While Thom Hartmann has had some consistent problems blundering into the quicksand of “lesser evil” partisanship, causing him to be a frequent apologist for one-half of our pernicious duopoly, I still consider him a fairly decent progressive who has occasionally contributed something of value to the national conversation.

In the following segment from his show, Hartmann and his guest describe how the Koch brothers virtually took over the Democratic Party in the 1980’s and 1990’s, funding the Third Way and its favorite son, William Jefferson Clinton – the closet Republican who helped dismantle the former party of FDR: https://www.thomhartmann.com/bigpicture/how-koch-brothers-helped-dismantle-democratic-party

And although the Kochs were notorious for their influence over the GOP, their investments in the neoliberal Democratic Party paid off handsomely for decades, including under President Obama: https://theintercept.com/2019/08/13/koch-brothers-third-way/?comments=1#comments

How else can we explain Obama’s zealous advocacy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership “trade” deal? It is deeply depressing that Barack Obama pushed so hard for such an abominable piece of legislation – which overlooks slavery in Malaysia (further normalizing the practice, which is at an all-time high, globally, as has been reported in the L.A. Times) and which would have empowered a quasi-legal board of corporate lawyers to reign over sovereign nations, nullifying environmental and labor regulations across the globe.

– Obama overlooks slavery: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/malaysia-human-trafficking-tpp_n_55b66521e4b0224d8832fe28

– The practice of slavery is enjoying its heyday in the 21st century: https://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-global-modern-slavery-report-20170918-htmlstory.html

But when we’re talking about the hostile takeover of our leading institutions by amoral, omnicidal corporatists (modern fascists), we make a critical mistake if we end our conversation with our corrupted and industry-captured political parties. (And if we end our conversation with condemnations of the GOP only, then we’re simple enablers of fascism – gullible, partisan rubes indifferent to the suffering of millions.)

As journalist Jane Mayer has detailed, the Kochs exercise virtual editorial control over even our most liberal mainstream news organizations. Here, she details their considerable influence over the Corporation for Public Broadcasting: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/05/27/a-word-from-our-sponsor

My only point is that we will surely lose our fight against the oligarchs and warmongers if we fail to see the scope of the problem. If we are mere partisans. Because our country’s problems are systemic. Because all of our institutions – no exaggeration – have been corrupted by the Kochs and their ilk. And so far as our media outlets, it’s not just FoxNews that chiefly represents the interests of the far-right, but also the NYT, Washington Post, NPR, Mother Jones, MSNBC, CNN, and more.

Purge the rot from the system. Spare no sycophant to power. And certainly, spare no political party as entrenched and evil as the Democrats and Republicans. They exist to crush progressivism, human rights, and the rule of law. As the record clearly demonstrates, they have no other purpose.

James O’Donnell
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