January 24 2008 show notes

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

Thursday 24 January '08 National show

  • Corporatists believe in the "free market" and have problems with the commons.
  • What’s wrong with socialist police departments, fire departments, and roads?
  • Article: Let Free Market Ease Traffic Congestion.
  • Article: Toll Roads to the Rescue.
  • Guest: Gabriel Roth, Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. Editor of "Street Smart: Competition, Entrepreneurship, and the Future of Roads". He is a proponent of selling off the commons of the roads, but not police departments and fire departments.
  • Bumper Music: Last Man Standing Bon Jovi.
  • Article: Privatization backlash in Indiana: Plan to turn over toll road to foreign firms spawns political storm, June 18, 2006.
    "The decision to hand the Indiana Toll Road to an Australian and Spanish team for $3.8 billion at the end of this month has blown up into one of the biggest brawls here in a generation...

    The trend started 1 1/2 years ago, when Chicago Democratic Mayor Richard M. Daley pushed through a 99-year lease of the Chicago Skyway, nearly eight miles of elevated highway across the city's South Side, for a lump sum of $1.8 billion.

    Since then, a New Jersey state senator has proposed selling a 49 percent interest in the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. New York Republican Gov. George Pataki is trying to persuade the state legislature to let investors rebuild or replace the Hudson River's Tappan Zee Bridge. In Houston, Harris County officials are finishing a study on leasing 57 miles of toll roads.

    Virginia transportation officials announced last month that they would lease a debt-ridden toll road outside Richmond, the Pocahontas Parkway, to a private firm for $522 million.

    Pennsylvania Turnpike commission officials met with Macquarie officials earlier this year, and now the Australian firm is spending about $500,000 to study potential private-public investment in the Mon-Valley Expressway and the Southern Beltway in the Pittsburgh area.

  • Privatizating roads rant (transcript).
  • Thom told people to go to thomhartmann.com and comment on the day's blog and there would be a prize for the best comment (the winner was glennlab for " I just realized I owe George Bush an apology. It seems he is not the antichrist, according to the book of Revelations, the antichrist will only rule for 7 years").
  • Article: Turning Asphalt Into Salmon Runs.
  • Lots of callers had examples of why privatizing roads does not work.
  • How have Republican policies driven America into poverty as a nation?
  • $100 billion stimulus package. Give everyone $600? Bernie Sanders proposed one for a short term stimulus, not a long term solution. It will be a very short term stimulus. The economy has been hollowed out.
  • Clip:
    "Roosevelt is dead, his policies may live on, but we're in the process of doing something about that as well." Rush Limbaugh.
  • Article: Sovereign wealth funds: the new kids on the block.
  • Article: Sovereign funds face growing US pressure to address market fears.
  • Article: Case study: Divide and conquer.
  • Why buy something made in the USA (or your own country)?
  • Homeostatic economy (why buy goods made in USA?) rant (transcript).
  • Bumper Music: Til I Go Down, Jackson Browne.
  • From the blog: "You might be interest to know that our Republican Governor here in Vermont is currently trying his best to sell the state lottery. It wasn't real popular when it was first introduced but we did it for the kids. Now he wants to sell it off to some gambling syndicate." Burlyn.
  • From the blog: "English historian G.M. Trevelyan wrote that before the Crown took over the responsibility of maintaining roads, it was up to each property owner to maintain the section of road crossing his land. As a result, there were reports of potholes so large that men and horses had drowned in them. Of course roads are a natural monopoly and part of the commons!" Dietrich2.
  • Article: Cheney Pushes for Renewed Wiretap Powers.
  • Article: The worst market crisis in 60 years, George Soros.
  • From the chat room: [streetspirit] "hey thomhartmann, can you get on CSPAN again anytime soon?" Thom's on booktv again on Sunday: 7:15 AM E, 1 hr 41 min, "Cracking the Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision" or you can stream it here.
  • Thom:
    Just comparing, now this is a trend that has been going on since Reagan. Keep this in mind. it's a trend that stared in 1981. It really started in the late 70s, arguably under Carter, but it really went on steroids under Reagan, because that's wen there was this fundamental shift in economic philosophy in the United States. But just looking at the last 7 years: real GDP growth was 4.09%... (statistics from "THE LEGACY OF GEORGE W. BUSH’S PRESIDENCY: The Country He Inherited, The Country He Leaves Behind").
  • Bumper Music: You are not alone, Eagles.
  • Caller Lawrence argued that all Thom's regulated capitalism stuff is good in the short term, but inherently unstable while the bulk of money remains in the hands of big money - they will always claw way their back into power. The alternative is proletariat power? That's also tyranny. Lawrence suggested co-ops. Worker co-ops. Consumer co-ops - the customers don't go into the business enough. In 1934 Upton Sinclair ran for governor. The party did not support him. End Poverty in California.
  • Guest: Stephen Marks, "Confessions of a Political Hitman: My Secret Life of Scandal, Corruption, Hypocrisy and Dirty Attacks That Decide Who Gets Elected (and Who Doesn't)". Opposition researchers. They dig up dirt on their own guys as well. He realized he did not like the side he was working for. He worked with Jack Abramoff and Pat Buchanan, who was not practicing what he was preaching. Yet do people have the right to know? Grey area. He mentions the Willie Horton ads although he was not involved. Dukakis never fought back. The book is a good background for the presidential race. The only one who stayed above the fray was Bill Clinton. Hillary got Obama into an argument. Positivity worked in Iowa. In New Hampshire Bill Clinton attacked Obama's "fairyland" and she won. South Carolina - against McCain it did not work because it was ridiculous.
  • Bumper Music: Freedom's Finally Mine, Keith Urban.
  • Thom worked in advertising twice in the 70s and 90s, left in 1978 because his last job was a 24 page brochure promoting sugar for kids. Thom still feels guilty and left because of it.
  • Bumper Music: The Last DJ, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
  • Article: High Mercury Levels Are Found in Tuna Sushi.
  • Article: Bush budget won't fully fund Iraq war.
  • Guest: Christy Harvey, Director of Strategic Communications at the Center for American Progress, MicCheckradio.org. Mercury. Telecomms immunity. The vote did not happen yesterday. Cheney was for it at the Heritage Foundation yesterday. Chris Dodd said no immunity. Harry Reid is for immunity. Call Congress (callcongress.org). A defense contractor was paid twice for same work, ITT Federal services, Iraq, $4.2m. Bush is preparing to hand off to next president treaties with Iraq about a permanent US presence, and playing games with the budget. Politico article today about the new White House budget coming out that will not request a full year's funding for a year in Iraq - it will only go up to the next president. The year is October 1 to the end of September. Next Monday is the State of the Union speech. Today they outlined the themes - stimulus package, how well we are doing in Iraq, the need to give permanent power to wiretap without a warrant. Harris poll, Americans unhappy. The economic package is mostly $600 each. It adds up to the same as a year in Iraq, so Iraq must be costing $600 per person.
  • Bumper Music: What if you knew, David Rovics (video).
  • Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News. The economic package is on a sliding scale, for those who earn $3,000-$75,000 and it starts at $300 with another $300 for each child. The Democrats got some rebates for people who actually do pay income taxes (though they do pay other kinds of taxes). The Democrats did not get any unemployment or food stamp extensions. There will be no tax hikes. $70 billion tax breaks for businesses. They are waiting for the full outline from the Treasury Secretary. The FISA votes was 60-34, a lot of Democrats crossed over, Chris Dodd did not want to give telecomms companies retroactive immunity, but the bill to stop the immunity was killed. Immunity will remain part of the bill unless Dodd does a filibuster, as he said he would. Barbara Boxer, the EPA administrator and the California waiver.

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