Category Archives: Politics

Jennifer Mercieca – DEMAGOGUE FOR PRESIDENT: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump

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Jennifer Mercieca is an author, researcher, historian of American political rhetoric and Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University, Dr. Jennifer Mercieca. She writes about American political discourse, especially as it relates to citizenship, democracy and the presidency. Her previous books are FOUNDING FICTIONS and THE RHETORIC OF HEROIC EXPECTATIONS: ESTABLISHING THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY. Her latest book, DEMAGOGUE FOR PRESIDENT: THE RHETORICAL GENIUS OF DONALD TRUMP will be published July 9, 2020 by Texas A&M University Press.

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“Historical levels of polarization, a disaffected and frustrated electorate, and widespread distrust of government, the news media, and traditional political leadership set the stage in 2016 for an unexpected, unlikely, and unprecedented presidential contest.

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Donald Trump’s campaign speeches and other rhetoric seemed on the surface to be simplistic, repetitive and disorganized to many. As DEMAGOGUE FOR PRESIDENT shows, Trump’s campaign strategy was anything but simple.

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Articles referred to or pertinent to the interview:

‘Trump thought I was a secretary’: Fiona Hill on the president, Putin and populism    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/12/fiona-hill-trump-putin-populism-interview

Trump stokes division with racism and rage – and the American oligarchy purrs    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/14/donald-trump-racism-american-oligarchy

The Psychopath in Chief  https://gen.medium.com/the-psychopath-in-chief-aa10ab2165d9

Analysis: Why QAnon supporters are winning congressional primaries  https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Analysis-Why-QAnon-supporters-are-winning-15337881.php

‘We’re thinking landslide’: Beyond D.C., GOP officials see Trump on glide path to reelection    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/15/trump-glide-reelection-republican-officials-316457

Why Does Trump Lie?    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/11/opinion/trump-lies.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Trump Has Made Alternative Facts a Way of Life     https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/13/opinion/trump-has-made-alternative-facts-a-way-of-life.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

The Debate Over the Word Fascism Takes a New Turn  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/10/books/fascism-debate-donald-trump.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Books

It’s Trump’s Revolution     https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/13/opinion/sunday/trump-presidency.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Trump takes note as the far right lobbies for violent crackdown on peaceful protests    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/07/trump-protests-notes-far-right-crackdown-peaceful-protesters

‘How did we get here?’: Trump has normalised mayhem and the US is paying the price       https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/02/donald-trump-coronavirus-george-floyd-normalized

David Daley – UNRIGGED: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy

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What happens to a representative democracy when one party is no longer committed to the foundational notion everyone must be represented, equally? This is one of the questions  David Daley addresses in his latest book, UNRIGGED: HOW AMERICANS ARE BATTLING BACK TO SAVE DEMOCRACY.

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David Daley is a senior fellow for FairVote and the author of Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy, which helped spark the recent drive to reform gerrymandering. Dave’s second book, Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy, chronicles the victories and defeats in state efforts to reform elections and uphold voting rights.

He is the former editor-in-chief of Salon.com, and the former CEO and publisher of the Connecticut News Project. He is a digital media fellow at the Wilson Center for the Humanities and the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Guardian, New York magazine, the Atlantic, the Boston Globe, Rolling Stone. When writing for the Hartford Courant, he helped identify Mark Felt as the “Deep Throat” source for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Some articles by David Daley or pertinent to this interview:

Georgia’s Voting Fiasco Is a Warning. The November Election Could Be Chaos   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/11/georgia-election-chaos-november

Wisconsin Proves It: Republicans Will Sacrifice Voters’ Health to Keep Power   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/10/wisconsin-primary-coronavirus-republican-voting-by-mail

How Trump’s Election Has Fueled a Diverse New Generation of Politicians   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/15/millennial-politicians-unrigged-excerpt-david-daley

America Needs Ranked Choice Voiting – Here’s Why  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/22/america-needs-ranked-choice-voting-why

‘This is a war’: Republicans ramp up bid to control election maps for next decade      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/22/republican-dark-money-groups-2020-election

Daniel Q. Gillion THE LOUD MINORITY; Why Protests Matter in American Democray

Daniel Q. Gillian is Julie Beren Platt and Marc E. Platt Presidential Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests focus on racial and ethnic politics, political behavior, political institutions, public policy and the American Presidency.

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Professor Gillion’s first book, The Political Power of Protest: Minority Activism and Shifts in Public Policy, demonstrates the influential role of protest to garner a response from each branch of the federal government, highlighting protest actions as another form of constituent sentiment that should be considered alongside public opinion and voting behavior.

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His book, Governing with Words: The Political Dialogue on Race, Public Policy, and Inequality in America, demonstrates that historically, the political dialogue on race offered by presidents and congressional members alters the public policy process and shapes societal and cultural norms to improve the lives of racial and ethnic minorities, illustrating that mere words are a powerful tool for combating racial inequality in America.

Professor Gillian’s most recent book is THE LOUD MINORITY: WHY PROTESTS MATTER IN AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, just published by Princeton University Press. It comes at a time when many of us have been confined to our homes for many weeks during this global pandemic and others protest, disregarding social distancing precautions and carrying rapid fire weapons to state capitals, protesting government stay at home orders. We asked him about this and more.

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Here are links to some of the articles referenced in this interview:

How the Kent State massacre marked the start of America’s polarization      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/04/kent-state-massacre-marked-start-of-americas-polarization

Armed protesters demonstrate against Covid-19 lockdown at Michigan capitol  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/30/michigan-protests-coronavirus-lockdown-armed-capitol

Protests sweep California as governor promises changes to lockdown    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/01/california-coronavirus-protests-huntington-beach-sacramento

‘Are you a spoiler?’: why critics fear Amash’s Libertarian bid may ensure a Trump win      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/03/justin-amash-libertarian-2020-election-trump-win-critics

The Anti-Mask League: lockdown protests draw parallels to 1918 pandemic  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/29/coronavirus-pandemic-1918-protests-california

How a tea party-linked group plans to turbocharge lockdown protests    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/24/tea-party-lockdown-coronavirus-206083

Trump allies jump in to help organize lockdown protests    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/21/trump-allies-help-organize-lockdown-protests-198426

What the anti-stay-at-home protests are really about        https://www.vox.com/2020/4/19/21225195/stay-at-home-protests-trump-tea-party-reelection

America doesn’t want another Tea Party    https://www.vox.com/2020/4/20/21225016/protests-stay-at-home-orders-trump-conservative-group-michigan

The ‘anti-lockdown’ protests are about more than just quarantines   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2020/apr/21/anti-lockdown-protests-trump-right-wing

Alan Hirsch A SHORT HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CRISES: (and how to prevent the next one)

Alan Hirsch’s latest book, A SHORT HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CRISES: (AND HOW TO PREVENT THE NEXT ONE), has just been published by City Lights Books.

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Alan Hirsch is an Instructor in the Humanities and Chair of the Justice and Law Studies program at Williams College. He is the author of a number of other books including Impeaching the President: Past, Present, and Future and For the People: What the Constitution Really Says About Your Rights (coauthored with Akhil Amar). He received his law degree from Yale Law School. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Newsday, and the Village Voice. He also serves as a trial consultant and expert witness on interrogations and criminal confessions, testifying around the nation.

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He focuses on four presidential election crises that left the nation with no clear winner: those in the years 1800, 1824 & 1876, 2000, and he notes that in twelve elections, fully 20% of all presidential elections, were too close for comfort.

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Articles pertinent to this interview:

Virginia Makes Election Day A Holiday In Wave Of New Voting Rights Laws     https://www.huffpost.com/entry/virginia-election-day-holiday-voting-rights-laws_n_5e93a7bec5b6765e95633e2f

Kentucky just made it harder to vote during a pandemic   https://www.vox.com/2020/4/15/21222084/kentucky-voter-id-coronavirus-pandemic

The US presidential election is frozen in time – can it survive?      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/04/us-2020-presidential-election-coronavirus-future

Voting during a pandemic? Here’s what happened in 1918     https://patriots4health.com/2020/04/voting-during-a-pandemic-heres-what-happened-in-1918/

What Happens If A Presidential Nominee Can No Longer Run For Office?    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-happens-if-a-presidential-nominee-can-no-longer-run-for-office/

What Happens If A Nominee Dies Before The General Election?    https://fivethirtyeight.com/videos/what-happens-if-a-nominee-dies-before-the-general-election/

‘The Nightmare Scenario’: How Coronavirus Could Make the 2020 Vote a Disaster    https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/04/28/2020-election-coronavirus-disaster-impact-215559

Katherine Stewart The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

 

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Katherine Stewart is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, Reuters, The Atlantic, Bloomberg View, Newsweek International, Rolling Stone, The Nation and more.

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Her earlier book is THE GOOD NEWS CLUB: THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT’S STEALTH ASSAULT ON AMERICA’S CHILDREN. Research for that book led her to discover the insidious depth and breadth of Christian Nationalism and its determination to radically alter the democratic foundations of the United States of America. Indeed, she documents the global reach of the movement toward authoritarianism, intolerance, plutocracy and aggrandizement of money and power for the “elect”.

The result is her latest book, THE POWER WORSHIPPERS: INSIDE THE DANGEROUS RISE OF RELIGIOUS NATIONALISM, published by Bloomsbury Publishing.

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Articles cited in this interview include:

How a data-backed Christian nationalist machine helped Trump to power  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/03/bill-dallas-christian-nationalist-right-donald-trump

Don’t Let Trump Pay Back Evangelicals Like This   https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/06/opinion/sunday/trump-evangelicals.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Russia’s Putin wants traditional marriage and God in constitution   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-51719764

The multimillion-dollar Christian group attacking LGBTQ+ rights     https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/20/alliance-defending-freedom-multimillion-dollar-conservative-christian-group-attacking-lgbtq-rights

The Traveling Salesman Bringing Abortion Bans To A Texas Town Near You   https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-traveling-salesman-bringing-abortion-bans-to-a-texas-town-near-you_n_5e4479aec5b671eafe1e3880

Ernesto Cardenal, Nicaraguan poet, priest and revolutionary, dies at 95   https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/ernesto-cardenal-nicaraguan-poet-priest-and-revolutionary-dies-at-95/2020/03/02/4baa213c-5c96-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html

Ernesto Cardenal, poet and Catholic priest, still causes controversy at age 86   https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/ernesto-cardenal-poet-and-catholic-priest-still-causes-controversy-at-age-86/2011/05/26/AGSok0EH_story.html?itid=lk_inline_manual_26

Poet and priest who mixed religion and politics in his commitment to social justice in Nicaragua   https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/mar/06/ernesto-cardenal-obituary?

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Thom Hartmann: The War on Voting & Jane Kleeb: Harvest the Vote

 

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In the first segment, we speak with Thom Hartmann, whose latest book in his Hidden History series is: The Hidden History of THE WAR ON VOTING: WHO STOLE YOUR VOTE AND HOW TO GET IT BACK, published by Barrett- Koehler.

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In our second segment we speak with Jane Kleeb. Her book, HARVEST THE VOTE: HOW DEMOCRATS CAN WIN AGAIN IN RURAL AMERICA, was just published in January 2020 by Ecco.

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The Lost 110 Words of Our Constitution: The 14th Amendment says states that infringe the vote must lose representation in Congress. It’s time to make this happen. 

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/02/23/the-lost-constitutional-tool-to-protect-voting-rights-116612

Rural America Doesn’t Have to Starve to Death

https://www.thenation.com/article/economy/big-agribusiness-finance-farming/

TC Energy eyes further hurdles, not ready to commit to Keystone XL pipeline

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tc-energy-results/tc-energy-eyes-further-hurdles-not-ready-to-commit-to-keystone-xl-pipeline-idUSKBN2071ND

Democrats are reaching farmers with an exciting message: green agriculture

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/11/democrats-conservation-climate-rural-america

Farm Bankruptcies Soared 20% Amid Trump Trade War. It’s The Highest Rate In 8 Years.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/farm-bankruptcies-trump-trade-war_n_5e34a2d6c5b69a19a4af1ad0

For Democrats, the Road to Victory in 2020 Runs Through Rural America. This Report Offers a Road Map        http://inthesetimes.com/rural-america/entry/22279/2020-election-progressive-populism-peoples-action-win-rural-america-report?link_id=7&can_id=26389c9ba4e6ef1db60b08fdce8085f1&source=email-in-his-lies-biden-is-sounding-a-lot-like-trump-10-years-after-we-pledged-to-help-haiti-rebuild-heres-what-happened-2&email_referrer=email_713985&email_subject=medicare-for-all-could-save-transgender-lives-barbara-ehrenreich-on-her-endorsement-of-bernie-sanders

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This graphic shows a county-by-county breakdown of the 2016 presidential election results. The counties that went for Donald Trump are colored red and the counties that went for Hillary Clinton are colored blue.   Graphic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Texas closes hundreds of polling sites, making it harder for minorities to vote https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/02/texas-polling-sites-closures-voting

Les AuCoin CATCH AND RELEASE: An Oregon Life in Politics

 

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Les AuCoin represented Oregon’s 1st Congressional District from 1975 to 1992. At the age of 32, he was the first Democrat to do so since 1936. After serving 18 years, he gave up his seat to run for the US Senate against incumbent Republican Senator Bob Packwood, who although winning that race, resigned under threat of expulsion in 1995 after allegations of sexual harassment, abuse and assault of women emerged.

In this interview he shares his thoughts and experiences as one of the first cohort to be seated after Richard Nixon’s resignation under threat of impeachment in 1974, “The Watergate Babies.”
It was recorded on December 18,1019, as the US House of Representatives was impeaching Donald J. Trump .

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Susan Neiman Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil

Born in the Civil Rights era of the Southern U.S., Susan Neiman has spent most of the last four decades in Berlin. She is the Director of The Einstein Forum. Her latest book is Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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Among the many things she reminds us of in her book is that the Nazi regime lasted only 12 years – from 1933 to 1945. Likewise, the period we call “Reconstruction” also lasted only 12 years from 1865 to 1877. She quotes her colleague, the late Tony Judt: the historian’s task (is) “to tell what is almost always an uncomfortable story and explain why the discomfort is part of the truth we need to live well and live properly. A well-organised society is one in which we know the truth about ourselves collectively, not one in which we tell pleasant lies about ourselves”.

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What can Americans learn from the Germans about confronting and moving on from our racist past toward more social justice? Susan Neiman has much to share of what she has learned from the Germans.

What can we learn of what Southerners have done and are doing to heal the wounds of our past? Susan has much to share of what she has learned in Mississippi and Alabama.

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Learning from the Germans: how we might atone for America’s evils   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/10/learning-from-the-germans-review-us-slavery

Mississippi Judge Allows Governor’s Race to Take Place Under Jim Crow-Era Rules   https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Mississippi-governor-s-race-taking-place-under-14803204.php

The First Black Mayor Of Talladega, Alabama, Is Poised To Push His City Into The Future   https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tim-ragland-talladega-alabama-first-black-mayor_n_5db9dcd7e4b066da552b4718

School principal fired for saying ‘I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual event’   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/31/florida-high-school-principal-holocaust-fired

The Massacre That Spawned the Alt-Right       https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/11/03/greensboro-massacre-white-nationalism-klan-229873

Far-right AfD surges to second place in German state election    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/27/far-right-afd-surges-to-second-place-in-german-state-elections

What Holocaust Restitution Taught Me About Slavery Reparations     https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/10/27/slavery-reparations-holocaust-restitution-negotiations-229881

Make yourselves at home: the meaning of hospitality in a divided world    https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/oct/29/make-yourselves-at-home-the-meaning-of-hospitality-in-a-divided-world

‘We were indifferent to the horror’: Nazi camp inmate to give testimony at trial  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/27/indifferent-horror-nazi-reistance-fighter-bruno-dey-stutthof

 

Christopher Ketcham – This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism and Corruption Are Ruining the American West

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Christopher Ketcham has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years. His articles have been published in Harper’s, CounterPunch, National Geographic, Hustler, Penthouse, the New York Times, Pacific Standard, Sierra, Earth Island Journal, Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, Salon, and many other websites and newspapers large and small. He was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT in 2015-16, and he is currently a MacDowell Colony writing fellow in New Hampshire, whence he spoke to us. THIS LAND: HOW COWBOYS, CAPITALISM, AND CORRUPTION ARE RUINING THE AMERICAN WEST, published by Viking, is his first book.

THIS LAND: HOW COWBOYS, CAPITALISM, AND CORRUPTION ARE RUINING THE AMERICAN WEST is a hard hitting look at the battle now raging over the fate of the public lands in the American West.

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An area of ancient pinyon and juniper forests larger than the state of Vermont, adapted over eons to the arid lands of the west, is being destroyed by machines such as these – turned into mulch for the planting of seeds of invasive species for forage for the most destructive invasive specie, Bos taurus, cows.

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Articles referenced in this interview include:

Public Land Workers Faced Hundreds Of Threats, Assaults Over The Past 5 Years  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/federal-public-land-workers-assaulted_n_5dae870fe4b0f34e3a7b3048

Federal employees on public lands see anti-government threats as ‘part of the job’   https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/federal-employees-public-lands-anti-government-threats-part/story?id=66417963

Trump Admin Moves To Greenlight Logging In America’s Largest National Forest    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tongass-national-forest-alaska-logging_n_5da61884e4b062bdcb19dd04

William Perry Pendley, opponent of nation’s public lands, is picked to oversee them as acting head of BLM      https://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2019/07/30/william-perry-pendley/

William Perry Pendley: ‘The arsonist in charge of the fire department’    https://missoulacurrent.com/opinion/2019/08/william-perry-pendley/

BLM boss Pendley recused from Grand Staircase planning, but he remains listed as Utah counties’ attorney in suit     https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2019/09/26/blm-boss-pendley-recused/

Interior to shift 44 jobs to Utah, move BLM headquarters to Colorado   https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2019/07/16/blm-headqurters-heads/

‘National tragedy’: Trump begins border wall construction in Unesco reserve   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/12/border-wall-organ-pipe-cactus-arizona

Yellow cedar rejected for threatened species listing     https://apnews.com/8e511ffc18754ac8933f0b565ff4dcb5

Thom Hartmann The Hidden History of the Supreme Court + The Hidden History of Guns & the 2nd Amendment

Thom Hartmann is a progressive national and internationally syndicated talk show host. He’s a New York Times bestselling, 4-times Project Censored Award-winning author of 24 books in print in 17 languages on five continents. Among his many books are Screwed: The Undeclared War Against The Middle Class and What We Can Do About It; Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became “People” – And How You Can Fight Back; Leonardo DiCaprio was inspired by Thom Hartmann’s book, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, to make the movie “The 11th Hour” (in which he appears). His latest books are in his Hidden History Series: The Hidden History of Guns and the Second Amendment and The Hidden History of The Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America, both published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers. In it, Thom Hartmann address questions such as Why did the founders create the Supreme Court? What is judicial review – and how does it make the Supreme Court what thomas Jefferson, post-1803 – a despotic branch? How does the history of the US Constitution explain the Court’s frequent decisions in favor of the wealthy and corporations? The HAS the Court sided with popular opinion – and how have people successfully challenged the Court in the past? How did a 20th Century coalition of business and billionaires seize control of the American government, including the Supreme Court? How did America’s great democratic experiment end in a functional oligarchy? Most important, how can we change course in time to address the planetary crisis of climate change?

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