The question today is whether we as a nation and a people will recover from it, or if it will, as Reagan promised, destroy the American experiment of pluralistic liberal democracy
It is definitely the question of our day. It's Christmas and I remember vividly 60 years ago visiting the Agnew institution for mentally ill. Agnew was a sprawling facility located in what is now called Silicon Valley in Calif. The facility was along the southern end of San Francisco bay where Sun Microsystems and Google later located (I imagine getting beneficial tax treatments).
I was a young boy scout and our troop organized a holiday party for one of the wards. We setup and helped decorate a tree, sang some songs, passed out cookies/drinks and shared small gifts while mingling (best we could). I recall the building was well maintained and everyone participated in singing and enjoying their evening. Yes, some were 'slow' but their enjoyment was obvious.
Gov. Reagan signed the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act in 1967 which shutdown Agnew and all other mental illness facilities in CA. The act was clothed in language about the abuse, mistreatment and legal institutionalization of individuals against their will. Almost certainly there was truth in that objective. The slight of hand here was the act relied on being replaced with 'community treatment centers'. Those centers were never funded.
As a direct consequence of this Act, the number of mentally ill in jails doubled the following year. Small crimes resulted in incarceration. The prisoner was given food, a place to sleep and medication. Once stable they were released only to repeat the cycle.
Later, -as mentioned in this report- Reagan repeated this slight of hand nationwide. I remember well as veterans were returning with mental illness they also became trapped in this identical cycle. I have seen well how the country has been responding even today to the homeless. I have seen it in our wealthy Silicon Valley cities and how the homeless are demonized.
And I think back to a Christmas 60 years ago.
I come across so many people that still believe Reagan was the greatest president ever. Blows my mind.
Sadly, Thom, I am not optimistic. We have evolved into an over schooled/under educated society of nincompoops who commonly worship sports heroes and babbling politicians.
I am an 85 year old duffer who won't be here long enough to see the final drop. There is something good about that.
On the bright side, my recently adopted 13-year-old cat has accepted me as a friend.
Another great article. Thank you. I must point out that these fascists greatest tool has been and continues to be religion. The Reagan problem stemmed from integrating the fundamentalists into the Republican Party. Our problems now have the same root. By stacking the SCOTUS with theocrats, they have already destroyed our national unity.
I am certain, that as a 70 year old man, I will not live to see this horrific tide I have watched since I was a young adult be reversed. I am prepared to watch an increase in hate and division, as severe as it is now, get even worse before it gets better. I want to believe it could not happen, but as each day goes by, I am more convinced it will get worse. I seriously hope I am wrong!
This is the best rundown of what Reagan did to us that I ever have seen. I've shared it as widely as I can.
In states where massive numbers of voters have been purged, or otherwise suppressed, has anyone, or any group of voters filed lawsuits demanding that the government prove their votes were counted? Regardless of the ballot secrecy, it is both morally compelling, and practically and technically feasible that our government prove to any/all individuals that their vote was counted.
And prove that their vote was counted correctly.
Every year our government demands each of us prove our income to the penny. It is reasonable and fair that we demand our government prove to us that our votes were counted correctly.
But your nation has been "saved" -- the U.S. is now the No.1 supplier to the world of arms and, as Thom Linden writes, the mentally ill are now roaming the streets. I read in this morning's news about Japan doubling its defense budget, and India testing missiles -- all good for the U.S. economy. All these things are necessary if the world is to get to what Rudolf Steiner called "the war of All against All". How are you going to turn this tide of events? Personally, I'm going to work on Plan "B".
The only way to save humankind from its left-brain, rivalrous tribalism, which gave rise to the neoliberal NWO, is to WITHDRAW into small, collaborating communities and stop buying the multinationals’ goods and services. To support incrimentalism is to be complicitous in the prevailing context, which is omnicidal.
For a great book about the Bush/Cheney era, get a copy of Ron Suskind’s “The Way of the World”. Your blood will boil to get the inside scoop on just how corrupt, cynical, and perverted they were. Preventing a repeat is only possible if enough people understand how these people and corporations operate, and then raise a lot of hell.
At the risk of being accused of beating a dead horse, splitting hairs, and horrible heresy, I offer the following points. The people got hornswaggled really badly for decades, and only the people can reverse this treacherous trend away from any semblance of equality and from democracy. The Mid-term elections gave us reason to hope. But legislators can only do so much and hope without action and meaningful change backed by public support is self-delusion. The Jan. 6th report and referrals and indictments will also give us an injection of optimism in the near future. It must not end in complacency and apathy.
Back to my obsession. Our colleges and universities have largely been co-opted. They are far too dependent on and closely tied to corporations. They are glorified junior high schools. Research that should be accessible is locked behind pay walls.
Public school teachers can be made into scapegoats only because they are part of a political state apparatus working within the bureaucracy established to comply with state law. They are government agents. Once again, the solution is not privatization. The solution is to eliminate the attendance law to get the government out of the role of setting the parameters of and definitions for “education” and socialization. Expertise in education or in schooling is pure pretension. Education is not a science and curriculum should not EVER be dictated by or designed by people with axes to grind and positions to protect as officials. Let me repeat: We have state schools, not public schools.
This is illustrated by a call today by a caller who advised of a new law or statute requiring courses in “critical thinking”, I believe he was calling from IL. One logically assumes that this is at least a good start toward the elusive goal of critically thinking citizens. It may be better than nothing or totally ignoring the issue. However, they may as well begin requiring courses in breathing, walking, or just in thinking. Critical thinking skills are developed through practice, experience, observation, private rumination, reading extensively and reading diverse material, and living in a real world, as opposed to one artificially created by egotistical nerds and academicians. Sorry.
This is the kind of error that has come from the myth that schools can educate. That myth is then immediately compounded by the myth that children can be forced to go to school to become educated. This is how we got Reagan in the first place. This is the root cause of authoritarianism and variations of supremacy. Most of those right-wing extremists learned their lessons very well in their schools. To obey is to be a good citizen. To complete assignments is to obey and keep busy. Too busy for critical thinking. And then there is homework. Thinking can wait. Grades, evaluation, and diplomas are just too important.
The first blow against unions was the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 that allowed non-union workers to reap the benefits of collective bargaining without having to pay union dues. President Truman's veto was overriden by Congress with both Republicans and Democrats happy to serve the elites.
Mr. Hartmann please REVIEW MY GUT INSIGHT, I’m a daily follower and plan if I haven’t already BE A PAYING MEMBER, your a NATIONAL TREASURE an a part of my THERAPY TO STAY SANE🌈😉🌈
Interesting, I’m NOT A CONSPIRACY embracer, I came up with this INSANE INSIGHT MYSELF, NOT seen, hear, ANYTHING REGARDING this THEORY. So, I’m NOT OFFENDED, I deeply concern HOW EVIL, DEEP THE BILLIONAIRES & REPUBLICANS WILL GO to DESTROY Biden Administration…Are you REALLY LISTENING, FOLLOWING republicans DANGEROUS AGENDA TO IGNORE, ATTACK FOR THE 2 YEARS? Please don’t THINK BELIEVE I about an BULL CONSPIRACY MORON THEORIES, if you have FOLLOWED ME, there is NOTHING I have posted ACCEPTING REPUBLICAN, EVIL, DESTRUCTIVE GOAL that are TO DESTROY OUR DEMOCRACY!
Call Rep. Lieu & Senator Padilla, V.P. Harris, Rep. Raskin:
The massive invaders at the border!
I called both Rep. Lieu and senator Padilla, to share my thoughts regarding the invaders at the border. It occurs to me that this could be a contrived well planned disruption by republican BILLIONAIRES to benefit them to dissemination of President Biden’s administration. Is there any investigation regarding the CARTEL or an Corrupt organization possibly connected to Republican Billionaires that are fronting this onslaught of all these numerous immigrants to invade in mass of course there is always CHARGES, DEEP COST to these immigrants, could be an orchestrated plan by a republican billionaires funding CARTEL OR ANOTHER Corrupt organization to cause CHAOS, disrupt President Biden’s success to date and could be part of the REPUBLICANS CHAOS agenda, planned as they are about to position themselves in power grab in the House.
Your question contains the answer---pluralistic. At some stage, maybe after our time, voting blocks will wrest this nation from the cold-dead-hands of the old white guys. Women are rising (especially in colleges), minorities are rising, and so is consciousness.
Binge worthy or cringe worthy there is a lesson in everything. Use what you learn to teach someone who is LISTENING.
I'm not in as much doubt about where we are going, because I am listening to younger voices. The activists are amazing: brave, kind, full of love for the planet and all kinds of people. Gee whiz, I wonder who taught them that!?
Reagan's ideas are not Gen Z's jam. I think they are figuring out the economics too.
One wonders if Gore’s election, but for the Nader 3rd party run that allowed the Supreme Court to intervene, would have been early enough to reverse the Reagan horrors.
As usual Tom hartmann can connect the dots better than anyone on Earth ever in my opinion. I think the only way America will survive as a first world nation is we must educate the right wing racist and Trump supporters. The New world order globalists are not racist and would prefer to hire the cheapest labor possible. The Trump supporters will find themselves out of a job where they can be tortured or their organs harvested with no minimum wage or social security benefits. Where they can be executed, sold as slaves and their children also, starved to death and consume poisoned food, drugs, water and air if they are lucky. We all know the fascist New world order globalists could care less about the poor people of any race. Ask a trump supporter who Trump would rather hire, cheaper illegals or American citizen Trump supporters. We must educate them before we end up like Somalia. We need to educate them by purchasing 15 second television ads repeating them thousands of times. Good day.
During the last 40 years the baby Boomer voting class has been strangely absent in so many areas - while they have been trying to have a jolly good time themselves.
During these years the Democratic Party was taken over by urban elitists and, as a result, they decided to abandon all the hick rural areas and voters across America. As a result, our election system raised the Electoral College system's value to being the only way rural voters and smaller population states were able to have any influence. The Republican party was quite happy to get these voters.
The democratic party and urban voters stuck to their outlook on life and politics, and supported an increasingly left-leaning set of policies, with accompanying comments and stories illustrating their contempt for the hick rural voters.
The result is exactly what Mr. Hartman has so eloquently described; and the fact that America's middle class is even, numerically, rated at 49% shows that not everyone has lost. However, the unwritten, unfolding story is still adding to the bankruptcy status of all our young people with student loans, and the increasing number of health bankruptcies by older people with medical issues not covered by any insurance.
Recently the EU failed to agree to a minimum 15% corporate tax, and the US aggregate debt, along with the mountain of derivatives since the 2008 financial collapse is beyond comprehension.
We are, by all measures, facing a 1929 reset of the US and the global economy.
Unless, of course, US urban and rural voters agree to be polite to one another and find a basis of agreements that can re-balance America, for all of us. And set a floor for corporate behavior and taxation levels.
In the meantime, never voting for any senators and representatives will quickly introduce new people to serve us, instead of themselves.
Mr. Hartman citation:
Congress passed strict regulations on political campaign fundraising and spending with the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. Following the Agnew and Nixon bribery scandals (that led to Vice President Agnew’s resignation to avoid prison), Congress doubled-down by strengthening that law in 1974 and creating the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).
This outraged then-Senator James Buckley, the elder brother of the late William F. Buckley and now the Senior Judge for the DC Circuit Court. Most Republicans opposed those laws and agencies but he and his side in the Senate had lost the vote, so they became law and the FEC was created.
Like a sore loser, he sued, essentially saying that the “free speech” right of wealthy people like himself and his friends to buy off politicians was inhibited by such clean-campaign legislation.
The result, legalizing political bribery, was a first for America and the developed world. The Supreme Court ruled with and for Buckley, striking down nearly a century of campaign finance legislation going all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt’s Tillman Act.
Two years later, in the First National Bank v Bellotti case, Powell himself authored the decision that gave corporations that same legal right to bribe politicians or insert themselves into campaigns for ballot initiatives (among other things).
Prior to this, from the end of the Republican Great Depression right up until the Reagan Revolution — from 1933 to 1981 — the American middle class had a half-century of uninterrupted political and economic progress. About two-thirds of Americans were in the middle class when Reagan was elected in 1980.
Before Reagan, we’d passed the right to unionize, which built America’s first middle class. We passed unemployment insurance and workplace safety rules to protect workers. Social Security largely ended poverty among the elderly, and Medicare provided them with health security.
A top personal income tax rate between 74% and 91% throughout that period kept wages strong for working people and prevented the corrosive wealth inequality we see today. We didn’t get our first billionaire until after the Reagan revolution.
America built colleges that were free or affordable; gleaming new nonprofit hospitals; the world’s finest system of public schools; and new roads, bridges, rail, and airports from coast to coast.
We cleaned up the environment with the Environmental Protection Agency, cleaned up politics with the Federal Elections Commission, cleaned up corporate backroom deals with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We outlawed banks from gambling with our deposits via the Glass-Steagall law.
Then the Supreme Court legalized political bribery with the Buckley and Bellotti decisions (and tripled-down on them both with Citizens United in 2010).
Reagan was the first modern American president to jump through this newly opened door to giving government favors to corporations and wealthy individuals who threw their money at his political party.