March 04 2008 show notes

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

Tuesday 04 March '08 National show

  • Elections today.
  • At 5:45 Pacific 8:45 Eastern tomorrow morning Thom should be on Fox and Friends with Michael Reagan to discuss the results.
  • Campaigns are going negative. Is it working?
  • Article: Opec likely to stand firm as oil hits record.
  • Thom's Buzzflash Independent Thinker Book Review of the month is "Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism" by Ha-Joon Chang.
  • Article: India moves to protect staple supplies.
  • Article: Bank Failures: Should You Be Worried?.
  • The economy. OPEC meeting tomorrow. They are expected not to cut or raise production. When Bush came in a barrel of oil cost $30, now it's $100 because of the dollar's fall. Reaganomics is destroying the currency, economy. Thom is very concerned, but don't run for the hills, we will get through it, but some governments are doing something about things, for example India. Buzzflash book of the month. Tariffs. Taxes on dividends. Last night Thom was reading Professional Timing Service's newsletter from last week, "if you're getting well over 2.25% you should look to see what the [money market) fund is holding. If one money market fund were to default, we could see a run to liquidate them that would put the run on the banks in the 1930's to shame." Ravi Batra is moving some into gold and some into cash. A money market fund is not a bank account, it is not insured. Buy from TreasuryDirect. Bank Failures: Should You Be Worried?
  • Bumper Music: Stand, Rascal Flatts.
  • Tim Russert asked Obama about Louis Farrakhan over and over again. Yet when televangelist John Hagee, who has trashed women, Islam and Catholics, endorsed McCain, Russert would not go there. The Washington Times report saying Obama and wife bought a house next to Rezko at a discount, but the sellers said they made the highest offer.
  • Bumper Music: I'm A Nazi, Rush Limbaugh / WNNX-FM (Atlanta, GA).
  • Clip:
    "So, all those clowns at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they're undermining everything and they don't care." Bill O'Reilly, June 20 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, 2005.
  • Article: Obama Republicans Carry Weight.
  • Limbaugh says vote for Clinton because we need Obama bloodied up politically. What is the response to negativity going to be?
  • The upside to Hillary's negativity is it will toughen Obama, get this stuff out of the way. It is not a good idea to slow down the energy of the new generation. Thom would rather they won on their own merit rather than convince people they are the lesser of two evils. Is Hillary hurting the party or herself? 3am in the morning ad is a John McCain ad.
  • Bumper Music: This is such a Pity, Weezer.
  • Clip:
    "You've got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops and I am for the President — chase them all over the world, if it takes ten years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord."
    Jerry Falwell, CNN Late Edition, 24 October 2004.
  • Abraham Lincoln was an atheist. Thomas Jefferson was a deist and wrote in his journals that he thought that Washington was also skeptical.
  • Guest: Chris Hedges, author of "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning", "American Fascists" and his latest, "I Don't Believe in Atheists". There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being a believer or a nonbeliever. A strain of atheism has become a fundamentalist religion, for example Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, E.O. Wilson, and it is this strain to which he is referring. He was appalled how similar they are to American fascists, the focus of his previous book, with their 'us vs. them' binary world view; they make their own leap of faith.

    Science is amoral, used for good and bad. Thom thinks it has some morality, it is aimed at advancing life. Yet much science is focused on defense. Most of them support the war in Iraq; they support preemptive war and imperialist projects. Sam Harris asks us to consider a nuclear first strike on the Arab world. He and Dawkins defend torture. Hitchens was on the Bill Maher show at the weekend defending the war in Iraq. These atheists are as culturally, historically, linguistically illiterate as the religious fundamentalists.

    Thom asked him how he responded to atheists who suggest that atheism is not a theism, but the lack of a belief, which Thom describes as agnosticism. He said everybody believes in something. As for agnosticism, questioning and doubt are at the core of faith.

    Bill Maher is one evangelical atheist who did not support the war, nor did many non-evangelical atheists or Richard Dawkins. Any utopian belief system is dangerous. Einstein. Chapter on self delusion. Thom said Darwin's book "Descent of Man" is schizophrenic - alternatively saying good thing about natives and saying they are savages, but the science was good.

  • Bumper Music: In Your Mind, Johnny Cash.
  • "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein.
  • Book: The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.
  • Bumper Music: Our Country, Jim Mellancamp
  • Angry fundamentalism is something we should be concerned about.
  • Thom read Pope John Paul II's last book after he met him; a chapter says that he spent his life trying to reach that moment of enlightened certainty that he believed that the saints had. Mother Theresa wrote of doubts. Thom's felt doubt too. St John of the Cross, who was tortured, wrote "Dark Night of the Soul". Werner Erhard. Doubt. Most atheists do not doubt that we all are animals. Thom, a Christian, believes we are animals. A lot of Christians don't believe everything that is in the Bible, for example the laws in Leviticus, so doubt is the norm and not the exception. Religions that separate people from nature to so to their detriment.

    "I'm just of the opinion that before I became conscious the way I'm conscious right now, I was part of some other consciousness that permeates everything in creation, and that after this consciousness that I'm experiencing at this moment is gone, that that consciousness will become part of a consciousness that is larger than everything., that is everything that exists, including the things that we think are inanimate. And I experience that, I frame that in a Christian context because that's how I was raised and I feel real comfortable with that, and very happy with that, it works for me. But I would never say to a Muslim or a Jew or a Hindu that they should adopt my religion. So I guess I'm not an evangelical Christian."

  • Thom does not believe in original sin. Liberal vs. conservative world view. "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn. "Man's Rise to Civilization" by Peter Farb. "Leviathon" by Thomas Hobbes. What if there isn't progress? Many of Darwin's "savages" had figured out how to live in peace and live well. We've devolved? Religious or secular fundamentalism is devolution. "Some sort of a feeling of connectedness, and whether that's derived from a belief in culture and science or whether that's derived from a belief in some greater, something, you know, looking up at the sky and going "oh my God". I mean, some people look up at the sky and go "oh my God" and they're thinking about all those stars and the science of it, and some people are just thinking about how vast it is, and "what's that?" you know... For the people in the vast middle, whether they call themselves, my father referred to himself as agnostic, or atheists, or whether they call themselves Christians or Jews or Muslims, but in that vast middle of 'you know, yes there's some doubt here' and 'no, I'm not going to go off and force people to be just like me and believe that way', that that represents a positive force. But at the fringes, the 'it's my way or the highway', that that is a negative force and that's the negative force that is destroying aboriginal cultures, that's the negative force that is destroying the world, that's the negative force that is destroying us... Love is the most powerful thing there is."
  • Bumper Music: Chain Gang, Sam Cooke.
  • Guest: Willie L. Brown. He was a member of the California State Assembly for over 30 years and Speaker for 15. Afterwards he became mayor of San Francisco. He established the The Willie L. Brown, Jr. Institute on Politics & Public Service. Author of "Basic Brown: My Life and Our Times ". He moderated an event that Thom attended at the Quake, and they had lunch. He's an absolute political savant. The book has plenty of advise of how to succeed in state politics. The political scene has changed recently; not long ago nobody would have imagined a woman and someone of African descent competing for the nomination, or such an unlikely Republican. Nader with a young Turk. Internet. New systems. Conservative talk show jocks are scrambling. Thom watched him work the room. The two candidates have boxed each other into a corner. Hillary should have brought in the long termers, and Obama new people, they could have worked together. Politicians get desperate and start slinging.
  • Bumper Music: Blame it on the Stones, Kris Kristofferson.
  • Bumper Music: Into the Mystic, Van Morrison.
  • Article: [UPDATE w/campaign response] Hillary's ad: debate footage doctored to make Obama blacker .
  • Article: Six Economic Questions The Presidential Candidates Must Answer.
  • Bumper Music: Democracy is coming to the USA, Leonard Cohen.
  • Article: Bush: Americans ‘Ought To Say Thank You’ To Telecoms For ‘Performing A Patriotic Service’.
  • Article: Cheney may have leaked secret video in Gitmo case.
  • Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News. Bush speaking in defense of the Telcos this afternoon. Democrats are caving. Call Congress, tell them no immunity. Cheney may have leaked a secret video. Testimony will be damaging. Explosion of voters in Texas. Bernanke - will need credit companies to do more on mortgage crisis, ought to do loan modifications. The Pentagon is saying they first need to do summary assessment before further withdrawal from Iraq. 8 and 9 April Petraeus testifies. Two commanders in Iraq say Iran is the boogie man in Iraq. But why did the Iraqi president embrace Ahmadinejad a couple of days ago?

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