Chris Hedges

Not Fascism but inverted totalitarianism

In my last diary, I discussed how Donald Trump was not a "Fascist," but rather an exterminist, someone whose policies were so bad that their inevitable result was the extermination of significant numbers of human beings. To be fair, the idea of "exterminism" is merely a reference to ultimate effects; it doesn't serve as a complete political theory. This diary suggests a preliminary sketch of the political theory.

Citizen Nader, what have you done for me lately?

If you're like me, you've taken a lot of flack for not following in line during recent political campaigns. The bad news is that we're gonna catch hell again this time. The good news is that we're not alone. We've got good company. So, please, take heart.

Ralph Nader ran for president four times, but most people only remember when he ran against Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000. As the Green Party nominee Nader got nearly 3 million votes, 97,421 of them in Florida — a pivotal state where, after a contentious recount and a Supreme Court decision, Bush beat Gore by 537 votes. Democrats excoriated Nader, calling him a spoiler. He lost many friends. Even Public Citizen, the advocacy group he founded in 1971, distanced itself from him. Nader has no regrets about running and has remained steadfast in his belief that democracy requires multiparty elections: it is not good enough to have people cast votes for the candidate they find less distasteful than the other one.

Before that election, Nader was among the most trusted people in the U.S. To some he was known as Saint Ralph. A ubiquitous consumer advocate, he’d gained a reputation for being a vigilant citizen. His coworkers remember the copious amount of mail that poured into his D.C. office: letters from fans and admirers; desperate pleas for help. Someone sent the driveshaft from a car, asking if it was defective; someone else sent a box of dry ice containing one of his lungs. Deemed cancerous, it had been surgically removed, and the man wondered if the operation had been necessary. But all that was forgotten.


Consider this letter to the editor:

It was difficult to read David Barsamian’s interview with Ralph Nader, not because of what was said but because of who said it. Though I agree with Nader, I couldn’t help but remember that he was instrumental in helping George W. Bush get elected president: had Nader not been on the
ballot in Florida, Al Gore would have won the state, taken office, and most likely never ordered the invasion of Iraq. Gore would also have led in the battle against climate change. Yet Nader states he has no regrets. I take this to mean that, knowing what we know now, he would have run anyway. Rather than put a presidential spoiler on the ballot every four years, a viable third party should focus on
local or statewide elections. Unfortunately we saw key states go to Donald Trump in 2016 because of a third-party candidate. I wonder how a man who says the things Nader says can support third-party politics upending elections.

A second subscriber echoes the sentiment:

I am impressed with Ralph Nader’s lifelong service to society, but as someone who sees climate change as a top priority, I find his good work pales in comparison to the harm he caused
in the 2000 presidential election. Two points are undeniable: he had no chance of winning the election, and in a razor-thin race between a Texas oilman and one of the first major-party politicians to recognize the urgency of climate change, Nader swung the election to the former. This set the planet back considerably, which will cause the death and displacement of millions of people
and the loss of thousands of species. I appreciate Nader’s work on auto safety and many other things, but on balance, his reckless foray into presidential politics makes him an unmitigated disaster for humanity.

Read Nader's response below the fold.

Matt Taibbi's Ubiquitous Brilliance !

Matt Taibbi's everywhere this month, especially over the past few days. As some reading this may remember (going back over a decade at "the other place"), I've been a huge fan of his for a long time. I was active in Boston political media, back in the early 80's, when his father, Mike, was a leading local newscaster there; and I met him (and worked countless times with his tv station's news staff) a few times, as well.

What Happened to The Left


I don't presume to be worthy of a seat at One Pissed Off Liberal's keyboard, damn ... I sometimes wish he hadn't beaten me to that handle, but I share his sense of being tired of being tired thanks to what has become of the liberal politics I used to love. Sometimes words do sound good when a pseudo progressive pretends to "feels your pain." Yet, behind the voices, we've learned to be wary of snake oil salespersons.

Nothing changes that might preempt the dysfunctional status quo.

Where has all the healthy political energy gone? Is it simply the case of a devil's deal with Wall Street or is there more to it than that? Has the last crossroads where we might choose a radical turn worthy of a Mother Jones come and gone? From Where I sit in Louisville, it sounds like ABC Radio National does a better job of exploring these questions than most of what pretends to be doing journalism here at home.

But once upon a time there were truth telling writers in America. Joe Bageant is a good example

What does it mean to be a leftie today? Do you and I have the same goals as the lefties of yesterday? Or has the old ideal of being left changed beyond recognition?

Off-guardian reviews Charlie LeDuff and Chris Hedges books

And That’s The Way It Is
The Essential U.S. Journalism Books of 2018

I always yearn for well-spoken rhetoric that tells the truth about the awful place America has become. Some people could say I am just negative, but sugar-coating the horrific conditions that the majority of Americans live in today is not something I will do.

Elections USA, Inc: "Scum Vs. Scum."

When I went looking for Hedges's weekly column today I rather expected him to be onto the next Bigger Picture item that he is always adroit at tackling.

So it was a little surprising that he chose instead to lead with an example of the midterm races in his state of NJ, the one between disgraced Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and Republican Bob Hugin.

He never disappoints.

Public Service Announcement to C99 and All Radical Progressive Left Voices: Wikipedia Is Not What We Think It Is.

In light of the recent FarceBook purging of political websites (most notably anti-police and anti-capitalist, as well as RW ones) this story shook me too.

Adjusting One's Political Expectations for 2018

The monopolies that own the elected Federal Government were always a known-known in America. That hasn't changed.

Yesterday, in the (Must Read if You Hope to be Informed in the US) Evening Blues, our news curator, joe shikspack, directed us with a simple link to an attempted interview with Chris Hedges, which was posted at Naked Capitalism.

Parts of the interview, by John Siman, are a study in "sentence fragment syndrome" as a sign that a finger in the dike is all that is standing between you and a deluge of uncanny clarity pouring forth from one of the foremost towering minds in American culture today — Chris Hedges.