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The Cult of Trump

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Cult leaders arise from decayed communities and societies in which people have been shorn of political, social and economic power. The disempowered, infantilized by a world they cannot control, gravitate to cult leaders who appear omnipotent and promise a return to a mythical golden age. The cult leaders vow to crush the forces, embodied in demonized groups and individuals, that are blamed for their misery. The more outrageous the cult leaders become, the more they flout law and social conventions, the more they gain in popularity. Cult leaders are immune to the norms of established society. This is their appeal. Cult leaders demand a God-like power. Those who follow them grant them this power in the hope that the cult leaders will save them.

Donald Trump has transformed the decayed carcass of the Republican Party into a cult. All cults are personality cults. They are extensions of the cult leaders. The cult reflects the leader's prejudices, worldview, personal style and ideas. Trump did not create the yearning for a cult leader. Huge segments of the population, betrayed by the established elites, were conditioned for a cult leader. They were desperately looking for someone to rescue them and solve their problems. They found their cult leader in the New York real estate developer and reality television show star. Only when we recognize Trump as a cult leader, and many of those who support him as cult followers, will we understand where we are headed and how we must resist.

It was 40 years ago next month that a messianic preacher named Jim Jones convinced or forced more than 900 of his followers, including roughly 280 children, to die by ingesting a cyanide-laced drink. Trump's refusal to acknowledge and address the impending crisis of ecocide and the massive mismanagement of the economy by kleptocrats, his bellicosity, his threats against Iran and China and the withdrawal from nuclear arms treaties, along with his demonization of all who oppose him, ensure our cultural and, if left unchecked, physical extinction. Cult leaders are driven, at their core, by the death instinct, the instinct to annihilate and destroy rather than nurture and create.

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Trump shares many of the characteristics of Jones as well as other cult leaders including Marshall Herff Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Nettles, the founders of the Heaven's Gate cult; the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who led the Unification Church; Credonia Mwerinde, who led the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God in Uganda; Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong; and David Koresh, who led the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas.

Cult leaders are narcissists. They demand obsequious fawning and total obedience. They prize loyalty above competence. They wield absolute control. They do not tolerate criticism. They are deeply insecure, a trait they attempt to cover up with bombastic grandiosity. They are amoral and emotionally and physically abusive. They see those around them as objects to be manipulated for their own empowerment, enjoyment and often sadistic entertainment. All those outside the cult are branded as forces of evil, prompting an epic battle whose natural expression is violence.

"A cult is a mirror of what is inside the cult leader," Margaret Thaler Singer wrote in "Cults in Our Midst." "He has no restraints on him. He can make his fantasies and desires come alive in the world he creates around him. He can lead people to do his bidding. He can make the surrounding world really his world. What most cult leaders achieve is akin to the fantasies of a child at play, creating a world with toys and utensils. In that play world, the child feels omnipotent and creates a realm of his own for a few minutes or a few hours. He moves the toy dolls about. They do his bidding. They speak his words back to him. He punishes them any way he wants. He is all-powerful and makes his fantasy come alive. When I see the sand tables and the collections of toys some child therapists have in their offices, I think that a cult leader must look about and place people in his created world much as a child creates on the sand table a world that reflects his or her desires and fantasies. The difference is that the cult leader has actual humans doing his bidding as he makes a world around him that springs from inside his own head."

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George Orwell understood that cult leaders manipulate followers primarily through language, not force. This linguistic manipulation is a gradual process. It is rooted in continual mental chaos and verbal confusion. Lies, conspiracy theories, outlandish ideas and contradictory statements that defy reality and fact soon paralyze the opposition. The opposition, with every attempt to counter this absurdism with the rational -- such as the decision by Barack Obama to make his birth certificate public or by Sen. Elizabeth Warren to release the results of her DNA test to prove she has Native American ancestry -- plays to the cult leader. The cult leader does not take his or her statements seriously and often denies ever making them, even when they are documented. Lies and truth do not matter. The language of the cult leader is designed exclusively to appeal to the emotional needs of those in the cult.

"Hitler kept his enemies in a state of constant confusion and diplomatic upheaval," Joost A.M. Meerloo wrote in "The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing." "They never knew what this unpredictable madman was going to do next. Hitler was never logical, because he knew that that was what he was expected to be. Logic can be met with logic, while illogic cannot -- it confuses those who think straight. The Big Lie and monotonously repeated nonsense have more emotional appeal in a cold war than logic and reason. While the enemy is still searching for a reasonable counter-argument to the first lie, the totalitarians can assault him with another."

The cult leader grooms followers to speak in the language of hate and violence. The cult leader constantly paints a picture of an existential threat, often invented, that puts the cult followers in danger. Trump is doing this by demonizing the caravan of some 4,000 immigrants, most from Honduras, moving through southern Mexico. Caravans of immigrants, are, in fact, nothing new. The beleaguered and impoverished asylum seekers, including many families with children, are 1,000 miles from the Texas border. But Trump, aided by nearly nonstop coverage by Fox News and Christian broadcasting, is using the caravan to terrify his followers, just as he, along with these media outlets, portrayed the protesters who flooded the U.S. capital to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as unruly mobs. Trump claims the Democrats want to open the border to these "criminals" and to "unknown Middle Easterners" who are, he suggests, radical jihadists. Christian broadcasting operations, such as Pat Robertson's The 700 Club, splice pictures of marching jihadists in black uniforms cradling automatic weapons into the video shots of the caravan.

The fear mongering and rhetoric of hate and violence, as I saw in the former Yugoslavia, eventually lead to widespread acts of violence against those the cult leader defines as the enemy. The 13 explosive devices sent last week to Trump critics and leaders of the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, along with George Soros, James Clapper and CNN, allegedly by Cesar Sayoc, an ex-stripper and fanatic Trump supporter who was living out of his van, herald more violence. Trump, tossing gasoline on the flames, used this assault against much of the leadership of the Democratic Party to again attack the press, or, as he calls it, "the enemy of the people.... "A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News," he tweeted. "It has gotten so bad and hateful that is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its acts, FAST!"

It should come as no surprise that on Saturday another enraged American white male, his fury and despair seemingly stoked by the diatribes and conspiracy theories of the far right, entered a Pittsburgh synagogue and massacred eight men and three women as he shouted anti-Semitic abuse. Shot by police and arrested at the scene was Robert Bowers, who believes that Jewish groups are aiding the caravan of immigrants in southern Mexico. He was armed with a military-style AR-15 assault rifle, plus three handguns. The proliferation of easily accessible high-caliber weapons, coupled with the division of the country into the blessed and the damned by Trump and his fellow cultists, threatens to turn the landscape of the United States into one that resembles Mexico, where at least 145 people in politics, including 48 candidates and pre-candidates, along with party leaders and campaign workers, have been assassinated over the last 12 months, according to Etellekt, a risk analysis firm in Mexico. There have been 627 incidents of violence against politicians, 206 threats and acts of intimidation, 57 firearm assaults and 52 attacks on family members that resulted in 50 fatalities. Trump's response to the mass shooting at the synagogue was to say places of worship should have armed guards, a call for further proliferation of firearms. Look south if you want a vision of our future.

Domestic terrorism and nihilistic violence are the natural outcomes of the economic, social and political stagnation, the total seizure of power by a corporate cabal and oligarchic elite, and the contamination of civil discourse by cult leaders. The weaponization of language is proliferating, as seen in the vile rhetoric that characterizes many political campaigns for the midterm elections, including the racist robocall sent out against Andrew Gillum, an African-American candidate for the governorship of Florida. "Well, hello there. I is the negro Andrew Gillum and I'll be askin' you to make me governor of this here state of Florida," a man speaking in a caricature of a black dialect accompanied by jungle noises said in the robocall. Cults externalize evil. Evil is embodied in the demonized other, whether desperate immigrants, black political candidates and voters, or the Democratic Party. The only way to purge this evil and restore America to greatness is to eradicate these human contaminants.

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The cult leader, unlike a traditional politician, makes no effort to reach out to his opponents. The cult leader seeks to widen the divisions. The leader brands those outside the cult as irredeemable. The leader seeks the omnipotence to crush those who do not kneel in adoration. The followers, yearning to be protected and empowered by the cult leader, seek to give the cult leader omnipotence. Democratic norms, an impediment to the leader's omnipotence, are attacked and abolished. Those in the cult seek to be surrounded by the cult leader's magical aura. Reality is sacrificed for fantasy. Those who challenge the fantasy are not considered human. They are Satanic.

Meerloo wrote:

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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.

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Rob Kall

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It is also the religious dimension that must be addressed. Chris makes clear the danger of the Christian right:

"The removal of Trump from power would not remove the yearning of tens of millions of people, many conditioned by the Christian right, for a cult leader. Most of the leaders of the Christian right have built cult followings of their own. These Christian fascists embraced magical thinking, attacked their enemies as agents of Satan and denounced reality-based science and journalism long before Trump did."

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 3:08:28 PM

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True.


Also true: You can't build a cult without people who, as Hedges puts it, have been "disempowered, infantilized by a world they cannot control." That feeling of disempowerment is what the would-be cult leader exploits. And that feeling of disempowerment is what the religious right traffics in generally.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 5:32:30 PM

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The most frightening Christian evangelist is right-wing politician Franklin Graham...


click here


Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 3:59:46 PM

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Chris Hedges' analysis of Trump as a cult leader rings true. But Hedges offers no practical, actionable path forward. He seems to call for revolution, saying that the normal institutions that should save us have all been compromised or destroyed. He doesn't offer a banner, leader, ideology, or party behind which to organize. His vision isn't incremental or constructive; it's just destructive.

Besides, most people -- including me!!! -- insist on non-violence. Though he talks about "mass civil disobedience and non-cooperation," he also talks of revolution.

Also, the Democratic Party, though compromised, still has some power and still has some good politicians. If they win the midterms, they will be able to put a brake on Trump. Yes, they're imperfect -- but hasn't politics always been imperfect?

So, Hedges writes well but is far, far too extreme.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 5:21:58 PM

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"the Democratic Party, though compromised, still has some power and still has some good politicians. If they win the midterms, they will be able to put a brake on Trump."


The Democrats won the 2006 midterms. Did they put a brake on Bush?

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 5:33:30 PM

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You seek a practical path forward. I've given it--right here at OEN.

And by the way, no less than Noam Chomsky has given my article a stamp of approval, calling it "very well done" in a personal e-mail after I drew his attention to it. I could easily get Chomsky to verify this if you're skeptical.

This isn't intended as boasting. With my wife having Stage 4 colon cancer, I hardly have time for childish boasting. If I spared time to write--and Chomsky (from an immensely busy schedule) to approve, it's because there's a SERIOUS prospect for ORGANIZING here.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 3:26:57 PM

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Dems are worse than imperfect. They are profoundly flawed corporatists. I do have hope for some of the progressive canddiates running. But Pelosi and Schumer are disgustingly owned by corporations.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 2, 2018 at 1:11:05 PM

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Rob, I agree. More than a year ago, OpEdNews Op Eds 1/8/2017 at 07:00:01 carried an article that is well worth reading or rereading for many who can step outside the matrix for a short period of time before we get pulled back into the rabbit hole. Your above comment shows this insight indeed.

You would think that losing all three branches of government you would see a sea change not a doubling down on what got us to sum zero.

Democrats have Lost the War, the People and all Three Branches of Government

As for Chuck Schumer & Co. it is a sign that the war party has doubled down on the very reasons that Democrat and Independent voters fled from the Democrat Party nomination after the DNC and Bernie Sanders fiasco and the nomination of the war party where even the neocons and MIC switched parties to support the War Queen of Wall Street.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 2, 2018 at 4:44:38 PM

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George King

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There are two very clear statements Chris makes that are not being addressed at any levels nor in the comments here so far but instead seems to be drawing (more) "more efforts by the Democratic Party and much of the press, including CNN and The New York Times, to discredit Trump, as if our problems are embodied in him, are futile. The smug, self-righteousness of this crusade against Trump only contributes to the national reality television show that has replaced journalism and politics. This crusade attempts to reduce a social, economic and political crisis to the personality of Trump. It is accompanied by a refusal to confront and name the corporate forces responsible for our failed democracy. This collusion with the forces of corporate oppression neuters the press and Trump's mainstream critics".

"Our only hope is to organize the overthrow of the corporate state that vomited up Trump. Our democratic institutions, including the legislative bodies, the courts and the media, are hostage to corporate power. They are no longer democratic. We must, like liberation movements of the past, engage in acts of sustained mass civil disobedience and non-cooperation."

I know that this will be attacked as defending Trump, Russia or some ghost past/future. This is insanity, just where the cult leader/s or the status quo leaders of the Iron Law of Oligarchy want you to be to protect them and their power, the real enemy inside the gates.

The first coherent thoughts must address these issues and reinforcement of divide and conquer to point anywhere but to the cause and common enemy. It is a distraction and the road to continued slavery, theft of our Treasure, Commons and Inalienable Rights. For those of us who refuse to bend or break in defense of forming a more perfect union and collective investments in our country is surely the enemy of the people.

As for the continuation of the DNC (modus operandi) as one of the many real co-conspirators I would apply the following quote. It really is as simple as this. We have been led down many rabbit holes for far too long.

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear." --Marcus Tullius Cicero 42B.C.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 8:25:09 PM

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Terrific, well thought out comment, George. Big thumbs up!

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 6:37:57 PM

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The rise of a cult leader like Trump is the result of decades of neglect by the corporate class of the economic security of labor. They deliberately through the buying off of public institutions destroyed the power of labor unions by shipping good paying jobs overseas.


The once labor friendly Democrats under Bill Clinton threw their natural constituency under the bus. After 8 years of abuse under the Bush cabal, labor turned to Obama to restore some fairness only to have sand kicked in their face. The last straw was the rigging of the Democratic primary, cheating Bernie Sanders out of the nomination he clearly won.


If you were paying close enough attention, you already knew what the election night results would be. These liberal elites are not victims. They are perpetrators and need to be continuously reminded of it.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 9:10:47 PM

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You neglect the unpatriotic, immoral, unethical Ronald Reagan firing the union FAA Air Traffic Controllers, to encourage CEO's to off-shore/out-source American manufacturing to China. Not following through on the Carter Energy Policy now has China leading the world in fast-train and alternative energy use and research.

The globalist stooge Obama's inept and divisive governing s what spawned Trump's rise. Both are being used by the elites to continue their agenda of enslaving the masses while plundering the world's finite resources for profit. The bullying of noncompliant nations through war just might lead to nuclear Armageddon, if Trump is not contained in the near future.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 2:33:27 PM

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You're right about Reagan, but just containing Trump is not the solution. The whole system is a death trap. From the frying pan into the fire is not the path forward. We need to confront the entire corrupt class of neoliberal/cons and strip them of their power.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 4:16:20 PM

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Sometimes it takes a sledgehammer.

I know three groups of people who voted for Trump: folks enamored with him as Hedges describes, conservatives who didn't like him but couldn't countenance the "socialist" Democrats, and folks who wanted to send a strong message to the Democratic Party to stop f***ing around. It didn't seem to work, and the neocon wing of the Democratic Party has more than doubled down. I've heard from a number of thoughtful people who voted early that they voted straight Republican to try once again to send a message. It's former Democrats who are really PO'ed. How far to the right can the Democrats actually crawl?

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 1, 2018 at 10:53:10 AM

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"Fake news, The press is the Enemy of the People", says Trump.


He is right. Isn't that what Chomsky and many others have been saying all along?


I do not think the main stream media has what it will take to effectively deal with Trump.


What the MSM must do is bring on real journalists such as from the alternative media.


But I can not see that happening, so buckle your seat belts. This is going to be a bumpy ride.

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 9:16:43 PM

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The mainstream media has failed in many ways. But it's their (generally accurate) criticisms of Trump that Trump calls fake news. So, no, Ceric, "The press is the Enemy of the People" is not an example of something that Chomsky and Trump agree on.

BTW, Chomsky has explicitly called on people to vote for Democrats: what many commenters call the"lesser-of-two-evils." Bernie Sanders wanted his supporters to vote for Hillary. (This debate goes on and on and on. )

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 9:38:35 PM

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The oligarch-owned mass media ceaselessly trumpets the lying propaganda narratives that support their imperialist, neoliberal and neocon agendas. Academic, thinktank and media experts analyze things that didn't happen - like Putin hacked the election - as if they are anyalyzing reality. And the same experts ignore reality - Hillary and the DNC stole the nomination from Bernie, as the leaked emails prove - as conspiracy theories. The US mass media is the brainwashing industrial complex, which is the enemy of truth and the enemy of democracy that depends on the people knowing the truth. Pull your head out of your anti-Trump delusions and see reality, instead of believing in the brainwashed Matrix of lying propaganda that too many people still believe in as "reality".

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 11:00:58 PM

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LOL, Derryl. Politifact called denial of Russiagate the "Lie of the Year" for 2016. Mueller has indicted Russians. Glenn Greenwald used to think Russian meddling was a myth but now he has come around and admitted that it's real.

It's undeniable that Putin tried to hack the election. It's unclear whether his efforts were sufficient to determine the result. But given the closeness of the election, it's quite possible. In any case, Trump and his aides had numerous suspicious contacts with Russians. Mueller indicted some Trump aides for lying about them.

This is a clear case of: he said, (s)he said. The mainstream media, Mueller, the FBI, and the CIA say that the Russians meddled. The right wing media, Russian trolls, and some far leftists disbelieve it.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 12:29:42 AM

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It seems the Dembots are a lost cause for the moment. They need another round of being thrown under the bus after giving the Dems full control. Not that we can afford to do that again, but they insist. Guess they never read Einstein's definition of insanity.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 1:01:45 AM

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BFalcon

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Reply to Lois Gagnon:   New Content

Did you read it and what did you change?

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 6:57:30 AM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Pot meet kettle. Lois thughtfully lays out her reasons and their conclusions, while you relentlessly and mindlessly attack her without addressing any of her points. So who's the insane one here?

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 6:44:08 PM

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Lois Gagnon

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

Thanks for the support John. I've stopped responding to BF's meaningless taunts. I think that's why he keeps trying to get a reply. LOL.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 31, 2018 at 11:38:06 PM

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George King

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

Well if you have been paying attention BF you would have noticed that rinse and repeat has been exposed for what it is. I agree with Lois on this although my concerns and efforts will be in seeking resolve and if temporary that means voting Green until a better way forward breaks with the new dawn then so be it.

I guess the question to you is what has changed voting for either party when both are owned by various means and methods? I will borrow John's "relentlessly and mindlessly" is what voting for either party is, no ifs, buts or ands need apply.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 9:46:34 PM

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Derryl, I am afraid your noble efforts to explain something to Don is a wasteland following many efforts before you in pointing out some misgivings that he has as he continues to misquote and find facts where none exist in his reply to your efforts. I see his reply is a copy paste of what he was called out on in the article he quoted just a day or so ago.

As to Don's clear case of his "he said she said Russian meddling this interview clears up by Chomsky that this is not the case:

VIDEO : Chomsky: Israel not Russia, Meddling in US elections, Aug 2, 2018

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 1:06:10 AM

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Don Smith

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Reply to George King:   New Content

George misquotes me! He writes, "As to Don's clear case of his "he said she said Russian meddling this interview clears up by Chomsky that this is not the case:[Chomsky video about meddling]." I never said that Chomsky talked about Russian meddling. I said that Chomsky called on lefties to vote for Democrats until Trump and the GOP are defeated. He calls the GOP the most dangerous group....

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 2:04:33 AM

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Ceric

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The MSM was co-opted by the oligarchic class long ago. Their narrative it puts out does not ring true nor catch the interest of the people (weapons of mass destruction, subservience to profit, celebration of military). Eventually someone came along that could fill the news media vacuum, but unfortunately it was a greedy sociopath rather than real journalists and real politicians interested in the American people.

Between Trump and Hillary, I suppose Hillary was the better choice. I think she would not have made problems worse. We would still be headed over the cliff though, we just would have avoided speeding it up. The Democratic Party serves the wealthy oligarchs. I doubt it can be effectively overhauled before the effects of climate change the whole playing field.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 1:18:39 AM

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Toni Jean

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I just want to ask Chris Hedges to write more simply so us Non Elites can understand- too many big words for average person.

I cant pass this critical piece on to friends and family with only a high school diploma. and we need to reach the masses, not just those with BA's, MBA's, Phds...

Submitted on Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 11:06:03 PM

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Reply to Toni Jean:   New Content

I think you have a valid point, Toni Jean. Although I don't think we would want intellectuals like Hedges to deny their passion: not only for sharing their knowledge, but also for the art of writing. Expressing their depth is vital, and they do have huge audiences.

But you're right, that the average person can get lost in the verbiage. Fortunately, there are many other sources that present similar information in a more people-ready way. Hunt around. On this site and others; You Tube; and even some comedians. :)

If your friends and family want to learn about what's going on, you and they will find the best ways to get the information.

It can be disturbing research. A LOT of people simply don't want to know or think about things... for various reasons. If you want to share, be ready for some frustration.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 12:30:42 AM

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Reply to Toni Jean:   New Content

keep asking questions and keep reading from websites like this one and others similar to it. You will get there.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 12:40:15 AM

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Lois Gagnon

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Reply to Toni Jean:   New Content

I only have a high school education. If I don't understand a term used by an author, I look it up. It's how we self-educate. I don't want to see Chris dumb down his writing. The rest of us need to smarten up.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 12:57:52 AM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Reply to Toni Jean:   New Content

Hedges has no chance at getting published in media that addresses the demographic you mention. He sees his role as trying to keep the intellectual demographic, historically the vanguard of progressive movements, from drowning in the propaganda spewing from PBS, NPR, NYT, WAPO, et al. He's counting on people like you to take the time to reformat what he is saying and do your part in addressing your less intellectually gifted family and friends.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 6:50:38 PM

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George King

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Toni & John here, although there are many intellectually gifted among us it will be that moment of exchange of knowing through personal experience/s what is the unabashed plain truth. We are humanitarian on the most basic levels in our Treasure, Commons and Inalienable Rights that we are born into conscience equally, what we choose to do with that spiritual spark, whether we recognize it or shun it for whatever gain shall we be judged.

Shall it be the shackles hoisted upon one by those that do not have the best interest of people at heart in this spirit or the manufactured consent of peer or what other pressure one succumbs to? This is the question that will have to be answered within one's self and hopefully the answer that comes will be in that spirit of humanitarian consciousness.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 10:11:07 PM

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Jerry Lobdill

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Hedges has nailed the situation IMO. I'm moved to imagine a war in which a general like Trump commands one side, and the best most successful general ever is in command of the other side and knows the mind of his opponent. I think the way to win would be to drive the Trumpian general into a narcissistic defensive mode and use the obvious predictive knowledge to set a trap.

We are not doing that. Instead we seem to write articles describing and analyzing the attention-getting antics of the narcissist. Talking heads contrast what Trump does with what a qualified president should have done.

We need to stop doing that and instead do what will increase his anxiety and frustration to the point where his reaction will force remedial action by Congress. The present situation allows Congress to use finesse to ignore the danger and concentrate on implementing their fascistic plans.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 12:48:42 AM

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John Hermann

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None of the chaos and dysfunctionality of this administration as personified by the cult leader could have happened if it were not for the fact that a very large section of American society has been dumbed down by the corporations that control the mass media, to the extent that many people are unable to think rationally or critically about anything other than their own wants and desires. It is a national intellectual and moral crisis.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 2:37:04 AM

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Nick Lento

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In full agreement up to the last two paragraphs. Trump became president by tiny majorities in three states, despite losing the popular vote by 4 million or so. Among the many factors that amounted to those small number of votes in three states was the sad reality that many folks on the left could not bring themselves to vote for Clinton and either stayed home or issued a protest vote for a third party candidate, which in a close election in three states, gave us Trump.

Continuing to weaken and denigrate the Democratic party simply insures that Trump, or any Republican replacing him on the ballot in 2020, will win as the majority will be divided and discouraged. and defeated by a well orchestrated minority motivated to march in lock step to the polls.

I totally get all that is wrong with the establishment of the Democratic party. It is legally corrupt on a systemic basis and no doubt there is much illegal corruption as well. But having said that we would have been much better off with Clinton as potus.

Trump is just starting to poison American democracy...we can still reverse this with the full knowledge that it will take decades to undo the damage Trump has caused so far.

Even if the Mueller investigations were to result in Trump's removal from office we would still be subjected to the fallout from millions of Trump suckers acting out in violent ways to avenge their deposed "leader".

What needs to be done is the legal non-violent takeover of the Democratic Party establishment from the precinct levels by the the Chair of the DNC by decent progressives. Not easy, but possible and necessary.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 5:39:52 AM

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Lois Gagnon

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Reply to Nick Lento:   New Content

Voting Green is not a protest vote. It's a vote for the Green candidate. I wish I knew what it will take to get that to sink in.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 4:19:06 PM

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CH charaterizes our time perfectly. While he offers up some broad remedies his real accomplishment is educating us all about exactly how things work and why we are here. He states what is difficult for us to articulate. It identifies our own contributions by lack of participation though probably not anyo ne on this site. I heard an NPR inrerview this morning with a lady going through hell with her addicted son. She complained that she had to send her son to maryland for treatment becuase florida wouldnt provide needed services. She wanted consistency in Health care. So she voted for Trump. She was not stupid but just from her statements quite uninformed which likly isnt her fault either. So we need more chris hedges articlating exatly what is going on complete with the information he gives on history of these thi ngs. His is the most. Correct perspective i've encountered.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 12:10:27 PM

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George King

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Thomas, this scenario has a flaw. First I agree on the need for universal single payer healthcare from birth to end of life but this is only addressing treating symptoms in this case. Addressing the root causes of illnesses or in this case addiction and not taking the profit motive/s that creates this situation rather than the cost of paying for treatment as considerations is the flaw.

Cost prohibitive outcomes of not addressing and eliminating the monopolies on pharmaceuticals, insurance and control of the medical centers by for profit corporations is the issue/s that must be addressed and confronted before our Treasure, Commons and Inalienable Rights can be restored to forming a more perfect union is the only way forward.

Universities have become profit centers rather than true educational centers needed for any nation or people to advance and evolve true humanitarian goals for all. Think for a moment where if the Universities return to the education/s research and development for the nation rather than for profit transnational corporations productions of citizen's education to promote only their destructive practices. Let's not forget that what we are seeing is that it is becoming more evident that even the education and training to do the bidding of these anti citizens corporations results in life time of enslavement to pay off the debt of this process to those participating under good faith!

A reasonable answer is available but the control of the power players to be of the political processes and legislation are bought and sold not by the citizens through participation but by the very profits that create misery and suffering. Now why is that not the question/s, solutions being debated in the government offices and legislative centers? I will refer you to the paragraph preceding this one.

This is what true bottom up evolves, not alliance to despots, false gods and other false aspirations of those that do not have the citizens best interest at heart as modus operandi. This false declaration of sausage making gymnastics in our legislative centers have not produced any sausage for decades produces only shafts and the middle finger to the (false deplorable (sic) of society) citizens are not protected currently by our Constitution and Bill of Rights or rule of laws equitably, in fact the opposite is true.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 4:19:06 PM

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Don Smith

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It's unreasonable for Hedges to say that the mainstream media and the Dems have no credibility when they criticize Trump. The mainstream media and the Dems are not monolithic. There are excellent people, as well as corrupted people, in both groups. Such extremist thinking is what gave us George W. Bush -- instead of environmentalist Al Gore -- and Donald Trump -- instead of centrist Democrat Hillary Clinton, who would have saved women's rights, gun rights, environmentalism, labor, gay rights, the Supreme Court, the EPA, financial regulation, and numerous other things we hold dear from the ravages of Trump and the Reugs.

Indeed, from our point of view, looking back at the 2000 race, it's quite clear that Al Gore was a decent Democrat. He won a Nobel Prize for warning about climate change! (But shame on the Nobel committee for giving the Peace Prize to Obama.) In the future, when people look back at Hillary versus Trump, the case won't be as clear as between Gore and Bush, but it will still be a cause for regret -- like the Socialists and Communists in Germany who wouldn't settle for the lesser of two evils and so got Hitler.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 5:41:21 PM

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Don, you always seem to forget that the "excellent people" have very little power over what the party does; in fact, like Sanders in the primaries, they almost always get stiffed.

I think we do much better strategically to identify what the Democratic Party it by the things it ACTUALLY (as a whole) does. That should motivate the excellent people--provided they really ARE excellent--to distance themselves as much as possible from Democrats' LOATHSOME leadership.

Of course, I'm skeptical about TRUE excellence, since no Democrats whatsoever (nor even Bernie Sanders) has condemned Democrats' indefensible rehabilitation of Bush and his fellow war criminals.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 6:09:03 PM

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Don Smith

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Trump and the GOP are destroying the nation and empowering racists. And lots of people on OpEdNews are obsessed with blaming the Dems. Weird!

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 10:57:55 PM

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Hardly weird, because the Democrats, by their lack of principle and rejection of the working class and poor, make Republican rule possible. Dems can't even blame Republicans for our long, senseless, destructive involvement in the Middle East, because many of them supported or support the same policies. Michelle Obama's utter lack of principle in publicly embracing war criminal George Bush shows why people--but especially progressives--hate the Democratic Party.

Submitted on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018 at 11:19:07 PM

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Don Smith

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There are progressive Dems in Congress who oppose war and corporations. And Bernie almost got elected, running as a Democrat! Don't pretend all Dems are alike. In any case, it's probably easier to reform the Dems (by working with progressive Dems) than to make a viable third party.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 2, 2018 at 6:59:49 PM

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Yes, the Dems have been weak and bought and corrupt and tools of the corporate oligarchy, but there is a deeper and darker faction among the corporatists that goes right back to packing the "vermin" in ovens, and we are racing there with breakneck speed if we keep refusing to address the 8,000 pound gorilla at the heart of our decay.

Why are we acting like gross lies don't matter? Between individuals, maybe, but nationally broadcast, they are the very foundation of fascism. And the perpetrator is not Trump, who is just a grotesquely credulous and vicious fool repeating what "many people say," but the overtly fascist, utterly un-American, out-of-control propaganda machine that creates all the lies and feeds them to their maggot toady - Fox "News."

Fox IS the original Fake News and it IS the Enemy of the People. Every hateful thing the neo-Caligula "hears" and "learns" and "sees" comes from this lethal race-baiting, fear-mongering, hate-stroking, totalitarian-pushing treasonously lying cesspool that is shown in almost every bar, restaurant and hotel in the land. When will real Americans put a stop to it?

The First Amendment does not cover shouting "fire" in a crowded theater and Fox lies are doing far, far worse.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 31, 2018 at 5:27:31 AM

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Yeah, Fox News is bad. How do you propose stopping it? Boycotting its sponsors?

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 31, 2018 at 10:09:04 PM

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By pulling their broadcast license, just as Trump has threatened NBC with.

Congressional hearings and grand juries could easily document thousands of outright lies and massive harm done to the public.

They could settle by agreeing to stop calling themselves news and becoming entertainment only, which is their standard defense of any criticism. But the delusion that they are news would be shattered.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 31, 2018 at 10:25:40 PM

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Good luck getting Congress of the FCC to pull Fox News' broadcast license as long as Republicans are in control or have a near majority!

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 1, 2018 at 11:06:04 PM

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