In San Diego! Chris Hedges a Pulitzer Prize–winner's NEW BOOK: AMERICA, The Farewell Tour ~ Sun. Sept. 16th

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09/16/2018 - 5:00pm
09/16/2018 - 9:00pm
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In San Diego! Chris Hedges a Pulitzer Prize–winner's NEW BOOK: AMERICA, The Farewell Tour ~ Sun. Sept. 16th, Donor Reception 5 pm, then main book talk starts at 6 pm.

At University of San Diego, Joan Kroc Peace Center Auditorium 5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110


$17.50 Presale
$23 at the door
$10 Students with ID only
$40 Pre-event @5:00-5:30pm is a private donor Reception and pre-event Book signing (You get Reserved seating up front, avoid the lines for book purchase, but book not included in price.)

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper.

A profound and provocative examination of America in crisis, where unemployment, de-industrialization, and a bitter hopelessness and malaise have resulted in an epidemic of diseases of despair—drug abuse, gambling, suicide, magical thinking, xenophobia, and a culture of sadism and hate.

America, says Pulitzer Prize­–winning reporter Chris Hedges, is convulsed by an array of pathologies that have arisen out of profound hopelessness, a bitter despair and a civil society that has ceased to function. The opioid crisis, the retreat into gambling to cope with economic distress, the pornification of culture, the rise of magical thinking, the celebration of sadism, hate, and plagues of suicides are the physical manifestations of a society that is being ravaged by corporate pillage and a failed democracy. As our society unravels, we also face global upheaval caused by catastrophic climate change. All these ills presage a frightening reconfiguration of the nation and the planet.

Donald Trump rode this disenchantment to power. In America: The Farewell Tour, Hedges argues that neither political party, now captured by corporate power, addresses the systemic problem. Until our corporate coup d’état is reversed these diseases will grow and ravage the country. A poignant cry reported from communities across the country, America: The Farewell Tour seeks to jolt us out of our complacency while there is still time.

Talking points for America: The Farewell Tour by Chris Hedges
-The corporate state has seized control of our political and economic system,
generating a profound despair and rage among the American public. This hopelessness
expresses itself in a series of disturbing pathologies including suicide, opioid addictions,
gambling, morbid obesity, sexual sadism, hate groups and nihilistic mass shootings.
-Donald Trump is the symptom, not the disease. He is the inevitable result of a collapsed
political and economic system that no longer addresses the rights, needs and grievances of
the majority of the population.
-Trump succeeds because he has tapped into the hatred huge segments of the
American public have for a political and economic system that has betrayed them. He
may be inept, degenerate, dishonest and a narcissist, but he adeptly ridicules the system
they despise. His cruel and demeaning taunts directed at government agencies, laws and the
established elites resonate with people for whom these agencies, laws and elites have
become hostile forces. And for many who see no shift in the political landscape to alleviate
their suffering, Trump’s cruelty and invective are at least cathartic.
-We no longer live in a functioning democracy; it’s been replaced by mafia capitalism.
The longer we perpetuate the fiction Trump and the political mutations around him are
somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we
will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by
corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don’t
count. The corporate coup created a mafia capitalism. This mafia capitalism, as economists
such as Karl Polanyi and Joseph Stiglitz warned, gave birth to a mafia political system.
-The government is cannibalized for profit by corporations. Government expenditure
accounts for 41 percent of GDP. Corporate capitalists intend to seize this money, hence the
privatization of whole parts of the military, the push to privatize Social Security, the
contracting of corporations to collect 70 percent of intelligence for our 16 intelligence
agencies, as well as the privatization of prisons, schools and our disastrous for-profit health
care service. None of these seizures of basic services make them more efficient or reduce
costs. That is not the point. It is about feeding off the carcass of the state. And it final stage of
capitalism ensures the disintegration of the structures that sustains capitalism itself. For
example, the arms industry with its official $612 billion defense authorization bill--has
gotten the government to commit to spending $348 billion over the next decade to
modernize our nuclear weapons. Exactly how these two massive arms programs are
supposed to address what we are told is the greatest threat of our time---the war on terror--
is a mystery.
-Profits are often highest in nations on the verge of economic collapse. Financial and
political power is concentrated in the hands of institutions such as big banks, the arms
industry and the fossil fuel industry. They make obscene profits, while orchestrating
massive income inequality. But as Adam Smith warned, profits are often highest in nations
on the verge of economic collapse. These profits are obtained, he wrote, by massively
indebting the economy. A rentier class, composed of managers at hedge funds, banks,
financial firms and other companies, makes money not by manufacturing products but from
the control of economic rents. To increase profits, lenders, credit card companies and others

charge higher and higher interest rates. Or they use their monopolies to gouge the public.
The pharmaceutical company Mylon, in a classic example, raised the price of an epinephrine
auto-injector used to treat allergy reactions from $57 in 2007 to about $500. These profits
are counted as economic growth. But this is a fiction, a sleight of hand, like unemployment
statistics or the consumer price index, used to mask the speculative shell game.
-What the end of the American Empire will look like? Empires in decay embrace an
almost willful suicide. Blinded by their hubris and unable to face the reality of their
diminishing power, they retreat into a fantasy world where hard and unpleasant facts no
longer intrude. They replace diplomacy, multilateralism and politics with unilateral threats
and the blunt instrument of threats and war. The Trump administration exhibits all of these
suicidal policies.
-How what anthropologists call “crisis cults” that engage in magical thinking will
become more common as the empire decays. Dying cultures, even when they cannot
fully articulate their reality, begin to deeply fear change. Change, they find, brings with it
increasing dysfunction, misery and suffering. This fear of change soon becomes irrational. It
compounds decay and accelerates morbidity. To see modern-day victims of this process, we
need only look to white American workers who once had good manufacturing jobs and
benefited from the structures of white supremacy. Their desperation makes them
susceptible to Trump’s chauvinism, racism and promises to “make American great again.”
-How do we respond to the looming crisis, especially with the devastation that will be
caused by global warming? The bottomless narcissism and hunger of consumer culture
cause our darkest and most depraved pathologies. It is not by building pathetic, tiny
monuments to ourselves that we become autonomous and free human beings; it is through
acts of self-sacrifice, by recovering a sense of humility, by affirming the sanctity of others
and thereby the sanctity of ourselves. Those who fight against the sicknesses, whether
squatting in old warehouses, camped out at Zuccotti Park or Standing Rock or locked in
prisons, have discovered that life is measured by infinitesimal and often unseen acts of
solidarity and kindness.
Those who resist effectively will not negate the coming economic decline, the mounting
political dysfunction, the collapse of empire, the ecological disasters from climate change,
and the many other bitter struggles that lie ahead. Rather, they draw from their acts of
kindness the strength and courage to endure. And it will be from their relationships---ones
formed the way all genuine relationships form, face to face rather than electronically--that
radical organizations will be created within our communities to endure.