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Mon Jan 23, 2012, 09:47 AM

Chris Hedges: Thank You for Standing Up


from truthdig:



Thank You for Standing Up

Posted on Jan 23, 2012
By Chris Hedges


I spent Friday morning sitting on a wooden bench in a fourth-floor courtroom in the New York Criminal Court in Manhattan. I was waiting to be sentenced for “disturbing the peace” and “refusing to obey a lawful order” during an Occupy demonstration in front of Goldman Sachs in November.

Those sentenced before me constituted the usual fare of the court. They were poor people of color accused of mostly petty crimes—drug possession, thefts, shoplifting, trespassing because they were homeless and needed a place to sleep, inappropriate touching, grand larceny and violation of probation. They were escorted out of a backroom by a police officer, stood meekly before the judge with their hands cuffed behind them, were hastily defended by a lawyer clutching a few folders, and were sentenced. Ten days in jail. Sixty days in jail. Six months in jail. A steady stream of convictions. My sentence, by comparison, was slight. I was given an ACD, or “adjournment in contemplation of dismissal,” which means that if I am not arrested in the next six months my case is dismissed. If I am arrested during this period of informal probation the old charge will be added to the new one before I am sentenced.

The country’s most egregious criminals, the ones who had stripped some of those being sentenced of their homes, their right to a decent education and health care, their jobs, their dignity and their hope, those wallowing in tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, those who had gamed the system to enrich themselves at our expense, were doing the dirty business of speculation in the tall office towers a few blocks away. They were making money. A few of these wealthy plutocrats were with the president, who was in New York that day to attend four fundraisers that took in an estimated $3 million. For $15,000 you could have joined Barack Obama at Daniel, an exclusive Upper East Side restaurant. For $35,000 you could have been at a gathering hosted by movie director Spike Lee. Most of those sentenced in that courtroom do not make that much in a year. It was a good day in New York for Barack Obama. It was a bad day for us.

Our electoral system, already hostage to corporate money and corporate lobbyists, gasped its last two years ago. It died on Jan. 21, 2010, when the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission granted to corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts on independent political campaigns. The ruling turned politicians into corporate employees. If any politician steps out of line, dares to defy corporate demands, this ruling hands to our corporate overlords the ability to pump massive amounts of anonymous money into campaigns to make sure the wayward are defeated and silenced. Politicians like Obama are hostages. They jump when corporations say jump. They beg when corporations say beg. They hand corporations exemptions, subsidies, trillions in taxpayer money, no-bid contracts and massive loans with virtually no interest, and they abolish any regulations that impede profits and protect the citizen. Corporations like Goldman Sachs, because they own the system, are bailed out by federal dollars and given essentially free government loans to gamble. I am not sure what to call our economic system, but it is not capitalism. And if any elected official so much as murmurs anything that sounds like dissent, the Supreme Court ruling permits corporations to destroy him or her. And they do. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/thank_you_for_standing_up_20120123/



8 replies, 2661 views

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Reply Chris Hedges: Thank You for Standing Up (Original post)
marmar Jan 2012 OP
xchrom Jan 2012 #1
Hell Hath No Fury Jan 2012 #2
grasswire Jan 2012 #3
99th_Monkey Jan 2012 #7
lib2DaBone Jan 2012 #4
lonestarnot Jan 2012 #5
lonestarnot Jan 2012 #6
jimgodfree Jan 2012 #8

Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 09:48 AM

1. du rec. nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 12:23 PM

2. Justice is for the shmucks --

 

not the elite.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 02:24 PM

3. Chris Hedges is the Boomer generation's Bill Moyers


Both with seminary education, both remarkable writers, both with a conscience that drives them to boldly witness to the injustices of the day. I don't think Moyers has ever been arrested in a protest though.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 12:35 AM

7. +1 nt

 

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 09:42 PM

4. Chris Hedges is a seasoned war correspondent....

 

He has been arrested and shot at in the Mideast... yet he is not afraid to stand up to the money changers.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 09:59 PM

5. PU

 

Last edited Mon Jan 23, 2012, 11:23 PM - Edit history (1)

I thought this was the same Hedges and maybe it is re the occupy post in which I also responded. But no, no third party rec outta me. Snatched that back and edited because of my own stupid misread.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 11:22 PM

6. Good Gawd, I take back my rec.

 

I mistook him for someone else. Too bad we don't have the unrec anymore.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:42 AM

8. Re. "I am not sure what to call our economic system, but it is not capitalism."

I think the best word for our current system is "corporatism".

There are many forms of corporatism, depending on the type of group forming the "corpus" or group body, for example clan corporatism, guild corporatism, etc.
"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini

Corporatism is a self-perpetuating, yin-yang, symmetric system: the corporations control the government, and the government controls the corporations.
The corporations control the government: people in government come from the relevant corporations, serve corporate interests while in power, and return to the corporate fold when they leave government in a "revolving door" fashion.
The government controls the corporations: government raises artificial barriers to entry and prevents free market capitalist competition - for example, insurance companies are prevented from competing across state lines so they can raise their rates without fear of being undercut.

The more specific and relatively new pejorative term "corporatocracy" (not listed in Merriam-Webster yet) refers to our current corporations.

I recommend the following article also:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/corporatism-is-not-capitalism.html

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