Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - And What We Can Do about It

Berrett-Koehler Publishers
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By the bestselling author and XM and Sirius Satellite radio host heard on more than eighty radio stations coast to coast seven days a week Reveals how the middle class, nurtured as the backbone of democracy by our Founding Fathers, is being undermined by so-called conservatives Shows how we can reverse the erosion of the middle class and restore the egalitarian vision of the Founders Expanded edition with a new chapter on immigration and a new afterword by Greg Palast The American middle class is on its deathbed. Ordinary folks who put in a solid day's work can no longer afford to buy a house, send their kids to college, or even get sick. If you're not a CEO, you're probably screwed. America wasn't meant to be like this. Air America Radio host Thom Hartmann shows that our Founding Fathers worked hard to ensure that a small group of wealthy people would never dominate this country--they'd had enough of aristocracy. They put policies in place to ensure a thriving middle class. When the middle class took a hit, beginning in the post-Civil War Gilded Age and culminating in the Great Depression, democracy-loving leaders like Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower revitalized it through initiatives like antitrust regulations, fair labor laws, the minimum wage, Social Security, and Medicare. So what happened? In the last twenty-five years, we've witnessed an undeclared war against the middle class. The so-called conservatives waging this war are only interested in conserving--and steadily increasing--their own wealth and power. Hartmann shows how, under the guise of "freeing" the market, they've systematically dismantled the programs set up by Republicans and Democrats to protect the middle class and have installed policies that favor the superrich and corporations. But it's not too late to return to the America our Founders envisioned. Hartmann outlines a series of commonsense proposals that will ensure that our public institutions are not turned into private fiefdoms and that people's basic needs--education, health care, a living wage--are met in a way that allows the middle class to expand, not shrink. America will be stronger with a growing, prospering middle class--rule by the rich will only make it weaker. Democracy requires a fair playing field, and it will survive only if We the People stand up, speak out, and reclaim our democratic birthright.
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About the author

Thom Hartmann is the host of a nationally syndicated Air America Radio program and is the author of eighteen books, including The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It’s Too Late; We the People: A Call to Take Back America; What Would Jefferson Do?, and Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights.

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Berrett-Koehler Publishers
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Published on
Apr 28, 2007
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Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / Political Economy
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The United States is more vulnerable today than ever before-including during the Great Depression and the Civil War-because the pillars of democracy that once supported a booming middle class have been corrupted, and without them, America teeters on the verge of the next Great Crash.

The United States is in the midst of an economic implosion that could make the Great Depression look like child's play. In THE CRASH OF 2016, Thom Hartmann argues that the facade of our once-great United States will soon disintegrate to reveal the rotting core where corporate and billionaire power and greed have replaced democratic infrastructure and governance. Our once-enlightened political and economic systems have been manipulated to ensure the success of only a fraction of the population at the expense of the rest of us.

The result is a "for the rich, by the rich" scheme leading to policies that only benefit the highest bidders. Hartmann outlines the destructive forces-planted by Lewis Powell in 1971 and come to fruition with the "Reagan Revolution"-that have looted our nation over the past decade, and how their actions fit into a cycle of American history that lets such forces rise to power every four generations.

However, a backlash is now palpable against the "economic royalists"-a term coined by FDR to describe those hoarding power and wealth-including the banksters, oligarchs, and politicians who have plunged our nation into economic chaos and social instability.

Although we are in the midst of what could become the most catastrophic economic crash in American History, a way forward is emerging, just as it did in the previous great crashes of the 1760s, 1856, and 1929. The choices we make now will redefine American culture. Before us stands a genuine opportunity to embrace the moral motive over the profit motive-and to rebuild the American economic model that once yielded great success.

Thoroughly researched and passionately argued, THE CRASH OF 2016 is not just a roadmap to redemption in post-Crash America, but a critical wake-up call, challenging us to act. Only if the right reforms are enacted and the moral choices are made, can we avert disaster and make our nation whole again.

"Nader’s assessment of how concentrated wealth and power undermine democracy is clear and compelling, but it’s his substantive vision of how we ought to respond that makes Breaking Through Power essential reading. Written just before Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory, Nader’s latest book reads with even greater urgency now."--Yes Magazine

In Breaking Through Power, Ralph Nader draws from a lifetime waging--and often winning--David vs. Goliath battles against big corporations and the United States government. In this succinct, Tom Paine-style wake-up call, the iconic consumer advocate highlights the success stories of fellow Americans who organize change and work together to derail the many ways in which wealth manipulates politics, labor, media, the environment, and the quality of national life today. Nader makes an inspired case about how the nation can--and must--be democratically managed by communities guided by the United States Constitution, not by the dictates of big businesses and the wealthy few. This is classic Ralph Nader, a crystallization of the core political beliefs and commitments that have driven his lifetime of advocacy for greater democracy.

"Ralph Nader is the grand progressive of our time. We overlook his words at our own peril! This book is required reading."--Cornel West

"Ralph Nader's Breaking Through Power is a brilliant analysis of corporate power and the popular mechanisms that can be used to wrest back our democracy. No one has been fighting corporate domination longer, or understands it better, than Nader, who will go down in history not only as a prophet but an example of what it means to live the moral life. We disregard his wisdom and his courage at our peril."--Chris Hedges, Pulitzer-Prize winner and author of Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt

"Nader goes beyond delineating the problem and provides a critical prescription to battle the toxicity of unjust power--one that every individual can, and must, embrace."--Nomi Prins, author, All the Presidents' Bankers

"People are recognizing that our founding, fundamental values of fairness, justice, and opportunity for all--the very values that define our America--are being shoved aside to create an un-America of plutocracy and autocracy. Ralph Nader's new book Breaking Through Power provides progressive boat-rockers with inspiration and a plan for reclaiming America from the greedy Plutocrats and Fat Cats who think democracy is for sale to the highest bidder."--Jim Hightower

"I read Ralph Nader for the same reasons that I read Tom Paine. He knows what he thinks, says what he means, and his courage is a lesson for us all."--Lewis Lapham

"Nader insists on speaking up for the little people and backs his arguments and decent sentiments with hard facts."--Publishers Weekly

"This book is short, easy to read, and deserves more than five stars. Nader speaks for the average American, and backs up his arguments with facts. This is extremely highly recommended."--Paul Lappen, Midwest Book Review

About Ralph Nader: Named by The Atlantic as one of the hundred most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century, Ralph Nader has helped us drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer environments for more than four decades. Nader's recent books include Animal Envy, Unstoppable, The Good Fight, and the bestseller, Seventeen Traditions. Nader writes a syndicated column, has his own radio show, and gives lectures and interviews year round.

When the Founding Fathers were searching for the best and fairest form of government, they studied the models of Athenian democracy, the Roman republic, and the Iroquois Confederacy and created what is now called a modern liberal democracy. Today, 81 nations can be described as fully democratic. Yet in numerous countries around the world democracy has failed or is tottering, and in the United States its principles are increasingly under siege from corporate and other forces. Americans pride themselves on their democracy, but today’s legislative process often no longer reflects the vision of the Founders.

In What Would Jefferson Do?, Thom Hartmann shows why democracy is not an aberration in human history but the oldest, most resilient, and most universal form of government, with roots in nature itself. He traces in particular the history of democracy in the United States, identifies the most prevalent myths about it, and offers an inspiring yet realistic plan for transforming the political landscape and reviving Jefferson’s dream before it is too late.

"Hartmann has done it again. Passionately written and filled with original historical research, What Would Jefferson Do? offers important insights into the meaning and nature of democracy and what we must do to counter the warlords, theocrats, and corporate aristocrats who now place it at risk."--David C. Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Post-Corporate World

"A riveting and absolutely essential book for anyone who wishes to reflect upon and awaken to the real meaning of America and the hope it still offers to the world."--Jacob Needleman, author of The American Soul:Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders

"A call to vigilance and action--to awaken the better angels of our democratic spirit and wrest our planet away from the corporate overlords. Infused with an optimistic spirit, What Would Jefferson Do? is a true 'patriot act' in the tradition of Thomas Paine."--Chuck Collins, United for Fair Economy, and coauthor of Wealth and Our Commonwealth

"Thom Hartmann looks at the big picture and asks the hard questions. He's an important voice for reclaiming our democracy."--Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen

"Thom Hartmann calls on us to take control of the helm and guide our nation back to its base of 'We the people.' Read this book for its historic grounding; heed his SOS for our future well-being."--Medea Benjamin, cofounder of Global Exchange and Codepink:Women for Peace

"Thom Hartmann offers us an eye-opening view of how democracy is threatened. America needs this book now more than ever before."--Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

From the Hardcover edition.
A new approach to using walking to heal emotional trauma and bring forth optimal mental functioning

• Explores why and how we carry emotional wounds, and how they can be healed and resolved

• Shows how walking stimulates both sides of the brain to promote and restore mental health

• Provides simple, yet potent, mental exercises to use while walking

Our bodies usually heal rapidly from an illness, injury, or wound. Yet our minds and hearts often suffer for years with debilitating symptoms of distress or upset. Why is it so hard for our minds and hearts to heal? The key to healing them is simple and can be just a short walk away.

Walking--a bilateral therapy that has been a part of human life throughout history--allows people to heal emotionally as quickly as they do physically. Bilateral therapies engage both sides of the brain and unlock natural states of optimal function and creativity. Thom Hartmann examines how memory works and why emotional shock can resist normal healing. He found that the simple act of walking is effective in treating emotional disturbances ranging from temporary upsets and problems to chronic conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Case studies have shown dramatic results. Walking consciously, while holding a distress or desire in mind, can rapidly dissolve the rigidity of a traumatic memory or negative mind state, dispersing its unpleasant associations in as little as a half hour’s time. While walking has always been a natural part of life, its importance in promoting and maintaining mental health is only recently being rediscovered. Hartmann’s simple yet potent exercises allow us to create our own walking journeys to restore our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being as well as rejuvenate our body’s health.
Thom Hartmann’s own dramatic spiritual journey that illuminates specific techniques for achieving spiritual transformation

• Recounts travels to the farthest corners of the earth in pursuit of universal spiritual truths

• Reveals the teachings of Hartmann’s spiritual guides, providing an intimate glimpse into his relationship with German mystic Herr Müller

• Offers practices and techniques for readers seeking to grow spiritually

In the course of his work for the charitable organization Salem, Thom Hartmann personally witnessed famine in Uganda, chaos in Russia, and genocide in Colombia--all signs that modern cultures have lost the connection to the sacred, both within and without, that was emblematic of older cultures. To truly flourish, the human spirit needs to be present in its surroundings and attuned to the Now. It needs to act on what it knows is possible and to experience how the smallest actions can have massive consequences. This is the reality of the Prophet’s Way, a path--both literal and figurative--that the author walked with his spiritual mentor Herr Müller that skirts the edge of the precipice, where one can experience a truly spontaneous life under seemingly overwhelming and impossible circumstances.

In The Prophet’s Way, Thom Hartmann shares his intense spiritual journey, a story that melds recent discoveries in science with ancient truths. Through insightful and engaging vignettes Hartmann teaches that accepting the challenge to have faith means living on the edge--remaining in the moment--because it is here where the material and spiritual worlds meet. He offers readers a unique view into his experiences of expanded consciousness, providing a powerful example of how we can re-create our future by reconnecting to the sacred heartbeat of the world.
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