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THOM HARTMANN'S "INDEPENDENT THINKER" REVIEW OF THE MONTH FOR TRUTHOUT/BUZZFLASH

APRIL 2011

Each month or so, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host, television newscaster and author Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash/Truthout.  See all of Thom's reviews for Truthout/BuzzFlash at "Independent Thinker."

Gasland (DVD) (Available by clicking the link, with a minimum contribution to Truthout/BuzzFlash)

Directed and Narrated by Josh Fox

Reviewed by Thom Hartmann

Both aesthetically and practically, there are several things that make Josh Fox's documentary "Gasland" extraordinary and unique - and, frankly, the sort of view that will make you want to share it with everybody you know (particularly if they are politically active or an elected official!).

The first is that Josh Fox - the guy who made the movie - is also the guy who lived the story.  Rarely do we find this combination in a documentary, and when we do it's often because somebody who was already an accomplished documentarian went out in search of a story to jump into and make a movie from.  In this case, the story started with Josh being offered what are really big bucks - $100,000 - for poor people in rural Pennsylvania, if only he'd let his land be used to drill for natural gas.

This started Fox on his odyssey, which led him from the hills of Pennsylvania, across the American Midwest and West, and ultimately to discoveries about mind-bogglingly corrupt deals made by the Bush Administration and Dick Cheney which - literally - have and continue to poison American citizens.

The main focus of "Gasland" is "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing, a way of busting up underground seams of shale so distributed bubbles of gas can form into large, and tappable, pools of natural gas.  Think of breaking up the inside of a sponge, for example.

The technique involves a witches' brew (no slur intended on our noble Wiccan friends - just don't have a better term) of toxic chemicals, waste water, and whatever else may be at hand pumped into the ground under incredible pressure to crack or fracture these underground formations.  In a perfect world -- with water tables always totally separate from the places where God put them --  it actually has a certain engineering geek elegance to it.

But this isn't that fantasy world.  Instead of just recovering gas, the chemicals often seep into water tables - usually with some of the natural gas - leading to some of the most dramatic scenes in the movie where residents of gas country are able to light their tapwater on fire as it's coming out of the tap.

It's a testimony to Fox's brilliant filmmaking that "fracking" has become part of our lexicon, Halliburton's and Cheney's crimes are becoming more widely known, and citizens are organizing across the nation to fight back.  Another backhand testimony can be seen in all the very clean/beautiful/elegant TV ads - costing the industry millions - to try to make America's natural gas industry so pure, friendly, job-creating, and and all-American.  If Fox hadn't made this movie, they wouldn't have to be spending all this money to greenwash their dirty work.

This movie is at once folksy/friendly and to-the-gut-hard-hitting.  It shows the essential goodness and, frankly, vulnerability of most middle Americans - while bringing into stark relief the horrors of the behavior of the few sociopathic predators among us who have used their lack of a conscience to elevate themselves to positions of great power and wealth.

And it implicitly is a call to action that will inspire you for a long, long time.

Be sure to invite a dozen friends and neighbors over when you watch it - and consider it as the perfect birthday or other gift for any friends who need a good awakening.

This is one of the finest pieces of filmmaking to come along in quite a while.

(You can obtain a copy of the "Gasland" DVD with a minimum contribution to Truthout/BuzzFlash by clicking here.)

Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling author and host of the top nationally syndicated progressive radio talk show. You can learn more about Thom Hartmann at his website and find out what stations broadcast his program. He also now has a daily television program at RT Network. You can also listen to Thom over the Internet.

You can also read Thom's seminal book on corporate personhood, "Unequal Protection," exclusively on Truthout. Or receive the book with a minimum donation to Truthout.

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THOM HARTMANN'S "INDEPENDENT THINKER" REVIEW OF THE MONTH FOR TRUTHOUT/BUZZFLASH

FEBRUARY 2011

Each month or so, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host, television newscaster and author Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash/Truthout.  See all of Thom's reviews for Truthout/BuzzFlash at "Independent Thinker."

The Collapse of Globalism

By John Ralston Saul

Reviewed by Thom Hartmann

"Collapse" was published in 2005, and while for most books that would make it less current, events since then have significantly increased the impact and importance of Saul's treatise.   The collapse of his title has sped up, and while it was largely invisible outside of economics circles in 2005, it's now even evident to Tea Partiers - although they lack a grasp of its causes and perpetrators.

Saul opens the book by pointing out how the religion - and make no mistake about it, he nails it as a religion (a belief system lacking evidence) - of globalism sprang on the world stage in a big way in the 1970s.

Its main proponents, Milton and Thomas Friedman (no relation), used the former's Nobel Prize in Economics and the latter's considerable mainstream public influence (NY Times columnist and bestselling author) to create both an intellectual and practical underpinning for the religion.

As Saul notes, Thomas Friedman wrote about how nation states were becoming less and less relevant in the face of global markets, referring directly to the "diminished competence of states."

Milton Friedman, in his 1976 Nobel lecture, said: "A highly static rigid economy may have a fixed place for everyone, whereas a dynamic, highly progressive economy, which offers ever-changing opportunities and fosters flexibility, may have a high natural rate of unemployment." Saul's response?

"This is childish logic, unnecessarily divisive, pure Manichaeism.  Why accept that high employment can only be achieved through rigidity?  Who says that permanent economic insecurity and disorder are progressive?  Why can't stability and flexibility go together?"

Saul then goes on to show that: "Friedman's assumptions were transposed into the Globalization movement.  Global economics came to be presented as a tool to weaken government, discourage taxes both on corporations and on the top bracket of earners, force deregulation and, curiously enough, to strengthen private sector technocracies in large corporations to the disadvantage of real capitalists and entrepreneurs."

In other words, globalism is really about establishing the largest transnational corporations and wealthiest individuals in the world as the new Masters of the Universe, while weakening the ability of individual nations to do anything about it.

Even Fareed Zakaria jumps into the game, writing for Newsweek where he was then the editor in 2004: "For almost every country today, its primary struggle centers on globalization issues - growth, poverty eradication, disease prevention, education, urbanization, the preservation of identity."

Responds Saul: "He  is right.  Except most of these are not in any direct way Globalization issues.  They are international, regional, and nation-state issues."

Saul ends his first chapter with a prescient and depressing quote from Alexis de Tocqueville, the French nobleman who visited this country in the 1830s and out of that experience wrote the classic "Democracy in America."

"It was de Tocqueville in 1835," Saul writes, "who said, 'Can it be believed that the democracy which has overthrown the feudal system and vanquished kings will retreat before tradesmen and capitalists."

Of course, Saul notes, "The equivalent retreat today would be before private sector technocrats, money market specialists, the dominant school of economists and, of course, those public commentators who fit the role of adoring courtiers."

With an astonishing command of both the sweep and power of modern Globalism and its history in times both modern and ancient, Saul then spends the next 200  pages documenting how the power of governments, nation states, labor, and the middle class have been shredded by this new oligarchy of giant transnationals and the super-rich.

A particularly pithy summary is on page 178:

These new oligopolies take two forms.  One is attached to the combined activity of transnationals that appear to be international but usually represent a geographical base.  The other involves regional monopolies or oligopolies, such as the United States for pharmaceuticals or China and India for garments and clothing.

None of this has to do with free market competition.  The more accurate historic models are, first, the seventeenth- to eighteenth-century European trading companies, which divided up the world; and second, the nineteenth-century vertically integrated private corpoations that worked in tandem with the imperial empires.

From there, Saul quotes Elizabeth I a year after she chartered the British East India Company, defending her new world order (my phrase, not hers or Saul's), and begins a list of cartelists and systems of, in the words of Elizabeth I, "greedy scraping graspers."

Saul's chapter "The Fall," from which these quotes come, not only documents the - well - fall of nations and entrepreneurs and the middle class before the behemoths of transnational corporate power, but also demonstrates that "regulations had worked" for nations in the past.  But the new oligarchs are hell-bent-for-leather to destroy regulation.

Saul wraps the book up pointing out that there are two types of nationalism in play right now, negative and positive.  Negative nationalism was best seen by the fascist states of Europe before and during WWII, and positive nationalism - which rejects Globalism and embraces the real reasons for governments in the first place, so eloquently stated in our Declaration and the Preamble to the Constitution (again, my examples/words, not his) as something that he hopes we will all grow into.

In his final chapter on Positive Nationalism, he cites the 1999 example of Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand, who then took the very risky move of "turning her country's back" on Globalism.  She said, Saul quotes, that 'her aim was a broad policy 'which reduces inequality, is environmentally sustainable, and improves the social and economic well-being" of her citizens.' "  He adds: "In 1999 that sounded like a risky package.  Today it sounds commonplace."

One can only hope the leaders of American could oneday be as enlightened.

If you buy, read, and share this book with a few others, we will get a step closer to those goals...

Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling author and host of the top nationally syndicated progressive radio talk show. You can learn more about Thom Hartmann at his website and find out what stations broadcast his program. He also now has a daily television program at RT Network. You can also listen to Thom over the Internet.

You can also read Thom's latest book "Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Build Our Country," exclusively on Truthout. Or receive the book with a minimum donation to Truthout.

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THOM HARTMANN'S "INDEPENDENT THINKER" REVIEW OF THE MONTH FOR TRUTHOUT/BUZZFLASH:

JANUARY 2011

Each month or so, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host, television newscaster and author Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash/Truthout.  See all of Thom's reviews for Truthout/BuzzFlash at "Independent Thinker."

Given the upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt -- and the continued American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan -- Thom offers a review of a most timely book.

Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World

By Nir Rosen

Reviewed by Thom Hartmann

When George W. Bush lied us into two wars, he opened the gates of Hell for millions of humans.

Nobody has chronicled this better - more dispassionately and with less political subtext - than Nir Rosen in "Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World."

Nir was actually there, over and over, and speaks the languages of the region.  He's seen the combat, smelled the stink of dead bodies, heard the wails of children and widows, sat and fought and talked and worked with combatants on all sides (I don't say "both" because, as he makes clear, there are many sides).  He was even taken captive and nearly killed on more than one occasion.

But more than a story of the insanity and the horror of war, Nir Rosen's "Aftermath" is the ultimate chronicle of the military adventurism that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney promoted to increase their political power.  Years from now - decades from now - people will be reading this book as the ultimate chronicle of the insanity of the Neo-cons, and the lies of the Bush war criminals and their small coterie of legal advisors and spineless members of Congress.

Not that Rosen gets into the politics - he never does.  This is about what's happening "over there."  But it's impossible (at least for me) to read this book - with its startling insights, its incredible first-person stories, its gritty reality - without remembering that a lying criminal administration here in the United States of America brought it all about.

If you want to really and truly understand the nature of both the Iraqi and Afghan conflicts - illegal wars - then you mus read Nir Rosen's book "Aftermath."  If you want to understand how and where we must go next - even though Rosen doesn't offer policy prescriptions - then you must read this book.  If you want to know how you and I and every other American will be judged in the Nuremburg tribunal of history, then you must read this book.

Rosen is apolitical.  He's a reporter, and one of the world's best.

But, God, this book is such a burning, searing, tearing reminder of the political crimes in this country.

There are so many examples as Rosen walks into a bloodbath, just a day after raping and murdering by American forces, or right after our "contractors" have committed an atrocity, and you get it.  You understand it.

There is no better chronicle of the Hades that we have created.

Years from now, our children and grandchildren will study Nir Rosen the way we do William L. Shirer.

Rosen was the guy who found the documents chronicling the history of Saddam's secret police -- and turned them over to the current Iraqi government -- who used them (frankly, surprising Rosen) to track down, torture with electric drills, and murder the elite of the Sunni power structure.

Rosen was the guy there after the infamous mosque murders by American Forces.

Rosen was the guy... well... you have to read the book.  

And buy an extra copy for every young'n you know who may someday have to answer to the world for the crimes of the last administration.

Today is not the end of Iraq/Afghanistan.  If anything, it's just the beginning...

Watch Thom interview Nir Rosen on his "Big Picture" television news program.

Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling author and host of the top nationally syndicated progressive radio talk show. You can learn more about Thom Hartmann at his website and find out what stations broadcast his program. He also now has a daily television program at RT Network. You can also listen to Thom over the Internet.

You can also read Thom's latest book "Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Build Our Country," exclusively on Truthout. Or receive the book with a minimum donation to Truthout.

Published in Thom Hartmann

THOM HARTMANN'S "INDEPENDENT THINKER" REVIEW OF THE MONTH FOR TRUTHOUT/BUZZFLASH:

NOVEMBER 2010

Each month or so, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host and author Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash/Truthout.  See all of Thom's reviews for Truthout/BuzzFlash at "Independent Thinker."

This month, Mark Karlin, Editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout is guest reviewing Thom Hartmann's newest book, "Rebooting the American Dream." The book is being exclusively excerpted in installments on Truthout.  It can also be ordered in hardcover as a gift with a minimum donation to Truthout/BuzzFlash.

Rebooting the American Dream - 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country

By Thom Hartmann

Reviewed by Mark Karlin, Editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout

If you listen to Thom Hartmann on his radio program or watch him on the RT Network, you know that he unrelentingly hammers home on saving America's middle class.  He repeatedly reminds us that a nation that is in rapid decline as a producer of goods will economically deteriorate and lose the ability for the majority of its citizens to prosper.

Such is the state of America today, Hartmann argues -- and given our increasing reliance on foreign goods and the closing of factories in the US -- it would be hard to provide any evidence to the contrary.  Once a nation's economy becomes dependent upon raw goods and finished products manufactured abroad, it has lost control over the financial well-being of its people.

In "Rebooting the American Dream," Hartmann offers a detailed plan to get America back on track by rebuilding its production capacity and bringing balance to its economic wealth.  Using Alexander Hamilton's plan for the nation's economic independence as a point of departure, Hartmann offers detailed solutions to many of our vexing problems. Senator Bernie Sanders, who is a regular Friday guest on Hartmann's radio program, writes of "Rebooting the American Dream": Hartmann's "very specific ideas as to how we can save the collapsing middle class and rebuild the American Dream are worthy of serious thought and discussion."

If we increasingly become a nation of unemployed and low-wage workers who must shop at Wal-Mart to buy cheap goods made for near slave wages overseas, we are doomed to become a third-world economy for the masses. But Hartmann is ever optimistic that the true innovative spirit of America can be tapped, along with a recognition that we must reclaim our industrial capacity even if it means we will pay a bit more for goods.  In the long run, we will be a more prosperous nation for more of our citizens if we reclaim our economy from global corporations whose only loyalty is to profits, not to the US or the workers of America.

Hartmann reminds us that we have the power and revolutionary tradition to rebel against entrenched power -- which is what gave birth to America -- and recreate an economy and nation that builds its strength from the middle up, and not from the top down.  That's why chapters such as "Roll Back the Reagan Tax Cuts" and "Wal-Mart is Not a Person" are so compelling.

Ever the advocate of individual activism, Hartmann closes his book with a refrain heard often on his radio program, "Tag You're It":

“Tag, You’re It!” is about tried-and-true methods—most that we’ve used before in this country and all that we’ve at least flirted with—that can bring back a strong middle class and restore America to stability and prosperity without endangering future generations. It’s straightforward, easily understood, and the only obstacle to implementing virtually every chapter’s suggestion is the power of vast wealth (usually corporate wealth). Past presidents—most famously Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt—have openly challenged this corporate power, and the time has come for the current or next president (and Congress) to do the same. But they won’t if We the People don’t demand it.

Thom doesn't waste time complaining about the deteriorated state of the nation.  There's too much work to be done, and it's our job to do it.  If we don't get about the business of "Rebooting the American Dream," who will?

Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling author and host of the top nationally syndicated progressive radio talk show. You can learn more about Thom Hartmann at his website and find out what stations broadcast his program. He also now has a daily television program at RT Network. You can also listen to Thom over the Internet.

**** Mark Karlin is Editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout, and in full disclosure a colleague and friend of Thom Hartmann.
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THOM HARTMANN'S INDEPENDENT THINKER REVIEW OF THE MONTH FOR TRUTHOUT/BUZZFLASH:
October 2010

Each month or so, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host and author Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash/Truthout.  See all of Thom's reviews for Truthout/BuzzFlash at "Independent Thinker."

"Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace It and Why"
By Ian Fletcher

Some book reviews write themselves, because the book is so clear and articulate and easily read, and the information in it so straightforward that all the reviewer needs to do is lay it out.

Ian Fletcher writes: “Over the last 20 years, Americans have bought over $6 trillion more from the world than we have sold back to it. That's over $20,000 per American. Ironically, if the US were a developing country, our deficits would reach the 5% level that the international monetary fund takes as a benchmark of financial crisis.”

Join with your fellow readers in keeping independent journalism strong! Support Truthout/BuzzFlash with a donation by clicking here.

This is not the budget deficit that everybody is so hysterical about in the press, and which would go to zero over the next six years if the Obama administration simply let the Bush tax cuts expire in their entirety. Instead, Fletcher is talking about the trade deficit, the difference between what we buy from the world and what we sell to the world.

For most of the history of our country, we had trade surpluses. We made things here, and we sold them to people living in other countries. We even then used the surplus money from those transactions, accumulated in the currencies of those countries, to buy land from some of those countries.

As I laid out in detail in my new book “Rebooting The American Dream,” in 1791 Alexander Hamilton proposed an 11 step plan to turn America into a mighty manufacturing colossus. President George Washington took Treasury Secretary Hamilton’s advice, and by 1793 he and Congress had largely implemented the plan. That plan stood, steadily building America, until the first major cracks appeared during the Nixon administration, and an all-out war was waged against it starting with the Reagan administration. That war culminated in a Republican Congress and Democratic Pres. Bill Clinton passing and signing NAFTA and the GATT, which created the World Trade Organization.

Fletcher takes it from there and shows how the insanity of this so-called “free trade” system has, in a single generation, reversed two centuries spent building this nation.

“The US economy has ceased generating any net new jobs in internationally traded sectors in either manufacturing or services,” he notes. “The comforting myth persists that America is shifting from low-tech to high-tech employment, but we are not. We are losing jobs in both in shifting to non-tradable services–which are mostly low value–added, and thus ill–paid jobs. According to the Commerce Department, all our net new jobs are in categories such as security guards, waitresses, and the like. The vaunted 'new economy' has not contributed a single net new job to America in this century. Not one.”

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THOM HARTMANN'S INDEPENDENT THINKER REVIEW OF THE MONTH FOR BUZZFLASH/TRUTHOUT:
September 2010

Each month or so, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host and author Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash/Truthout.  See all of Thom's reviews for BuzzFlash at "Independent Thinker."

A limited number of autographed copies of this month's book, "Backlash" by Will Bunch, are available for a $25 recurring contribution to Truthout.

Thom Hartmann's Review -- Exclusively for BuzzFlash/Truthout -- for September 2010:

"Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama"
by Will Bunch

Will Bunch, the author of the brilliant Reagan biography "Tear Down This Myth," has done it again. His latest book, "Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def  Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama," is an extraordinarily readable, vividly real-to-life and broad-in-scope view of the Tea Party movement - this book could have been a movie. Bunch's writing style is so evocative that he brings every sense - sight, smell, sound etc. - to Tea Party movements and activities all across the United States, bringing to life in all its insane glory this bizarre, right-wing phenomenon sweeping our nation.

Support Truthout with a $25 per month contribution and get a signed copy of "Backlash" free. Just choose the book as a thank you gift on our new donation page.

This is not, of course, a new phenomenon. In a current issue of Mother Jones magazine, an article titled "Recycled" by Kevin Drum quotes a journalist's description of the American Liberty League, which emerged in 1934 in opposition to FDR's New Deal. The article that is quoted, written by historian Frederick Rudolph, observes:

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THOM HARTMANN'S INDEPENDENT THINKER REVIEW OF THE MONTH FOR BUZZFLASH/TRUTHOUT:
August 2010

Each month or so, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash. See other progressive premiums at The BuzzFlash Progressive Marketplace.  See all of Thom's reviews for BuzzFlash at "Independent Thinker."

Thom Hartmann's Review -- Exclusively for BuzzFlash/Truthout -- for August 2010:

Sometimes politics and non-fiction writing can seem altogether too intense and we feel like we need a break. For some, like myself, reading fiction is a guilty pleasure that is re-energizing.

In that respect, the best-selling novel -- the first in the acclaimed Stieg Larsson trilogy, --“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” is both a brilliant page turner, and raises a number of interesting and important issues of our day.

The first among these is the debate over what is news and can corporations “own” it. Since the hero of this novel (although, over time, he becomes a secondary character) is the co-owner and editor of a pro-democracy magazine in Sweden, the entire realm of issues having to do with news comes to the fore. Who owns the news? Who controls the news? What is the importance of independent media in a world where giant monoliths and monopolies have become the norm? And, most important, what is the relationship between news, in a free and open society, and democracy?

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THOM HARTMANN'S INDEPENDENT THINKER REVIEW OF THE MONTH FOR BUZZFLASH:
July 2010

Each month or so, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash. See other progressive premiums at The BuzzFlash Progressive Marketplace.  See all of Thom's reviews for BuzzFlash at  "Independent Thinker."

Thom Hartmann's Review -- Exclusively for BuzzFlash -- for July 2010:

With any book, one of the most important pieces of that work is its frame or context. In “Rules for Radicals,” Saul Alinsky lays out his largest frame brilliantly in his chapter “The Purpose” when he talks about class distinctions.

“The setting for the drama of change has never varied. Mankind has been and is divided into three parts: the Haves and Have-Nots, and the Have-A-Little, Want Mores.”

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THOM HARTMANN'S INDEPENDENT THINKER REVIEW OF THE MONTH FOR BUZZFLASH:
May 2010

Each month or so, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash. See other progressive premiums at The BuzzFlash Progressive Marketplace.  See all of Thom's reviews for BuzzFlash at  "Independent Thinker."

Thom Hartmann's Review -- Exclusively for BuzzFlash -- for May 2010:

If you want to be entertained, Avatar is brilliant.

The two main hits on this movie are, one, that it's clichéd. Truth be told, it is a bit of a good old-fashioned action-adventure movie in which a bad corporation/country goes after your local poor natives who love the earth or, in this case, their own little sacred corner of their own planet.

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THOM HARTMANN'S INDEPENDENT THINKER REVIEW OF THE MONTH FOR BUZZFLASH:
April 2010

Each month or so, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash. See other progressive premiums at The BuzzFlash Progressive Marketplace.  See all of Thom's reviews for BuzzFlash at  "Independent Thinker."

Thom Hartmann's Review -- Exclusively for BuzzFlash -- for April 2010:

D.W. Griffith's Neo-Confederate "Birth of a Nation" Epitomizes the Myth of the Racist South (Remastered on DVD)

By Thom Hartmann

 I lived for almost two decades in Atlanta, raised three children mostly in schools in that southern city, and was always amazed by how differently both the people of the South (and the teachers in our kids’ schools) viewed the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction from the way I’d learned it growing up in Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Detroit, Michigan, the heart of the industrial North/Midwest.

            When we first decided to move from New Hampshire, turning over management of a nonprofit we’d started to others, to Atlanta where we saw great entrepreneurial opportunity (and took advantage of it, starting two successful businesses), Louise flew to Atlanta to spend a few days with a real estate agent to help us find a house.  The woman’s first question (this was 1983) to Louise was, “Do you want to see houses in mixed neighborhoods, or just the whites-only neighborhoods?”  Louise was so offended we ended up hours later with a different real estate agent, from a different real estate agency.

            I remember talking with friends and employees who’d lived their entire lives in the South, and, when explaining, for example, why crazy old Lester Maddox (he lived about three blocks from my house, and always had a huge sign out front of his home decrying the conservative cause de jour) was the way he was, and was still treated with respect by Atlantans, more than once I was asked, “Have you seen ‘Birth of a Nation’?”

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