The Coming Collapse - Chris Hedges

The Coming Collapse

The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don’t count. We will wrest back political control by dismantling the corporate state, and this means massive and sustained civil disobedience, like that demonstrated by teachers around the country this year. If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age.

Read on, it's a doomsday and dark piece, but I can't find anything wrong with it.

At one point he introduces something I think would be a good slogan for the Third Party or Movement to unite the many different folks.
"Fight Corporate Totalitarianism". Would make sense because without that fight first, nothing else can get done.

Yet the party steadfastly refuses to address the social inequality that led to the election of Trump and the insurgency by Bernie Sanders. It is deaf, dumb and blind to the very real economic suffering that plagues over half the country. It will not fight to pay workers a living wage. It will not defy the pharmaceutical and insurance industries to provide Medicare for all. It will not curb the voracious appetite of the military that is disemboweling the country and promoting the prosecution of futile and costly foreign wars. It will not restore our lost civil liberties, including the right to privacy, freedom from government surveillance, and due process. It will not get corporate and dark money out of politics. It will not demilitarize our police and reform a prison system that has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners although the United States has only 5 percent of the world’s population. It plays to the margins, especially in election seasons, refusing to address substantive political and social problems and instead focusing on narrow cultural issues like gay rights, abortion and gun control in our peculiar species of anti-politics.

And after this, I need a fairy tale with a happy ending. Otherwise I don't want to go on.

It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion. All the harbingers of collapse are visible: crumbling infrastructure; chronic underemployment and unemployment; the indiscriminate use of lethal force by police; political paralysis and stagnation; an economy built on the scaffolding of debt; nihilistic mass shootings in schools, universities, workplaces, malls, concert venues and movie theaters; opioid overdoses that kill some 64,000 people a year; an epidemic of suicides; unsustainable military expansion; gambling as a desperate tool of economic development and government revenue; the capture of power by a tiny, corrupt clique; censorship; the physical diminishing of public institutions ranging from schools and libraries to courts and medical facilities; the incessant bombardment by electronic hallucinations to divert us from the depressing sight that has become America and keep us trapped in illusions. We suffer the usual pathologies of impending death. I would be happy to be wrong. But I have seen this before. I know the warning signs. All I can say is get ready.

So, how are you all GET READY ?
Just asking.

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Comments

Pluto's Republic's picture

...back to the US for "mutual advantage," the rise of the anti-communist Fourth Reich in the US was inevitable. I'm not sure why anyone would be surprised about where things stand today in the US. This was discussed for most of the 20th century.

Naturally, the billionaires and oligarchs, the corporations and capitalists, the Plutocrats and Imperialists would be the ones who drove the anti-communist movement. They will allow no country on earth to follow an economic system based on sharing and the public good, because its very existence threatens capitalism. The fear was, and still is, that people would compare the two systems after they had evolved and grown sophisticated across time. The Capitalists are well aware that the cheap labor they demanded and the irreplaceable resources they exploited would force a majority of People into lives of crushed hope, brutalized by militant police in the rotted dystopias of America. Their pensions would be seized or lost by the banks, their human rights to food and shelter would be non-existent, quality healthcare and education would be forever out of reach for them, their children would flounder and drift, and a corrupt justice system would overflow the prisons and normalize social violence and nihilism.

We have all that and more in the 21st century. We traded our outstanding free education system to Germany for its rocket scientists and propaganda experts. We helped them build a modern, sustainable infrastructure in exchange for our global defense industry hegemony.

There is no remedy for what ails America. If you keep the same constitution, draining the swamp won't do a bit of good. The constitution was designed by the oligarchs to lead us exactly where we are, beginning with lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court.

Critically-thinking, smart people in the US and abroad have known for more than a century that the only battle that mattered was the battle against the capitalists and corporatists in government — for that has always been the classic cohort of fascism. It is this fascist configuration in the US government that has asset-stripped the People and corralled them in dead-end dystopias with zero social mobility. Democracy is of no help anymore, in principle or in practice. The electorate is too brainwashed and misinformed about global events to chart a course for their nation, and they have no candidate on their side to vote for in any event. For a while, Roosevelt "saved" capitalism from a chaotic revolution by levying civilization-building taxes on extreme profits and stringent financial regulations on Wall Street, which provided equal gains across all income brackets and gave America its first middle class. It built a sophisticated interstate highway system that was the envy of the world and it put a school in every American neighborhood. But the Capitalists regained control with the election of Ronald Reagan, which facilitated a thorough embedding of Neocons at the State Department, Pentagon, and the Department of Justice. The revocation of the Fairness Doctrine gave the media networks control over the nation's political ideology, and the refusal of the DOJ to enforce the nation's antitrust laws against certain industries. This allowed media monopolies to form, which enabling full spectrum propaganda to be used to filter and direct American politics, and set into motion predatory capitalism through unfair competitive practices, corporate price fixing, and market capture). Personal debt took off on a continuous high and the American people would never recover from their 50-year-long slide to the economic bottom.

In recent years, the United States has fallen from number one to number seven on the list of places where immigrants want to live. With our example, we have changed those minds, at least, and improved their chances for a better life elsewhere.

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Creosote.'s picture

@Pluto's Republic

Wish I could shake your hand in thanks

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mimi's picture

@Pluto's Republic
summary timeline of what I needed answers for. You are a teacher. Thank You.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

@Pluto's Republic different capitalist factions. The 'People' never even factored into it

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polkageist's picture

@Pluto's Republic
Excellent summary of our problem. There are signs of awakening, but I have no idea if it will be enough or in time.

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Greed is not a virtue.
Socialism: the radical idea of sharing.

ggersh's picture

@Pluto's Republic @Pluto's Republic and as the man says

“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy”

Chris Hedges

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“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy”
Chris Hedges

Raggedy Ann's picture

@Pluto's Republic
I always appreciate the backstory. When you say, however:

the rise of the anti-communist Fourth Reich in the US was inevitable. I'm not sure why anyone would be surprised about where things stand today in the US. This was discussed for most of the 20th century.

I became surprised a few years ago because, as a single mother in the 70's-80's, I was not paying attention. I knew the election of Reagan was the start of something bad - I was graduating college in 1982 and it took me a year to find a decent job. As you stated, it was the beginning of the oligarchs and corporations taking back control of the US. We've all paid a dear price since and continue to do so.

I'd move, but where to? I'll stay here and resist. Happy I live in a rural area. We'll see what happens as we move forward.
Pleasantry

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

mimi's picture

@Raggedy Ann
my head and working life was pushing everything else away. The first time I got a bit skeptical was when the Clintons said they would study the educational system for trade jobs and for the professional craftsman class in Germany. They did, but I never heard back that they tried to implement something similar in the US or what they had found out about it and what they finally thought about it. I was wondering why. It took me a while to understand that the US has not a similar system and without wanting to be self-congratulatory as a German, I do believe we have a good one and it would be worthwhile for the US to look into it.

Next time I was baffled and speechless was when GWBush came to power and what he said after 9/11Rumsfeld and Cheney gave me the rest. Rumsfeld more than most. And on and on. I discovered truthdig and Chris Hedges and remember Meteor Blades' remark at TOP, who said that Hedges is not the most cheerful of guys. I was a bit surprised, because I value clear-cut honesty more than cheerfulness. Since then I try to read him often and truthdig is a site I deeply value as well.

As of 2004 or 2005 I started reading at dailykos. As of 2006 I became more aware. I got bamboozled by Obama, but that's almost normal for me. As of 2014 I got the picture.

I always dreamed of reading during my retirement all what I had missed during the last thirty years. Well, now that I am, life has its ways to throw stones at your legs to stumble and ...I still read mainly here and online and not yet the books that I had in mind reading.

But I WILL GET THERE. The one thing I won't let life take away from me again.
Aggressive
heh
Wink

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CB's picture

@Pluto's Republic
in the US concept of 'American Exceptionalism' which is a more refined and socially acceptable version of Übermensch.

Here's American Exceptionalism before it was given a makeover by propagandists public relations:

Caricature showing Uncle Sam lecturing four children labelled Philippines (who appears similar to Philippine leader Emilio Aguinaldo), Hawaii, Porto[sic] Rico and Cuba in front of children holding books labelled with various U.S. states. In the background are an American Indian holding a book upside down, a Chinese boy at the door and a black boy cleaning a window. Originally published on p. 8-9 of the January 25, 1899 issue of Puck magazine.

Caption: School Begins. Uncle Sam (to his new class in Civilization). Now, children, you've got to learn these lessons whether you want to or not! But just take a look at the class ahead of you, and remember that, in a little while, you will feel as glad to be here as they are!

Blackboard: The consent of the governed is a good thing in theory, but very rare in fact. — England has governed her colonies whether they consented or not. By not waiting for their consent she has greatly advanced the world's civilization. — The U.S. must govern its new territories with or without their consent until they can govern themselves.

Poster: The Confederated States refused their consent to be governed; But the Union was preserved without their consent.

Book: U.S. — First Lessons in Self Government

Note (on table): The new class — Philippines Cuba Hawaii Porto Rico

Small caption (left): Copyright, 1899, by Keppler & Schwarzmann.

Small caption (right): J. Ottmann Lith. Co. Puck Bldg. N.Y.

Many of the secret medical experiments being conducted by the CIA during the fifties can be directly linked to the Nazi doctors/officers who were secretly brought over in Operation Paperclip. US foreign policy and intelligence services were also profoundly affected by the Nazis as exemplified in Operation Gladio.

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mimi's picture

@CB

Many of the secret medical experiments being conducted by the CIA during the fifties can be directly linked to the Nazi doctors/officers who were secretly brought over in Operation Paperclip.

This is proven beyond any doubt?
All I want is to read.

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CB's picture

@mimi
The Nazi scientists/researchers/doctors were secretly brought to Fort Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal and put to work for the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) which was the forerunner to the CIA. The CIA basically continued Hitler's programs of mind control and behavior modification verbatim.

Cries From the Past: Torture's Ugly Echoes
...
Operation Dormouse

Contemporary torture's earliest, deepest and most influential roots are found in the CIA's Artichoke Project. Indeed, it is Project Artichoke that encapsulates the CIA's real traveling road show of horrors and atrocities, not MK/ULTRA which, although responsible for its own acts of mindless cruelty, pales in comparison.

That MK/ULTRA received, and continues to receive, the lion's share of the media's attention and public outrage over CIA mind control programs was a deliberately planned outcome on the part of the Agency. This outcome was the central objective of a never before revealed covert operation launched in 1975 and informally code-named Dormouse.

...
Explained the Agency's General Counsel, since early 1954, following the death of Army biochemist Frank Olson, a secret agreement between the CIA and the U.S. Department of Justice had been put in place whereby the violation of "criminal statutes" by CIA personnel would not result in Department of Justice prosecutions, if "highly classified and complex covert operations" were threatened with exposure. The agreement had been struck between Houston and Deputy Attorney General William P. Rogers in February 1954, not long after Frank Olson's death, and still remained solidly in place.

Lastly, and worth noting here, was a brief adjunct discussion between Houston, Rumsfeld, and Cheney regarding related concerns about records on former Nazi scientists who had been secretly imported into the United States in the early Fifties by the State Department and Army, as part of Project Paperclip. These German scientists performed highly-classified research at the Army's Fort Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, some of which involved field operations in Europe.
...
In early summer of 1951, just weeks before Bluebird was renamed Artichoke, officials within the CIA's Security Office - working in tandem with cleared scientists from Camp Detrick's Special Operations Division, who in turn worked closely with a select group of scientists from a number of other Army installations, including Edgewood Arsenal - began a series of ultra-secret experiments with LSD, mescaline, peyote, and a synthesized substance, sometimes nicknamed "Smasher," which combined an "LSD-like drug with pharmaceutical amphetamines and other enhancers."
...
Like a modern day Ministry of Truth, U.S. government agencies and their partners are busy trying to erase the evidence of their crimes, whether from sixty years ago, or six. Most recently, the American Psychological Association (APA) has changed the web pages that describe their 2003 workshop conducted with the CIA and the Rand Corporation on deception. One webpage has dropped the link to another page that described the workshops investigation of sensory overload and truth drugs. The descriptive page on workshops has been scrubbed entirely, and is only available through the use of web archives sites. Worth noting is that throughout the 1950s and 1960s the APA worked quite closely with both the CIA and Army on mind control projects, many of which completely crossed ethical lines, as well as the APA's Code of Ethics, into areas described by many observers as sheer madness.
...

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mimi's picture

@Pluto's Republic
I enjoyed it more. It's one to frame and hang over my bed. Smile
Thanks again. I envy your skills and knowledge.
Give rose

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janis b's picture

I’m trying with whatever resources I have to make each moment count for something I can feel dignified by.

Hang in there mimi, and gently remind yourself of what there is to be thankful for.

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with it either. I always appreciate what Hedges has to say. He has a laser beam focus and clarity in his writing that avoids all the muddling and garbage that most pundits employ. We all know what he is talking about and have known for many years but it always bears repeating and he is one of the best to do it.
Perhaps he is right about getting ready by building community. Thanks Mimi, I'm glad you posted this.

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Lookout's picture

Chris Hedges is so masterful with his words. He well describes the impending political collapse. The ecological disaster we foment creates an exponential crisis. Empires, civilizations have come and gone...so have species. How do you prepare for climate chaos? We are already beginning to experience the small vestiges of the changing ecosystem and seem blind to the massive extinctions occurring around us.

Some oligarchs think they can survive and are establishing survival compounds in places like Janis' country. What hubris and naivety.

I've been planted on my little homestead for decades. There is an old graveyard on our place. I'll join the others who lived and died here.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy the garden and music and friends and...

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

mimi's picture

@Lookout
touch me deeply and I know my brown-eyed son wouldn't wamt me to see tearing up over them, but many words could be his.

Thank You. Lookout. Can't say much more than that. But words are not needed ... Thank You.

I am surrounded by wonderful people here and am thankful for that.

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janis b's picture

@Lookout

of one of Dylan’s uncountable greats. I hadn’t heard it before. It is utterly complimentary.

"I've been planted on my little homestead for decades. There is an old graveyard on our place. I'll join the others who lived and died here.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy the garden and music and friends and..."

It must be an honour to feel such a strong sense of belonging.

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Lookout's picture

@mimi @janis b

I am surrounded by wonderful people here and am thankful for that.

I agree mimi. Here in Alabama I have friends and neighbors but they have little understanding of the nature of our country and world. I find solace in this community where people as so aware and awake.

It must be an honour to feel such a strong sense of belonging.

I feel privileged to be a part of the mountain and valley. I can walk in woodlands I planted. I still plant trees. Thirty years ago I wrote a song with a line -
plants and soil shape each other
people and the Earth fading into one another...

Feeling yourself a part of the natural system is as spiritual as it gets to me.

Good to "see" you both!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

detroitmechworks's picture

Enjoying my life, and trying to prepare my kids for hard times.

I also am attempting to continue with my lifelong habit of finding things to enjoy, doing it until it's no longer fun, but trying to keep the skills. I would happily never master a single skill if I have a broad general knowledge of all of them. Corporate America demands that its workers specialize, then happily eliminates the positions when it is profitable to do so. I won't play their game anymore.

I guess I'm just trying to "Expect the Unexpected" and prepare for as many circumstances as I can.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

mimi's picture

@detroitmechworks @detroitmechworks
right now going back to places which had meaning to my life some fifty years ago. It's an experience I needed to make and resulted in unexpected outcomes. May be one day I can describe them. I am just not finished thinking about them and am not sure I will ever see the answers coming to me.

I always enjoy reading your comments when you mention your kids and what you try to do for them. To me you cross over as a strong person and all I have for you are my best wishes for you and your family's future. I see happy moments in there... Enjoy them to the fullest.
Smile

And if they ever want to draft you into a war again, send them to hell and run away. No more noble causes and heroic dreams for the profits of corporations, the oligarchid overlords and other evil creatures ...
(I wished I had the education and words like Pluto's Republic has, but I think you understand what I mean).

Best of luck to you.

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detroitmechworks's picture

@mimi Getting back into hobbies and social activities that I long abandoned due to fear/social stigma.

And If they try to bring back the Volksgrenadiers to defend the homeland, I'll be operating a cheese shop or a cafe.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Alphalop's picture

@detroitmechworks

Addressed..

That's why I just texted my wife and asked her to search Netflix for that show and if it's not there TPB will be getting a VPN protected visit from SWIM. Wink

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"I used to vote Republican & Democrat, I also used to shit my pants. Eventually I got smart enough to stop doing both things." -Me

detroitmechworks's picture

@Alphalop after that the quality rapidly decreases.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Cassiodorus's picture

@mimi thus e.g. the Dust Bowl. Two challenges:

1) finding enough compost to create a biome for a crop in land that might not be ready for it

2) the small-animal situation in places where chemicals have screwed things up for small-animal predators

What's important is that you have a "political" formation like what exists with the Zapatistas in Chiapas -- a commune of people who are willing to put things together. The best attempt I know of on such a level is the South Central Farmers, who used to have a farm in the middle of LA until the city helped some rich guy screw them out of it, and who now have a CSA in Bakersfield and a couple of small plots in LA somewhere.

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"The Democratic Party is better than the Republican Party in the way that manslaughter is slightly better than murder: It might seem like a lesser crime, but the victim can’t really tell the difference." -- Michael Harriot

arendt's picture

The Democratic Party, which helped build our system of inverted totalitarianism, is once again held up by many on the left as the savior. Yet the party steadfastly refuses to address the social inequality that led to the election of Trump and the insurgency by Bernie Sanders. It is deaf, dumb and blind to the very real economic suffering that plagues over half the country. It will not fight to pay workers a living wage. It will not defy the pharmaceutical and insurance industries to provide Medicare for all. It will not curb the voracious appetite of the military that is disemboweling the country and promoting the prosecution of futile and costly foreign wars. It will not restore our lost civil liberties, including the right to privacy, freedom from government surveillance, and due process. It will not get corporate and dark money out of politics. It will not demilitarize our police and reform a prison system that has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners although the United States has only 5 percent of the world’s population. It plays to the margins, especially in election seasons, refusing to address substantive political and social problems and instead focusing on narrow cultural issues like gay rights, abortion and gun control in our peculiar species of anti-politics.

This is what real writers can accomplish. A list of devastating critiques of the DP packaged into a single paragraph. This paragaraph might become my sig line, if it isn't too long.

Thanks for pointing at this, mimi.

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Big Al's picture

the criminals who are causing this.
Isn't that what we're supposed to do?

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Alphalop's picture

I have to be honest, early in his career (or, likely more accurate, when I first became aware of him) I was somewhat put off by him.

I can't remember why, or for what, or even if it was a good reason to be honest, but there was something about him that I found offputting.

However, like anyone with an even somewhat open mind my opinions evolve over time, and Chris is a great example of such an evolution because I'm rapidly becoming a fan...

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"I used to vote Republican & Democrat, I also used to shit my pants. Eventually I got smart enough to stop doing both things." -Me

mimi's picture

@Alphalop
is what the church and his sermons were for him (Chris Hedges' father). I think the writing style of Chris Hedges is close to preaching. He has a passion for a mission of being truthful and honest. That's what I like about him.

I am not a church goer or an openly praying person, but if he would speak in a church, I would go.

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earthling1's picture

Great find there.
But maybe " Fight Corporate Fascism" is easier to say.
Either one is accurate.
I'm preparing as best I can. Mostly preparing for my kids and grandkids.
It's hard to start a farm and live rural when your pushing 70.
So my quest is to find farmable property and a pay it off asap.
Prepare it with infrastructure (well, septic, electric) and begin building the soil, something I have 12 years of experience with in my backyard garden.
When the collapse comes, they will have a place to go.
It' all I can do with what time I may have left.

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mimi's picture

@earthling1
to find just that as well and both of us feel 'old' (going to be 70 years soon). It scares me how much strength I lost in the last three years. A little piece of land that already had some gardening done and be farmed on, would be nice.
Cross your fingers and wish me luck, I do the same for you. Smile

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mhagle's picture

I too love Chris. One thing I appreciate is that since his dad was a "real" christian minister, Chris is able to articulate so astutely how the right-wing christian thing has gone to hell.

When he speaks, the message is always clear and crisp.

This message is grim.

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

....wow, wham! wham! wham!

" parallel, popular institutions to protect ourselves and to pit power against power. These parallel institutions, including unions, community development organizations, local currencies, alternative political parties and food cooperatives, will have to be constructed town by town. The elites in a time of distress will retreat to their gated compounds and leave us to fend for ourselves. Basic services, from garbage collection to public transportation, food distribution and health care, will collapse. Massive unemployment and underemployment, triggering social unrest, will be dealt with not through government job creation but the brutality of militarized police and a complete suspension of civil liberties. Critics of the system, already pushed to the margins, will be silenced and attacked as enemies of the state. "

Along with that I fear having to learn how to live without electricity, power.

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dkmich's picture

Italy for me, my daughter, and three grandsons as Italian citizens and supporters of 5 Star. I firmly believe our country and government must implode before it can experience a rebirth. Maybe someone will march the Kochs and Mercer through the streets with swords up their derrieres.

Ralph Nader has been tweeting The Comming Collapse by Hayes on Twitter. It is on my reading list. Thanks for sharing the highlights, Mimi.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

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mimi's picture

@dkmich

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dkmich's picture

@mimi

I had an aunt who tried to teach me when I was little, but my interest was little too.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

mimi's picture

@dkmich @dkmich @dkmich (corrected several garbled sentences)
they lose their original language of their parents or anchestors, but then they pick up everything they need in English. Kids' brains lose and gain all the time when they are exposed to more than one language at the same time in their early years. I just asked and wanted to know, because I hadn't followed, who the 5 star folks really were and what they stand for. From what I glanced over with regards to their coalition building with right-wingers, I couldn't make sense of it.

I need to read up on it. And it helps to be able to read and comprehend a country's language. I unfortunately can do that only in English and German, French and Italian are just languages that passed me by, but didn't enter my brain and didn't stick.

I hope I hadn't caused some feelings of discomfort to you with my question. I barely can decide which German publications are nothing more than the same as their English counterparts, 'cousins' so to speak. It's so frigging difficult to 'realize the bamboozlements and embellishments' in a language that is not your mother language. At least for me it was and is.

Enjoy your trip. And write about your experiences. It's always good to follow your reflections about them.

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dkmich's picture

@mimi

I pay more attention to people's hearts than their words. Words have a way of tripping us up.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter