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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/3/21

Hedges: Don't Be Fooled By Joe Biden

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What is exceptional about America is its culture of sadism.


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Don't be fooled by Joe Biden. He knows his infrastructure and education bills have as much chance at becoming law as the $15-dollar minimum wage or the $2,000 stimulus checks he promised us as a candidate. He knows his American Jobs Plan will never create "millions of good paying jobs -- jobs Americans can raise their families on" any more than NAFTA, which he supported, would, as was also promised, create millions of good paying jobs. His mantra of "buy American" is worthless. He knows the vast majority of our consumer electronics, apparel, furniture and industrial supplies are made in China by workers who earn an average of one or two dollars an hour and lack unions and basic labor rights. He knows his call to lower deductibles and prescription drug costs in the Affordable Care Act will never be permitted by the corporations that profit from health care.

He knows the corporate donors that fund the Democratic Party will ensure their lobbyists will continue to write the laws that guarantee they pay little or no taxes. He knows the corporate subsidies and tax incentives he proposes as a solution to the climate crisis will do nothing to halt oil and gas fracking, shut down coal-fired plants or halt the construction of new pipelines for gas-fired power plants. His promises of reform have no more weight than those peddled by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who Biden slavishly served and who also promised social equality while betraying working men and women.

Biden is the epitome of the empty, amoral creature produced by our system of legalized bribery. His long political career in Congress was defined by representing the interests of big business, especially the credit card companies based in Delaware. He was nicknamed Senator Credit Card. He has always glibly told the public what it wants to hear and then sold them out. He was a prominent promoter and architect of a generation of federal "tough on crime" laws that helped militarize the nation's police and more than doubled the population of the world's largest prison system with harsh mandatory sentencing guidelines and laws that put people in prison for life for nonviolent drug crimes, even as his son struggled with addiction. He was a principal author of the Patriot Act, which began the stripping away of our most basic civil liberties. And there has never been a weapons system, or a war, he did not support.

Nothing substantial will change under Biden, despite the hyperventilating about him being the next FDR. Biden's request for $715 billion for the Defense Department in fiscal year 2022, an $11.3 billion (1.6 percent) increase over 2021, will support the disastrous military provocations with China and Russia he embraces, the endless wars in the Middle East and the bloated defense industry. Wholesale government surveillance will not be curbed. Julian Assange will remain a target. The industries that were shipped overseas and the well-paying unionized jobs will not return. The grinding machinery of predatory capitalism, and the sadism that defines it, will poison the society as mercilessly under Biden as it did when Donald Trump was conducting his Twitter presidency.

Sadism now defines nearly every cultural, social and political experience in the United States. It is expressed in the greed of an oligarchic elite that has seen its wealth increase during the pandemic by $1.1 trillion while the country has suffered the sharpest rise in its poverty rate in more than 50 years. It is expressed in extra-judicial killings by police in cities such as Minneapolis. It is expressed in our complicity in Israel's wholesale killing of unarmed Palestinians, the humanitarian crisis engendered by the war in Yemen and our reigns of terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It is expressed in the torture in our prisons and black sites. It is expressed in the separation of children from their undocumented parents, where they are held as if they were dogs in a kennel.

The historian Johan Huizinga, writing about the twilight of the middle ages, argued that as things fall apart sadism is embraced as a way to cope with the hostility of an indifferent universe. No longer bound to a common purpose, a ruptured society retreats into the cult of the self. It celebrates, as do corporations on Wall Street or mass culture through reality television shows, the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation; and the incapacity for remorse or guilt. Get what you can, as fast as you can, before someone else gets it. This is the state of nature, the "war of all against all," Thomas Hobbes saw as the consequence of social collapse, a world in which life becomes "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." And this sadism, as Friedrich Nietzsche understood, fuels a perverted, sadistic pleasure.

The only way out for most Americans is to serve, as Biden does, the sadistic machine. The impoverishment of the working class has conditioned tens of millions of Americans to accept being recruited into the service of the militarized police that function as lethal armies of internal occupation; a military that carries out reigns of terror in foreign occupations; intelligence agencies that torture in global black sites; the government's vast network of spying on the citizenry; the theft of personal information by credit agencies and digital media; the largest prison system in the world; an immigration service that hunts down people who have never committed a crime and separates children from their parents to pack them in warehouses; a court system that condemns the poor to decades of incarceration, often for nonviolent crimes, and denies them a jury trial; companies that carry out the dirty work of evictions, shutting off utilities, including water, collecting usurious debts that force people into bankruptcy and denying health services to those that cannot pay; banks and payday lenders that burden the destitute with predatory, high-interest loans; and a financial system designed to keep most of the country locked in a crippling debt peonage as the wealth of the oligarchic elite swells to levels unseen in American history.

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Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of (more...)
 

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7 people are discussing this page, with 8 comments  Post Comment


David William Pear

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Like you said Chris, the liberal class is dead. The best they could do is anybody but Trump. Doing OK liberals have abandoned their principles. Just talking the talk is all they care about. They don't even care about ending the wars. Everything is about me, me, me the middle class. So why should they get forgiveness for college loans and affordable medical insurance? They don't deserve it!

Submitted on Monday, May 3, 2021 at 7:17:39 PM

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I'm usually one of Chris Hedges's biggest fans, but this article is very dark. I guess we need to wait and see in order to be accurate. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and the rest of the progressive team have had a very positive effect on Biden. How did Hedges get so jaded? Has he not changed over the years? Many things have happened in Biden's life that tapered his relationship with corporations and billionaires. He's a very genuine person who speaks and acts from his heart. He's not as naïve as he possibly once was, which Hedges seems to be sure was somewhere closer to pure evil. I hope to wait and be pleasantly surprised. I also think he has had a positive effect on Kamala Harris. I don't like how he still see the US military as something to be proud of. I'm personally more ashamed than anyone will ever know. But so far it's too early to be jaded, in my opinion. I hope Hedges is absolutely wrong. I'm so shocked that he has written this article. It does not ring true to me.

Submitted on Monday, May 3, 2021 at 7:56:54 PM

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David Moskowitz

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Brilliant analysis! Sadism truly provides a pleasure almost sexual in intensity. If we are to save the planet, we have to call it like it is. I'm sending this article to the few people I "influence."

Submitted on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 12:36:51 PM

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Cyril North

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While this article is pessimistic, it is about what is really happening. Well said, again, Chris. The brainwashed, dumbed-down masses of the capitalist world are descending into that hell imagined by Hobbes. The masters of this hell are the greedy opportunists of the corporate-military-political establishment.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 1:09:26 PM

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Blair Gelbond

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We might want Hedges to be more positive. (I know I do). Yet, what I see him doing is trying to break through our deep denial.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 2:00:47 PM

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Pitchforks? Sounds a little feudal. Not much use for them in the city. Besides, they are hard to store in a closet. Can lead to nasty puncture wounds in the face and eyeballs, not to mention other balls. Actually, Hedges looks like that 1830 American Gothic painting (by Grant Wood) of a farmer standing beside his wife with a pitchfork. Nevertheless, if I ever see Hedges leading the way with a pitchfork (insurrection anyone), I will get behind him...far far behind him.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 7:28:41 PM

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Only extreme drunks walk the streets in mexican towns. They care for each oyther.The statistics for homelessness, in the usa are a lie. I went to los angeles, in 2011 to help the homeless. 125 thousand homeless in LA county. They need to count people in vehicles, couch surfers, people in the outlying jugles. Housing and rent is extremely monopolized by hedge funds, management companies, billionaire and slumlords extreme price gouging, leads to extreme homelessness. The homeless counters, always undercount. Many students in california are homeless. it is an abomination. They're at a least million, probably more of homeless, in America. almost all why I went to some cities and towns in Mexico recently. There were not homeless people in Mexico in tents like there are in every major american city and, town. People take care of their people in Mexico . I was interested, in talking to a religious woman who said, she fed the homeless. I went and talked to her. She told me that homeless people deserve to be homeless. " It's because they are intrinsically evil, " she said. She said that she did not feed the homeless anymore. Austin recently passed an ordinance criminalizing, panhandling and homelessness. Such good Christian people. That's the real America now. It's a sadistic Mess, like Chris just says. It is due to monopolistic control of the red market by billionaires , owners and slumlords. It's monopolistic price gouging.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 8:20:08 PM

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Exactly. It's why migrant caravans are flooding into Mexico...er...traveling through Mexico and trying to get into racist U.S.A.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 11:34:41 PM

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