December 26 2007 show notes

  • It is Boxing Day, a day to box up all those unwanted gifts and give to the poor.
  • Did The Cigna insurance delay kill 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan?
  • Should corporations get the death penalty?
  • Ron Paul on fascism, the Civil War.
  • Are we moving towards friendly fascism?
  • Economic news. Debt. What do we do?
  • Guest: Alex Frankel. Author, "Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventure of a Front Line Employee".
  • Guest: Larry Scott, Founder and Editor of VA Watchdog.

Topics, guests, upcoming events, quotes, links to articles, audio clips, books & bumper music.

Wednesday 26 December '07 National show

  • It is Boxing Day, a day to box up all those unwanted gifts and give to the poor.
  • Did The Cigna insurance delay kill 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan?
  • Should corporations get the death penalty?
  • Article: Insurer's U-turn too late to save life of transplant teenager.
  • Clip:
    [Ron Paul] "But I think this country, a movement in the last 100 years, is moving toward fascism. Fascism today, the softer term, because people have different definition of fascism, is corporatism when the military industrial complex runs the show, when the--in the name of security pay--pass the Patriot Act. You don't vote for it, you know, you're not patriotic America. If you don't support the troops and you don't support--if you don't support the war you don't support the troops. It's that kind of antagonism. But we have more corporatism and more abuse of our civil liberties, more loss of our privacy, national ID cards, all this stuff coming has a fascist tone to it. And the country's moving in that direction. That's what I'm thinking about. This was not personalized. I never even used my opponents names if you, if you notice."

    [Tim Russert] "So you think we're close to fascism? "

    [Ron Paul] "I think we're approaching it very close. One--there's one, there's one documentary that's been put out recently that has generated a lot of interest called "Freedom to Fascism." And we're moving in that direction. Were not moving toward Hitler-type fascism, but we're moving toward a softer fascism. Loss of civil liberties, corporations running the show, big government in bed with big business. So you have the military industrial complex, you have the medical industrial complex, you have the financial industry, you have the communications industry. They go to Washington and spend hundreds of millions of dollars. That's where the control is. I call that a soft form of fascism, something that is very dangerous."
    'Meet the Press', Dec. 23, 2007.

  • Clip:
    [Tim Russert] "I was intrigued by your comments about Abe Lincoln. 'According to Paul, Abe Lincoln should never have gone to war; there were better ways of getting rid of slavery'."

    [Ron Paul] "Absolutely. Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, he shouldn't have gone, gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic. I mean, it was the--that iron, iron fist.."

    [Tim Russert] "We'd still have slavery."

    [Ron Paul] "Oh, come on, Tim. Slavery was phased out in every other country of the world. And the way I'm advising that it should have been done is do like the British empire did. You, you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where it lingered for 100 years? I mean, the hatred and all that existed. So every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach."
    'Meet the Press', Dec. 23, 2007.

  • Article: The Ghost of Vice President Wallace Warns: "It Can Happen Here". Thom Hartmann, July 19, 2004.
  • Bumper Music: Dreams, Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac.
  • Book: "It Can't Happen Here", Sinclair Lewis.
  • Quote:
    "It reminds me of what Sinclair Lewis once said. He said, ‘When fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.’ I don’t know if that is a fair assessment or not, but you wonder about using a cross like he is the only Christian, or implying that subtly." Ron Paul on Fox News and Friends, December 18th, 2007.
  • Cheney. Halliburton. Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Rant.
  • Bumper Music: Thank You, John Mellencamp.
  • One technique is to impoverish the middle class. Mussolini, fascism. How it worked in Italy. Hitler was not a fascist.
  • Bumper Music: I've Always Been Crazy, Waylon Jennings.
  • In the 70s a study asked hockey players if they wanted to wear protective head gear, and they said no, because not wearing it would give them advantages, such as better peripheral vision, over those who did wear it. But when asked if everyone should have to wear it, most said yes. They were willing to give up some advantage if everyone else did too, for the benefit of the community. Libertarians don't get this. They think enlightened self interest answers all questions.
  • Corporations are supposed to maximize profits. Cigna were maximizing profits both times - the first time by not paying, the second time to avoid more bad publicity. It is the system, so call your representatives and tell them that for-profit health care is killing people.
  • It's much easier for economic powers to colonize a third world nation when its government has become authoritarian and its middle class has been wiped out - are we moving towards friendly fascism?
  • There are conflicting stories about the economy, stocks, manufacturing.
  • Article: Tide Is Shifting On U.S. Exports: Companies Finding Markets Overseas For Niche Items. This is because of the falling dollar benefiting exporters, not because of policies.
  • Article: Foreign buyers snap up 2nd homes in US. American fire sale.
  • Article: Offshoring Interests and Economic Dogmas Are Destroying the US Dollar.
    "A quarter century ago US oil imports accounted for the US trade deficit. The concerns expressed over the years about "energy dependence" accustomed Americans to think of trade problems only in terms of oil. The desire to gain "energy independence" has led to such foolish policies as subsidies for ethanol, the main effect of which is to drive up food prices and further ravage the poor. Today oil imports comprise a small part of the US trade deficit."
  • Article: Crisis may make 1929 look a 'walk in the park'.
    "New York's Federal Reserve chief Tim Geithner echoed the words, warning of an "adverse self-reinforcing dynamic", banker-speak for a downward spiral."
  • Bumper Music: Crazy, Gnarls Barkley.
  • Article: Offshoring Santa: Even his suit is made in China.
  • Article: Unpaid Credit Cards Haunting the American Debtor.
  • The nation has been living on debt like Reagan and the Bushes. The Treasury is making it harder to buy inflation-indexed treasuries. $30,000 per person debt. List of how much debt is owed to other countries. The USA is $1.3 trillion dollars in debt.
  • What do we do about this? We are beyond the stage of October 1929. Any solutions are likely to be blamed, like the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 which is blamed by conservatives. Solutions:
    • do away with free trade deals
    • re-regulate banks,etc
    • fix bankruptcy laws
    • bust up the monopolies
  • Article: USA Today Squeezes Edwards Out of Race.
    "The paper's "reality," as written by David Jackson and Fredreka Schouten, was this: "Edwards is wrong about job creation. There were 94,000 new jobs created in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since August 2003, 8.35 million jobs have been created.

    Is USA Today unaware that the USA's population increases every year? In July 2003 the population was 290.8 million; the population now is estimated to be 303.6 million. So that's 8.35 million new jobs for 12.8 million more people. As a rule of thumb, the economy has to add 150,000 new jobs each month to keep pace with population growth. And the economy has lost about 3 million manufacturing jobs since 1998--most of them since 2000. But not, apparently, in USA Today's reality."

  • Obama did not vote for the Bankruptcy Bill.
  • "Everything you Know is wrong" segment: Guest: Alex Frankel. Author, "Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventure of a Front Line Employee". He worked at several front-line workplaces, writing about the work and corporate culture at companies like Starbucks and UPS.
  • The GI Bill. Henry Ford paying higher wages.
  • Bumper Music: I can See for Miles, The Who.
  • Guest: Larry Scott, Founder and Editor of VA Watchdog. "It is illogical to put a cap on VA funding when it is impossible to put a cap on the number of those wounded and injured in service to their country." GI bill - read "Over Here: How the G.I. Bill Transformed the American Dream", Edward Humes. It had a high return on investment, unlike military spending. James Peake (R) was passed as VA Secretary unanimously by the VA committee, with no hard questions. not even from Bernie Sanders or Pattie Murray or Obama. The oath was given by Cheney. They are going ahead with the Dole-Shalala Commission recommendations and means testing. Privatization. They are trying to make VA benefits welfare, which is easier to cut. Making Sense Of The Presidential Candidates.
  • Bumper Music: That's What I Like About You, the Kinks.
  • A comment on Thom's blog from Hal Ginsberg: "You said in the first hour that "there were many people who were Jewish in Germany who thought they could play nice with [Hitler]." Could you please provide the evidence on which you rely for this provocative and revisionist statement? If this is true, it is important and newsworthy even after 60 years. If it's not, then the statement is anti-Semitic and you should issue a retraction." Thom was speaking based on friends with holocaust survivors in their families, reading "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and from living in Germany.
  • America isn't going away because of its economic problems. It still has tremendous resources, but who will end up owning everything? We need a multi step program:
    • bust up big corporate monopolies
    • fix bankruptcy laws so that people can take risks like Henry Ford who declared bankruptcy 7 times
    • re-regulate industries that tend to be natural monopolies or have the power to flip our government - banks, mortgage companies, credit card companies
    • do away with global corporate transnational free trade
  • Bumper Music: Do Ya, Electric Light Orchestra.
  • Article: Challenging Cheney: A National Archives official reveals what the veep wanted to keep classified--and how he tried to challenge the rules.

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From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"If you wonder why and when giant corporations got the power to reign supreme over us, here’s the story."
Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author of Swim Against the Current
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions."
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"With the ever-growing influence of corporate CEOs and their right-wing allies in all aspects of American life, Hartmann’s work is more relevant than ever. Throughout his career, Hartmann has spoken compellingly about the value of people-centered democracy and the challenges that millions of ordinary Americans face today as a result of a dogma dedicated to putting profit above all else. This collection is a rousing call for Americans to work together and put people first again."
Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO