Thom Hartmann

American political commentator (born 1951)

Thom Hartmann (born May 7, 1951) is an American radio personality, author of over 2 dozen books, a former psychotherapist, and progressive political commentator. Hartmann has hosted a nationally syndicated radio show, The Thom Hartmann Program, since 2003.

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(Most recent first)

Krysten Sinema is the Epitome of Political Corruption, ~ Thom Hartmann
  • When Bobby Kennedy went after organized crime in the early 1960s, one of the things he learned was that the Mafia had a series of rituals new members went through to declare their loyalty and promise they’d never turn away from their new benefactors. Once in, they’d be showered with money and protection, but they could never leave and even faced serious problems if they betrayed the syndicate. Which brings us to the story of Kyrsten Sinema. For a republican democracy to actually work, average citizens with a passion for making their country better must be able to run for public office without needing wealthy or powerful patrons; this is a concept that dates back to Aristotle’s rants on the topic. And Sinema... Apparently... she decided that if you can only barely beat them, you’d damn well better join them. Sinema quickly joined other Democrats who’d followed the Citizens United path to the flashing neon lights of big money, joining the so-called “Problem Solvers” caucus that owes its existence in part to the Wall Street-funded front group “No Labels.” ... Political networks run by rightwing billionaires and the US Chamber of Commerce showered her with support... She’d proved herself as a “made woman,” just like the old mafiosi documented by RFK in the 1960s, willing to do whatever it takes, compromise whatever principles she espoused...
  • And this is a genuine crisis for America because if President Biden is frustrated in his attempt to pass his Build Back Better legislation (that is overwhelmingly supported by Americans across the political spectrum) — all because business groups, giant corporations and rightwing billionaires are asserting ownership over their two “made” senators — there’s a very good chance that today’s cynicism and political violence is just a preview of the rest of the decade. But this isn’t as much a story about Sinema as it is about today’s larger political dysfunction for which she’s become, along with Joe Manchin, a poster child. Increasingly, because of the Supreme Court’s betrayal of American values, it’s become impossible for people like the younger Sinema to rise from social worker to the United States Senate without big money behind them.... While the naked corruption of Sinema and Joe Manchin is a source of outrage for Democrats across America, what’s far more important is that it reveals how deep the rot of money in American politics has gone, thanks entirely to a corrupted Supreme Court. In Justice Stevens’ dissent in Citizens United, he pointed out that corporations in their modern form didn’t even exist when the Constitution was written...
  • GOP & Trump Are Using Fear & Rhetoric Because They Have Nothing Else to Run On - Even republicans know the tax cut is a scam & want Medicare-For-All
  • Inequality fuels social problems like crime, homelessness, drug addiction, teen and unwanted pregnancies. The only people it's good for are the Billionaires and morbidly rich. *The greater the distance between the very rich & the very poor, the more unequal a society is... the more, the higher the rates you have of diseases of all kinds, of drug addiction, alcoholism, teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, of unwanted pregnancies, and abortions as well... of crimes of homicide and suicide... high higher rates of mental illness, depression, lower rates of social engagement, lower rates of civic participation, including voting.
  • All of these social ills come out of a small group of people... literally just a few thousand people in the United States or a few thousand families in the US owning something like 70 -80 percent of the entire wealth of the country. Three guys owning 50% of the wealth of the entire country... Wealth inequality in the US is worse than it's ever been, even worse than it was in 1929 which brought about the great crash...I think it's a mental illness... these guys have obsessive compulsive disorder, they're hoarders."
  • For people who are freaked out about Trump and freaked out about the world... and everything else, meditation is like a really, really good thing. It's a way for us to kind of ground ourselves.
  • A few days after another white terrorist (“history of mental illness,” said the media) with Trump and Fox graphics and slogans all over his van attempted the largest political assassination in U.S. history, we now have the single most lethal attack on Jews in this country’s history—in part because their synagogue supported helping immigrants coming into America. And all of it being amped up, day after day, over and over again, by Trump.
  • This aspect of xenophobic immigrant-hating, along with the insanity of the U.S. allowing AR-15s and other weapons of war on our streets, must be discussed along with the horrors of anti-Semitism. This is all one package brought to us by Trump, and it’s beginning to eerily resemble a previous insecure man with little hands, a single testicle, and a big mouth in the 1930s who warned his people about both immigrants and Jews.

Fascists Compete To Own America (April 30, 2018)

  • Given how reactive hard right snowflakes have gotten in response to a few truth-based jokes from Michelle Wolf, and that Mick Mulvaney has confessed to running a pay-for-play operation out of his congressional office, and Trump is daily breaking the Constitution’s emoluments clause, now might be a really good time to examine the origins and nature of the whole right-wing business/government model known as “fascism.”
  • As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is: “A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.”...Mussolini was quite straightforward about all this. In a 1923 pamphlet titled “The Doctrine of Fascism” he wrote, “If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government.” But not a government of, by, and for We The People—instead, it would be a government of, by, and for the most powerful corporate interests in the nation.
  • Fascists have an agenda that is primarily economic. As the Free Dictionary notes, fascism/corporatism is “an attempt to create a 'modern' version of feudalism by merging the 'corporate' interests with those of the state.” Feudalism, of course, is one of the most stable of the three historic tyrannies (kingdoms, theocracies, feudalism) that Thomas Jefferson identified as the ones that ruled nations prior to the rise of American republican democracy, and can be roughly defined as “rule by the rich.”
  • Vice President Wallace bluntly laid out in his 1944 Times article his concern about the same happening here in America: If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. ... They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.
  • Nonetheless, at that time there were few corporate heads who would run for political office, and, in Wallace's view, most politicians still felt it was their obligation to represent We The People instead of corporate cartels. “American fascism will not be really dangerous,” he added in the next paragraph, “until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information...”

Unequal Protection (2018)


: How Corporations Became "People"—and How You Can Fight Back

  • This legal situation is not only bizarre but also quite the opposite of the vision for this country held by the Founders of the nation and the Framers of the Constitution. They were sufficiently worried about corporate power that they didn't even include in the Constititution the word corporation, intending instead that the states tightly regulate corporate behavior (which the states did quite well until just after the Civil War). The American Revolution... was in fact provoked by the misbehavior of a British corporation; our nation was founded in an anti-corporate-power fury.
    • Introduction: The Battle to Save Democracy
  • It's a bit difficult for some people to get their minds around the possibility that the Republican Party started out as a reform party that for nearly seventy years... had a strong progressive wing. But it did.
    • Introduction: The Battle to Save Democracy
  • Although Lincoln was... a "moderate" Republican... he famously said, "Labor is superior to capital because it precedes capital"—nobody was wealthy until somebody made something—and was the first president both to use the word "strike" and to actually stop police and private armies from killing and beating strikers...
    • Introduction: The Battle to Save Democracy
  • The Thirteenth Amendment explicitly abolishes slavery... The Fifteenth Amendment explicitly forbids any government within the United States to prevent Blacks from voting... The main goal of the Fourteenth Amendment was to reverse the 1857 Dred Scott... decision, which had excluded African Americans from access to the protections of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights... Given all this context and history, a reasonable person would probably conclude that the Reconstruction Amendments... were designed to grant rights exclusively to human beings. There's no discussion at all of corporations in the Amendment... and nobody in that day would have dared propose that the Civil War was fought to "free" the corporations.
    • Introduction: The Battle to Save Democracy
  • American constitutional law is, in many ways, grounded in British common law... [where] there are two types of "persons": "natural persons," like you and me, and "artificial persons," which include governments, churches (and other nonprofits), and for-profit corporations... necessary so that the law (and taxes) could reach them. ...Knowing this, most laws having to do with just human beings used the phrase "natural persons"... The Fourteenth Amendment, however, does not draw any distinction... and twenty years later, corporate lawyers would seize upon that... [S]uch sweeping ramifications never occurred to Thaddeus Stevens or his colleagues who drafted the... Amendment. ...But fate and time and the conspiracies of great wealth and power often have a way of turning common sense and logic on its head...
    • Introduction: The Battle to Save Democracy
  • Thanks to a century and a half of truly bizarre Supreme Court decisions (never bills passed by the elected legislature)... today's new corporate "person" is... endowed with many of the rights and protections of human beings. The modern corporation... can live forever, doesn't fear prison, and can't be executed if found guilty... It can cut off parts of itself and turn them into new "persons", can change its identity in a day, and can have simultaneous residences in many different nations. ...Nonetheless, today a corporation gets many of the constitutional protections America's founders gave humans ...
    • Introduction: The Battle to Save Democracy,
  • Traditional English, Dutch, French, and Spanish law didn't say that corporations are people. For America's first century, courts all the way up to the Supreme Court repeatedly said, "No, corportions do not have the same rights as humans."
    • Introduction: The Battle to Save Democracy

The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America (2019)

  • [T]he Supreme Court determines how wealth can be earned, accumulated, and disposed of; it decides how far the rich can go in exploiting the poor and working people, and whether working people can fight back.
  • America has ended up—mostly since around 1980—with one of the most corrupted political systems in the developed world, with billionaires and big corporations literally writing legislation to benefit themselves, from the federal to state to local levels.
  • [T]he court has historically almost always sided with the wealthy, the powerful, and the corporate against the poor, the weak, and the individual.
    In many cases these decisions have struck down laws passed by Congress and signed by the president... [through] judicial review.
  • [I]n 1803, the Supreme Court set itself above Congress and the president with the power to review, strike down, or rewrite laws based on its own lone interpretation of the Constitution.
  • Locke is the man whom Thomas Jefferson plagiarized, or was inspired by, when he wrote in the Declaration of Independence that the purpose of... government was to provide for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"... [H]e replaced Locke's repeated and varied mentions of different types of property with "happiness." It was the first time that word ever appeared in the founding documents of any nation.
  • If something isn't done about the climate/carbon crisis, people... today might be living in the last generation to experience a stable atmosphere, and thus a stable form of governance, for any foreseeable future. ...[B]ecause our Constitution doesn't mention the rights of nature (or even the environment), the Earth's biosphere is getting short shrift of our legal system...
  • No legislature, governor, or president has ever suggested that corporations should be considered "persons" for the purpose of Constitutional protections, particularly under the 14th Amendment's equal-protection rights.
  • No federal or state legislature, no president, and no state governor has ever... suggested that billionaires and corporations have a First Amendment "right" to unlimited political bribery. Congress has instead criminalized such behavior repeatedly.
  • Both doctrines, corporate personhood and money as speech, were simply invented by corporate-friendly Supreme Court rulings (in... 1819-86... for... personhood, and in 1976-2013... for money as speech). Their combined effect has been to hijack America's democratic experiment, concentrating power in the boardrooms of faceless corporations and the summer homes of reclusive billionaires.

Quotes about Thom Hartmann

  • We received very fair coverage in our campaign from Thom Hartmann, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! The folks at The Nation, In These Times, The Progressive, and a number of other smaller publications and blogs also worked extremely hard to allow us to convey our message to the American people...

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