“The Crash of 2016” is a provocative and troubling look at an economic implosion that will occur unless we take drastic measures to stop it. “A story of how America was dragged into the Crash of 2016.” Well-known progressive national and international radio and TV talk show host and accomplished author, Thom Hartmann places his focus on an economic crisis that may turn into the Fourth Great Crash since the Declaration of Independence in 1776. This stimulating 294-page book includes sixteen chapters broken out by the following five parts: 1. The Economic Royalists and the Corporatist Conspiracy, 2. Why We Crashed, 3. “Oppression, Rebellion, Reformation”, 4. The Great Crash, and 5. Out of the Ashes.
Positives: 1. A professional and gifted author Hartmann is a master at engaging the public with a well- balanced narrative of history, current events and foresight. 2. The book has great format and flow. It’s entertaining, enlightening and the pages turn themselves. 3. Hartmann is a great and passionate thinker. His knowledge of history, and his ability to identify patterns is only matched by the skill to convey his conclusions in a lucid, straightforward manner. 4. Troubling, straight-forward eye-opening conclusions. “This crash is coming. It’s inevitable. I may be off a few years plus or minus in my timing, but the realities of the economic fundamentals left to us by thirty-three years of Reaganomics and deregulation have made it a certainty. We are quite simply repeating the mistakes of the 1920s, the 1850s, and the 1760s, and we are so far into them it’s extremely unlikely that anything other than reinflating the recent bubbles to buy a little time here and there will happen.”
I almost did not buy this book because I know all this stuff already, but out of respect for the author, who is one of a number of individuals including Jim Fallows, William Greider, Matt Miller, Margaret Wheatley, and Tom Atlee that I consider deeply ethical and inspired, I went ahead and bought it.
As expected, the book is a straight-forward, easy-to-understand “checklist” of eleven things in eleven short chapters, that will “save America.” This is where the book almost lost a star, because as good as the list is, it lacks both context and detail–there is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by restoring the Constitution and demanding Electoral Reform legislation by 4 July 2011–and Thom, brilliant as he is, has not connected to the idea of Collective Intelligence and the urgency of harnessing the distributed intelligence of our Commonwealth.
Here is the “checklist” with very short critical comments.
Thom Hartmann is one of a handful of individuals that I consider to be true guides for the rest of us, and I consider two of his earlier books, Cracking the Code and SCREWED, to have been instrumental in my own transformation from recovering spy to intelligence officer to the public.
The author, a self-described liberal, accomplishes roughly three things in this book:
1) Introduces neuro-linguistic programming and framing concepts as a means of understanding the political theater that passes for democracy today;
2) Seeks to differentiate the conservative “code” versus the liberal “code” and criticizes both–the conservative code for being false and unsustainable, the liberal code for failing to make the leap that connects and empowers We the People.
3) Goes on to discuss how to combine “code-aware” story-telling with the reassertion, recreation, and promulgation of the new liberal “brand.”
I admire this book and recommend it highly. I could not give it the full five stars for two reasons: first, the author blindly accepts the Democratic Party as “good,” not recognizing that they are actually “crime lite” in contrast to the Republican Party (and also the new face of Wall Street, with the Republicans designated to take the fall this time around in what has been a “fixed” and fraudulent electoral system since the 2000 fraud made pre-selection a given option); and second; he actually thinks Nancy Pelosi knows what she is doing–I think she is a doormat with no spine, so right off we have some cognitive dissonance. This case has been made by Peter Peterson in Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It so I will not belabor it. BOTH parties are evil and BOTH parties have betrayed the public trust.
Where the author really connected with me was toward the end, when he spoke about resurrecting “We the People” and the “brand” of all that is good about liberalism. If I set aside my disdain for both parties, what the author has to offer is a “code” for the new Transpartisan Alliance and organizations like Reuniting America and the World Index of Social and Environmental Responsibility. Please do look them up.
The book seeks to help good people communicate good ideas.
Here are highlights from my reading, all good:
+ Politics is a set of stories intended to arouse specific responses.
+ The liberal story is about interconnected world with inherently good people who need safety nets and community; the conservative story, as portrayed by the author, is about people being evil, fate being deterministic, and gated communities being the solution.
+ The author provides a truly impressive and subtle primer on neuro-linguistic programming, framing, and most impressive, how to help people transform “victim” stories into “learning” stories.
+ He places great stress on not seeking to stop or end or criticize bad status quo behaviors and policies, but instead trying to find fundamental connections (we all want American the Beautiful) and then seeking consensus on new positive ideas.
+ The author provides a very concise summary of Hobbes’ Leviathan (war is a natural state) versus Locke’s two treatises (and no mention of the social contract that I noticed), which points out that accumulated wealth is unnatural and impairs the broader community. I really enjoyed this.
+ He discusses the Jeffersonian draught of instruction on how a colony might secede, and I myself, speaking at the secessionists’ conference in mid-November, make a note to look it up–if we cannot dismantle the two criminal parties, then secession is the only “legal” option for Vermont, the South, the Pacific Northwest, and so on.
+ The author draws a number of contrasts with story-telling examples, of “conservative” versus “liberal” framing: – SECURITY: gated community versus all happy – MORALITY: about what people do in private versus public welfare – MONEY: “death tax” versus “rich kid tax” – IRAQ: “just war” versus “unjust occupation”
The author resonates with me when he uses Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) and John F. Kennedy (JFK) as the examples of the liberal brand done right.
He points to an example of government doing the right thing in Germany: they ordered the banks to give very low cost loans to home-owners for buying solar power systems; and they ordered the power companies to buy the excess power at seven times the going rate. The outcome: they got 100,000 solar-powered homes GIVING BACK the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant (and the power company saved that investment).
In passing he slams Reagan for ending the non-profit status of health care, and Gingrich for teaching the Republicans how to code their way to victory.
The book ends with “democracy begins with you…you’re it.”
I believe this book, as with the other books mentioned above, matters. However, I believe it is very important for all to reflect on the FACT that neither of the two candidates has addresses the substance of governance; neither has published a draft balanced budget; and regardless of who wins–with the fraud on both sides evening out–We the People all lose.
To end as the author suggests, with a personal story: I am an estranged moderate Republican, leaning toward Libertarian, who also respects all that the Green Party stands for, while yearning for every citizen to be an Independent. We the People are no more–for now. Corruption reigns in America–we are a “Cheating Culture” through and through.
I dare to hope that serious people considering me for any mission or any task will recognize the earnest civic value of this contribution. Certainly I know that the public is waking up to the “Borg” that uses the Presidency as theater while Wall Street controls, the Treasury, Justice, and the Federal Reserve (which is neither Federal nor a Reserve).
If I were to recommend one other book, it would be Naomi Klein’s No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs which discusses how individual citizens can track the abusive practices and behavior of corporations, and the multitude of individuals can punish them through simple boycotts of their products.
There is no question in my mind but that We the People will take back the power, this book, and Lou Dobbs’ book, represent the end of an era of unquestioned repression and abuse of America’s middle class and blue-collar labor force, and the beginning of a revolution that the banks and corporations will NOT be able to squelch.