Are these guys total nut-jobs…or mostly right?

Chris Hedge’s points:

  • there are no major institutions in U.S. today that are genuinely democratic
  • a form of “inverted totalitarianism” now controls America, not via an individual dictator, but through a mostly anonymous corporate state
  • coup-de-etat in “slow motion” occurred; corporations used the media and the iconography of patriotism and the Constitution to corrupt the levers of power to such an extent that the citizenry is now “impotent”
  • liberals and conservatives now pay fealty to the corporations
  • Bush and then Obama destroyed national and international law with invasion of and continued war in Iraq (loss of habeas corpus,  bypassing of “just war” theory, pre-emptive war etc.)
  • it’s now a waste of energy to engage in electoral politics because it’s rigged
  • Obama administration is a “poster-child” of the “craven hypocrisy” of the liberal class:  they’ve walked out on women’s rights, allowed spying and targeting of U.S. citizens, kept Guantanamo camps open, continued borrowing to support wars etc.
  • U.S. is now an oligarchic state
  • the enemy is Wall Street
  • Tea Party and Libertarian anger is purposely steered away from Wall Street and toward government in general and Obama in specific, also towards Muslims and immigrants
  • only non-violent way to resist the corporate superstructure is by going local: gardens, local business, get off grid, local government, etc.
  • U.S headed for “really rough times”
  • ecosystem is in trouble: liberal agenda failed at Copenhagen, basically killed Kyoto accords, he states Americans are living in twilight world of electronic hallucination “characteristic of dying civilizations”
  • liberal establishment was formerly a “safety valve” within a functioning democracy by making change and reform possible through official channels and by discrediting radicals, Chris states that such a safety valve no longer exists
  • “news” is not the same as truth
  • corporate assault has dismantled and corporat-ized the traditional “liberal strongholds”: the press and universities, institutions which are now powerless to change society
  • both parties now completely dependent on corporate money to stay in power
  • the permanent war economy fostered by Wall Street and Madison Avenue is justified through emotion laden propaganda: fear of enemies, foreign and domestic
  • press missed the nexus of the recent financial crisis and actually furthered the propaganda of the “criminal class” by becoming stenographers for the perpetrators on Wall Street (What’s wrong with the economy? Let’s interview Robert Rubin. He’ll know.)
  • internet propels people towards “intellectual ghettos”
  • no ethic of “reality based facts” in blogosphere
  • the “Church” was run over by the Christian fascists (killing Muslims in Iraq is okay gang) and corporate Christians (Jesus wants you to be rich gang)
  • comfort and career-ism mutes people’s natural response to evil and falsehood
  • action tips: get out of consumer culture, focus on moral imperatives over political expediency, change via bottom up activism
  • profile of typical politicians: they’re either mediocre (Obama) or venal (Bush)
  • Mr. Hedges worries about a future “violent right-wing backlash” and “totalitarianism”

Michael Hudson’s points:

  • the corporate and banking power structure favors a depression in U.S. as an excuse to lower wages by 20% in a “vain” attempt to make the economy more viable and themselves richer
  • Wall Street bankers and corporations (Obama’s financiers) are parasites, feeding off a host (the U.S. economy)
  • financial sector wants to hog all available money to bail out banks instead of helping working people
  • U.S. government’s and citizenry’s inability to pay debts = game over, means banks and corporations likely to look elsewhere for profits
  • Federal Reserve wants to re-inflate a housing bubble and in so doing, push middle class into eternal debt, essentially positioning them “one paycheck away from homelessness”
  • U.S. bailout money was reinvested by finance sector, not in U.S., but in emerging markets
  • finance capitalism stifles the industrial economy  because all the surplus goes to the banks, instead of being reinvested in the “real” economy
  • parasitic bankers will feast on the current host (USA) until it dies, then move on to greener pastures (BRICs and Asia)
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