Home | About | Donate

For Ralph Nader, Defiance Is a Way of Life


For Ralph Nader, Defiance Is a Way of Life

Chris Hedges

president or a Cabinet official might evoke not only a response but a press conference, news reports and action. Nader, with his armies of lawyers and citizen action committees behind him, could mobilize formidable forces, inside and outside government, on behalf of citizens.


Are we missing the beginning of this article?

Doesn’t really seem to matter for another overly long and poorly focused piece by Hedges whose inability to express himself concisely is starting to grow wearisome.

Nader is certainly deserving of praise and his writings of our attention. That being said, the only real value to this article is the mention of Ralph’s new book.



In today’s world, “everyone is talking but nobody’s listening”


Here is the complete first sentence…
“NEW YORK—There was a time in Washington when a letter from Ralph Nader to the president or a Cabinet official might evoke not only a response but a press conference, news reports and action.”

There was never a time when the U.S. was a democracy. It has always been a republic with a representational form of government. Originally only propertied white men could vote. The expansion of voting rights to most did not change the fact that those with the most wealth got the most representation. It has always been a plutocracy.

The twentieth century proved the futility of trying to reform capitalism as any reforms that benefit the majority are only temporary. It is a government by the rich, of the rich and for the rich. Paraphrasing George Carlin, “When are people going to stop voting for rich ccksckers who don’t care about them?… they don’t care about you, they only care about their rich friends… they don’t care about you!” And they never cared about Ralph Nader but once he could generate controversy that would sell newspapers and increase ad income for the mass media. Being informed can still somewhat protect an individual from exploitation but not the society at large. Capitalism is organized thievery for the profit of the few at the expense of the many. The belief that the worst of men will somehow benefit any one but themselves is absurd but is drummed into the mass mind as truth from birth.

When are people going to wake up and realize that the rich don’t and have never cared about them! The time for talk and debate is long over. Voting is not only a waste of time but legitimizes the status quo. Stop talking, stop writing letters, stop petitioning, stop voting and take it to the streets. Otherwise shut up, they’re not listening and never have listened.

Destroy capitalism or be miserable… but suffer quietly as no one wants to hear it anymore.


Some are. But maybe you are not, and so you can’t know.


No one may be able to stand hearing them but we seem to have an endless supply of columnists and “jourmalists” willing to write about the candidates’ posturing.



“Nader said last week when he spoke at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Union Square in New York. “If you try to do it through the press, it’ll either be blacked out, censored, filtered, ignored. If you try to do it at a fundraiser, there are no deliberative dialogues at fundraisers. If you try to do it at a rally, where the attendees are preselected, you put your hand up and ask a pointed question they’ll escort you out of the auditorium. The only way you can try to connect with your political rulers, whether it’s legislators, governors, presidents, whatever, the only way you can connect is through correspondence.”

The above is repeated in case the poster who went by “Contrarian” and numerous other screen names happens to be reading this thread. He insisted that what counted was charisma in a leader as if that trait alone could make it through the gatekeepers and mechanisms in place to narrow choice to what the 1% deems as acceptable to their various and sundry agendas.

Perhaps hearing it from Nader/Hedges will drive home what it means that this nation operates in a crippled state (cognitively) due primarily to the corporate capture of mass media–and that includes print media and radio.


Hedges notes that “Nader still writes letters to the powerful, pounded out on his 50-year-old manual Underwood typewriter, but they are rarely answered.”

It hurts me to see Nader reduced to this level — and he need not to have been so dis-empowered.During his 2008 Presidential campaign meeting and fund raiser at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Portland, Maine, I engaged Nader in a public discussion and plea that he raise as a pivotal issue the Disguised Global Empire that had taken over our country, just as the British Empire controlled, ‘occupied’, and oppressed on all issues our colonial American fore-fathers.

While Nader politely agreed with me that the British Empire’s control, ‘occupation’, and hectoring on economic, political, militarist, social and all other issues was analogous to what was being done today by what could be described as a more veiled and disguised Empire, and that he would employ that analogy in his campaigning — he didn’t follow through on raising that as a campaign point (and to the best of my understanding never used his limited bully pulpit to give a ‘shout out’ to the fact of the Empire cancer that was even then fast metastasizing in our country).

So, from a standpoint of suggesting and influencing him as a presidential candidate on the key issue, encompassing all issues, that I felt most strongly could attack and open up the phony political charade of this dual-party political-Vichy facade in America I decided to write heavily and better refine this argument after the disastrous selection of the neoliberal-con ‘D’ Vichy party’s slicker puppet, Obama, over the neocon ‘R’ Vichy party’s insane and angry puppet, McCain.

What’s now obvious today, and played-out from 2008 to 2012, is that the great black hope of the deluded and propagandized ‘leftish’ and progressive-lite-weights, has come to nothing but more of the same Disguised Global Capitalist Empire’s lying, spying, expanding wars, domestic tyranny, vast inequality, et al.

But unlike Nader’s oft-valid criticism of just spending time on the “screen” of internet making my case for ‘outing’ this poorly understood and God-damned Empire in the burning kitchen of our former democracy, I made the effort to spread the alarm and alert the people to the metastasizing cancer of this Disguised Global Capitalist Empire. this ‘Empire of Chaos’ (as Pepe Escobar calls it), this “Empire of Illusion” (as Chris himself wrote of it), and this highly-integrated, but well hidden, six-sectored; corporate, financial, militarist, media/propagada, extra-legal, and dual-party Vichy-political facade of Empire — in more “active” and real life setting as Nader recommends here.

I spent a few hundred dollars on double sided signs to promote:

Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality
“Occupy the Empire”

And spent a lot more of my time with the fortuitous 2011 (and pre-2012 selection) actions of supporting, protesting, and ‘teach-ins’ with the “Occupy” movements in Portland Maine, Boston, and DC — regarding the one topic that I believe encapsulates all other ‘identity issues’ and subordinate ‘symptom problems’ — but with little effect in broadening the message to a more coherent “Occupy the Empire” (although Kevin Zeese was also trying to do the same in DC with his insightful ‘October 2011’ effort specifically targeting Empire).

With the coming of the Empire’s 2012 auditioning and selection process for the next faux-Emperor/presidential ‘stage show’, I decided to take individual ‘actions’ of ‘shouting-out’ and confronting various political-puppet candidates in person, as I did
in shouting out at Mittens Romney in his Portsmouth NH staged event:

“What are you going to say about this dual-party Vichy Empire?”.

This seemed to catch the ‘R’ Vichy candidate a bit off guard, but he only turned toward the ocean and said to the crowd, “I don’t know anything about a Vichy Empire, but it’s a beautiful day looking out at Portsmouth Harbor” before the police hustled me away.
[Although, it seemed to me that Mittens was degrading any value to his Harvard education if he never learned anything about the Nazi Empire trying to use their Vichy installed government to crudely disguise the Empire behind a merely ‘single party’ Vichy government].

In any case, Ralph (and Chris), if nothing is done with more power than I can muster about; diagnosing, alerting, ‘exposing’, publicly ‘calling-out’, and non-violently confronting this Empire and Cancer of all our Maladies before the 2016 sequel of this Disguised Global Capitalist Empire’s facade selection of some neocon ‘R’ Vichy party puppet-emperor, or neoliberal-con ‘D’ Vichy Killary puppet empress, we will, as George C. Scott said in ‘Dr. Strangelove’:
“If prior to this time, we have done nothing further to suppress (the Empire’s) retaliatory capabilities, we will suffer virtual annihilation.”

At this point in 2015 to 2016, it’s up to the ‘leftish’ and supposedly ‘progressives’ and so-called alt-media and principled ‘actors’ who have avoided being brainwashed by this Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE, to properly “diagnose”, alert, ‘expose’, educate the public, publicly ‘call-out’, and non-violently confront this EMPIRE or forever hold your silence.

As Zygmunt Bauman hauntingly puts it, “In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis…is a crucial, perhaps decisive, part of the disease.”13

Berman, Morris (2011-02-07). Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire (p. 22). Norton. Kindle Edition.

“The U.S. state is a key point of condensation for pressures from dominant groups around the world to resolve problems of global capitalism and to secure the legitimacy of the system overall. In this regard, “U.S.” imperialism refers to the use by transnational elites of the U.S. state apparatus to continue to attempt to expand, defend, and stabilize the global capitalist system. We are witness less to a “U.S.” imperialism per se than to a global capitalist imperialism. We face an EMPIRE of global capital, headquartered, for evident historical reasons, in Washington.” [Caps substituted for italics in original]

Robinson, William I. (2014-07-31). Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity (p. 122). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.

Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality



Hilarious. YOU are critiquing Hedges’ level of insight and writing capacities. Pray tell, what voluminous works do you have to your name, oh, Jaded One? Evidence suggests that you are here to slime the reputations of persons who challenge the system, persons who don’t resort to Banner-Level-Slogans presented as in-depth analysis… like lies told often.

Someone had to take over for Tom Carberry, I suppose … and they ALWAYS show up first to post, band together to reinforce the same Talking Points, and poke fun at all the people working hardest for change. But then, these paid agents could not speak of violent revolution without discounting all the PEACEFUL and PROGRESSIVE routes to meaningful change. And violent revolution is a calling card virtue to any Agent Provocateur along with those bound and determined to maintain the status quo by discounting all of its opponents, one by one. Another favorite tactic is the often used tendency to discredit the writer/speaker/activist due to ONE of many entities that fund their organization.

As Mr. Nader pointed out in the book “Only The Rich Can Save Us” or something along those lines, when power has become this calcified–in a simultaneous control of press, media, Presidency, banks, courts, food supply, massive system of incarceration, and education–any threat to this system will be dealt with accordingly. Enter all those armed domestic gendarmes. Little is permitted TO challenge those narratives that are being built into consensual reality–like infrastructure physically fitted into place; and that is what makes Truth (and therefore, recognition of it) so rare, so brave, and typically “trafficked in” by covert means.

Just look at the fate of journalists in war zones–so many shot down. And look at the blackout on direct info on war zones, police shootings (with at least one person shooting the video charged with a crime for doing so), and natural disasters. Recall how B.P. had a virtual no-fly news zone to ensure the public would not be allowed to SEE what they were doing in the Gulf of Mexico. This is reminiscent of the guarded perimeters around industrial hog farms and similar operations.

Look at those who HAVE spoken out–some mysteriously die in accidents, some are pushed to suicide, many are threatened, several have left the U.S., a few are under house arrest in foreign lands, with still others boxed away and caged into the felonious U.S. Prison-Industrial system.

The point is, screws are being tightened that have been in place for some time, ditto the heat being driven up on all those would-be boiling frogs.

Too often following a violent uprising, the old authorities bear down harder. I think the faux revolutionaries in this forum want THAT very thing. They are made in the ideological image and likeness of J. Edgar Hoover… and proud of it.


I interviewed Ralph Nader in 2000.

My comment here was in reference to today’s Internet and the sea of comments, and articles.

I have been Mr. Nader’s ally for two decades.


I can understand why you feel the need to defend Mr. Hedges’ wordiness.



Well done!


Concurrent with the US media distracting us with Hillaryspeak this week, the US Congress is posturing to expedite the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) signing.

Email, call or write Senator Ron Wyden and your federal “representatives” and remind them that Obama won’t be running again after he signs TPP, but the “representatives” will be running again.


Thanks, Siouxrose, for your kind words and support regarding Empire.


Another excellent piece from Hedges.

Although some may disagree. :wink:


Excellent and reposted on my Rusty Wilson 1174 Facebook wall.