January 29 2008 show notes
- It's Thomas Paine’s birthday - Would Thomas Paine approve of today's America?
- Guest: Professor Harvey Kaye, "Thomas Paine and the Promise of America".
- The State of the Union address.
- Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D - MD), State of the Union.
- Guest: Martin L. Strong, VP, Blackwater Worldwide.
Topics, guests, upcoming events, quotes, links to articles, audio clips, books & bumper music.
- The State of the Union speech last night. Florida primary.
- Article: The Crisis, Thomas Paine.
- Article: Common Sense, Thomas Paine.
- It's Thomas Paine’s birthday - Would Thomas Paine approve of today's America?
- Book: Rights of Man, Thomas Paine.
- Article: Agrarian Justice. Thomas Paine.
- Guest: Harvey Kaye, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, author of "Thomas Paine and the Promise of America", contributor to the Guardian. There was no state of the union in the State of the Union speech. Bush closed the speech with a referenced to the elitist Gouverneur Morris, "When Gouverneur Morris was asked to draft a preamble to our new Constitution, he offered an important revision and opened with words that changed the course of our nation and the history of the world: "We the people." " Morris called the people "poor reptiles". Paine's "Rights of Man". People are opposed to Bush's policies. "One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion." Thomas Paine: Common Sense (1776). Paine and social security, public funding of education. Paine's "Agrarian Justice".
- Bumper Music: Kryptonite, 3 Doors Down.
"In the past six years, we've stopped numerous attacks, including a plot to fly a plane into the tallest building in Los Angeles and another to blow up passenger jets bound for America over the Atlantic."
State of the Union, January 28, 2008.
- Article: One of Key SOTU Lies Was a Rerun, David Swanson.
"There is deep disagreement within the intelligence community over the seriousness of the Library Tower scheme and whether it was ever much more than talk."
Bush Details 2002 Plot to Attack L.A. Tower.
"There was no definitive plot. It never materialized or got past the thought stage"
W Reveals Hijack Plot To Hit L.A. Critics Hit Timing, Substance Of Prez Comments On Terror Target, February 10th 2006.
"We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terror cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. And just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean. For each life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them."
President Bush Delivers State of the Union Address, January 23, 2007.
"None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not have passports. It could be pretty difficult to convince a jury that these individuals were about to go through with suicide bombings, whatever they bragged about on the net."
The timing is political.
- Article: Suspect and A Setback In Al-Qaeda Anthrax Case.
- Article: FBI Is Casting A Wider Net in Anthrax Attacks.
- Bumper Music: Crazy, Gnarls Barkley.
- Article: Police: Drunk drove mower down street in snowstorm to buy wine.
- Article: A Pastor Walks Into a Bar ... to Listen.
"To build a prosperous future, we must trust people with their own money."
State of the Union, January 28, 2008. Yes, but this is code for "we don't need to invest in our schools, roads, bridges, the infrastructure of America, or take care of the least among us". The core difference between conservative and liberal morality is.
- No Child Left Behind. Jim Jeffords resigned over it.
- Bumper Music: Run for President, Us the Band.
- Romney outspending McCain 5 to 1 but McCain is keeping up.
"Unless Congress acts, most of the tax relief we've delivered over the past seven years will be taken away."
State of the Union, January 28, 2008. They were all tax deferrals; they were all financed by borrowing from our children and grandchildren.
- Watch Prime Minister's Questions.
- Health care policies. Edwards said everyone can buy Medicare at cost; the insurance companies would have to compete. Medicare does not have to pay stockholders, CEOS, lobbyists, etc. and so has much lower overheads, even with employees in unions. The more people joined, the more accountable it would be.
- Guest: Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D - MD), Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The State of the Union Re-cap - Bush: The Worst President Ever? There was not much "there" there in the speech. Those issues that they have been working on, Bush stood in the way, for example energy, health care. Vetoes and threats to veto. Chris Matthews told McCain, "Bush just made your speech". Trent Hatch's guy hacked into Democrats' PCs, Nixon spied on Democrats. Is Bush spying on Democrats? FISA extension.
- Some verandah cabins have become available for the Air America Cruise. Thom is there for the last couple of days. Some celebrities are there for the whole cruise.
- Article: Fly naked on nudist holiday flight .
- Article: Don't stop Brazil Carnival but be careful: Lula.
- Thom on the State if the Union speech:
Veterans' care has actually gotten worse under Bush and yet he's bragging about how he's improved Veterans' care. His abstinence policies have hurt AIDS efforts around the world and yet he's bragging about his anti-AIDS efforts. He has arguably, well not arguably, he has clearly, I mean, here, how can America hold itself up as the beacon of liberty and be the country that everyone wants to be like when you have large chunks of the world where Osama bin Laden is more popular than the United States? And this was, by the way, not the case on 9/11. On 9/11 George Bush had an opportunity. He had about a week long window there where he could have brought the world together the same way that Bill Clinton brought America together after the bombing of the Murrah building, the federal building on Oklahoma City...
Tim McVeigh was imprisoned and executed. Bush could have reached out to the Muslim world to help them catch the few crazies responsible for 9/11. The Taliban offered Osama bin Laden, who had fewer followers then, so long as he would be sent to a third country where he would get a fair trial and Bush said no. He needed his anti-hero. He wanted war popularity.
We could have brought the world together. And instead George W Bush drove the world apart and has put democracy at risk all over the world as a consequence of it. And what are we doing? We are empowering dictators like the military dictator Musharraf in Pakistan and the murderous dictators in communist China who we now owe so much money to that they could throw our economy into the toilet tomorrow and we can't even make a Cruise missile without parts that we have to buy from China. The only country, by the way, in the last 15 years or so that I know of, that has actually threatened us with nuclear weapons.
He continues to want to tap your phones and my phones and members of Congress's phones without warrants. God forbid he should have to go before a judge and explain...
The Fourth amendment. He wants immunity for himself and for his buddies in the TelCo industry.
- Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Espionage Act.
Constitution of the United States
- The rebuttal to the speech should have torn Bush apart, totally deconstructed what he said. We're still above pre-"surge" levels. He's broken the military. Iraq is not free or safe. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are regrouping all across South Asia, particularly in Afghanistan. Katrina.
"The current demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply".
"The surge has sucked all the flexibility out of the system".
Army Chief of Staff General George Casey.
"The Pentagon wants to bring troops home quickly to reduce the strain on the armed services".
- Thom has no problem taking names and kicking ass, and the Democrats should have done that.
"Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power."
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 27 June 1936, "A Rendezvous With Destiny" Speech to the Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Bumper Music: Every day is a winding road, Sheryl Crow.
- Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News. FISA bill. It looks like 2 votes failed. They are unlikely to get even a 30 day extension. Mitch McConnell was for it. Gaggle - would be veto. There was no briefing. FISA would return to the old rules. Helen Thomas asked why not go to judge. They think it is about wiretapping the attorneys for bad guys. Thom thinks it is about wiretapping Democratic politicians because it has been done before and they are putting so much effort into it. In 15 minutes Bush will sign an executive order on earmarks, Republicans object too. It will go to the Supreme Court, like line items, and she thinks they will find for the Senate. Bush is saying that the Senate bill is adding more money for food stamps, unemployment, unlike the House bill that passed. There will be a conference on it. Today Florida Republican primary. She knows lots of staff who will now go for Obama.
- Article: Blood Is Thicker Than Blackwater, April 19, 2006.
"According to former Blackwater officials, Blackwater, Regency and ESS were engaged in a classic war-profiteering scheme. Blackwater was paying its men $600 a day but billing Regency $815, according to the Raleigh News and Observer. "In addition," the paper reports, "Blackwater billed Regency separately for all its overhead and costs in Iraq." Regency would then bill ESS an unknown amount for these services. Kathy Potter told the News and Observer that Regency would "quote ESS a price, say $1,500 per man per day, and then tell Blackwater that it had quoted ESS $1,200." ESS then contracted with Halliburton subsidiary KBR, which in turn billed the government an unknown amount of money for the same security services, according to the paper. KBR/Halliburton refuses to discuss the matter and will not confirm any relationship with ESS."
- Guest: Martin L. Strong, VP, Blackwater Worldwide. Former navy SEAL for 20 years. Security analyst. Terrorism consultant. Member of the Secretary of Defense's military and terrorism analyst forum. Should private military companies/police forces be allowed to exist in America? Why is Blackwater supplying security for the Secretary of State and Dignitaries when, since the founding of this Republic, we did it with the US marine corps? We've been doing it with special forces - SEALS, Green Berets. Their current contract was started in the Clinton Administration almost 18 years ago. They are a privately owned company with no stockholders to answer to. Abraham Lincoln turned to Pinkertons to protect him on his way to his inaugural during the civil war. During the 1990s the government cut the military in half and cut training bases. Eric Prince created a training base. After 9/11 they took over the VIP protection so that special forces could focus on hunting al Qaeda. Jefferson cut the military. Mercenaries work for a foreign power and are not a party to the conflict. Jefferson was the first to use extension of power, to fight the Barbary pirates. In Iraq Blackwater is not answerable to the US or Iraq governments, and does not operate under the uniformed military code of justice or US law. Security protection in a war zone is unprecedented. Instead of getting ambassadors, etc. and their staff out of the war zone, we've moved more in. Jeremy Scahill's statistics on Blackwater in the Nation. The Truman commission put war profiteers in jail. He said Scahill had not interviewed anyone at Blackwater and was using old information when such contracts first started. The average guy is making about $100,000 per year. Current navy SEALS are making as much or more.
"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."
The Crisis, Thomas Paine.
- Bumper Music: Democracy is coming to the USA, Leonard Cohen.