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West writes: "The rule of Big Money and its attendant culture of cupidity and mendacity have led to our grand moment of spiritual blackout."

Professor Cornel West. (photo: VICE)
Professor Cornel West. (photo: VICE)

Spiritual Blackout in America: Election 2016

By Cornel West, The Boston Globe

04 November 16


he most frightening feature of the civic melancholia in present-day America is the relative collapse of integrity, honesty, and decency — an undeniable spiritual blackout of grand proportions. The sad spectacle of the presidential election is no surprise. Rather, the neofascist catastrophe called Donald Trump and the neoliberal disaster named Hillary Clinton are predictable symbols of our spiritual blackout. Trump dislodged an inert conservative establishment by unleashing an ugly contempt for liberal elites and vulnerable citizens of color — and the mainstream media followed every performance (even his tweets!) for financial gain. Clinton laid bare a dishonest liberal establishment that was unfair to Bernie Sanders and obsessed with winning at any cost — and the mainstream media selectively weighed in for pecuniary ends.

In short, the rule of Big Money and its attendant culture of cupidity and mendacity have led to our grand moment of spiritual blackout. The founder of Western philosophy, Plato, foresaw this scenario. In “The Republic” — history’s most profound critique of democratic regimes — Plato argues that democracies produce citizens of unruly passion and pervasive ignorance, manipulated by greedy elites and mendacious politicians. The result is tyranny — the rule of a strong man driven by appetites, corruption, and secrecy. There is no doubt that Trump meets this description more so than Clinton. Yet neoliberals like Clinton bear some responsibility for the anger and anguish of Trump’s followers — especially those white male working and middle-class citizens who have been devastated by neoliberal economic policies of deregulation, NAFTA, and Wall Street protection. The vicious xenophobia toward women, Mexicans, the disabled, gays, Muslims, Jews, and blacks are the sole fault of the Trump campaign. Yet the rule of Big Money in capitalist USA downplays the catastrophic effects of global warming, of poverty, and of drones killing innocent people — all the common ground of Trump and Clinton.

For over a century, the best response to Plato’s critique of democracy has been John Dewey’s claim that precious and fragile democratic experiments must put a premium on democratic statecraft (public accountability, protection of rights and liberties, as well as personal responsibility, embedded in a fair rule of law) and especially on democratic soulcraft (integrity, empathy, and a mature sense of history). For Plato, democratic regimes collapse owing to the slavish souls of citizens driven by hedonism and narcissism, mendacity and venality. Dewey replies that this kind of spiritual blackout can be overcome by robust democratic education and courageous exemplars grounded in the spread of critical intelligence, moral compassion, and historical humility. The 2016 election presents a dangerous question as to whether Dewey’s challenge to Plato’s critique can be met.

Yet Clinton is not a strong agent for Dewey’s response. There is no doubt that if she becomes the first woman president of the United States — though I prefer Jill Stein, of the Green Party — Clinton will be smart, even brilliant, in office. But like her predecessor, Barack Obama, she promotes the same neoliberal policies that increase inequality and racial polarization that will produce the next Trump. More important, she embraces Trump-like figures abroad, be they in Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Israel, or Syria — figures of ugly xenophobia and militaristic policies. The same self-righteous neoliberal soulcraft of smartness, dollars, and bombs lands us even deeper in our spiritual blackout. Instead we need a democratic soulcraft of wisdom, justice, and peace — the dreams of courageous freedom fighters like Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Joshua Heschel, Edward Said, and Dorothy Day. These dreams now lie dormant at this bleak moment, but spiritual and democratic awakenings are afoot among the ripe ones, especially those in the younger generation. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+15 # zillafied 2016-11-04 11:56
Damned that Cupidity!!!
-60 # Bryan 2016-11-04 12:09
'' The vicious xenophobia toward women, Mexicans, the disabled, gays, Muslims, Jews, and blacks are the sole fault of the Trump campaign. ''>>>>

Wrong. Trump didn't start it.
Extreme liberalism started it----And Hillary brought it to this campaign with her pandering to and inflaming the divides.

What we've had under the Dems and in this campaign is a "teachers and teacher's pets syndrome'' . Wherein the pets are the blacks, immigrants, gays, pick your favorite victim, etc, and the rest of class is told they are vicious xenophobia bigots, deplorables, evil etc......even when most of them aren't.
And even when there are legitimate and fair objections to some claims and positions.

So the rest of the class is sick of the teacher and the teachers pets.

But you did get this right:

"But like her predecessor, Barack Obama, she promotes the same neoliberal policies that increase inequality and racial polarization that will produce the next Trump''

Except it will produce the next Hitler, not the next Trump if it continues.

And as I type this I am once again listening to Hilary on msnbc call Trump---and his supporters -racist, KKK supporters, women haters etc etc etc etc..

All of this 'baiting' shit from the dems is what has turned me from a non Trumpian to probably voting for him.
+36 # sus453 2016-11-04 17:24
Jeez, Bryan, you are definitely on the far far-right. Why do you read Reader Supported News? Just curious.
+6 # Interested Observer 2016-11-05 06:41
He really should stick to Conservapedia.
-28 # Bryan 2016-11-05 10:51
You are so far,far,far left you are too stupid to understand what my position is.

Yes you read that right---you are too STUPID to understand my position.
I read this site to see what you 'progressives' are all about and frankly you really are so gd stupid you are a threat to this nation and everyone in it.
+9 # Ted 2016-11-04 17:50
"All of this 'baiting' shit from the dems is what has turned me from a non Trumpian to probably voting for him."

Before you do that, give this a quick read;
+31 # Anonymot 2016-11-04 18:00
Hillary is the CIA/MIC/DOD/Wal lSt all wrapped into one goodie. They, through her as a puppet, will have the conflicts they think they can win in a week with Iran, Russia, and China. Just like they did in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and the Ukraine. For their older debacles think Vietnam, Cuba, Korea.

We have the inadmissable option between two unacceptable candidates. The question seems to me to be which one will not destroy the planet before a 2020 election.

Continuing our social ills for 4 years will leave us limping as usual. A no-fly zone over Syria will turn us all to irradiated ash.

Pick your poison, but Bryan is probably right. Or if your progressive conscience has not yet been shredded, step back and vote Jill Stein.
-13 # Skyelav 2016-11-04 18:05
Bryan, you are a voice of fresh air these days. You and other thinkers on the site have looked at the issues and felt, most likely, that neo-liberal ideation and action is the primary issue and it trumps the hopeful crumbs promised by the phony campaign promises by the most corrupt politician in recent memory.
-7 # Bryan 2016-11-05 19:20
Thank you and DITTO
-3 # Philothustra 2016-11-04 19:01
Welcome to the ranks of the mentally challenged.
But you are right one one score- (despire yhour fractured and confused electoral logic)... it may be the Next Hitler Trump.
I was never ashamed to be a White Anglo Saxon Protestant Atheist-=-
Bryan represents everything sick in the current US political culture. He thinks he is a poor victime of the big bad government and media.
What is this "neoliberal crap"? Hillary is a political whore for sure, and should be dragged out in chains when she wins.
But it won't happen. Trump will not be allowed to win by his Republican cronies. Wall Street is in charge, and the sub-morons have gone wild.....
+24 # GoGreen! 2016-11-04 19:58
Oh, Bryan, you have been listening to the ill mannered two major corporate candidates. Please go to www.jill2016 and listen and read about the Green Party candidates Jill Stein and Ajama Baraka. These two intelligent and well mannered people calmly speak about their ideas on how we can improve the lives of all of our people and create jobs to halt climate change.
+2 # Bryan 2016-11-05 19:22
I am so green I could sprout leaves but Jill doesnt have a chance of wining.
+25 # markovchhaney 2016-11-04 19:58
I think I can live without either the neoliberals who support Clinton and the people who can rationalize (or pretend to) a vote for Trump and then blame it on "liberals" and "identity politics." I'm a progressive. I don't bait racists. I point it out when it's there and I don't presume to guess at it unless there's reasonable evidence therefor. You don't seem to grasp what either neoliberalism or fascism are. You use them like empty mantras, signifying nothing. Go vote for Trump. Or for Hillary. I don't think you could make a sensible choice no matter who is running. And to write the sort of blather you offer in response to the brilliant, insightful, and anything-but-a- knee-jerk-liber al Cornel West's piece is pathetic and repulsive. Congratulations . I'll eat a bit less tonight after reading your thoughts.
-17 # Bryan 2016-11-05 11:05
You don't seem to grasp what either neoliberalism or fascism are. You use them like empty mantras, signifying nothing''

LOL...and I was saying the same thing about you and your kind.

Your kind never offers any 'proof', any 'facts', any verified history, any statistics---yo u offer NOTHING to support your 'opinions' .

You just blather and whine and bloviate--you refuse to accept any INFORMATION that destroys your delusional rainbow.

God save the country from you and our kind.
+7 # librarian1984 2016-11-06 06:27
GREAT conversation starter! Do you get asked BACK to people's houses? ;-D
+2 # c.e. taylor 2016-11-06 23:51
And your proof, facts, verified history, statistics are where exactly?

Mirror, mirror on the wall ...
+20 # lfeuille 2016-11-04 23:51
You've got to be strong enough to stick to your opinion without embracing the opposite darkness. Why would you allow a those you disagree with to influence your vote in either direction?

Yes, it is very annoying to have all this Hillary Shilling thrown at us, but that doesn't make Trump any better than he has ever been.
+5 # Tigre1 2016-11-05 01:07
Go ahead, choose and vote for the side you really feel comfortable with. You've told us who it is, and you added that 'it's all our fault' for pushing youmore than you could take. All OUR fault. Do you realize that you merely asserted, with NO proof, that all this mess was started by HRC? You're breathing your own exhaust if you think that any intelligent person will accept your BS arrogant untrustworthy assertion.

You just said, 'she did it', and went on to something else. You are peeking up a bull's single winking eye, and you know it, don't you?

Please tell me that you haven't been fooled, that you're doing this on purpose. That you have some deep hidden plans...don't just go without question.
+13 # John Puma 2016-11-05 02:47
RE: Bryan comment.

Apparently, a lot of RSN readers can't handle the truth.

Trump didn't ORIGINATE anything. He certainly HAS skillfully manipulated the sub-surface neo-fascism that has been invigorated in response to Obumma inhabiting the White House.

But the problem is deeper than Trump alone. The demagogue needs a receptive audience. The problem is that the US "victory" in WWII was hardly a vanquishing of fascism but more a hostile changeover of top management of the fascist corporation. (See Loren Bliss's "4th Reich, below.)

L. Britt's 14 characteristics of indisputably fascist societies are listed below. They apply in the US and have only grown worse since WWII.
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. 

3. Identification of enemies/scapego ats as a unifying cause.
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. 

5. Rampant sexism. 

6. A controlled mass media. 

7. Obsession with national security. 

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. 

9. Power of corporations protected. 

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. 

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. 

12. Obsession with crime and punishment. 

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. 

14. Fraudulent elections.
0 # Caliban 2016-11-05 15:46
Nice job John Puma.

You have defined the main principles of TRUMPISM perfectly.
0 # Depressionborn 2016-11-07 11:55
thanks Bryan, and remember:

Galatians 6:7-9King James Version (KJV)

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
+55 # sus453 2016-11-04 17:22
Finally (!), not Jill Stein herself, but a Green Party supporter and one of Bernie Sanders' most vocal supporters. Thank you Cornel West, and thanks Mark Ash for publishing this.
+27 # Navrongo80 2016-11-04 17:38
Hmmm...maybe I read this wrong.

It seems to me that West considers Clinton better than Trump (certainly smarter), yet still a soulless tramp. I read no great Clinton praise here.

Let's read that last paragraph again...
+13 # Radscal 2016-11-04 18:13
I read Dr. West's article as an argument for HRC being the "lesser evil."

I find that deeply disappointing, though I certainly understand that some people - especially USians of color - are more fearful of Drumpf than HRC.

Of course, the unsaid is that they think Drumpf is less dangerous to USians, even though HRC is likely to be far more dangerous to non-USsians, and especially those of color.

Dr. West is a profoundly spiritual Christian with a clear understanding of the horrors of neoliberalism. Though I'm a confirmed non-theist, I understand his vision of our Spiritual Blackout in my own terms. And I agree.

So, the question is, what will it take to awaken in us the necessary "critical intelligence, moral compassion, and historical humility?"

From all I've seen over decades, and especially since HRC's campaign is that those USians most amenable to embracing those wonderful character traits ("liberals/prog ressives") are largely allowing themselves to be lied to (or lying to themselves), have honed situational morality to a finer edge than I've ever seen before, and refuse to recognize the consistent historical record of both HRC specifically and the neoliberal/Demo cratic Party co-opting of progressive values only to govern as regressives.

Therefore I see HRC (like Obama) as the more effective evil. People who should be on the side of progressivism are already bending over backwards in rationalization . That would continue.
+4 # Patriot 2016-11-04 20:47
You apparently missed his brief "--though I prefer Jill Stein of the Green Party--"....
+4 # Radscal 2016-11-05 01:51
Nope. Didn't miss that. He prefers Stein, but I still see this as providing a LOTE view. I cite some of my reasons below.
+1 # economagic 2016-11-04 21:41
"I read Dr. West's article as an argument for HRC being the 'lesser evil.'"

Yeah I'm not sure what he's doing there. It sounds as if he might have been infected at least momentarily with what Cassandra calls "Hillary-Derang ement-Syndrome, " although she runs it in the opposite direction.
+7 # lfeuille 2016-11-05 00:05
I didn't get that. He thinks she is smarter, but that doesn't necessarily mean better. He doesn't want either.

West terminology is sometimes confusing. He seems to use "neoliberal" to mean both "neoliberal" and "neocon". They do usually go together, but "neoliberal" by itself doesn't convey the hawkishness that is evoked by "neocon". That may make the criticism seem less harsh.

But it is not surprising that a black man would not find someone who wants to INCREASE racial profiling as the lessor evil.
+3 # Radscal 2016-11-05 16:06
"But it is not surprising that a black man would not find someone who wants to INCREASE racial profiling as the lessor evil."

Yep. That's the likely reason I proposed also.
+34 # djnova50 2016-11-04 18:33
In Dr. West's last paragraph, he says nothing about Clinton being the lesser evil. He doesn't say she is the greater evil, either. What he says is that with Clinton as President, we can expect more of what we got with Obama. Obama has supported regime change. He has supported classifying activists as terrorists. He has supported one of the worst trade deals. He has suggested that the DAPL be rerouted, which it was rerouted away from a mostly white community. He doesn't seem to support the rights of Indigenous People, implying that it is perfectly okay for the pipeline to be built where it is being built.

Hillary Clinton has promised to continue Obama's agenda. Don't hold your breath thinking that she will suddenly become a progressive overnight.

Dr. West supports Jill Stein. He knows that many of the voters would prefer Stein. He also acknowledges that there is a large group of voters who will be voting for Hillary Clinton in fear of Donald Trump.

The reality is that Jill Stein will not win simply because not enough people know who she is and don't care to know. Those who do not know her have never gone to her campaign site to see the Green New Deal. Jill Stein has an ever growing movement behind her. If she can get 5% of the vote, that will be a victory for the Green Party.

I voted for Jill Stein. I can rest easy knowing that I did the right thing and did not vote for her in fear of any of the other candidates.
+9 # indian weaver 2016-11-05 06:22
Yep I sent in my voting ballot several days ago here in Cortez, CO. I voted for Jill. That is because she is the most like me in philosophy. I considered voting for Trump because he says Putin and Russia are OK, and Putin is really the one really great world leader on the stage these days, and would promote less war and more fair trade within the USA to counter Slick Willy's FTA's. Like Rand / Ron Paul, the 3 of them have the most important policy of all: reduce the footprint of our military overseas. That could allow congress to reduce military spending at last. But, the establishment will not let Trump win anyhow. This election has been a foregone conclusion now as a raging stampede of horror with the 2 losers as presidential candidates. I had to vote who is right for me and the country, even though I know Stein can't win, and Bernie was run out of town by Hillary and the DNC.
+4 # markovchhaney 2016-11-04 19:39
No, you didn't read it wrong, but I think #Radscal and some others are missing the boat. That last paragraph is unmistakably not a LOTE argument.
+13 # Radscal 2016-11-04 20:37
Notice the comparisons Dr. West made:

“the neofascist catastrophe called Donald Trump and the neoliberal disaster named Hillary Clinton”

Which is less evil?

“an ugly contempt for liberal elites and vulnerable citizens of color.. vs. a dishonest liberal establishment”

Which is less evil?

And that closer in the last paragraph:

“There is no doubt that if she becomes the first woman president of the United States — though I prefer Jill Stein, of the Green Party — Clinton will be smart, even brilliant, in office.”

So, he's writing that HRC will just be more of the same, while “these dreams lie dormant,” buying us some time to prevent the catastrophe of “the next Trump.”
+7 # Ralph 2016-11-04 21:23
"Clinton will be smart, even brilliant, in office."

My BS meter exploded. Ah West, et tu Brute?
+13 # Radscal 2016-11-05 01:53
I don't see this as an endorsement, (like so many "progressives" have done), but I do see him leaving a little room there to steer us into insuring Drumpf doesn't win.
+10 # polfrosch 2016-11-05 06:34
Very interesting high quality discussion.

I reacted with a "yes, right!" to each of the conflicting postings.

But then I don´t think the main point of this excellent article is if Mr. West ultimately proposes Killiary the Imperialist or Caligula Berlusconi Trump to become president.

From my persepective the core point is this:

A political system which produces this choice as final result from it´s political evolution process -out of a gene pool of 300 million inhabitants- is a catastrophy in itself.

If Jill Stein in effect has no chance to become elected

if the democratic party betrays and destroys the candidacy of Bernie Sanders

if the repuclican party can only come up with hysterical candidates following a scorched earth strategy

if the final outcome is: whoever wins will be a disaster waiting to happen for the planet

we all, the USians and NonUSians alike have to face reality: democracy is currently dysfunctional. It´s broke. It has lost it´s soul. It doesn´t provide a decent future.

You need more than a good candidate like Jill Stein.

You need a major overhaul. You and us (the rest of the world) have to stop voting for ANY lesser evil.

So we on the Titanic should stop hoping the mighty ship will stay afloat. Listening to the band playing chorals is also not the right answer. Discussing who should be the next captain after the current one - duh!

It´s smarter to pull some planks from the deck and build some floats.
+8 # polfrosch 2016-11-05 07:02
Remember 1776. You did it then, because you had the guts and the spirit.

Get an engineering degree, study philosophy and crawl humbly to the children of your former slaves, to the elders of your first nations, plee for forgiveness for the murder and injustice, proove you repent, listen to their wisdom, strenghten your hearts and do the right thing.

(I write this to myself too. I am not doing enough as well. And I have children.)
+3 # Radscal 2016-11-06 14:27
I'm glad you enjoyed this discussion. I did as well. Looking over it, I see competing interpretations , but over the same facts. Agreeing on the facts is pretty much the prerequisite for any reasoned discussion.

And those facts do include the real history of the US, and required reparations to the descendants of those upon whose blood and backs this country was built, and who today are still living that historical inequality.

Yes, no matter who is living in the White House on January 21, the real fight must be invigorated. We must stop these wars. We must defang the Wall Street supra-national financial powers. We must work to create means and modes of production that provide a life free from want and terror for all of humanity, and restores and sustains the entire biosphere.
+20 # Patriot 2016-11-04 20:46
Cornel West endorsed Jill Stein when Sanders conceded to Clinton.

That's why we haven't heard from Mr. West all summer here at RSN.
+56 # grandlakeguy 2016-11-04 17:25
We had that spiritual awakening and a movement of young people jumping into the political process this year…they were excited and energized by a transformative and honest politician named Bernie Sanders.
Young and old alike turned out by the tens of thousands everywhere he appeared!
Those dreams were dashed by the election theft perpetrated by the DNC and their dishonest candidate who believed that it was "HER TURN NOW" and the voters be damned!

What must be done to fix the electoral process?
Without real elections we are no longer free.
We know that hand counted paper ballots are the solution to our dishonest election theater but most Americans refuse to see the problem.
+40 # Marshalldoc 2016-11-04 17:33
Once more, Cornel West vies with Chris Hedges for the title 'Moral Voice of America'.
+33 # Ted 2016-11-04 17:48
And by no coincidence, they are both strongly outspoken Jill Sttein endorsers.
+13 # Patriot 2016-11-04 20:51
Hmmm...that must be why we haven't heard from Chris Hedges this summer, either.
+6 # Michaeljohn 2016-11-04 17:45
So Bryan, it sounds like you're willing to 'cut off your nose to spite your face' as the saying goes.
The KKK newspaper did indeed endorse Trump and please demonstrate to me how his comments on women, specific women, have not been mysogynistic. And, I suppose, the posters we see being waved by supporters at the Trump rallies do not represent the feelings of those supporters?
-7 # Skyelav 2016-11-04 20:18
Where did those (ghastly Trump) supporters spring from? Perhaps from the drawing rooms of the bed-wetting, French water- drinking liberals, so fraught with sanctimony (better than you, knowing so well what is right for you...deplorabl es, after all...)?
+2 # reiverpacific 2016-11-07 14:56
Quoting Skyelav:
Where did those (ghastly Trump) supporters spring from? Perhaps from the drawing rooms of the bed-wetting, French water- drinking liberals, so fraught with sanctimony (better than you, knowing so well what is right for you...deplorables, after all...)?

"French Water"? You mean the best wine in the world.
Y'r cliches are catching' up with you.
0 # lfeuille 2016-11-07 20:13
I think he means Pertier and Evian.
0 # Bryan 2016-11-05 11:41
'' So Bryan, it sounds like you're willing to 'cut off your nose to spite your face' ''

Whoever is elected will have no affect on me personally except for maybe taxes. I am retired, my children are grown, and I have the where with all to take care of them regardless of what happens.

I am standing up for the working people I see every day who bear the brunt of making this country work and who pay for it and who have been rolled, raped, robbed, screwed and demonized by the liberals and Hillary.

Further I do not give a rats ass about your 'mysogynistic' complaint. That problem is less than a flea on an elephant's ass compared to other problems.
I don't give shit who the KKK supports--or their 'feelings' or the 'feelings of' any other little minority group.
I give shit about who the same neos who brought us Iraq, Syria, Yemem, (now Russia) and 9 trillion in wars support and that is Hillary.
+4 # Aliazer 2016-11-04 18:17
I suspect here that we are all missing the point that Dr. West is attempting to make and that is the out and out dysfunctionalit y of American society, from the top down.

However, I do not agree with the author regarding the many negative popular responses to be due to Trump or Clinton, for that matter. In fact,some of the so called "negative" responses articulated by conservatives are merely part of a verbiage not originating with them but by numerous think tanks,and parroted by liberals. A good example is the term "xenophobic"(fe ar of strangers). The reality is that people are not fearful of strangers as they are concerned with the impact that unregulated immigration has on their communities!!!
+2 # markovchhaney 2016-11-04 20:01
No, I didn't miss it. I never miss it. And particularly not when someone like West puts it so clearly. Too clearly for the usual suspects, however.
+12 # lorenbliss 2016-11-04 20:11
@Aliazer: You make a valid point about "xenophibia." Indeed, the only places in the USian Homeland I have encountered genuine mass-minded xenophobia is in Seattle (for which it is deservedly infamous), and -- albeit to a somewhat lesser degree -- in Bellingham. And I have lived in every region of the U.S. save the Southwest.

As for the country as a, oops, a whole, it's been naught but Moron Nation since its total surrender to assassins during the 1960s, and it's been submissively moronating itself to ever-more-crave nly stupid subjugation ever since.

While the leaders are certainly as much to blame as the masses, don't forget that (precisely as happened in Nazi Germany), it is the USian masses' obscenely capitalist, lockstep conformist selfishness -- each USian's psychopathicall y craven terror of suddenly having even one penny less than the proverbial Joneses -- that has fueled the transition from limited democracy to zero-tolerance plutocratic tyranny.

And -- again like the Nazi Germans -- as they have sown, so shall they be reaped.

Messrs West and Hedges are indeed, as Marshalldoc said, "the Moral Voice" of the few remaining USians who have not embraced moral imbecility.

Alas, as the Hillary/Trump debacle proves beyond argument, there are not enough of us left to make even a scintilla of difference.
+4 # Ralph 2016-11-04 20:54
I don't know why you obsess on the 60's. Kennedy was an anti-communist going way back. I think the problem dates to FDR. He saved capitalism and we could have put it away for good back in the 40's. My lefty friends lecture me on this endlessly and I've yet to mount a serious rebuttal.
+14 # lorenbliss 2016-11-05 01:23
@Ralph: I "obsess" on the '60s -- note the correction -- because it was the decade of assassinations that historians of the future -- if indeed there is any future -- will surely mark as ending forever the then already deteriorating charade of USian "democracy."

While JFK's death-date is the most logical marker, it was not just he -- an FDR New Dealer (without whose willingness to compromise with Nikita Khrushchev, our planet would today be a radioactive cinder) -- but also Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Sen. Robert Francis Kennedy, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. And let us not forget those murdered in 1970: Jeffrey Glenn Miller, Allison B. Krause, William Knox Schroeder and Sandra Lee Scheuer at Kent State University; then Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green 11 days later at Jackson State College.

Say their names. Say all their names. They are the women and men who were murdered to exemplify the fate of resistors when the One Percenters and their Nazi German war criminal co-conspirators escalated their transformation of the United States into the Fourth Reich. (Their triumph was assured; they had already purged all the Communists, socialists and intellectuals around whom effective resistance might have coalesced, and now -- with the cost of even grassroots protest writ in blood -- they knew this Reich would last not 1000 years but forever: that is, until our species is extinct.

(Apropos my above correction: END APOSTROPHE ABUSE NOW!)

+10 # JJS 2016-11-05 07:12
I agree that last century's 'politics by assassination' has been cataclysmically ruinous. The murders have lead... er, oops, led to the "Spiritual Blackout in America". It is my spirit at times feels loaded with lead.
+5 # Ralph 2016-11-05 08:07
The last time I felt hopeful about the prospects of this nation, it was back in the 60's. It was a long time ago indeed. An era sandwiched between the McCarthyism of the 50's and the Reagan Revolution of the 80's. We were at a fork in the road and were driven to the wrong direction. The choice was there for a brief instant and stolen away by the mechanisms you outline.

Fast forward to 2016 and we have become a nation of Pinkertons as evidenced by the events in ND. The mere fact that candidates like Trump and Clinton are what the two major parties offer is further evidence that there is something profoundly wrong with this nation. This once-mediocre nation is about to be transformed into an oligarchical hell hole. It is unclear if we will ever recover.
+2 # JJS 2016-11-07 05:01
If you think back to the primary candidates, the R's offered 17 potential candidates and the D's offered up 6 and whittled it down to 2 rather quickly. All but 1 or maybe 2 of the R's, IMHO, would have been anywhere near sane enough to manage an administration the size and complexity of the US. Either one of the two D's most certainly could, in another of my HO's. I would have been very happy to have Sanders win the primary, I would have been ecstatic. But it didn't happen, for whatever reason. However, Bernie got really, REALLY CLOSE and he is keeping the pressure on. It is up to the people to back him up and vote D so Bernie Sanders can still bring our voices to the table. He certainly wont be invited to Trump's table.
+3 # madame de farge 2016-11-07 15:33
The Pinkertons were in full force against Occupy.... and our beloved Obama was hand in glove with Wall Street to contain them...
+4 # Radscal 2016-11-05 13:26
As Frank Zappa said, "the crux of the biscuit is the apostrophe."
+10 # Ralph 2016-11-04 20:25
"unregulated immigration"

A xenophobic post railing against xenophobia. If that don't beat all. Here's a clue for you bucko, it's all regulated immigration. Brought on by predatory global capitalism that is driving mass migration all over the world. This is what endless war and predatory economic policies deliver. If a moron like yourself woke up and had to eat mud pies for breakfast, you too would be heading somewhere else.

End the war of terrorism, end the war of drugs. Your tax dollars wage it. Grow a spine instead of blaming other people.
-9 # Bryan 2016-11-05 12:04
Ralph 2016-11-04 20:25
"unregulated immigration"

A xenophobic post railing against xenophobia''>>>>

Oh STFU...there was nothing xenophobic about his use of 'unregulated immigration'... ILLEGAL IMMIGRATiON is UNREGULATED.

Your kind who just trolls the threads for something or someone they can slur make me sick.
You are basically little snot nosed cowards. You come here full of your 'malcontent and loser venom' that you dont dare unload anywhere off line where you might get your dirty mouth busted.
-2 # Ralph 2016-11-05 13:16
I am not your mother's liberal. I'd be happy to step in the ring with you at any time. Ideally, bare knuckles. I'd turn your tea bagger face into hamburger. You xenophobic weasel.
-7 # Bryan 2016-11-05 13:25
Oh gee, look at the loser tough guy.

Somehow I doubt you'd be issuing that threat in person.
-2 # Ralph 2016-11-05 14:47
You're the hotshot talking about busting my mouth. Limp-wristed rightie gonna come in battle fatigues and smack me down? Don't you have some gunz you need to go play with junior? Beat it clown.
+14 # 2016-11-04 18:18
grandlakeguy 2016-11-04 17:25
We had that spiritual awakening and a movement of young people jumping into the political process this year…they were excited and energized by a transformative and honest politician named Bernie Sanders.
Young and old alike turned out by the tens of thousands everywhere he appeared!
Those dreams were dashed by the election theft perpetrated by the DNC and their dishonest candidate who believed that it was "HER TURN NOW" and the voters be damned!

I couldn't have said it any better Bernie for president by acclamation!
+1 # madame de farge 2016-11-07 15:36
If Hellary gave a hoot about the progressives, she would have put on her man pants and selected Bernie for her VP.....
+11 # eduardoben 2016-11-04 18:38
We’re told again that Trump's racist WORDS are more dangerous than Hillary's racist ACTIONS.

Earlier I responded to a request by UPJ to sign a petition to work for peace AFTER the election:

Or more succinctly, don't vote for Trump to stop Hillary from getting elected.

We know Trump is a monumental A-hole. But the most dangerous, racist warmongers in the room are Hillary and Bill Clinton. Yes, he's going to the White House too if she wins and not to be a spectator.

This racist power couple has caused MILLIONS of deaths from the half million Iraqi children, and at least that many adults, killed by Bill's 8 years of bombs and embargo against Iraq and the 3,000,000 HIV+ South Africans he left to die when he blocked AIDS drugs to South Africa on behalf of Big Pharma (link below) to the 100s of thousands of dead in the wars and killings Hillary helped create in Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Honduras. (Rest in Peace Berta Caceres.)

And since the man identified by the Guardian as the link between Big Pharma and the Clinton White House was John Podesta, currently Hillary's CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, please tell me who is the most dangerous racist in this presidential election?

As bad as Trump is, I’ll vote for him to keep these confirmed terrorists away from the White House and the Pentagon. We're the only ones who can save others around the world from these racist killers. And the only time we can do it is NOW!
+8 # Ralph 2016-11-04 19:34
Anyone who votes for a Republican or a Democrat needs their head examined.
+13 # elkingo 2016-11-04 18:41
As alway, right on the money Corny. (pun intended) But along with the barbarous feature of cupidity, mendacity and narcissism - none must include bullshit, which underlies and facilitates them: bullshit. This is meant literally - the lingua franca of American political discourse. The Culture of the Sale induces persuasion,not candor or compassion.
We are subject to the psycho pathogenic effects of it, The answer global democratic socialism. This for reasons of survival and humanity. O yes: voting for Jill Stein is the only ethical choice.
-3 # Jaax88 2016-11-04 20:42
What is ethical about helping a evil man potentially become president and harm America?
+21 # PCPrincess 2016-11-04 22:01
I was asking the same thing of everyone who voted for Mrs. Clinton for the democratic nomination! EVERYONE saw the same polls and knew, although many would not admit it, that Bernie was as close to a sure winner as we could get against Trump. Yet, supporters of Hillary NOW want to accuse others of taking actions that could supposedly 'help' an evil Trump become President?

I'm tired of having to remind people of this one simple, truthful fact.
+9 # Douglas Jack 2016-11-04 18:43
Cornel, Plato's writings (eg. Republic) on Democracy represent a time as now when colonialism was rampantly & mindlessly destroying everything within its sailing-ship & horse-drawn chariot reach. Plato understood slave-owning, white, propertied 'exogenous' (Latin 'other-generate d') oligarch-run Athens falsely called 'democracy' (Greek 'power-of-the-p eople') as we today are NOT. Vibrant African ecological-econ omy-biosphere was thus destroyed.

Worldwide 'indigenous' (L 'self-generatin g') peoples of every continent & island of the world practiced 'fractal' ('part-contains -the-whole') ancient Economic Democracy whereby all societies organized around domestic economies in 100 person multihome-dwell ing-complexes along with specialized industrial & commercial Production-Soci ety/Guild organized economy.

Difference between Greek (Assyrian, Phoenician) & American empire is one of scale where the whole planet is being subjected by a Finance-Media-E ducation-Milita ry-Industrial-L egislative-Comp lex. Ancient colonial oligarchs established today's western dominating trillionaires with networks of billionaires & multimillionair es. Thanks for openly supporting Bernie Sanders then Dr. Jill Stein as a better choice than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. & for your clear voice about the US Empire convened by Hillary's military-murder in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Guatemala, Ukraine.
-1 # Jaax88 2016-11-04 20:29
Huh? Can you break that down and say what you mean in single syllable words?
+8 # Radscal 2016-11-04 20:43
Exactly. Plato was a racist, supremacist apologist for Empire. His criticism of democracy was a thinly veiled excuse for his preferred rule by a self-chosen elite.
-16 # Robbee 2016-11-04 19:01
i'm sorry that cornel believes - "like her predecessor, Barack Obama, (Clinton) promotes the same neoliberal policies that increase inequality and racial polarization that will produce the next Trump."

- bernie and i don't believe that, about either - 3 x obama hiked taxes on the rich bigtime -

ACA in 2009
cutting mitt's loopholes in 2012
and ending bush2's tax cuts in 2013

in any event lying about hill is a lame excuse for flogging dead horse jillie - lie down with jillie and wake up with rump
+6 # Ralph 2016-11-04 20:16
An immoral shitbird like yourself lecturing us on the dangers of voting for a decent candidate. If that don't beat all. You're a disgrace. Go crawl back into the crevice you came from.
0 # margpark 2016-11-04 19:23
Donald Trump may mean the end of Democracy. I fear for our country if he is elected. In fact I fear for the entire world if he is elected. I did want Bernie Sanders to be our new President but I have voted for Hillary Clinton as a person who knows how to operate.
+14 # Ralph 2016-11-04 19:47
The stock market is tanking and for good reason. Two horrific candidates vying for the levers of power. The chickens are coming home to roost. A mediocre nation turned into a sideshow, a freak show, a disgrace. Rats on a treadmill heading to the polls on Tuesday, go ahead and pull the lever for your criminal of choice. Like Russian roulette with all the chambers loaded. West has lost his mind putting some sort of positive spin on the Clinton crime family. Millions of minorities convicted of felony thanks to the Clinton Omnibus crime legislation. The suffering and pain inflicted by the Clinton's is beyond the pale. Both here and abroad. Then we got the carnival geek named Trump. What a freak as we watch him bite off the head of one lizard after another. A moron, an imbecile, a fitting leader for a nation gone endless war berserk.

Compassion and critical thinking might be my road to success but looking at this nation, I can only feel contempt and disgust at this point in time. What a disgrace we have become. Tuesday has become nothing more than an impending death march.
+12 # Tigre1 2016-11-05 01:09
Oh yeah: spiritual black out? damn straight. I fear for us all.
+13 # mh1224jst 2016-11-05 02:13
Yes indeed! This is the proper perspective, entirely predictable from the historical perspective West outlines.

Most comments don't focus directly on the underlying culprits -- money and capitalism. My book (Reinventing Economics) documents some terrifying facts: Advanced income and wealth inequality (a) increases exponentially and (2) gradually reduces economic growth. Thus, we are
headed today, 35 years after the "Reagan Revolution" which kicked off our decline, for a continued worsening of all of the predictable effects West has highlighted.

We needed Bernie, but stay tuned: When the super-greedy ultra rich finally learn that they are destroying everything of real value, we may get real change. It had better be soon, however.
+12 # John Puma 2016-11-05 02:27
If Dewey's prescription: "robust democratic education and courageous exemplars grounded in the spread of critical intelligence, moral compassion, and historical humility," is mandatory, then our chances of overcoming said "spiritual blackout" are slim and none.
+1 # Bryan 2016-11-05 11:54
The Clintons have ALWAYS been corrupt.
The sheep of course will ignore this CLEAR CUT CASE of Clinton corruption as they always do.

More Surprises: FBI Releases Files On Bill Clinton's Pardon Of Marc Rich
The 129 pages from the 2001 investigation are heavily redacted. At the time of the pardon, Rich was an international fugitive who had fled to Switzerland. His ex-wife had donated to the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton Presidential Library and Hillary Clinton's New York Senate campaign, raising suspicion about the pardon. The federal investigation was closed in 2005 without charges, and Rich died in 2013.
Clinton's former White House chief of staff, John Podesta, is now his wife's campaign chairman. He testified before Congress that White House aides had urged Clinton not to pardon Rich.
There is a connection between Comey and Rich, too. As Bloomberg Politics noted, Comey was the prosecutor in the case against Rich from 1987 until 1993, and then also took over the investigation into President Clinton's pardon in 2002 when he was the U.S. attorney for Manhattan. In a 2008 letter, Comey wrote he was "stunned" by the Rich pardon.
On Sunday, the FBI also tweeted out eight pages of documents related to GOP nominee Donald Trump's late father, Fred. They pertained to a tax case he once testified in and several real estate deals.''
0 # Bryan 2016-11-05 13:28
What West has done in this article is give Hillary a 'back-handed' endorsement.
+8 # librarian1984 2016-11-06 06:48
Cornel West seems like a decent man with a first class mind.

I believe his words can be interpreted variously because he feels the same way many of us do -- confounded by this impossible choice and anxious about the election and its consequences. His words reflect his uncertainty. We find ourselves supporting someone we fear and loathe.

When this, like the crises of walking catfish and M2K, is over and we've survived, I hope we'll remember this excruciating time and channel anger where it belongs -- at the DNC and DP -- and ultimately the inbred oligarchs 'in charge'. If ANY of them have two brain cells to rub together, and that's not a given, then someone had concerns about Clinton.

You know how FDR told the people "make me do it", be the vocal electorate at his back to empower him for his agenda? Well maybe we can do that to the oligarch(s) who didn't want HRC to be the nominee. If we throw her back their words would have more weight at the next oligarch meeting.

No Clintons in the White House. No more war.

You know those RWers who want women to look at pictures before they get an abortion? Why not reciprocate? Any pol who votes for war has to walk through the ruins, has to go the battlefield the next day (instead of their hygienic paid junkets). Go see what you're voting for. Go see what war does to people who are just trying to live their lives.

We should not be at war. Not anywhere. America needs to find a new hobby.

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