Tragically, this is not an uncommon story. America needs a top to bottom reform of its policing culture…

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"During the [Trump era] the anti-democracy folks were called [MAGAs or Trumplicans], because they were loyal to the [Orange King] and believed that the best form of government was a [kakistocracy], and that letting average people participate in democratic governance would lead to disaster."

Sorry for mangling the quote, but not much has changed except for new actors in the same old play. Maybe they're right: self-governance does lead to disaster -- in the hands of authoritarians like themselves.

Democracy of, by, and for the minority is an obvious and ridiculous oxymoron but one that makes perfect sense to mesmerized aficionados of so-called Fox "News," who, in unison, believe only certain people should have the right to vote. If you call democracy a republic and the Democratic Party the DemocRAT Party because it sounds better to your ear, and if you feel in rare moments of inward honesty that it's totally fine and kinda funny to hate on "others" not in your tribe of wild-eyed crazies howling at the moon, then you might be a red-hat.

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Aug 18, 2022Liked by Thom Hartmann

This is for Thom and goes out to the universe: no one has more backbone than you do. I hope you, the doc, your caregivers, and Louise are in a happy place and ready to get you better than ever!

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It seems to me that we need common sense laws regulating and defining what Free Speech is, and what it is not, within the context of a Free Democracy.

As we desperately need common sense laws regulating fire arms' sales, possession, and usage, we need to define and protect actual free speech, while protecting ourselves from inflamed and inciteful speech which hurts people, and has already caused several folks to be killed


The Right insists that both these rights (speech and guns) must be absolute. Absolutism appears unique to societies based on the three Abrahamic religions, and can lead to terrible things like Terrorism, and forced child-birth, Both of which are rooted in Absolutism.

Nothing is more untrue than the idea of an Absolute and never-changing, never-growing, never evolving truth. Absolutism is the original Big Lie.

It's clearly time to consider how to regulate Free Speech... not egregiously, but sensibly, which would help with the "deprogramming" of the cult of tRump.

Some modest proposals might include:

*Clearly identifying whether the "news" program you're watching (or any media with which we interact) is based on actual Facts (which are readily providable), or simply Opinion.

*Bouncing the Murdochs out of the country for being Aliens who are a clear and present danger to our society, who have already involved themselves with trying to overturn our government, and inciting violence.And I'm okay with locking up Steve Bannon for inciting violence, btw.

*Set boundaries (or guardrails if you prefer) on all forms of public discourse. Of course you can still lie and spread conspiracies in all your personal communications... (and of course they'll go underground, but won't be able to incite and gaslight the majority of Americans, all the time!)

* complete transparency of all publications' and broadcast, streaming or digital media ownership, and their corporate donations to political entities.

One argument against even attempting common sense regulations is that the Right would scream. But they're already screaming out lies and violent rhetoric. They want civil war. They are itching to gun down Liberals, POC, LGBTQ, Intellectuals, and Honest Americans. Twice I've had local maga-heads actually tell me that. In person. And it was sickening.

I keep remembering something I'd read (either in the SCMP or in the multi-volume "The Governance of China" - no I did not finish it, sadly he's not a compelling writer) where Xi Jinping said it would be "easy to destroy Democracy from within by turning their own freedoms against them, especially the Freedom of Speech." I've been mulling that over for awhile and I believe we have now seen how true that is. I further believe the marriage between Xi and Putin is largely based on this idea... (and remember, the NRA has been in bed with Putin... for a looooong time.) Xi and Putin hate Americans almost as much as the Red Hats do.

To give one more example of the Right's adhesion to Absolutism: Abortion Rights. to them ALL females MUST give birth not matter what. Think about that. That is Absolute to them.

Obviously protecting free speech is critical, but making it an Absolute Right is stupid and self-defeating. It will be very difficult to accomplish (because the right goes crazy when you suggest common sense regulations on either Guns or Speech...) But difficult doesn't mean impossible. And Absolutism is impervious to facts and growth. So, where do we go from here?

Thom... what do you think? Impossible or do-able? Needed or not? And why is everyone so frightened to even discuss this? (as has been my experience). I truly believe fixing our mass comms problem would begin the healing process... without sensible regulations then we are swimming upstream, and will surely drown in the garbage from fox, FB, OAN, Breitbart, Sinclair, Twitter, etc etc etc.

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It takes about 30 years for an idea to become common knowledge and 60 years for it to become part of the culture. 80 years seems about right for another war over entrenched ideas engineered by those who hope to profit from a change in regime. War in any form is profitable for those who supply both sides with military material. Sadly human beings seem to go through this over and over again.

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Dear Thom, thank you for your lessons in our history. Usually I read Dr. Richardson for that. But the regularity of our wars within our borders was a new fact for me to wrestle with. Every 80 years? Democracy may have its vulnerabilities, but it IS worth fighting for. With the BALLOT! We have a huge battle this November to fight - and win. It will be harder as long as Trump is still around and promoting “his” candidates. And the states that can literally ignore the plurality of voters. I’m STILL hoping for the best! No matter my odds in other personal matters in my life, I was always optimistic and with that optimism found my way to my goals. I’m not changing this late in life!!!

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The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long. Let’s bend it. Make and wear a democracy awareness ribbon and learn why the Möbius strip has no Right or Left side and is indivisible.🇺🇸♾ #democracy #VotingRights #Election2022

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I have a slightly different conclusion about this, based on three observations.

First, a VERY large percentage of the dozens of law enforcement agencies definitely lean fascist, and the ONLY reason they do is because none of them understand fascism.

Second, most of the dozens of law enforcement agencies are heavily armed and trained to take on urban attackers.

Third, these fascist brownshirt-wannabes are definitely going to attack SOMEBODY.

To me, if they attack our law enforcement, that's perfect. It protects citizens from attack, it gets the nutters out in the open where we can identify them, and it will show our dozens of law enforcement agencies what fascism really stands for.

Educating all Americans to avoid this sort of stupidity would be best, but if low knowledge armed thugs are going to attack, I definitely want them attacking our low knowledge armed thugs, the dozens of law enforcement agencies.

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Again thank you Thom for a chilling synopsis of the Maga world craziness taking over the Republican Party. Even though this segment of anti -democracy fascist ideology has been simmering below the surface for years it is now out in the open, in our face and a very real threat to all law abiding people who support democracy. Right now we have a media owned by billionaires who are complicit in the dumbing down of Americans with their outright gaslighting and propaganda and unapologetic right wing BS(ie. Fox noise) to MSNBC (both siderism). Where is the “liberal media “ that the right wing cries about? I certainly have tried to find liberal leaning mainstream media stations but so far it’s difficult-?PBS, corporate owned cable companies that don’t even offer alternative to Fox?. Thank goodness I am retired and have time to read sites such as this one and others like Palmer Report, Raw Story, Emptywheel, The Bulwark etc. Unfortunately most Americans are busy working and raising kids and have little time to research what snippets they hear on their local news so remain basically uninformed of the systematic attack on our democracy and our educational system. I personally have Republican family members and I have confronted them with “please tell me what the Republican Party stands for, what is in their party platform and why would you support that?” Needless to say they try to repeat the same old BS about conservative values, and support of law and order. Granted there are many conservatives that have separated themselves from the trump worshippers and I applaud their courage by standing up for sane political alternatives. I’m trying not to give up on fellow Americans but too many have gone down the rabbit hole and are permanently gone as rational thinking people. For them ( like the guy who confronted the FBI) I am sad for us Americans that many think like him but part of me felt “ good riddance”. I have to be honest that if it takes a few of the gun toting trump nutters to be taken out then so be it, just don’t want loss of life of innocent bystanders which is impossible to predict realistically. Anyway-Vote Blue!!

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The irony is that democracy requires strong individuals who recognize their limitations and understand that their true strength comes with their willingness to cooperate with others for the common good of all. Versus those willing to give up their agency to an overlord for their protection, because they sense their own weakness and assume that others are as weak.

Thus far, WWI and WWII and the Cold War have demonstrated that those fighting to preserve the right to exercise their individual freedoms and govern collectively have prevailed over those willing to submit to the overlords. We are now engaged in a two front struggle within and without our borders.

The next historical cycle is happening today, tomorrow, and...............

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Hi Thom,

Yes. The oligarchs have regained control and are again funding a fascist revolution.

I think there's an argument for a long-term Cold Civil War since 1865. The losers, their authoritarian leaders, and their offspring, were/are not held accountable and were/are allowed to start a cold civil war. They are working tirelessly to deny their defeat, reframe why they committed treason, install statues of their traitorous leaders, promote and invest in social hierarchy and inequality, cast out those who dissent from their views and resist requirements for blind loyalty, and voting against public services for others not like them. That once open rebellion went stealth for decades and has now reemerged as an alt-right, tie and shirt wearing, effort that is now promoting and using violence thanks to the Orange Enabler.

Maybe one day we will create a democratic economic system that will stop protecting and empowering the oligarchs so we can end this insane 80 year cycle?


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Aug 18, 2022·edited Aug 18, 2022

I believe in the "turnings" and also a "quickening" in the last years of each cycle. We have literally rocketed into the 21st Century and new millennium as well.

If world connectivity demonstrated by the pandemic didn't wake us to save ourselves, what in all creation can?

Liberal and progressive people must not be afraid of a struggle to overcome conservative authoritarian forces trying to drag us back to the bad old days. “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.” ― Samuel Adams

Hold tight to your virtue.

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In light of your discussion this morning,

I couldn’t help but think of this:

“Ben Franklin: Hero or Hophead?”


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