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How America Ended Up With Donald Trump

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Jan. 5, 2018 3:14 pm
By Thom Hartmann

"The thing that you are not going to hear so much about in the corporate media is how we got to here. How is it that we have this man as our president?

And it turns out if you do a deep dive into this, if you look at the research and the reporting that's been done on on Robert and Rebecca Mercer's company Cambridge Analytica and the incredibly good work that they did on behalf of the Trump campaign slicing, dicing and parsing information, we'll find out to what extent that they were using that information for micro targeting individual consumers at the level typically of Facebook, among other things.

But I think to some extent this is going to come out in the Mueller investigations, whether and who it was who was buying these Facebook ads and whether the Russian troll farms are being paid for by the Russian government or by Paul Manafort and all that other stuff.

These are things inquiring minds want to know. And it's not just Trump, but how did we get George W Bush and pretty much everything else. Arguably, how did we get Ronald Reagan?

And I would say it all goes back to 1976 in the US Supreme Court. In 1973 after Nixon resigned, Congress passed a whole series of really good laws to get money out of politics: you can't give over a certain amount to an individual politician, you can't give over a certain amount to a political party.

There were all these very specific limits on money and politics, and a bunch of billionaires said, no, we've got to be able to own politicians. And they took it to the Supreme Court. The case was Buckley v. Valeo in 1976 and the Supreme Court said, sure enough, giving money to politicians or giving money to influence elections is considered constitutionally protected First Amendment free speech, that money is speech.

I've never seen a dollar bill talk, but apparently in the world of Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist it does, and had it not been for that Supreme Court decision, the billionaires Robert and Rebecca Mercer would not have been able to go all in on Trump and he would have faded early on.

All the other Republican candidates wouldn't have had their own individual special interest billionaires.

You wouldn't have had the Democratic Party being corrupted by billionaires in the banking and pharmaceutical industries.

You wouldn't have had the Republican Party being corrupted by billionaires in the fossil fuel and chemical and defense industries.

None of this would have happened, or it wouldn't have happened with such severity if the Supreme Court had not discovered in the Constitution that the founders wanted rich people to be able to control our political system.

We have just a couple thousand people in the United States who fund more than half of all the political campaigns in this country. There's something fundamentally wrong with that. That's called oligarchy, as Jimmy Carter pointed out on this program.

And then once the oligarchs get their oligarch - in this case Donald Trump - they're going to do everything they can to defend him and keep him in place unless he's no longer useful to the oligarchs.

Throughout last year I kept saying the Republicans are going to throw Donald Trump under the bus as soon as they get their tax breaks, because the oligarchs who own the Republican Party are interested in only one thing: money.

Whether it's the money that they're going to make by having Ryan Zinke destroy Bears Ears so that they can mine uranium there, or whether it's the money that they're going to make by having Donald Trump and Congress say it's fine to drill in ANWR and destroy the environment up there, or whether it's the money that Georgia-Pacific will make if their pollution standards are loosened, or if it's the money that coal-fired power plants will make if those standards are lessened.

Coal miners in 2017 experienced the highest number of deaths of coal miners in years. We're dialing back safety requirements in our mines.

Now, it doesn't mean that we're hiring more miners.

It doesn't mean the miners are being paid more.

But Donald Trump did away with those job-killing regulations and put a mining industry shill in charge of the Mine Health and Safety Administration.

So it shouldn't surprise us when the people who are putting our politicians in office, essentially, by buying the elections, don't give a damn about governance.

They don't care about whether social security works. They don't care about Medicare or Medicaid working. They don't care about international relations as long as they can make their money. It's all about the money.

So the question was, if Trump could bring along the base to harass Congress to say, "yes, do those tax cuts", if Trump could do that then they would leave him in power.

But now that he's done that and he's starting to say and do things that might make it less profitable for the oligarchs, in fact, largely what has happened is Toto has pulled back the curtain. We're seeing the Great and Powerful Oz as this short elderly guy who's just "I am the Great and Powerful Oz". No, you're not!

Now we're seeing that Donald Trump is unwilling to let the White House staff touch his toothbrush because he's afraid they're going to poison him. He's unhappy about eating food in the White House because he's afraid somebody's going to poison him. That's why he eats McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Do you get this?

There's something deeply, deeply wrong here and I still haven't gone through the 11 explosive claims from the new book, but you probably heard them all in the media.

But what do we do about this?

Frankly, I think impeachment is going to be very, very, very difficult.

But the 25th amendment? I think there's a real possibility there.

What do you think?


I would argue he's correct about Buckley v. Valeo and the subsequent Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, but I think certain people were emboldened by the assassination of JFK and then his brother RFK...and of course Martin Luther King, Jr.



Depends on how many so called Americans don't mind a maniac in our White House.


America's real problem is a stupidity problem. We've had it too good for too long and people have gotten lazy, dumb, and taken things for granted.

Both sides have dumbed down a lot, but the Republican party, in particular, has been taken over by stupids. It used to be a much more intellectual party, with William F. Buckley, Milton Friedman, and George Will. They were wrong about things, but they weren't dumb. Those guys have been shoved aside by garbage bomb throwers like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Dinesh D'Souza, and Jonah Goldberg, who don't understand anything except stirring up hate toward cartoon caricatures of "liberals." The vast majority of conservative voters wouldn't even understand a Buckley anymore... they just need dumbed-down stuff that's easy to follow, and easy to hate. And guys like D'Souza know his audience is dumb and eager to be brainwashed, so he feeds 'em lies. There's no reason not to lie when your audience is contemptible, and that's what they want. Their ideology fails when put into practice, so they just want to be told they're not actually wrong and they put a lot of it off on religion. Conservative politics are so entangled with religion now it's a stranglehold. It's a theocratic cult more than a party now. And I'd thought that racism was less of a factor on the right than it used to be, but the success of Trump made me see I'd given them far too much credit on that account... it's still very much a Republican "thing."

And yet, it's the only viable alternative to the Democratic party, which is less than idea. So, by default, we kind of only get a choice between batshit-crazy-radicalized-religous-extremist-white-power-trip, or whiney-scolding-overly-P.C.-tree-hugger. Whiney tree-huggers are hella-annoying, but they're still better than Nazi-Jesus-hadis, and they're not quite as pervasive on the left as the religious extremists are on the right. You can still find centrists on the left. They're almost extinct on the right now, and Trumpism is purging the few hangers-on out.

And people are accepting this because... what other choice do they have? And we're dumbed down.

I mean, forget Trump, Sarah Palin should never have been considered as a candidate for a major party. That was the real "the canary in the G.O.P. coalmine is dead" moment that I thought should have waken people up about the state of that party. When you have a voter base who's excited about voting for that, there's a HUGE problem. Little did I suspect they'd top their own record for ridiculous hateful stupidity with Trump. I don't know where they can even go from there, unless they can teach a parakeet to say it loves Jesus and hates Mexicans.

We're not going to get better candidates until we get a smarter voting public. And technology has made it too easy to be stupid in this country. I don't really know how we get around that. The sad fact is, we probably don't. Trump will help bring about the decline of America as a global power, but he's as much a symptom as he is a disease. The people who voted for him are what's really dragging us down, and that's a lot harder to fix. They're not going to wise up, and their supply of bad information isn't going to get cut off any time soon. And their failures are only going to make them madder and more resentful, so... I'm not sure much can be done.

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