Chris Hedges in Missoula

by lizard

Chris Hedges can be difficult to listen to because his assessment of where capitalism is taking the human species is bleak: annihilation.

It’s also true.

Because Hedges’ perspective is the antithesis of “business friendly” I wasn’t sure if the Missoulian would even cover it, but they did. Here’s an excerpt:

Hedges saved his harshest criticism for the Democratic Party, which he said serves the interests of the wealthy instead of the poor and downtrodden that it used to champion.

In particular, he accused former President Bill Clinton of undercutting the labor movement with the North American Free Trade Act and triggering the latest economic collapse by deregulating the nation’s banking industry. He has sued the Obama administration for violating the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution with rules allowing the military to hold American citizens without due process for vague terrorism-related associations.

With this in mind, I’m considering reviving an idea a friend first introduced to me in 2008 as he pitched his support for John McCain for president. Basically he contended that Democrats are more dangerous in power because they neutralize their base while carrying out the same essential policies of the elites, who reside not in America, but a magical place Hedges called Richistan.

There is also an addiction analogy I’ve used, describing how recovery doesn’t usually happen until an addict hits bottom. Maybe a Republican in charge in 2016 will provide the accelerant we need, if we make it to 2016 without WWIII going hot.

Even though I try to remind myself to remain skeptical of Democrat politicians, sometimes I let my defenses down. I did that recently with Dirk Adams because he says stuff like this on his campaign website:

The Senate is a representative body. It belongs to the people, not the parties. The people of Montana and the people of every state deserve Senators who show up. Who listen. Who debate. Who explain.

I can promise you right now that I will never dodge a question. You will know where I stand on every issue. You will know who is working for me and who to get in touch with. I will never turn down an opportunity to hear your thoughts or explain my positions. I don’t know if that’s how political consultants would tell me to behave, but I don’t give a fig for any other way of operating. And if every candidate would take the same tack, I don’t know who would be elected, but I know that we as a party and a country would be better off.

Actually, we would be better off if people like Dirk Adams and his fellow Wall Street gambling addicts weren’t enabled by the party that should be acting as a counter-weight to the corporate takeover we’ve witnessed.

What am I talking about? James Conner provided some important context to what kind of Democrat Dirk Adams would be in office last September. In his article, Conner quotes from this Politico piece examining Adams’ past in banking:

The only Democrat currently running for an open seat in Montana is a career banking executive with a business record that could be problematic for his party if his bid gains steam. In fact, his last bank failed only 18 months ago: the Controller of the Currency closed Home Savings of America of Little Falls, Minnesota in February 2012 when Adams was chairman and CEO of the holding company.

The Treasury Department’s Inspector General chalked the failure up to “an aggressive growth strategy” based on adjustable-rate mortgages and poor risk management practices, among other “questionable activities by the management.” The FDIC, acting as the bank’s receiver, could not find a buyer.

This is the kind of behavior that blew up the economy. Now Dirk Adams wants to portray himself as a rancher. That’s rich. Wait, what was that Dirk?

Personally, I think Montana voters are pretty smart. Montanans know cow patties when they see them. So they can tell the difference between real ideas and a pile of power-grabbing partisan nonsensical BS.

In the reality that exists beyond the political rhetoric, fewer and fewer citizens are even bothering to go through the motions of voting. Can you blame them?

Chris Hedges tried to provide some inspiring oratory after his thoroughly depressing assessment, but my cynicism prevented me from buying in. I left before the end of the Q&A, but a friend told me Hedges talked about being good friends with Greenwald, someone I’ve grown suspicious of because of the kind of corrupting cash that can transform even the most stalwart critic of the US empire into another player in the shadow-play on the cave wall.

Ultimately it was worth listening to what Hedges had to say. I agree with his opinion that resisting what the elite know is coming will be most effective at the local level.

Stay tuned…


  1. Turner

    It’s hard not to be cynical about the political process. Virtually every candidate is flawed, has points of vulnerability. Democrats are disappointing. Republicans are actually dangerous.

    Adams’ banking background has provided him with the wealth he needs to compete in a rigged system. Since he now has everything he needs — a ranch, money, a nice family — there’s no reason to assume he’ll be a force for corruption in the Senate.

    So, for now, he has my support. If he weren’t a conservationist he might not.

    I don’t think the large number of people who don’t vote are acting on any sort of reasoned analysis. They’re distracted by sports and other forms of entertainment. They’re desperately trying to scrape by and don’t have the time or the energy to think about political issues.

    • lizard19

      Dirk Adams, imho, has one choice if he wants his actions to match his rhetoric: be up front.

      he claims to want to shout from the tops of grain silos his political opinions. ok. let’s hear what lessons he learned about the economic crisis. he’s got personal experience peddling derivatives, like adjustable-rate mortgages. was that a good idea? did he learn from his mistakes? does he think the Fed should keep injecting cash into zombie banks? does he think his pal, Chuck Schumer, is acting on behalf of the American people, or Wall Street? will Dirk Adams act on behalf of the American people, or Wall Street.

      after discovering his background, I can see why he would want to depict himself as a rancher.

      • Turner

        Well, there wouldn’t be Batman without the dirty money raised by Bruce Wayne.

        • lizard19

          bold analogy, Turner, but comic book characters are fictional constructions of our hopes and aspirations. reality plays out differently.

  2. The problem with what we all really want to hear is that those candidates shouting it out will just get ganged up on by both parties.

    If you’re going to say how corrupt and controlled this country is by the rich, both of those parties are going to come down on you so fast and use their propaganda arms to belittle you in the minds of voters.

    It’s very hard to compete against the dark, monolithic box in our living rooms, and most have given up under it’s soft-onslaught glow and acquiesced to what the powers that be are telling them.

    If you can’t meet a certain threshold minimum of campaign donations your discounted as a joke and not worth a breath of support or an iota of compassion.

    Thankfully the vast majority of people in this country want to vomit all over their shoes whenever politicians are mentioned. That’s gold for outsiders.

  3. steve kelly

    I believe most who criticize Hedges do so because he’s right, vocal and unafraid to call a spade a spade.

    But a slim majority still give a free pass to “their” politicians, who listen and repeat what focus groups say voters want to hear — lying through their teeth all the while.

    “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.” Alexis de Toqueville; or Joseph de Maistre: “Every country has the government it deserves.”

    One small problem: We don’t have a democracy, or a much of a country either, apparently.

  4. Seen Clearly

    You can read (or listen to) Hedges identical lecture here:

    http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21477-the-myth-of-human-progress-and-the-collapse-of-complex-societies

  5. I attended. I’ve got two YouTube videos posted, and I’ll be downloading the entire lecture to archiveorg when I get a chance. The videos aren’t great, but the audio is perfect. I was right under a speaker.

    and

    • lizard19

      thank you j-girl!




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