BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Here we are, barely halfway through the summer, and Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have stepped up their cage match, each attacking the other, throwing insults and accusations back and forth like folding chairs hurled across the wrestling ring.

Governor Romney pummels away at the economy; President Obama pummels away at Mr. Romney—when he was or wasn’t at his company Bain Capital, his tax returns and his offshore accounts. All the while, as they bob and weave their way through this quadrennial competition, punching wildly, the real story of what’s happening to ordinary people as capitalism runs amok is largely ignored by each of them. But not in this book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt”—an unusual account of poverty and desolation across contemporary America. It’s a collaboration between graphic artist and journalist Joe Sacco, about whom more later, and my guest on this week’s broadcast, Chris Hedges.

CHRIS HEDGES: All of the true correctives to American democracy came through movements that never achieved formal political power.

BILL MOYERS: This is just the latest battle cry from Hedges, who, angry at what he sees in the world, expresses his outrage in thoughtful prose that never fails to inform and provoke. As a correspondent and bureau chief for “The New York Times,” he covered wars in North Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East—leaving the paper after a reprimand for publicly denouncing the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In such books as “War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning,” his weekly column for the website “Truthdig” and freelance articles for a variety of other publications, Chris Hedges has taken his life’s experience covering the brutality of combat and shaped a worldview in which morality and faith, and the importance of truth-telling, dissent and social activism take precedence, even if it means going to jail.

Welcome, Chris Hedges.


BILL MOYERS Tell me about Joe Sacco. He was your companion on this trip. And he was your, in effect, coauthor. Although he was sketching instead of writing.

CHRIS HEDGES: I've known Joe since the war in Bosnia. We met when he was working on his book, “Gorazde.” And I was not a reader of graphic novels. But I watched him work. And I certainly know a brilliant journalist when I see one. And he is one of the most brilliant journalists I've ever met.

He reports it out with such depth and integrity and power, and then he draws it out. And I realized that an extremely important component of this book was making visible these invisible communities, because we don't see them. They're shut out. They're frightening, they're depressing. And they're virtually off the radar screen in terms of the commercial media.

BILL MOYERS: This is a tough book. It's not dispatches from Disneyworld. It paints a very stark portrait of poverty, despair, destructive behavior. What makes you think people want to read that sort of thing these days?

CHRIS HEDGES: That wasn't a question that Joe Sacco and I ever asked. It's absolutely imperative that we begin to understand what unfettered, unregulated capitalism does, the violence of that system, which is portrayed in all of the places that we visited.

These are sacrifice zones, areas that have been destroyed for quarterly profit. And we're talking about environmentally destroyed, communities destroyed, human beings destroyed, families destroyed. And because there are no impediments left, these sacrifice zones are just going to spread outward.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean, there are no impediments left?

CHRIS HEDGES: There's no way to control corporate power. The system has broken down, whether it's Democrat or Republican. And because of that, we've all become commodities. Just as the natural world has become a commodity that is being exploited until it is exhausted, or it collapses.

BILL MOYERS: You call them sacrifice zones.


BILL MOYERS: Explain what you mean by that.

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, they have the individuals who live within those areas have no power. The political system is bought off, the judicial system is bought off, the law enforcement system services the interests of power, they have been rendered powerless. You see that in the coal fields of Southern West Virginia.

Now here, in terms of national resources is one of the richest areas of the United States. And yet these harbor the poorest pockets of community, the poorest communities in the United States. Because those resources are extracted. And that money is not funneled back into the communities that are sitting on top of, or next to those resources.

Not only that, but they're extracted in such a way that the communities themselves are destroyed quite literally because you have not only terrible problems with erosion, as they cause when they do the mountaintop removal, they'll use these gigantic bulldozers to push off all the trees and then burn them.

And when we flew over the Appalachians, and it's a terrifying experience, because you realize only then do you realize how vast the devastation is. Just as when we were both in the war in Bosnia, you couldn't grasp the destruction of ethnic cleansing until you actually flew over Bosnia, and village after village after village had been razed and destroyed.

And the same was true in the Appalachian Mountains. And these people are poisoned. The water is poisoned, it smells, the soil is poisoned. And the people who are making tremendous profits from this don't even live in West Virginia--

BILL MOYERS: You said something like, "While the laws are West Virginia are written by the coal companies, 95 percent of those coal companies--"


BILL MOYERS: "--are not in West Virginia."

CHRIS HEDGES: That's right. They no longer want to dig down for the coal, and so they're blowing the top 400 feet off of mountains poisoning the air, poisoning the soil, poisoning the water.

They use some of the largest machines on earth. These draglines, 25-stories tall that are very efficient in terms of ripping out coal seams. But by the time they left, there's just a wasteland. Nothing grows. Some of the richest soil, some of the purest water, and these are the headwaters for much of the East Coast, You are rendering the area moonscape. It becomes inhabitable. And you’re destroying you know, these are the lungs of the Eastern seaboard. It's all destroyed and it's not coming back.

And that violence is visited on these communities. And you see it played out. I mean, Camden, New Jersey, which is the poorest city per capita in the United States and always, the one or two in terms of the most dangerous, it's a dead city. There's nothing left. There is no employment. Whole blocks are abandoned. The only thing functioning are open-air drug markets, of which there are about a hundred.

And you're talking third or fourth generation of people trapped in these internal colonies. They can't get out, they can't get credit. And what that does to your dignity, your self-esteem, your sense of self-worth.

BILL MOYERS I was struck by your saying Camden is “beset with the corruption and brutal police repression reminiscent of the despotic regimes that you covered as a correspondent for the New York Times in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.” You describe a city where the per capital income is $ll,967. Large swaths of the city, as Joe Sacco Shows us, are abandoned, windowless brick factories, forlorn warehouses.

CHRIS HEDGES At one point in the 50s, it was a huge shipyard that employed 36,000 people. Campbell’s Soup was made there, RCA used to be there. But there were a variety of businesses it attracted in that great migration a lot of unskilled labor from the South, as well as immigrants from New York

Because without an education, it was a place that you could find a job. It was unionized, of course, so people had adequate wages and some protection. And then it just-- everything went down. With the flight of manufacturing overseas.

It's all gone. Nothing remains. And that's why it's such a stark example of what we've done to ourselves, without realizing that the manufacturing base of any country is absolutely vital to its health. Not only in terms of its economic, but in terms of its, you know, the cohesion of a society because it gives employment.

BILL MOYERS: But give me a thumbnail sketch of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, the Pine Ridge Reservation.

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, Pine Ridge is where it began, Western exploitation. And it was the railroad companies that did it. They wanted the land, they took the land, the government gave them the land. It either gave it to them or sold it to them very cheaply. They slaughtered the buffalo herds, they broke these people. Forcing a people that had not been part of a wage economy to become part of a wage economy, upending the traditional values.

And it really is about the maximization of profit, it really is about the commodification of everything, including human beings. And this was certainly true in the western wars.

And it's appalling. You know, the average life expectancy for a male in Pine Ridge is 48. That is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere outside of Haiti. At any one time, 60 percent of the dwellings do not have electricity or water.

BILL MOYERS: You write of one tiny village, tiny village, with four liquor stores. And that dispense the equivalent of 13,500--


BILL MOYERS: --cans of beer a day. And with devastating results.

CHRIS HEDGES: Yes. And they start young and some estimates run that, you know, alcoholism is as high as 80 percent. This contributes, of course, to early death. That's in Whiteclay, Nebraska. There is no liquor that is legally sold on the reservation, itself. But Whiteclay is about two miles from Pine Ridge. And that's where people go. They call it "going south." And that's all they do, is sell liquor.

That's true everywhere. You build a kind of dependency which destroys self-efficiency. I mean, that's what the old Indian agencies were set up to do. You take away the livelihood, you take away the buffalo herds, you make it impossible to sustain yourself, and then you have lines of people waiting for lard, flour, and you know, whisky.

And that has been true in West Virginia. That's certainly true in Camden. And it is a form of disempowerment. It is a form of keeping people essentially, at a subsistence level, and yet dependent on the very structures of power that are destroying them.

BILL MOYERS One of the most forlorn portraits is in your description of Immokalee, Florida. You describe Immokalee as a town filled with desperately poor single men.

CHRIS HEDGES: Most of them have come across the border illegally. Come up from Central America and Mexico, especially after the passage of NAFTA. Because this destroyed subsistence farms in Mexico, the big agro businesses were able to flood the Mexican market with cheap corn. Estimates run as high as three million farmers were bankrupt, and where did they go? They crossed the border into the United States and in desperate search for work. They were lured into the produce fields. And they send what money they can, usually about $100 a month home to support their wives and children.

BILL MOYERS: And they make $11,000, $12,000--


CHRIS HEDGES: It's brutal work, physically.


CHRIS HEDGES: But they're also exposed to all sorts of chemicals and pesticides. And it's very hard to show the effects because as these workers age, you know, they're bent over eight, ten hours a day. So they have tremendous back problems. And by the time they're in their thirties, the crew leaders, they'll actually line up in these big parking lots at about 4:00 in the morning, the busses will come.

They just won't pick the older men. And so they become destitute. And they go back home physically broken. And it's hard to tell, you know, how poisoned they've become, because they're hard to trace. But clearly that is a big issue. They talk about rashes, respiratory, you know, not being able to breathe, coughing, it's really, you know, a frightening window into the primacy of profit over human dignity and human life.

BILL MOYERS: Fit this all together for me. What does the suffering of the Native American on the Pine Ridge Reservation have to do with the unemployed coal miner in West Virginia have to do with the inner-city African American in Camden have to do with the single man working for minimum wage or less in Immokalee, Florida? What ties that all together?

CHRIS HEDGES: Greed. It's greed over human life. And it's the willingness on the part of people who seek personal enrichment to destroy other human beings. That's a common thread. We, in that biblical term, we forgot our neighbor. And because we forgot our neighbor in Pine Ridge, because we forgot our neighbor in Camden, in Southern West Virginia, in the produce fields, these forces have now turned on us. They went first, and we're next. And that's--

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean we're next?

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, the--

BILL MOYERS: We being—

CHRIS HEDGES: Two-thirds of this country. We are rapidly replicating that totalitarian vision of George Orwell in “1984.” We have an inner sanctum, inner party of 2 percent or 3 percent, an outer party of corporate managers, of 12 percent, and the rest of us are proles. I mean--

BILL MOYERS: Proles being?

CHRIS HEDGES: Being an underclass that is hanging on by their fingertips. And this is already very far advanced. I mean, numbers, I mean, 47 million Americans depending on food stamps, six million exclusively on food stamps, one million people a year going filing for personal bankruptcy because they can't pay their medical bills, six million people pushed out of their houses.

Long-term unemployment or underemployment-- you know, probably being 17 to 20 percent. This is an estimate by “The L.A. Times” rather than the official nine percent. I mean, the average worker at Wal-Mart works 28 hours a week, but their wages put them below the poverty line. Which is why when you work at Wal-Mart, they'll give you applications for food stamps, so we can help as a government subsidize the family fortune of the Walton family.

It's, you know these corporations know only one word, and that's more. And because the mechanisms of governance can no longer control them, there is nothing now within the formal mechanisms of power to stop them from the creating, essentially, a corporate oligarchic state

BILL MOYERS And you say, though, we are accomplices in our own demise. Explain that paradox. That corporations are causing this, but we are cooperating with them.

CHRIS HEDGES This sort of notion that the corporate value of greed is good. I mean, these deformed values have sort of seeped down within the society at large. And they’re corporate values, they’re not American values.

I mean, American values were effectively destroyed by Madison Avenue when, after world war one, it began to instill consumption as a kind of inner compulsion. But old values of thrift, of self-effacement, or hard work were replaced with this cult of the “self”, this hedonism.

And in that sense, you know, we have become complicit, because we’ve accepted this as a kind of natural law. And the acceptance of this kind of behavior, and even the celebration of it is going to ultimately trigger our demise. Not only as a culture, not only as a country, but finally as a species that exists, you know, on planet Earth.

BILL MOYERS: As we came here, I pulled an article published in “Nature” magazine by a group of rather accomplished and credible scientists who have done all the technical studies they need to do, who come to the conclusion that our planet's ecosystems are careening towards an imminent, irreversible collapse. Once these things happen, planet's ecosystems as we know them, could irreversibly collapse in the proverbial blink of an eye. Connect that to what you've been reporting.

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, because the exploitation of human beings is always accompanied by the exploitation of natural resources, without any thought given to sustainability. I mean, the amount of chemicals and pesticides that are used on the produce in Florida is just terrifying.

And that, you know, migrates from those fields directly to the shelves of our supermarkets and we're consuming it. And corporations have the kind of political clout that they can prevent any kind of investigation or control or regulation of this. And it's, again, it's all for short-term profit at long-term expense.

So the, you know, the very forces that we document in this book are the same forces that are responsible for destroying the ecosystem itself. We are watching these corporate forces, which are supranational. They have no loyalty to the nation state at all, reconfigure the global economy into a form of neo-feudalism. We are rapidly becoming an oligarchic state with an incredibly wealthy class of overlords.

Sheldon Wolin writes about this in “Democracy Incorporated” into what I would call, what he calls inverted totalitarianism, whereby it's not classical totalitarianism, it doesn't find its expression through a demagogue or a charismatic leader, but through the anonymity of the corporate state that purports to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution, the iconography and language of American patriotism, and yet internally have seized all of the levers of power. This is what it means when lobbyists write all of our legislation, or when they stack the Supreme Court with people who serve the interests of corporations. And it's to render the citizen impotent.

BILL MOYERS: And what is it, you think, led us to this point of this mind-boggling inequality, mind-boggling consumption, which obviously many of us like, or we wouldn't be participating? And the grip that money has on politics? What are the forces that got us to this?

CHRIS HEDGES: I think it began after World War I. You know, Dwight McDonald writes about how after World War I, American society became enveloped in what he called the psychosis of permanent war, where in the name of anti-Communism, we could effectively banish anyone within the society who questioned power in a serious kind of way.

And of course, we destroyed populist and radical movements, which have always broadened democracy within American society, it's something Howard Zinn wrote quite powerfully about in “A People's History of the United States.” It has been a long struggle, whether it's the abolitionist movement that fought slavery, whether it's the suffragists for women's rights, the labor movement, or the civil rights movement. And these forces have the ability to essentially destroy those movements, including labor unions, which made the middle class possible in this country. And have rendered us powerless. And--

BILL MOYERS: Except for the power of the pen. You keep writing, you keep speaking, you keep agitating.

CHRIS HEDGES: I do, but, you know, things aren't getting better. And I think, you know, like you, I come out of the seminary, and I look less on my ability to effect change and understand it more as a kind of moral responsibility to resist these forces. Which I think in theological terms are forces of death. And to fight to protect, preserve, and nurture life.

But you know, as my friend, Father Daniel Berrigan says, you know, "We're called to do the good, or at least the good insofar as we can determine it. And then we have to let it go." Faith is the belief that it goes somewhere.

BILL MOYERS: So let's talk about you. You've been showing up in the news as well as well as just reporting the news, you took part in that mock trial down at Goldman Sachs.

CHRIS HEDGES: Goldman Sachs is an institution that worships death, the forces of Thanatos, of greed, of exploitation, of destruction.

BILL MOYERS: And I still remember the picture of you and the others sitting down, locking arms, and blocking the interests of the company. What was that about?

CHRIS HEDGES: That was personal for me. Goldman Sachs runs one of the largest commodities index in the world. And I've spent 20 years in places like Africa, and I know what happens when wheat prices increase by 100 percent. Children starve. And I knew I was going to get arrested because, you know, I was, I covered the famine in Sudan and was in these huge U.N. tents and feeding stations trying to save.

And you know, the people who die in famines were usually elderly and children. The place was, I mean, everyone had tuberculosis. I have scars in my lungs from tuberculosis, which I successfully fought off. And those are sort of the whispers of the dead. All those children and others who couldn't didn't have the ability to go in front of a place like Goldman Sachs and condemn them.

BILL MOYERS: But surely those people, as you were arrested, there were people working for Goldman Sachs looking down from the windows--

CHRIS HEDGES: They were taking pictures--

BILL MOYERS: Taking pictures, laughing. Surely you don't think they would wish that outcome in Africa or anywhere else, right?

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, it's moral fragmentation. I mean, they blind themselves to what they do all day long, and they define themselves as good human beings by other criteria, because they're a good father or a good husband or because they go to church. But it is that human trait to engage in what I would have to describe as a system of evil. And yet, look at it as just a job.

BILL MOYERS: But are we all then therefore, and I come back to this, aren't we all part of this system that in some way produces Pine Ridge, Immokalee, the coal fields, the inner-cities, and the starving children in Africa? Aren't we all who have jobs and participate in the culture and are in the economic game, aren't we all, in a way, as complicit as those people looking down on you from those windows at Goldman Sachs?

CHRIS HEDGES: No. Because you know, the people who actually run the commodities index are very tiny, elite, and extremely wealthy group. And they're highly compensated. These people make hundreds of thousands, often millions of dollars a year. And most of us don't make that. And that personal enrichment, I think, is a powerful inducement to ignore their complicity in what is clearly a crime against other human beings.

BILL MOYERS: But do you think what you did made any difference? Goldman Sachs hasn't changed.

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, that doesn't matter. I did what I had to do. I did what I believed I should've done. And faith is a belief that it does make a difference, even if all of the empirical signs around you point otherwise. I think that fundamentally is what faith is about. And I'm not a very good Christian anymore. But I retain enough of my Christian heritage and my seminary training to still believe that.

BILL MOYERS: What are you?

CHRIS HEDGES: A, you know, a sinner.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the clan.

CHRIS HEDGES: You know, a doubter.

BILL MOYERS: But you're driven by something. I mean, I talked to you when you wrote your first and remarkable book “War is the Force that Gives Us Meaning.” I haven't seen anyone as affected in their life after their experience as a journalist as you had been. I mean, there have been others, I just don't know them. But somehow what you're doing today goes back to what you saw and did and felt and experienced in all those years you were overseas and on the frontiers of trouble.

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, because when you spend that long on the outer reaches of empire, you understand the cruelty of empire, what Conrad calls, "The horror, the horror." And the lies that we tell ourselves about what is done in our name. Whether that's in Gaza, whether that's in Iraq, whether that's in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, El Salvador, I mean, there's a long list.

And when you come back from the outer reaches of empire, you are, and I think, you know, many combat veterans feel this who come back, you're forever alienated. And you to speak a very unpleasant truth about who we are, a truth that most people don't want to hear. And yet I think to hold that truth in and to remain silent and not to speak that truth destroys you.

That it's better to get up and speak it even as you correctly point out, you know that Goldman Sachs, you know, everyone at Goldman Sachs gets up the next morning and does it. I mean, this was also true as a war correspondent. I mean, the Serbs would kill.

They'd block all the roads into the village, we'd walk in with our satellite phones, we'd file it, we never believe they weren't going to do it again the next day. But somehow not to chronicle it, not to take the risks to report it, was to be complicit in that killing. And I think that same kind of thought goes into what's happening here.

BILL MOYERS: But do you think taking sides marginalizes your journalism? I mean, when you were being arrested, and some businessman was quoted in the paper passing by and looking at those of you being carried away and said, "Bunch of idiots." He needs to hear what you, read what you say. Do you think he will once he knows you've taken sides?

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, I think that in life we always have to take sides.

BILL MOYERS: Do journalists always have to take sides?

CHRIS HEDGES: Yes. Journalists always do take sides. You know, you've been a journalist a long time. The idea that there's something objective and impartial is just a lie. We sell it. But I can take the same set of facts-- I was a newspaper reporter for a long time, and I can spin that story one way or another. We manipulate facts. That's what we do. And I think that the really great journalists--

BILL MOYERS: Not necessarily to deceive though. Some do, I know, but--

CHRIS HEDGES: Right, but we do.

BILL MOYERS: We choose the facts we want to organize--

CHRIS HEDGES: Of course, it's selective. And it's what facts we choose, how we place, where we put the quotes. And I think the really great journalists, like the great preachers, care fundamentally about truth. And truth and news are not the same thing.

And the really great reporters, and I've seen them, you know, in all sorts of news organizations, are management headaches because they care about truth at the expense of their own career.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean truth as opposed to news?

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, let's take the Israel occupation of Gaza. You know, if I had a dinner with any Middle East correspondent who covered Gaza, none of us would have any disagreements about the Israeli behavior in Gaza, which is a collective war crime. And yet to get up and write it and say it within American society is not a career enhancer.

Because there's a powerful Israeli lobby, and it's a lobby that I don't think represents Israel, it represents the right wing of Israel. And you know it. But, the great reporters don't care. And they're there.

But you know, large institutions like “The New York Times” attract huge numbers of careerists like any other large institutions, the Church of course, being no exception. And those are the people who are willing to take moral shortcuts to promote themselves within that institution.

And when somebody becomes a headache, even if they may agree with them, even if they may know that they are speaking a truth, and it puts their career in jeopardy-- they will push them out or silence them.

So I think that one can take sides, and Orwell becomes the kind of model for this. But one can never not tell the truth. And I've often written stories that are not particularly flattering. And there's much in this book about people in Pine Ridge or Camden, you know, that is not flattering. I mean, we're interviewing people that are drug addicts and this kind of stuff. And--

BILL MOYERS: Drug dealers--

CHRIS HEDGES: --prostitutes and--

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, drug dealers--


BILL MOYERS: --prostitutes.

CHRIS HEDGES: So we're not, you know, the lie of omission is still a lie. But I don't think any foreign correspondent who covers war, whether it was in Bosnia or whether it was in Sarajevo can be indifferent to the tremendous human suffering before them and not want that human suffering to stop.

BILL MOYERS: But there is a price, as you have said, to be paid for stepping outside of the system that enabled your name and reputation and becoming a critic of that system. I mean, what price do you think you've paid?

CHRIS HEDGES: I don't think I paid a price, I think I would've paid a price for staying in. I wouldn't have been able to live with myself. You know, I was pushed out of “The New York Times” because I was publicly denouncing the invasion of Iraq. And again, it comes down to that necessity to speak a truth, or at least the truth as far as you can discern it.

I've spent months of my life in Iraq. I knew the instrument of war. I understood in all the ways that this was going be a disaster-- including upsetting the power balance in the Middle East. It's one of the great strategic blunders of the United States, it's empowered Iran. And to remain silent would've been the price. Was it good for my career? Well, of course not.

But my career was never the point. I didn't drive down Mount Igman into Sarajevo when it was being hit with 2,000 shells a day because it was good for my career. I went there because what was happening was a crime against humanity. And as a reporter, I wanted to be there to chronicle it.

BILL MOYERS: Well, you should. But, so you don't think journalism is futile?

CHRIS HEDGES: I think journalism is essential. I think it's essential. And we're watching its destruction. You know, journalism, the power of journalism is that it is rooted in verifiable fact. You go out as a reporter, you seek to find out what is factually correct. You crosscheck it with other sources. It's sent to an editor. It's fact-checked, you put it out. That's all vanishing.

That's what we're really losing with journalism. Yes, you know, commercial journalism, there were things they wouldn't write about. You know, as Schanberg says, "The power of great newspapers like “The Times” is that at least it's stopped things from getting worse." I think that's right.

BILL MOYERS: But can it make things better? I mean, do you think you can accomplish more as a dissenter, and I look up on you now, when I ask you what's your faith, I think your faith is in dissent, if I may say so. It's in "This far and no further." But do you think you can accomplish as much as a dissenter than as a journalist?

CHRIS HEDGES: Yeah, it's not a question that I've asked. Because the question is, “What do you have to do?” I certainly knew after 15 years at “The New York Times” that running around on national television shows denouncing the war in Iraq was, as a news reporter, tantamount to career suicide. I mean, I was aware of that.

And yet, you know, as Paul Tillich writes about, you know, "Institutions are always inherently demonic, including the Church." And you cannot finally serve the interests of those institutions. That for those who seek the moral life, there will always come a time in which they have to defy even institutions they care about if they are able to retain that moral core. And in essence, what, you know, “The New York Times,” or other institutions were asking is that I muzzle myself.

BILL MOYERS: But all institutions do that, don't they?

CHRIS HEDGES: All institutions do.

BILL MOYERS: Intuitively or explicitly.

CHRIS HEDGES: That's right. And I think for those of us who care about speaking, you know, the truth, you know, or if you want to call it dissent, we are going to have to accept that at one day, there's going probably mean a clash with the very institutions that have nurtured and supported us. And I have been nurtured and supported by these institutions.

BILL MOYERS: But your columns, your essays, your recent book, this book, contained repeated calls for uprisings, for civil disobedience. You even say in here, quote, "Revolt is all we have. It is our only hope. It is our only hope." Unpack that from our viewers who are sitting there thinking, "What is he asking me to do? What does he mean by revolt? What's he talking about?"

CHRIS HEDGES: Nonviolence civil disobedience. And accepting the fact that engaging in that process will mean arrest. I've lived in societies that are rent and torn by violence, and I don't want us to go there. And I think that we don't have a lot of time left. And that for those of us who care about veering off into another course, a course that's rational and sane and makes possible the perpetuation of not only the human species but the planet itself, we have to take this kind of radical action. And if we don't, then as things disintegrate and as the paralysis within the centers of power become more and more apparent, then we will fuel very frightening extremes.

You know, again, which I saw in places like Central America or Bosnia. And I look at this as many ways, a kind of, a preventive action. A way to respond peacefully. A way to respond, in a Democratic fashion, to the problems in front of us before it's too late.

BILL MOYERS: Bear with me as I explore this, 'cause there's a paradox at two levels. One at a conceptual level, and the other at a practical level. You write in here, "Either you join the revolt or you stand on the wrong side of history. You either obstruct through civil disobedience, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil." But in an early book, “Death of the Liberal Class,” which I think is one of your best, you wrote that, "The fantasy of widespread popular revolts and mass movements breaking the hegemony of the corporate state is just that, a fantasy."

CHRIS HEDGES: I wrote that before Occupy. And I was writing out of a kind of belief that this was what was absolutely necessary and yet I saw no signs within the wider society that was happening. And then suddenly, on September 17th, Zuccotti Park appears. And mostly fueled by the young. And I was writing out of a present reality. And I didn't see Zuccotti coming. I was writing out of a kind of despair, for all of the reasons that I said.

BILL MOYERS: Why did you take hope from that? Because after you'd been down there? You subsequently write that "By the end, even the most dedicated of the Occupiers in Zuccotti Park burned out."


BILL MOYERS: "They lost control of the park. The arrival in cold weather of individual tents, along with the numerous street people with mental impairment and addictions," that you're nothing if not honest in what you write, even about those people you support, "tore apart the community. Drug use as well as assaults and altercations became common." So how is that square with what you said earlier that the Occupy Movement gave us a blueprint for how to fight back?

CHRIS HEDGES: Because this is the trajectory of all movements. You know, it's not a linear progression upwards. And the civil rights movement is a perfect example of that. All sorts of failures, whether it's in Albany, Mississippi or anywhere else. You know, there were all sorts of moments within the civil rights movement where King wasn't even sure he was going to be able to hold it together. And what happened in Zuccotti is like what happened in 1765 when they rose up against the Stamp Act.

That became the kind of dress rehearsal for the rebellion of 1775, 1776, 1905. The uprising in Russia became again the kind of dress rehearsal. These movements, this process, it takes a very long time. I think the Occupy was movement and I was there.

I mean, I certainly understand why it imploded and its many faults and how at that size, consensus doesn't work, everything else. And yet it triggered something. It triggered a kind of understanding of systems of power. It, I think, gave people a sense of their own personal power. Once we step out into a group and articulate these injustices and these grievances to a wider public, and of course they resonated with a mainstream. I don't think it's over. I don't know how it's going to mutate and change, one never knows. But, I think that it's imperative that we keep that narrative alive by being out there because things are not getting better.

The state is not responding in a rational way to what's happening. If they really wanted to break the back of the opposition movement, rather than sort of eradicating the 18 encampments, they would've gone back and looked at Roosevelt. There would've been forgiveness of all student debt, $1 trillion, there would've been a massive jobs program targeted at those under the age of 25, and there would've been a moratorium on more closures and bank repossessions of homes.

That would've been a rational response. Instead, the state has decided to speak exclusively in the language of force and violence to try and crush this movement while people continue this dissent.

BILL MOYERS: In one of your earlier books, you wrote that, quote, "We stand on the verge of one of the bleakest periods in human history, when the bright lights of civilization blink out, and we will descend for decades, if not centuries, into barbarity." Do you really think that's ahead?

CHRIS HEDGES: If there's not a radical change in the way we relate to the ecosystem that sustains life, yes. And I see, if you ask me to put my money down, I see nothing that indicates that we're preparing to make that change.

BILL MOYERS: But here's another paradox then, you present us with a lot of paradoxes. You just-- you and your wife a year and a half ago had your fourth child. How can you introduce another life into so forlorn a future?

CHRIS HEDGES: That’s not an easy question to answer. I look at my youngest son, and his favorite book is “Out of the Blue,” which are pictures of narwhales and porpoises and dolphins. And I think, "It is most probable that within your lifetime, every single one of those sea creatures will be dead." And in so many ways, I feel that I have to fight for them.

That even if I fail, they'll say, "You know, at least my dad tried." We've deeply betrayed this next generation on so many levels. And I can't argue finally, you know, given the empirical facts in front of us that hope is rational. And I retreat, like so many people in my book, into faith. And a belief that resistance and fighting for life is meaningful even if all of the outward signs around us deny that possibility.

BILL MOYERS: That faith in human beings?

CHRIS HEDGES: Faith in that fighting for the sanctity of life is always worth it. Because you know, if we don't fight, then we are finished. Then we signed our own death sentence. And Camus writes about this in “The Rebel,” that I think resistance becomes a kind of way of protecting our own worth as an individual, our own dignity, our own self-respect. And I think resistance does always leave open the possibility of change. And if we don't resist, then we've essentially extinguished that hope.

BILL MOYERS: H. L. Mencken, the celebrated iconoclast of the early part of the last century once wrote, "The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is more likely one who likes his country more than the rest of us and is those more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debouched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime, he is a good citizen, driven to despair." Is that you?


BILL MOYERS: A good citizen driven to despair?

CHRIS HEDGES: Yes. And a good citizen driven to despair who will not remain apathetic and passive. And, you know, in every single place that we went to, Camden, West Virginia, Pine Ridge, we found these utterly magnificent human beings. I mean, this woman Lolly in Camden, African American woman, who you know, raised her own children. And I think by the time she was done, 19 others.

Her fiancé was shot and killed, one of her little seven-year-old daughters died of an asthma attack because they didn't have the right medicine. And I said, "Lolly, how do you do it?" And she said, "I never ask why." And when you spend time in the presence of people like that, and they were everywhere you know, they understood what they were up against.

It is deeply empowering. Because not to resist, not to fight back is on a very personal level to betray these people. And when you build relationships, as over the two years Joe and I did, with figures like that, it really, you know, almost comes down to something that simplistic. You can't betray Lolly. You can't betray any of these great figures who've stood up. Because their fight is our fight. And oftentimes they've endured far, far more-- well, they have endured far, far more than I have endured or ever will endure.

BILL MOYERS: The Book is, “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.” Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco. Thank you very much Chris for being with me.

CHRIS HEDGES: Thanks Bill.

BILL MOYERS: For all his power of expression, sometimes words fail even Chris Hedges, and a picture can say more in a single frame, well-drawn, than paragraphs of explanation. That’s what makes his partnership with graphic artist Joe Sacco on their book, "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt," so potent and so effective. Joe Sacco has traveled all over the world, using the techniques of the comic book illustrator as a tool of journalism, telling stories with insight and humanity.

JOE SACCO: My name's Joe Sacco and I'm a comics journalist. Drawing really often provides mood and atmosphere, and writing is that sort of precision. The facts. And you can put those two things together with comics, which I think is what makes the medium very powerful.

When I’m in the field, I meet people who are really in hard situations. I'm not interested in tears. I'm not even interested in sentimentality. But I am interested in telling people's stories as well as possible who are oppressed or are poor.

Chris and I had already worked on a magazine piece about Camden and we decided we would expand that. You can read about poverty. You can read about despair. Or you can read about resignation. But to see it is really, it's eye-opening.

I didn't do that many stories in the book, maybe five or six. They all moved me quite a bit. I think the one that was sort of hit me in this way, because it was so unfamiliar to me was the woman who came out from Guatemala, the one that we call Anna in the story.

Her waiting by the phone after her husband had made the long, arduous trip so the United States. Waiting eight days, knowing he had to cross a desert where many people die. And that sort of story really touched me. Because when we think of migrant workers, we can be so dismissive of them. They're just working in a fields. Oh, you see them bent over and they're just doing their job, and you know they're getting minimum wage. And you sort of feel sorry for them in a sense.

But to get a sense of, and to actually hear an individual story like that, for some reason that just really got to me when I was drawing it.

When I was about seven years old. I started drawing stories. Because I liked forms of self-expression and that was just one I never let go of. I never really drew just for the sake of drawing. There always had to be a story to go with it.

A story can be more true if you just let it be told. It's very important for me, with my work, not to create these angelic people. You want to show people as nuts and bolts. Those are the people who seem real. With the Michael Red Cloud's story, a story about his drug dealing days, making big money, partying, having women with him at all times. Now, he wasn't necessarily pleased with how he'd lived his past life, he wasn't. But to me, the idea is just to present the complete human being. You know, he's a real person. I was moved by his story, or I saw the changes that he made through his story. And then you see the hard things in the context of his upbringing, in the context of what was around him, in the context of what he learned from people around him.

You see the commonalities between people who have nothing around them but despair. They are born into a context which simply doesn't provide them opportunities or even the thought of opportunities. To me, it's incumbent upon the journalist to go and see for himself or herself what's actually going on. Journalism to me isn't like a tennis match, where you're just watching the ball, and each side is hitting it, hitting it back and forth to each other.

At some point, you have to arrest where the ball is, and that's where truth is, you know? And like I say, truth doesn't necessarily reside in the middle. And I've always had a problem with journalists who say things like, "Well, I pissed off both sides. I must be doing something right." That is the laziest sort of phrase I've ever heard.

You know, hundreds of stories that still need to be told. I'm interested in sort of answering questions that journalism doesn't really put its finger on.

To me, it's very important to remind ourselves of the costs of what is going on in this world. The human costs.

I feel like I wouldn't be where I need to be for myself if I didn't look to those things, and I didn't face them squarely. I just feel that's who I am, and what I have to do.

Chris Hedges on Capitalism’s ‘Sacrifice Zones’

There are forgotten corners of this country where Americans are trapped in endless cycles of poverty, powerlessness, and despair as a direct result of capitalistic greed. Journalist Chris Hedges calls these places “sacrifice zones,” and joins Bill this week on Moyers & Company to explore how areas like Camden, New Jersey; Immokalee, Florida; and parts of West Virginia suffer while the corporations that plundered them thrive.

“These are areas that have been destroyed for quarterly profit. We’re talking about environmentally destroyed, communities destroyed, human beings destroyed, families destroyed,” Hedges tells Bill.

“It’s the willingness on the part of people who seek personal enrichment to destroy other human beings… And because the mechanisms of governance can no longer control them, there is nothing now within the formal mechanisms of power to stop them from creating essentially a corporate oligarchic state.”

The broadcast includes a visit with comics artist and journalist Joe Sacco, who collaborated with Hedges on Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, an illustrated account of their travels through America’s sacrifice zones. Kirkus Reviews calls it an “unabashedly polemic, angry manifesto that is certain to open eyes, intensify outrage and incite argument about corporate greed.”

A columnist for Truthdig, Hedges also describes the difference between truth and news. “The really great reporters — and I’ve seen them in all sorts of news organizations — are management headaches because they care about truth at the expense of their own career,” Hedges says.

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  • Mona

    we’ve all become commodities – wow.  last weeks guest about GMO and corporations outside the US.  everything is becomming a bottom line for a few people.  i heard in the news that the upper wealth is controlled by 400 people.  400 versus everyone else.  don’t they realize that we are all interdependent.  if they transform the world into someplace unlivable that they will be affected also. 

  • Anonymous

    I started reading Chris Hedges when he published *War is the Force that Gives Us Meaning*.  He’d come to Canada on his book tour and was interviewed on CBC Newsworld.  I had been doing a lot of thinking about America and militarism — because if militarism interests you, who better to study than America?  What he had to say so fascinated me that I immediately ordered the book from Amazon — and that was the first in a long series of American books on militarism and foreign policy that I read over the course of the Bush years.

    Hedges seems to me to be what I would call a “true American”– someone who is patriotic with a streak of Christian in him.  (Neither patriotism nor Christianity figures very prominently in Canada, so I tend to see those things as American things.)  His book on Christian fundamentalists as fascists is also very worth reading, if you need to know about another prominent theme in American culture.  It’s really only recently that he’s started to publish what I would call “rants” — they are powerful, poetic outpourings that have put some people off, but it’s in those rants that you recognize him as a modern day prophet — an Elijah.  He rages on because he’s called to do it.  (Is there anything more American than that?)

  • Rod

    As an Organic farmer it is imperative that you all understand that we are entering a perfect storm, climate change, corporate ownership of our political system well never stop the use of carbon to fund and line their pockets. This is  bigger than World War II and just as  important  to our freedom not to mention our lives.

  • Las Fronteras

    Could not stop watching. Unconscionable greed. Irrefutable facts. Having just come back from a long road trip across much of the western US, I can tell you there are countless towns that have been gobbled up and spit out by corporations over the last 25 to 30 years, leaving behind communities that are somehow hanging on but are undoubtedly sinking into an abyss from which there is no return. The jobs are gone. The factories and businesses shuttered and the people left to fend for themselves with no means whatsoever.

  • davidp

    Please send this video to every  Corporation, Wall S and big Bankers   elites in the USA and see what happens.

  • Mike_Key

    Most everyone appears to believe greed as the problem when the real challenge remains as to how to keep people employed while technology reduces the need for workers!  

    60years ago my grand parents in PA and relatives in WV said when the river again runs clear and the air clean, the mills will be gone and our cities die.  Move forward to 2012, Technology has improved life among all but also has created a poorer society in most cities in both those states and others.

    There is no need or desire for companies to take on employees with benefits when the excepted rule is to contract labor, in public, private and government. That concept must be changed, the how to do it is again the very real challenge.

    We point our finger at Capitalism when it should be pointed at each other, who in each level of involvement seek to save and make as much money as possible without regard to our future impact on society.

  • Nuar Hegrat

    Every single American should hear what Hedges has to say.. Seriously, EVERY – SINGLE – ONE. —- And bless Bill Moyer for being one of the last true journalists in this country.. Bless them both for that actually. (Sigh.)

  • Billandjudith

    Post your itinerary of the towns, would you, LF?  One of these days I want to take the same kind of trip — again. My first book LISTENING TO AMERICA (1970) was that kind of trip.  Bill Moyers

  • Stephen Tardrew

    As usual Bill spot on. Chris Hedges represents the true value of critical thinking rather than tolerance of bad ideas simply because they should be given equal time. Journalists, who investigate wrong doing, if intelligent and ethical, are inevitably going to be biased. A journalist should present the facts and if those facts are demonstrably true, given substantive evidence, then they should support the truth .  A lack of scientific literacy is no excuse for peddling nonsense ideas simply because each side should have equal voice. If a fact can be clearly demonstrated to be true, and a journalist accepts those facts, then they are demonstrating discrimination and discernment not bias. Great journalism comes form adherence to clear ethical guidelines that demand we take a stand no mtater the consequences. Bill you and Chris are both individuals who openly demonstrate your values and that is why you are respected. One doesn’t get respect by pandering to some idealised sense of journalistic neutrality. We need leaders not wimps. 

  • Wendy b

    Truth comes from selflessness.  It seems the greater degree of selflessness, the greater the propensity to recognize truth.  Unfortunately, but understandably, many who have neither experienced nor witnessed economic despair comply with a system  they know is a monstrous aberration to provide for themselves and their dependents.  I agree with Mr. Hedges that many of us will need to make great sacrifices of  personal liberty to create change.

  • Shepherd2121

    Unfortunately, Chris Hedges is a white Martin Luther King, Jr., and because of this we will probably lose our best voice either by death or torture or disappearance or all the above, in the not too distant future.  

    “America Has Failed” is a book by Morris Berman and he too should appear on the Bill Moyers program.  He is a good friend  of Mr. Hedges.

  • concerned

     I agree, this clarity of insight into what we are experiencing is very helpful.  It seems that a lot of people (left and right) could get behind the concerns raised in this interview.   American needs something good to strive for.  I have worked in corporate American and it does not care about anything human or environmental.

  • Onseagain

    What area do you want to know about? I am an over the road truck driver, an owner operator, and have been watching the disappearance of America since the early 90″s. I have seen a distinct acceleration of the demise starting about mid term of Bush’s 1st term. If you really want to take such a trip I have plenty of room for a ride along. Or something else could be arranged. I have been pondering for a number of years how to get what I see out to others versus what they think is going on. The folks on the coasts do not realize just how vast the interior of this country is and how fragile the pockets of towns and homesteads are.

  • P. Joan Bartos

    This interview had me wanting to laugh and cry, but mostly I just wanted to cry. Chris Hedges expressed so eloquently many of the thoughts and concerns that most caring, informed  human beings  have about the state of our world. Bill Moyers-as usual- asked all the right questions. Thank you both for this truth-telling interview.

  • Ramirezmer

     Thank you!

  • tonyandoc

    I agree with Chris Hedges that we are already in a form of global neo-feudalism.
    He is correct that the real superpower is not the US or, indeed, any one nation but multinational business. Transnational corporations share the throne of power
    with banking as their Privy Council and the members of national governments of all flavors as their vassal barons and bailiffs. Citizens and subjects are the serfs or proles.
    I’m surprised that Chris avoided the biggest sacred cow of all – the U.S. Military/Security apparatus that, with decorative cover from NATO and other lesser forces, acts as pillager, enforcer and  bodyguard to
    the global elite. Perhaps mentioning that would preclude even appearances with Bill Moyers.

  • Kathleen Chippi

     We need truckers to strike–stop the $ flow–stop commerce and only then will we the people get any change. 

  • Anonymous

    I’d love to see another hour of this with Chris Hedges interviewing Bill Moyers.

  • Anonymous

    Outstanding interview! We need many more like Hedges.

    watched this excellent documentary on Netflix about how completely
    corrupt this country is.  And has been since 1913 when the Federal
    Reserve was started.

    Trailer:  Ethos

    Full movie:

    I was very happy they included
    Aaron Russo’s (who made ‘America: Freedom to Fascism’) statement about Nicholas Rockefeller telling him a ‘huge event’ was going to happen a year before 9/11 for the military and new terror
    industrial complexes.

    9/11 *WAS* an inside job.

  • JonThomas

     As far as “the U.S. Military/Security apparatus,” I would say it’s more of time and what subjects came up in the discussion rather than what may have been avoided for taboo content.

  • Gwilson777

    He is wrong about Gaza.

  • Guest

    He is wrong about Gaza.

  • JonThomas

     Please explain.

    Mr. Hedges used Gaza in a list of places that exemplified his ideas and points. It was poignant and made sense.

    Without your explanation and defense, even in brief, of what is being done to and in Gaza, your comment sounds like a knee jerk emotional reaction without introspective thought.

    Sorry, but after such an interview and well delivered expressions, your comment, however well intentioned, is vacuous and unacceptable.

  • In Pleasanton, Ca

        Every day, I ache from the lonliness of having to choose truth when it is in front of me.  Nine out of 10 parents that I meet with on behalf of their children’s learning needs do not face the truth that I lay out in front of them.  They seek the answers that they want to hear from a less truthful source who would like them as their paying client.  Aside from the obvious–that perhaps I present it poorly–I wonder;  if parents of their own children can turn a blind eye to their truth and therefore knowingly waste their child’s closing window of opportunity for effective reading, let’s say; then how the heck can we expect anyone else to make conciencious global decisions?! 
    I think a more powerful book would be one on the life of Chris NOW–how did he and how does he process the moment-to-moment cognitive dissonance that defines the human duality of existance.  Certainly he does not feel that every moment of every day he is presenting the full truth…because that would be impossible–there simply is too much truth to present.
    Bill’s question about the 4th child was a good one.  THOSE kind of decisions are what I would very much like to have modeled — a biography to read.  In his case, it seems like The Spiritual Evolution of Chris H.:  Once You Answer Your Question, “WWJD,” Then What!? could benefit all those seeking guidance on how to *BE* in this world of ours.

  • Anonymous

    One of the most salient shows I have seen since Bill Black.

    To Chris Hedges, thank you for sharing such an intimate and meaningful part of your life experience with the world.   You are helping to shape change only you will not be able to see it as directly as you like.  You have changed my perspective.

  • Anonymous

     Agreed.  Loved the H.L. Mencken quote about the definition of a radical.

  • Anonymous

     What I especially like was Bill holding Chris to account with his ideas, personal integrations and decisions to have more children.  I felt as though it amplified the meaning all the more for Mr. Hedges (able to respond with emotion and intelligence).  Last night was a victory for educated dialogue. This is the model.

  • Karl Hoff

    The first part of Chris Hedges conversation, all I could say is WOW, but as Bill questioned him, he just didn’t have many answers that haven’t been tried and failed to sustain fairness. The last time I visited Welch West Virginia, I was really struck by the poverty. It was the first time I saw a house so rotting that one half of it just collapsed, so they just put a tarp over where it fell to keep out the whether and lived in what was left. There were a lot of people living in conditions that were unbelievable and their way to endure their situation is to draw welfare, collect food stamps and from every other hand out, steal and do and run drug. So it is easy to see that these people would gladly sell their souls to any outside company for that $20+ hourly wage even if it caused unrepairable damage to our enviroment. Everything he mentioned has been tried before and has resulted in a temperary cycle. I think that it may be better to list all that has been tried and failed, then maybe try only new and more probable ways to achieve fairness. Bill mentioned that we support them by what we buy and consume. The key may be to look at what people build and buy. Do we really need so many stuffed animals?

  • Brunoflb2

     Unfortunately he isn’t. You have to stop getting your info from mainstream TV.

  • Karl Hoff

    Hi dbaycura, I watched a show called” The Law Works” on PBS that exposed actually how much toxic materials are used. They trick everyone into believing it is only like 1%, but that is because they don’t tell how much of this mix is pumped into these wells. If I remember correctly each well may have 10s of thousands of tons of  toxic materials, because many millions of tons of the mix is pumped into the well to produce what can only be call the end of your land.

  • Brunoflb2

    I started in Camden in 1988. It was bad then. They built some Ivory towers, but no businesses with full time paying jobs. I returned after about 10 years, and can’t believe that it has gotten worst. The people that live there are forgotten. People go to Haiti and other places to do charity work. They don’t have to leave the U.S. to help people – come to Camden it is a third world entity.

  • Rasbutin

    I’ll tell you …it’s the corrupt politicians in New Jersey that have been bleeding towns cities and suburbs dry ….camden spends over 30,000 per student in public schools that the rest of the taxpayers must pay for besides their own schools ……bulldoze it under ,tar and feather the corrupt and start anew 

  • Jay Anderson

    What a interesting guy to listen to.  Short term profits , long term destruction – so true. As the rest of the country & world are “just too busy to worry about it”.
    By then it will be too late.

  • Dawn

    this man is genius.   we should listen to him and listen closely……..

  • Danfking

    Mr. Moyers,
    Thank you very much for sharing your interview with Chris Hedges. You have a new viewer! Thank you!

  • Gerald W. Landrum

    Being relatively paranoid these days, I’m wondering whether somebody is fiddling with your volume level; could be my equipment but it’s almost impossible to hear the show with Mr. Hedges, a hero of mine since I first discovered how fiercely honest he is.

    Thank you for what you do, Bill.

  • Anordstrom

    This was a superlative, imperative interview.

    To carry the theme of radical reform further, will you please now interview David C. Korten on hia AGENDA FOR A NEW ECONOMY?

    Thank you, Bill!

  • Ben Raines

    Mr. Moyers….there is an audio problem with this video. Please reupload or determine who doesn’t want us to enjoy this interview.

  • Robert Hill

    The ring of truth is deafening.

  • Kenegbert3rd

    Mr. Moyers does it again, this time with the help of Mr. Hedges.  A very thoughtful and completely devastating
    conversation.  The problem is, regrettably (and the interview was not the problem here), we have been commodities since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.  For a nearly-as-contemporary voice, please look up ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Citizen’ by Wystan H. (‘W.H.’) Auden: ‘Was he free?  Was he happy?  the question is absurd/ Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.’ 

  • Vera Scroggins

    Corporate Power is  a voracious Beast that seeks to feed on humans and natural resources and it can not be satiated.  They are the most Addicted of Drug Addicts!  They are willing to destroy the Earth to line their bank accounts.   There is no Conscience left or Compassion…

  • Janet belsky

    Just read The Grapes of Wrath– which line for line  mirrored every line and point in this terrific interview.

     Its also a reminder that the “more things change etc” but also  that  world class writing CAN change the consciousness of nation.

     (which I STILL believe  CAN be true.)

  • Anonymous

    One of the most voracious is Monsanto!!
    I have never and I mean never, shopped in
    Wal-Mart, I watched a Frontline documentary on how Wal-Mart encouraged companies to take their products to China !  I was surprised to hear that Wal-Mart hires workers for 28 hours a week and at the hiring gives them an application to apply for Food Stamps!!  Chris Hedges  is right… one of the ways to bring down our country is to take away our Peoples self worth and self esteem.  If you sadly must go to Wal-Mart look at the labels and only

  • Anonymous

    I have watched the documentary by Aaron Russo
    America: “From Feedom to Fascism” did anyone notice how this film was censored and shown  in very few theaters?  Aaron Russo…(may he rest in peace,) tried to tell the truths to people before he died, unfortunately
    many did not even know about it.  I think that aside from recognizing George W. was not qualified to be ” my”  President and that the Republican Party was not the same, it was time for me to change my party! of …”America: From Freedom to Fascism” was the second awakening for me! 

  • Anonymous

    No he isn’t…there are none so blind as those that will not see!  BrunoFLb2 is right and so is Chris Hedges.   It is not about Israel it is about the extreme “right” in Israel…the Zionist!!

  • lgfromillinois

    I thought of the words of Isaiah when listening to Chris Hedges, “Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  Has it not been told to you from the beginning?  Have you not understood since the earth was founded? …. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.”  We are the source of corporate power over us.  It’s time to stop listening to their lying words. 

  • Anonymous

    Wow, wow! Amazing talk!

  • Frank Luke

    Hi Bill! I so subscribe to all Chris Hedges had to say and appreciate with a big shoutout to your having him have his say on your show. I’m so impressed that he’s as collected as he is and not raving and mad continuing on to have the faith he does in spite of the seemingly hopelessness of his efforts. I for one would like to assure him of my ardent support of his faith. Though it may seem fruitless in contending with corporate greed and megalithic plutocracy, I submit two arguments that may provide some ammunition:
    1) Do the greedy corporate leaders not care about their own kids’ future and the slippery slope of planetary destruction their decisions and actions are causing? Do their outlandish profits and compensation trump any kind of consideration of the future of humanity including of their own kin and nations?
    2) As headlong as the direction to destruction is going, I count on the collective commonsense wisdom of humanity which will counter the plutocrats to turn the tide in figuring out saner capitalistic reforms for the possibility of equitability of opportunities for all peoples to enjoy the good life we all deserve.
    Thank you, Chris Hedges! Keep on keeping on!
    Thank you, Bill Moyers and Co. for the wonderful work you do!

  • Shelly Summer

    Great interview that should be in mainstream & political news media

  • Shelly Summer

    The system has broken down!

  • Dave

    Am I the only one who sees all this as driven by the spirit of anti-Christ?
    You cannot worship both God and money.
    What else would the spirit of the anti-Christ try to push people towards other than putting money first? Just yesterday I saw a documentary on using business to solve social problems. they say to themselves “what we need is money…so we can help the poor…but the utmost priority is money” and I dont think they can do anything without money. It made me wonder how Jesus ever accomplished anything at all…seeing as He had no money.
    but what I wanted to write is to Chris Hedges —
    Keep up Faith. like those signs you see in tunnels that say “Keep up speed” — Keep up Faith.
    Its a choice. I know you know that.
    Did you ever think that maybe God is being quiet just so no one anywhere will be able to accuse Him of being responsible for the problems in this world?
    I recently accused God of being an absentee parent.
    I think it got to Him because right after that we kept having all these natural disasters with “miraculous lack of loss of life”…or maybe Im an idiot…but I choose to have Faith. Choose Life. Choose Faith.
    The highest Law is Love. and I think that sums it up.

  • Grandfathers children

    Where can I get a copy of the nature magazine article? I mean besides a subscription to the magazine.

  • Michael G

    I sat listening with great interest to Bill Moyers speaking with Chris Hedges on the subject of Capitalism’s ‘Sacrifice Zones’. The corporate power Chris spoke seems real enough to me. Of course, they do what they do for money, and they enjoy and use the power that they have for their own purposes; but, they get all that power and money from this growing human population. (And we all knew 35 years ago that all people on earth were going to live, or want to like, just those in the west.) So when the conversation came around to Mr. Hedges’ four reproductive contributions, I just saw misguided thinking, hypocrisy, or, worse, the same kind of denial that those Goldman-Sachs employees had every morning, to borrow Mr. Hedges’ own description. Like the radical, I just felt another wave of despair.

  • David F., N.A.

    Here we’ve got Moyers, a journalist who had adjusted his career in order to standup for ALL Americans, conducting an interview with another journalist who had done the same. This could very well be the greatest interview that I’ve ever watched. Chris Hedges a now true American hero in my eyes. While most of us are living in-today, with our I’ve-got-mine consumption attitudes, Hedges is trying to sound the alarm to what our future will/may hold.

    I wonder how many people, who were complacent when they saw what was happening to their neighbors, ten years ago, are now homeless. And I wonder how many people, who are complacent today, will be homeless in five to ten years. We have become “passive enabler[s] of a monstrous evil.”

    America could use a thousand more Moyers and Hedges.

  • Marty

    Ron Paul’s bill “Audit the Fed” is making its way through Congress right now. Among the Fed’s owners is Goldman Sachs. Call your Congressman to support this important bill.

  • Doug Bashford

    “Poverty” is the low hanging, easily illustrated fruit that few care about. In fact, 25% like seem to it that way. The real (and challenging) story is pretty much the same thing is happening to the middle class, just a bit slower and less intense.

    And the root problem is taboo: overpopulation. …Increasing workers for
    shrinking job markets. Touch that topic and whoopee The Man calls you a
    racist! I do envy the Right’s propaganda machine, they know it’s war,
    we don’t.

    Doing books with names like Days of Revolt and Destruction, no wonder
    Fresno’s PBS may as well be hiding their Sunday noon showing of Moyers.
    But don’t change Bill! I intend to phome & complain that they need
    to advertise it after Newshour. Hint-hint.

  • BigMoo

    No, american needs millions more

  • BigMoo

    For approximately 150 years after the industrial revolution commenced the world has been in a situation where it had sufficient surplus to simultaneously promote growth and prosperity. By the mid 1990’s our growth was at the rate that we needed about 1.25 earth masses to sustain consumption. It has steadily gotten worse as consumption continues unabated. Now we are in a situation where we no longer have sufficient surplus to promote growth and prosperity. This requires a paradigm shift. Mr. Hedges is demanding that all of us complicit in this growth, take a step back and think about consumption in a new context – a perhaps moral/sacred context – and each of us should now say -enough is enough.

  • Vipps2000

    not just every single american, but people in the so called ‘developing world’ need to watch this all the more, they still look at america as the growth model to follow.

  • screwGOD

    Too many people think praying to a make-believe god will fix everything.

  • Richard A. Pawloski

    This is actually the continuing story about
    the extermination of America’s poor, the different and the unimportant – the actual
    dispense of over 40 million Souls[i] that
    would begin with the Romney Presidency.
    The objective is to do away with those citizens and residents who are (1)
    not Bible based Christians, (2) of the wrong race, color or gender, (3) have
    adapted controversial or unacceptable life styles, (4) cannot fend for
    themselves or keep-up with the ideology of the times, and (5) have failed to
    prove themselves worthy of success in the eyes of the Party Masters.

    The Republican Party
    will set in motion a full blown
    “wakasotA”, which is a Lokota term for undertaking a total wipe out of a
    society as done to the Oglala Sioux Indians during the time of Crazy Horse or
    more recently from World War II, a “Final Solution” that was an attempt to
    remove all Jews from the world. To make
    this amazing effort work the Romney Administration would have to simultaneously
    eliminate government judicial authority and have it subordinate ti the the
    interests of the designated power centers, curtail personal freedoms and basic
    human rights to those targeted, limit or corrupt oversight and controls, and
    then ensure that any and all forms of “free stuff”, a favorite Romney term, to
    the undeserving is terminated thus enabling all wealth, services, and benefits
    of government to be only appreciated from the top down. The government will no
    longer be responsible for all the people only a select few Republicans, but
    that would take more time, excluding the freedoms and benefits from the general
    masses to those verified as deserving Republicans is the first mission of the
    new Administration. The masses can work
    for minimum wage, fight the wars, clean up whatever is necessary and keep quiet
    until they are properly dispensed with.
    The plan will not be one building large killing complexes such as Auschwitz
    or the product of slaughters by soldiers and police, it will be by simple starvation,
    local violence, suicide, and most importantly, disease inflicted upon the
    unwanted in greatly expanded and significantly more isolated locations as
    defined in Chris Hodges “Capitalism Sacrifice Zones” – Camden, N.J., Welch,
    WVa., Immokalee, Fla., Pine Ridge, S.D. and many others. [ii]

    How will Willard “Mitt”
    Romney (Presumed Republican Presidential Candidate 2012), Speaker of the House
    John Boehner (R – 8th District Ohio), Congressman Eric Cantor (R – 7th
    District Virginia) House Majority Leader, Congressman Paul Ryan (R – 1st
    District Wisconsin) Chairman of the House Budget Committee, and Senate Minority
    Leader Addison “Mitch” McConnell (R – Senator Kentucky) dispense with the
    millions of Americans, foreign expats and illegals living in America who
    do-not, will-not, or can-not serve the core political objectives of the
    Republican Party which are to (1) permanently seize and control all vestiges of
    political, military, economic, and ideological power and (2) to quickly with
    minimal disturbance capture and move all wealth of the nation into the holdings
    of a very small but important group of controlling people and entities who will
    all remain difficult to access or unknown.

    Some 40 million people
    residing in our 50 States exist only as a burden to these Republican
    objectives, they require enormous amounts of “free stuff”, as Willard puts it,
    the medical care, housing assistance, public transportation & services,
    police security, food stamps, education assistance, and the hope of any kind of
    job. They are the poor, the sick, the
    lame, people of color, indiscriminate minorities, the mentally ill, the old,
    the disenfranchised, the terminally unemployed, unskilled and uneducated single
    women with children, abandoned children, and all those who basically have basic
    survival level “needs” beyond their capacity to “pay for” what would be
    provided from Federal and State Government initiated or sponsored programs to
    those and all those private sector programs that would come under Government
    oversight or the umbrella of Law. Whatever was not “Christian Conservative
    White” and “Male Dominated” would now become foreign, inconsequential and of
    course not useful.

    When Willard takes
    charge in January 2013 things will start to happen fast, there will be a clean
    sweep of the Obama programs and all entitlement programs that served these
    non-Conservative masses will bring immediately and suddenly a staggering
    realization that this group of some 40 million will now be on their own to fend
    for themselves, but not left free. Life
    as they knew it, good or bad, will completely come to an end and now the new
    political masters will be forced to seek a “Final Solution” for this mass of
    liability or be faced with potential civil unrest, disturbances, and perhaps
    even armed revolution. In reality, the pain for these people will not stop at
    their total disenfranchisement, they will become the victims of a long process
    to remove all vestiges of their civil rights, their citizenship, their humanity, and even any testament that
    they had a right to exist – it will be a Final Solution, a new Republican Final
    Solution that will draw upon the best lessons of the past combined with the
    strengths of a revitalized generation of the morally dysfunctional, a
    generation where words spoken mean nothing, accountability is only a tool of
    the powerful to dispense on the innocent and personal honor is bought and
    sold. It is a new world in deed.

    It is paramount for
    Willard’s handlers to act fast to contain and then dispense with this mass of
    humanity and to do this the masters of the Republican ideological thinking such
    as Grover Glenn Norquist (unelected Washington lobbyist & self-pronounced
    conservative spiritual activist – the Dietrich Eckart of modern Republican
    thought and President of Americans for Tax Reform) and Karl Christian Rove (master
    of the morally disassociated and political advisor – the modern Republican
    Joseph Goebbels although not as educated)

    We have to realize the
    three most important modern trends in our society

    complete moral dissociation of right and wrong,

    and excessive self-gratification are good things, as success determines who
    deserves to be in charge and deserving is everything

    can in fact be constructed from a lie, or patched by many lies big and small,
    it just depends how many times you hear it and how dissent is dealt with and
    how saturated the corrupted source library is prepared

    Just arrive on the news
    lines is the revelation by Harvard research organs that since Medicaid has
    become available fewer of the poor have died and in companion assessments
    costs seem to be working to slow the deficit.
    This is horrible news for the Republicans and will place great stress on
    the coming Romney camp.

    [i] “Revised govt formula shows new poverty high: 49.1M”. Yahoo! News. November 7, 2011


  • Charles Wilson

    What I really appreciated about Mr. Hedges is his humility and openness about revealing his personal evolution and doubts and the ability to waver and press on. He turned his career around on principle, He shifted from a pursuit of divinity training to work on things more worldly and experiencing more full contact torment private struggles with the siamese twins of dogma and politics. I appreciate his openness about personal reversal of tactics with the encouragement of the 1% movement and the strong faith behind unashammed debate toward finding clarity. I truly appreciate his revealed struggle in deciding on another child for the optimism against the negative data and trends and inertia and the primary irony. and oxymoron: more humans are both the future of humanity simultaneous to being another nail in the sustainability coffin. He was perfect in answering Bill’s question that progress will not be linear and consistently upward. My only question is, Was Bill’s questioning tone about the serious negative slant Mr. Hedges holds — was the observation a real question or a contrived-naieve punctuation to aid Hedges’ messages? I am personally fearful for my young adult son and my potential grandchild, (deliberate — singular is best for the world!). I add together the factors of: global warming, ruination of freshwater supply, human angst over our addiction to cheap fuel, the uncaring greed of the powerholders, climate risk to food supplies, and the human tendency to continue with familiar but failed answers. I see a future where, soon, every army will have drone weapons and most of the planet will want to relocate to more attractive property uphil from the surfl. I am afraid the future will be brutal without unprecedented changes in cultures, religons, technology and love for others.

  • Gregory D. Kibitz

    Corporatists are not Job Creators. They are Job Destroyers. They do not raise the tide and float all boats. They anchor the poor and middle class to the bottom and then drown them! They do not innovate. They exploit. They do not elevate They bury! They do not bring life. They stangle it to death. They do not conserve. They Waste!

  • JonThomas

    Yeah, it’s like the people who focus on differences, attack other people’s beliefs, and cause divisions instead of finding commonalities.

    Wouldn’t it be better to keep an open mind and befriend, if possible?

    Every movement I have ever seen has foolish debates which inevitably tear it down.

    It’s difficult enough resisting the agitators sent into groups to break them up.

  • Ron

    Chris Hedges has been a brilliant and eloquent defender of human rights for many years now. Thank you for a tough, profound and very moving discussion. You are an extraordinary host, Mr. Moyers.

  • odie

    during this best-thing-i’ve-seen-on-television-in-a-long-time segment, mr. moyers referred to an article published in ‘nature’ – – could we have some more specific info about this article?

  • Art

    Thank you Bill Moyers for having the courage to cover the root of what is wrong, economically, with our country.

  • Marianna S.

    This episode is a perfect example of why Bill’s show is indispensable and his return to the airwaves so welcome. Only on Moyers and Company would this kind of brutally honest (and civil) dialogue be allowed to take place. Chris Hedges is a lucid and articulate analyst of our society’s current ills. He puts a voice to the reality so many of us already see, but most of us are afraid to confront. He is, moreover, a brave, unapologetic realist in the solutions he proposes. And he’s right! I constantly tell people, only partially in jest, that my ultimate goal in life is to “start the revolution,” because every day it becomes more evident that the situation in our country is growing frighteningly similar to pre-revolutionary third world countries, whose resources and citizens were shamelessly exploited by outside imperialists and ruled by a corrupt and greedy oligarchy. The difference, of course, is that we are being exploited by “inside,” imperialists, home-grown oligarchs who have usurped our representative democracy. Eventually, as a people, we have to rise up and, if history is any indicator, we will. So, maybe I won’t be the one to start the revolution, but I’ll sure as heck join it.

  • James Robert Crumpacker Harbou

    He’s not a robot who only reads teleprompter lines and talking points – he must be a radical.

  • James Robert Crumpacker Harbou

    You know what Hedges forgets to attack… the relentless, endless judgementalism and perpetual cruelty inflicted on the poorest of society. He forgets the label “caste” – which is what it becomes when a society never teaches its lowest and, indeed, holds them somehow morally responsible for never having been taught any different. To allow people to move past the lines of poverty, the connection between human suffering and substance abuse as well as tawdry crime which disables life advancement permanently must be addressed.

    There is only one figure who would spit on the judgementalism of the upper class, indeed, he told a prostitute she was forgiven even as he dined with the governor. That figure was Christ.

  • doggirl

    Write a book–you have a message to share.

  • PRdream

    What moral fortitude! Inspiring.

  • Cindy Tackett

    This made me cry with anger, fear, despair, compassion, and finally hope and faith. It’s not about being a Democrat or a Republican. If being liberal / progressive means caring about other people and not just myself, then I would be proud to be considered a liberal.

  • Citizen X


  • AndersN

    Excellent interview

  • Dana

    Thank you for loving our Mother/Father Earth more then your pocket book…We need more amazing individuals like YOU! I am not sure what is happening with our consciousness…Don’t people realize how their actions effect EVERYONE. CAUSE AND EFFECT..maybe we need to re-teach this simple system and get people out of the “I” and into the “WE”! Thank you for doing the right thing! You will get lots of (+) Karma!

  • dana

    Left you a message

  • Thirdcloud

    I applaud Chris Hedges for his continuing work in educating the public. Surely there are times that he feels the weight of futility. On the eve of our presidential election when the clouds ahead are dark my hope is that he will continue to be strong in the work that too few understand.

  • bea

    Significant, inspiring, essential. Truly thank you.

  • Vanessa Alfonso

    I see this is a lefty site. Climate change made by man is a hoax to raise our taxes. The climate is always changing, after all I found an underwater fossil in the Arizona desert. all of that was under water at one time. Energy, we need it. I like to drive and I like A/C in the summer. We just have to factor in replenishing the area used or buying out an area big enough to get people away from it. Going without energy is really not an option when its a 100 degrees and 90% humidity.

  • arcadia11

    that is good. it needs to be brought down. it cannot ever be fixed. but it was not capitalism. and it cannot be replaced with chris hedge’s enforced collectivism. the only way evolution can occur is under freedom. we have yet to experience freedom.

  • Thunderman773

    “Going without energy is really not an option when its a 100 degrees and 90% humidity.”

    Humans have been doing it for thousands of years

  • Frank Fitz

    More people need to speak up and be heard. This is a completely different perspective than I’m used to which is good to hear. Brutal honesty is the best policy. Especially when you’re up against millionaires and billionaires.THANKS!

  • Arianne

    Republican is fine if you’re a multimillionair, Democrate is fair if all you own is what you wear. But neighter of them give a damn and neither of them care about that hotplate in heaven called you ain’t been there. Frank Zappa.

  • Debv

    Yes the climate does change. However it is changing more rapidly due to humans. Yes, we need energy, but there are many ways we can have it without destroying our environment and in the process ourselves. We are very short sighted, and this will cost those that come after us.

  • Bill Rayburn

    What do you mean Vanessa, “going without energy is not an option? Somehow man did it for thousands of years before the advent of electricity. Of course we are not returning to those days, so that is why corporate responsibility and accountability is essential. Your point that climate has always changed is a moot point in the age of industrialization, as I am one who believes that industrialization itself is the climate tipping point, something Mother Nature never had to contend with in it’s first billions of years.

  • Anonymous

    People need to put their votes where their interests are. Invest in legislators in any state based on who reflects your interests. I supported/support election efforts by senators & representatives regardless of state; at the national level they all matter because their votes impact us all.

    I also plan to contribute to all efforts to ensure that those whom the GOP have targetted for effective disenfranchisement do get to the voting box with whatever ID is needed. Thay also includes supporting civil rights organization taking states, etc to court over voting rights violation. The GOP will never act to fix the criteria so we must act to get rid of the GOP as an issue and stuff enough examples of baf behavior in the South, Ohio, wisconsin where ever.

    Think about it – if there are 100 million legal voters a d half are moderate to progressive that is 50 million. We can raise billions & volunteer to add more value.

  • Anonymous

    Try millions – you want hot consider the Northern Territories in Australia, the empty quarter of the arabian penninsula. Or, -80F for that matter.

  • Anonymous

    Laws should ensure that if profits are not repatriated & taxes paid then associated costs & expenses cannot be deducted from income. No tax credits for investment off shore unless profits are repatriated and taxed. Give shareholders absolute control over executive & BOD compensation & benefits for publically traded companies.

    Support Gensler at the CFTC he is on the right track. Make our legislators ban all naked CDSs in all forms; require all derivatives without exception to clear visibly and transparently through clearinghouses.

    Discuss declaring all naked CDSs on sovereign null & void. Better yet, declare all naked CDSs null & void; issuer ti refund half of payments made. Naked CDSs represent about 90% of all derivatives and were illegal until 2000 when then Sen. Phil Gramm slipped text into the CFTC Streamlining act attached to the 2000 omnibus budget bill.

  • medcannabis1

    wait until they begin selling the debt of students and others , bundled
    and bound for corporate servitude, using the police and Blackwater type
    private security companies to enforce their corporate-citizen dictates.
    Wait until they fill the for-profit prisons with political dissenters
    against austerity policies and they are made to work in the prison
    industry for 19cents an hour..

  • Anonymous

    I too was very moved by this segment. Moved not only to tears, but moved to want to make changes. This tearing down of “big government” to make bigger and more powerful, unrestrained “super corporations” beyond the control of government must stop. I have never railed at those who have less than I, but he is right, I come next.

  • Anonymous

    I do not think it is about race or religion, guns, abortion, gays, what ever. It is about greed and power, and those afore mentioned are flags to wave to get votes from those who can not see beyond their own nose. It is about corporate greed and political corruption. Politicians saying anything to get votes, then selling their votes for millions of dollars.

  • Anonymous

    Agree! This segment was brilliant. I think that getting the vote out will give us results more directly than revolution.
    Surely anyone can see now that Romney was shooting for Bill Moyers, not Big Bird.

  • Anonymous

    Climate Change is no hoax. Finding a fossil in AZ under water is not that weird. Having worked as an Archaeologist we often find items under water and in bogs (oddly enough can preserve wood and leather for centuries but as soon as it comes in contact with air you have to protect it or it will literally wither to dust in your hands) but also in rock. Climate change is accepted by scientists all over the world. Except for one small group that work for Heritage foundation and the oil companies who dont want to deal with the fix.

  • Anonymous

    When someone has millions of dollars, they think that they are invincible. They can “ignore their complicity in the destruction of other.” Perhaps because now they can hire those they destroyed to protect them and theirs.

  • Anonymous

    Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath would parallel what we have going on, perhaps even more, Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth shows that people are too blind to see the coming of their own destruction. If the pendulum swings one way, it has to swing the other way.

  • Anonymous

    Then you will go naked. It is increasingly rare to find something made in America. I refuse WalMart, Nestles who kills thousands of babies a year for profit, Toyota who made cars, sold them to Americans, and lied about why we were being killed for the sake of profit. When this car goes, I will probably be without because I can not afford a car payment on ss and my small pension, but I would not buy a gasoline powered one anyway. I hate big oil. BP that did not care about the safety of workers and lied about how long it took to plug that well, because they were out to capture the well, not just plug it. May they all burn in hell, so sorry that I can not light the match.

  • Anonymous

    Start a movement to vote them all out!

  • marvin steiner

    Vanessa: At one time and not too long ago we did.

  • Indentured Servant

    My fiancee and I just finished law school. We have $350,000 in debt. We are deferring on childbirth and moving into a condo (forget about a home) as a result. My fiancee won’t have kids until her mid to late thirties as a result, and we hope to god that our child won’t be autistic or handicapped in some way.

    Even on my $160k salary it is hopeless. A 2 BR condo in L.A. in a non-gang area where we live goes for like $600-700k. So we need to come up with 20% down payment. I wish I had 140 grand in cash lying around. No family to help us out because they are poor. Plus the schools are awful here so we’ll want to put ours in private school. The good ones cost $30k/year for elementary school. Wow. It would be awful to send my kid to a public school with a 5/10 on

    Meanwhile I will be paying close to 50% in taxes. So 80k take home before the bankers take their garnishment. (Our loans average 7.9% interest).

    We’re screwed. By the way I went to a top Ivy league school – irrelevant. The oligarchs own us.

  • Indentured Servant

    And yet despite all that I actually feel LUCKY AS HELL to have a good job and to be able to have a prospect of freedom one day, even if in the distant future.

    I never thought I’d feel “lucky” given the set of circumstances described above. That illustrates the total destruction of America in a nutshell, doesn’t it?

  • Rich Riggs USA

    The courts in New Jersey, and I don’t they are much different elsewhere, have created a system where petty offenses by very poor people who cannot afford a good attorney are convicted as plea deals and fined to the teeth and enforced by follow-up warrants…the effect is the transfer of monies intended to sustain sub-poverty individuals to the local municipal coffers. THAT is your mob boss mentality exposed at the root…Not justice but economy by exploitation is served…not to mention political gain

  • Terri EC Mom5

    Are you middle-class folks just waking up to the fact that you are nothing more than salaried slaves? For us low-income “wage slaves” the world has been this way for years. Welcome to our world.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    The working people need to vote their FINANCIAL INTERESTS and stop being concerned with other trivial distractions.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    They also all died very young compared to today’s standards.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    And just think–corporations get subsidies from lawmakers funded by poor and middle-class taxpayers who are “forced” to pay for their own destruction. If you think your “representative” lawmaker has your best interests at heart…think again. There used to be a saying in the 1960’s — “don’t trust anyone over 30″…today’s saying should be “don’t trust anyone who makes more money than you.”

  • Terri EC Mom5

    Hence me saying earlier–people need to start voting their FINANCIAL INTERESTS and stop electing people into office who make more than they do. How does a millionaire ex-attorney or ex-businessman have your best interests at heart?

  • Terri EC Mom5


  • Terri EC Mom5

    Viva la revolution.

  • ccaffrey

    Actually, truly, a great many of the most righteous, generous, wise people I’ve ever met have been financially poor. It is those wealthy who have never been taught any better, the Wall Street gambling addicts that make victims every day, wipe out people’s life savings without batting an eye, are frightened that their associate got a 10 million dollar bonus when they only got 8, the ones who literally never think of anything beyond their next trade “fix”…THESE are the people that are the greatest danger to our society. The poor aren’t poor because they don’t know any better; they are mostly poor because the wealthy don’t know anything but “more”, and don’t really think about, or care, who they might be hurting while they amass it. They inflict FAR greater damage than any street junkie. EVERY major faith tradition warns about the dangers of the LOVE of money. I think Jesus hung out with the poor because, frankly, he preferred their company.

  • D.B

    Melbourne Arkansas had good jobs with Boeing and a nice flooring plant, now Boeing is gone and tiny businesses some how survive.

    Look into Johnstown PA, was once a nice town, but now has high heroine use.

    Similarly Somerset PA had foundry’s and factory’s. All gone, now a tourist trap for truckers.

  • Anonymous

    I would add to the list of Sacrifice Zones the entire State of Pennsylvania and anywhere else that allows Fracking to poison the water, air and soil to fatten the bottom line of Halliburton and the Oil Oligarchs.

  • Robert Stevens

    >Grapes of Wrath< in 2014 America !

  • Pat Branigan

    Everyone thinks Orwell was talking about communism but the communism in “1984” was the totalitarian disintegration that comes with unlimited power. America to day is on that path and because we have a reticence to see it we are letting it happen.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of austerity/cuts/privatization – U.S. lack of hospitals w/biocontainmt units 4 Ebola cases.

  • PA32R

    So, let me understand. You had no clue about the debt you signed for, the prices in where you’ve chosen to live, and the wage/salary you might earn?

  • Anonymous

    So then why are you choosing to live in the expensive neighborhood, separated from the poor folks and their bad schools? Isn’t this a big part of the problem?

  • thelastrealrepublican

    Right now the Trian group is attempting to get itself elected to the board of directors of DuPont. Having failed a buy out attempt they are now trying to usurp the board so they can break up this over 100 year old highly successful company. This will cost thousands of jobs and destroy the economic base of many towns and cheat stock holders out of millions. Does Mr. Peltz care about any of that? Not in the least.

  • Anonymous

    One of the best shows ever. Right on the money; we are becoming an oligarchy which means a failed nation which means an extractive nation with everything going to the top few percent at the expense of the rest of us. See Acemoglu and Robinson’s “Why Nations Fail”.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget Chris Christie stole the pensions of public sector workers. I have friends who were school teachers in NJ, retired, are now 70+ and are no longer getting their pension checks resulting in their bankruptcies and going into foreclosure and losing their homes. Recently the Superior Court found in favor of the pensioners and Christie and his thugs are appealing this. Where the hell is the show on that? This is what the GOP will do to everyone given the chance, plus destroy Social Security and Medicare. Then how will we live in our old age after everything has been stolen from us?

  • LeefellerGuy

    GOP Guardians of Privilege offer conjured divisive issues, the idea is to create insecurity among the masses.

  • Ken Duerksen

    Greene County, SE part of the state. Blasted to hell in the past 10 years.

  • Ken Duerksen

    Work and vote for Bernie.

  • Ken Duerksen

    Nitpicking, but I’d rephrase that to “economic interests”. Money itself needs to be given a much lower priority, and we need to build as a society a quality environment where happiness can be easily pursued by all.