April 11 2008 show notes

  • "Brunch with Bernie" with Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont.
  • Guest: Dr. Joshua Schank, Bipartisan Policy Center. What's going on with the airline industry?
  • Economic policy.
  • Iraq. Iran.
  • Lots of your calls.

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

Friday 11 April '08 show

  • Article: Tent city highlights US homes crisis.
  • Article: U.S. Consumer Confidence Index Falls to 26-Year Low.
  • Book: The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict , Joseph Stiglitz.
  • "Brunch with Bernie" with Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont. They had two town meetings with Harvard Law School Professor and noted author Dr. Elizabeth Warren. He got over 500 emails about how the economy was affecting people. He read some of them in the Senate. Tent city. Since Bush has been president:
    • over 5 million people have slipped into poverty;
    • nearly 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance;
    • median household income has gone down by nearly $1,300;
    • three million manufacturing jobs have been lost;
    • three million American workers have lost their pensions;
    • home foreclosures are now the highest on record;
    • the personal savings rate is below zero - which hasn't happened since the great depression;
    • the real earnings of college graduates have gone down by about 5% in the last few years;
    • entry level wages for male and female high school graduates have fallen by over 3%;
    • wages and salaries are now at the lowest share of GDP since 1929.

    Consumer Confidence Index low. Only soldiers and their families sacrifice. Bernie talked to Joseph Stiglitz a couple of weeks ago. The Three Trillion Dollar War. Veterans' costs. Interest. He is a member of the budget committee and they are frantically looking for ways to rebuild our infrastructure, move away from fossil fuel into sustainable energy, to make sure that families can afford to send their kids to college. They can't find the money because it is all going to the war and other defense spending. How to stop Bush going into Iran? They have introduced a resolution saying it would be unconstitutional without asking Congress first, and pressuring Condoleezza Rice. Congress is unlikely to support it. Iraq is costing $12 billion a month. It is obscene that our kids and grandkids will have to pay, with interest. Republicans: if you like the war, pay for the war. Why is it taking so long to train the Iraqi army? Need to look at profiteering. Trade practices. Ending CAFTA, NAFTA. Deficit. Foreign policy. Strategic interests? Enormous amount of work for the new president. Why not get Democrats to make Republicans filibuster? Harry Reid has a very slim majority.

  • Bumper Music: Me And My Gang, Rascal Flatts.
  • Bumper Music: The Way Life's Meant to Be, ELO.
  • Upcoming Event: Apr 12 Seattle, WA. Green Festival - The World's Largest Environmental Festival. Thom's doing a Cracking The Code talk at 4pm and a book signing.
  • Bumper Music: Mr. Radio, ELO.
  • What's going on with the airline industry? Jim Hightower was supposed to be in the studio yesterday, but his plane did not fly. Ellen's partner, a pilot, thinks airlines have been cutting corners and outsourcing maintenance, and it has caught up with them.
  • Guest: Dr. Joshua Schank, Director of Transportation Research, Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Transportation Policy Project. He's also an urban planner and advises Hillary Clinton on transportation policy. Rising fuel costs. The main cause is deregulation. The airline industry is not profitable. Are the airlines overreacting to try and put pressure for reduction of standards? Gross mismanagement to leave it to last moment to ground planes. Due to whistleblowers. The airline industry is cyclical, coming into recession, filling planes. It's bad for the country. We need rules for congestion, treatment of passengers, it won't happen this administration. They went too far with deregulation. Airlines may come to the new administration.
  • None of the candidates will be able to have an economic policy in a vacuum. Like health care plans, it will go out of the window once they get in. It may be better, Democrats have campaigned on middle of the road stuff, or it may be worse if McCain gets in. Bush's presidency has been very different to his campaign promises. There is an increasing progressive minority in the House and Senate, and increasing progressive majority in the country, increasing the pressure for rational economic policies. People are waking up to the realities. Economics is at the bottom of everything.
  • The majority of Democrats in the House voted against the Iraq war.
  • Bumper Music: Send It, ELO.
  • Bumper Music: You can leave your hat on, Randy Newman.
  • Article: We really want to see a naked chick in Cheney’s sunglasses. Perhaps Cheney was reading Thom's new article in Hustler Magazine.
  • Those with a vision, even if it only reflects policies, get elected and get most done. McCain needs a vision other than more of the same. Hillary needs to convert policy competence into vision. Obama is mostly campaigning on vision.
  • Clip:
    "While holding over 60 community meetings across my district this year, the most common question was — when will we get out of Iraq? It was asked by voters across the spectrum, veterans, students, parents, the prosperous, middle class, those still working towards their piece of the American dream. The process to bring the troops home must begin immediately. The President wants to stay the course, and a man who wants to replace him suggests we could be in Iraq for 100 years. But, Madam Speaker, history (BOOS) will not judge us kindly if we sacrifice four generations of Americans because of the folly of one. And, Madam Speaker, as a passionate as people are of getting out of Iraq, they’re also worried."
    Conservatives boo new congresswoman’s Iraq remarks. Jackie Speier.
  • Bumper Music: One Big Union, Matthew Grimm & The Red Smear (video).
  • Role of homeland security? It was a power grab. Hitler's heimat - homeland.
  • Clip: "Dank ihrer Führung wird Deutschland sein Ziel erreichen, Heimat zu sein. Heimat zu sein für alle Deutschen der Welt." Rudolph Hess, 1934 Nuremburg rally.
  • Clip:
    "The result after that was the Taliban -- first you had a civil war; then the Taliban came to power; and then they brought in Osama bin Laden in '96. And then in Afghanistan, they trained 20,000 terrorists, a bunch of whom came here and killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11."
    Interview of the Vice President by Sean Hannity of the Sean Hannity Show, April 10, 2008.
  • Clip:
    "Iraq sits on top of 10 percent of the world’s oil reserves, very significant reserves, second only to Saudi Arabia." Vice President Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, September 14, 2003.
  • To get al Qaeda out of Iraq, get the US out of Iraq, the Iraqis hate them.
  • Clip:
    "There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny."
    Franklin D. Roosevelt 27 June 1936, "A Rendezvous With Destiny" Speech to the Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • George Aiken of Vermont once said, "Declare victory and come home!" But Bush is more likely to copy Nixon and declare a secret plan, that McCain has one. watch for. JFK inherited the bay of pigs. Who can predict the October surprise?
  • Article: Levin says MI delegates will be seated.
  • A caller asked about the paranormal. Thom mentioned this story from "The Prophet's Way":
    A Prayer and an Answer
    A week or two before Christmas, I was sitting in my meditation chair about 3 a.m. on a snowy night. There was a huge window in front of me, more than six feet square, and it looked out on trees covered with a thick blanket of snow; wet flakes fell to the moonlit ground. The snow was coming and going, clouds breaking, and the moonlight became bright and dim as the clouds moved. I could smell the old house and the clean freshness of air that leaked from outside around the window frame. I'd been meditating for a few hours, and now was just sitting in the chair, looking out at the snow, feeling quite peaceful. I said a prayer of thanks, my favorite prayer. Then the walls of the room started to shimmer. I could see through the trees in front of me, and for miles around. My consciousness was liquid and filled with light, streaming out of me like light from a star, yet bringing back to my mind everything it touched. My heart was filled with an ecstatic joy, but there was also a small and remote part of my mind that knew that I wasn't breathing.

    I wondered if I was having a heart attack, if I was dying. I could feel the snow even though it was outside and I was indoors, could taste its cold moistness, could smell the trees, the distant exhaust of cars. It was as if I was everywhere in the world all at the same moment, with the things closest to me closer than those far away. Most vividly, I could feel the life in everything around me. And that rational part of my mind whispered at me again that my heart wasn’t beating.

    I turned my attention to my inert body, and suddenly the entire world collapsed into a single bright point, then I was back in my body looking out the window. My heart raced, I gasped for breath, and clutched the arms of the chair.

    "What was that?" I asked the air, although I intuitively knew that I’d finally found the answer to my lifelong question about the true nature of consciousness: I had just touched it.

    A wave of peace flowed over me, something close to the heart of God.

    "What should I do?" I said out loud;

    "Wait," came the answer, a voice deep within my mind.

    "I want to share this with others," I said. "I should sell my business and go out and teach again."

    "Wait," came the answer a second time.

    And so I waited, meditating daily and going on with my life and business, for the next three months.

  • Spirituality informs Thom's politics, perspective on others, right across the board. Thom told of when he was 7, visiting an older couple on a farm, looking, smelling, hearing, the grass, the birds, "it's all alive".
  • Statute of limitation on war crimes? Thom does not think so. They are aiming to pardon themselves on the way out.
  • Oligarchy.
  • Bicycling lanes. Portland has the most bicycle ways, 44 miles. Mixed use development.
  • Patriot act.
  • Ron Paul is said to want to reopen the investigation of 9/11. How about the 3 candidates? Ask them. Thom would like to see one, including into people dying because the EPA lied.
  • Bumper Music: What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong. Thanks.
  • Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News. Darfur pictures from Darfur on Thom's web site here and here and also videos, etc. over at Talk Radio News. Light news day. At the Pentagon Joint Chiefs chairman admiral Mike Mullen said that Iranian influence is increasing after Basra. Gates spoke of the threat of terrorism increasing in Afghanistan, other countries must send more NATO troops. She has asked Democrats who sat in on meetings if the administration is going to strike on Iran before the election, they say no, yet there are indications. The White House went full speed ahead on Pelosi, issued an update editorial in the SF Chronicle saying she is playing politics on Columbian free trade. Second stimulus package, 2 edged sword, if times get better it benefits conservative. If they step in and improve things before the election, they lose a plank against, but there is a human toll if they don't. Conference call this morning, 60% of the Housing bill in the Senate has nothing to do with the topic. Bernie voted for it because it will go to conference and be rewritten, and the House bill is a lot better; he hopes it will work out ok.

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