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Thom Hartmann's State of the Union

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From Patriotic Waving Tattered American Flag -- in need of repair
Patriotic Waving Tattered American Flag -- in need of repair
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The state of our union is strong, but it could be so much stronger.

During the past year, we've continued to see how our politicians are bought off by Big Oil tycoons, Wall Street billionaires and giant transnational corporations.

And that's the first challenge facing the United States right now.

Our conservative-controlled Supreme Court has said that spending money to buy politicians is protected by the First Amendment.

Thanks to the disastrous Citizen's United decision, the conservatives in the Supreme Court chambers have made it easy for billionaires to flood our democracy with the corporate cash which is slowly destroying the democratic principles that our founding fathers fought and died for.

In the 2014 midterm elections, we saw yet again how the US truly has the best politicians money can buy. Estimates suggest that nearly $4 billion was spent during the midterms to elect the politicians the rich folks want in Washington DC and statehouses around the country.

Just imagine how much stronger our nation would be if we were to get money out of politics, and thus prevent corporations and billionaires from corrupting our democracy.

The second problem our nation is facing is at the core of why we have a government in the first place.

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson said that, "governments are instituted among Men" to "secure" the "unalienable" rights of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

So, why do we have government?

To provide life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Unfortunately, millions and millions of Americans are finding "the pursuit of happiness" to be more of a myth than a reality.

Right now, our country is facing record levels of wealth inequality. Wages are stagnant. And millions of Americans who are ready and willing to work are still finding it hard to get a job and to put food on the table for their families.

But we can change all of that.

Back in 1944 -- FDR suggested that we should put into law a "Second Bill of Rights" that would codify what he was already doing with the New Deal.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)

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