed them all. LOL. Nonetheless, lacking clarity of thought, Hedges muddles on. Claiming that Republicans are suppressing voters’ rights by requiring an ID is ludicrous. C’mon, man. Give me a break. Try cashing a check or boarding an airplane without an ID. Then saying 900,000 people have died of COVID when the CDC admits that the real number is likely only 5% of the estimated number of deaths (yet another fabricated number to stir the ignorant masses like 97% of scientists believe global warming has anthropogenic origins.) BTW..they are lumping people actually dying of the flu in with COVID because their stupid tests can’t tell the difference between the two viruses. Then the nonsense about China overtaking the U.S. economy is utter rubbish. I have one answer, which Hedges is clearly ignorant of Evergrande. See my blog on Evergrande at Evergrande is part of the 25% of the Chinese economy that is collapsing as we speak. Japan made the same mistakes in real estate in the late 1980s resulting in 30-years of depression. China is repeating those same mistakes now. I could go on, but I’d need a couple of pages.

    1. @barge finster
      Are you that ignorant, or are you a troll on this site? All this crap about requiring voter IDs is clearly to suppress Democratic votes. Voter fraud is a big lie, it barely exists at all, and where it does it’s so rare that it makes no difference. There is absolutely no reason for these laws EXCEPT to suppress the vote. Try engaging brain before putting mouth into motion!

    2. Rarely do I read such a collection of nonsense. Chris Hedges is a writer and scholar of impeccable credentials who surely makes the occasional mistake. But in this case, he is fully correct.
      Voter i.d. sounds innocuous unless you cannot get one; there are many ploys that unfairly prevent poor and young voters from access to i.d.
      To deny that many people in the world and many Americans have died from Covid is remarkable folly and a failure to pay attention to things as they are. In fact, America is world leader of high income countries in Covid death. No one is making this fact up.
      Don’t worry about China. Evergrande is small potatoes and the government is able to handle this blip and move forward. The indubitable fact is that China’s economic progress, an intricate experiment of public and private based on socialism and leadership from the CPC, is continuing steadily.

      1. @Ted+Tripp
        I agree with the first portion of your response, but you should be aware that far fewer people have died FROM COVID-19 than we are being led to believe. The government counts everyone who died WITH COVID-19 as dying FROM COVID-19, even if COVID-19 isn’t what killed them. This is obviously a lie and nothing but propaganda to keep people in fear and make a ton of money for the pharmaceutical industry. A leading scientist at Stanford did a study about this in Los Angeles and found that the actual death rate of people who got COVID–19 and died FROM it was something like 0.2%.

        The problem here is that both the lethality of COVID-19 and the efficacy of the vaccines have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, COVID-19 is real and people have died from it, but for one thing 95% of the people who’ve died from it were over 60 (young people were calling it “the boomer remover”), and almost all of the remainder had multiple co-morbidities, starting with being obese. As to the vaccines, once new variants arrived, the vaccines only kept people from being hospitalized or killed. They don’t prevent people from getting COVID-19 nor do they prevent infected people from transmitting it. It’s just being reported now that the CDC has hidden data showing just how many vaccinated people got COVID-19, and the reason the CDC did that was obviously to hide the fact that the vaccines don’t prevent people from getting the disease.

        So as happens so often, both extreme sides are wrong. COVID-19 is real and has killed a lot of people and the vaccines do work to prevent hospitalization or death, but the disease is nowhere near as lethal as we’ve been led to believe and the vaccines are nowhere near as effective as the pharmaceutical industry and their lacked in government and commercial media want us to believe.

  35. As of February 23rd, 2022, the number of American deaths from Coronavirus has crossed the 966,000 mark.

  36. Do you know what they call a one party state ……a dictatorship built by religion For the greeed of religion

    Odd how he forgets that simple fact …oh wait he just wants to blame everyone else but him self

    Gooood times

    1. Interesting comment, but quite wrong. There are lots of one-party states not built on religion, e.g. the People’s Republic of China is run by the Communist Party of China and communism does not qualify as a religion

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