This quote from a recent piece titled America is in need of a moral bailout (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090323) sounds just like Australia.
In decaying societies, politics become theater. The elite, who have hollowed out the democratic system to serve the corporate state, rule through image and presentation. They express indignation at AIG bonuses and empathy with a working class they have spent the last few decades disenfranchising, and make promises to desperate families that they know will never be fulfilled. Once the spotlights go on they read their lines with appropriate emotion. Once the lights go off, they make sure Goldman Sachs and a host of other large corporations have the hundreds of billions of dollars in losses they incurred playing casino capitalism repaid with taxpayer money.
Our elites are imploding. Their fraud and corruption are slowly being exposed as the disparity between their words and our reality becomes wider and more apparent. The rage that is bubbling up across the country will have to be countered by the elite with less subtle forms of control. But unless we grasp the “societal play of forces that operates beneath the surface of political forms” we will be cursed with a more ruthless form of corporate power, one that does away with artifice and the seduction of a consumer society and instead wields power through naked repression.
Hedges, who writes a weekly column for Truthdig is, I think, one of the great American contemporary journalists. He also writes for Harpers magazine, Foreign Affairs, New York Review of Books, Granta and Mother Jones. Hedges cites influences such as George Orwell, Samuel Johnson Karl Popper, Hannah Arendt, Elias Canetti and Rheinhold Niebuhr.
Here is a link to some of his recent pieces that I particularly appreciate
Obama has missed his moment (http:/www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090427_obama_has_missed_his_moment/)
America is in Need of a Moral Bailout (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090323_america_is_in_need_of_a_moral_bailout/)
Resist or become Serfs (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090406_resist_or_become_serfs/)
The False Idol of Unfettered Capitalism (www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090316_the_false_idol_of_unfettered_capitalism/)
Hedges spent two decades as a war correspondent reporting from Central America, the Middle East and the Balkans and it shows in the economy, force, and power of his writing.Hedges has written a number of books including "I Don't believe in Atheists": "Iraq: A War": "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" and "War is a Force that gives us meaning".