April 15 2008 show notes

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

Tuesday 15 April '08 show

  • It's tax day.
  • thomhartmann.com is down while it is being transferred to a more robust server to cater for the extra traffic. Use thomhartmann.org to get to the chat room.
  • Article: Obama would ask his AG to "immediately review" potential of crimes in Bush White House, Will Bunch. Obama said,
    "What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve.

    So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General -- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important-- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing between really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity. You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it.


    Thom read a number of right wing comments from the blog.

  • What would it solve? Thom:
    It would solve things like the future possibility or prospect of a president again lying us into a war. It would solve the future possibility of an entire party involving themselves in caging; in stealing millions of votes. It would prevent a future president or administration from engaging in summary executions and assassinations. It would prevent a future administration from violations of the Presidential Records Act. We now know that there's over five million emails that were required by law to be kept that this administration not only "lost" and then "vanished" but then they actually took the computers out and had them destroyed. they crushed the hard drives so it would be impossible for somebody from the FBI forensic hard drive guy, whatever, to find the information. You tell me that's not a crime?

    Extraordinary renditions and torture. We have 108 people that we know of who have been murdered while under "harsh interrogation", and John Yoo is still walking around loose in Berkeley? Give me a break! The violation, this is the willful violations of habeas corpus, and then not only that coming along and passing a law to repeal habeas corpus when it's in the constitution that it can only be suspended during time of rebellion or invasion? Torture at home? These are against war crime laws in the United States, against American laws, not to mention international laws. What about Sara Taylor and Rove and their violations of the Hatch Act? I mean, there's no end to the crimes of this administration. If Barack Obama is going to look into them, if he's going to prosecute them, I salute him.

  • Bumper Music: Stuck in the Middle With You, Stealers Wheel.
  • Clip:
    "I don’t find a lot of people in rural America, I certainly don’t find the dominant view to be — “I’m so bitter that I’m going to hold on to my gun or I’m gonna” — You know, it was almost Marxian in this they cling to their religion. I mean, you know, it’s sort of like it’s the opiate of the masses."
    Echoing Kristol, Rove Says Obama’s ‘Bitter’ Comments Were ‘Almost Marxian’.
  • Clip:
    [Napolitano]: "Hey Sen. Lieberman, you know Barack Obama, is he a Marxist as Bill Kristol says might be the case in today’s New York Times? Is he an elitist like your colleague Hillary Clinton says he is?"
    [Lieberman]: "Well, you know, I must say that’s a good question. I know him now for a little more than three years since he came into the Senate and he’s obviously very smart and he’s a good guy. I will tell ya that during this campaign, I’ve learned some things about him, about the kind of environment from which he came ideologically. And I wouldn’t…I’d hesitate to say he’s a Marxist, but he’s got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America."
    Lieberman: It’s ‘a good question’ to ask if Obama is ‘a Marxist.’.
  • Bumper Music: Made to Love, Toby Mac.
  • Clip:
    "Well, you know, I read, kind of, the characterizations of the memo, particularly when they dropped it out in the middle of his race. I'm not sure who ``they dropped it out'' is, but I'm not suggesting that you all dropped it out there. And somebody said, ``Well, you know, we had made up our mind to go to use military force to deal with Saddam.'' There's nothing farther from the truth. My conversations with the prime minister was how could we do this peacefully, what could we do. And this meeting, evidently it took place in London, happened before we even went to the United Nations -- or I went to the United Nations."
    George Bush, 7 June 2005, about the "Downing Street Memo".
  • Clip:
    "But in the Middle Ages people were convinced there were witches. They looked for them and they certainly found them. This is a bit risky. I think we were more judicious, saying we want to have real evidence." Hans Blix on 'BBC Radio 4's Today programme', 18 September, 2003.
  • Clip:
    "The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States." George W. Bush, July 14, 2003.
  • Clip:
    "Osama bin Laden doesn't get to decide. The American people decide. I decided. The right action was in Iraq."
    George Bush, 30 September 2003, Candidates' First Debate in the Presidential Campaign.
  • Clip:
    "You said we're headed to war in Iraq -- I don't know why you say that. I hope we're not headed to war in Iraq. I'm the person who gets to decide, not you. I hope this can be done peacefully. We've got a military presence there to remind Saddam Hussein, however, that when I say we will lead a coalition of the willing to disarm him if he chooses not to disarm, I mean it."
    George W. Bush, December 31, 2002, President Discusses Iraq and North Korea with Reporters.
  • Clip:
    "Your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells." President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours, March 17, 2003.
  • Thom retold this story:
    "When I was working in Russia some years ago, a friend in Kaliningrad told me a perhaps apocryphal story about Nikita Khrushchev, who, following Stalin's death, gave a speech to the Politburo denouncing Stalin's policies. A few minutes into Khrushchev's diatribe, somebody shouted out, "Why didn't you challenge him then, the way you are now?"

    The room fell silent, as Khrushchev angrily swept the audience with his glare. "Who said that?" he asked in a reasoned voice. Silence.

    "Who said that?" Khrushchev demanded, leaning forward. Silence.

    Pounding his fist on the podium to accent each word, he screamed, "Who - said - that?" Still no answer.

    Finally, after a long and strained silence, the elected politicians in the room fearful to even cough, a corner of Khrushchev's mouth lifted into a smile.

    "Now you know," he said with a chuckle, "why I did not speak up against Stalin when I sat where you now sit.

    First They Came For The Terrorists....
  • Bumper Music: Business As Usual, Eagles.
  • It looks like Berlusconi is winning. He's 71, same as McCain.
  • Article: Fed up with politics, man eats vote.
  • Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, October 2, 2002.
  • "Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

    (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

    (2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations,

    Presidential Letter to House and Senate, March 19, 2003.
  • Full text: UN security council resolution 1441 on Iraq.
  • Article: Bush sends Iraq war letter to Congress, March 19, 2003.
  • Guest: Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform. Debt. Cut taxes. Thom focused on the tax side (it is tax day), he says it is spending. Reagan cut taxes, more revenue came in, but Thom said there is always more revenue as the economy grows. Unemployment, statistics. He said Europe cheats by putting people into university. H1-B visas. Discouraged workers not counted. Government spending too much on sugar subsidies, farm subsidies. The Davis Bacon Act raises costs and is racist. Thom wants to cut military spending, Iraq and bases elsewhere. Norquist is for closing the bases the Pentagon says they do not need. Clinton closed down the process of closing bases. Thom suggested raising taxes to equal costs, and then people could decide how to react. Europeans better standard of living, happier? Transparency on state contracts.
  • Article: Fears that Russian oil output has hit its peak.
  • Article: Wachovia warns on outlook for US.
  • Article: "Americans for Tax Reform today released a tax policy matrix which compares the competing tax visions of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on the one hand, and Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) on the other. “Every April 15th, Americans struggle to pay their taxes,” said ATR President Grover Norquist. “This Fall, taxpayers get to choose what future April 15ths will look like. The choice could not be starker.”"
    McCain Hill-Bama
    Top Tax Rate 35% 39.6%
    Lowest Tax Rate 10% 15%
    Capital Gains Rate 15% 20%
    Dividends Rate 15% 39.6%
    Death Tax 15%/$10 million 55%/$1 million
    Marriage Penalty None Under $150,000 Full from Dollar One
    Child Tax Credit $1000 $500
    AMT Rate 0% (Repealed) 28%
    Self-Employment Rate 37.9% 54.9%
    Corporate Income Tax 25% 35%
    Business Infrastructure Full Expensing Long and Complex

    Just How Much More Will You Pay in Taxes Under a President Obama/Clinton than a President McCain?

  • Joe, an ex pat in Paris, France called. Comparison of taxes and quality of life and ability to immigrate. They would be daft to move back. It does not occur to a lot of Americans to move. The tax rate is higher, salaries are higher, working hours are less.
  • Bumper Music: Play Something Country, Brooks & Dunn.
  • Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News. Washington is getting ready for a visit by the Pope. Bush is going to meet his plane - a first. McCain was at Pittsburgh making populist remarks about bank CEOs, his proposals, requires couples earning so much to pay more for Medicaid, etc. He wants to means test it, make it welfare, so it is easier to cut or scrap it. He suggests suspending the gas tax. How would he pay for the roads, bridges? This afternoon Jay Tamboli is at a hearing on the national security letters, the ACLU is testifying; the FBI writes a letter instead of getting a warrant. Gates and Rice about non-military instruments of national power. We must help strategic partner nations build their own security forces. Tightening rules on overseas contractors. Pelosi talk, longer deployments are causing lot more PTSD, she called it the president's war. Obama on immediately investigating the administration. Michael Ratner has said that Bush won't be welcome in a lot of European capitals.
  • The corporate media did not cover Hillary saying that an elitist image is what caused Al Gore to lose, and Barack saying he won, at the faith forum.
  • Article: "A Tale of Three Lawyers".
  • Guest: Scott Horton, Harper's magazine. "A Tale of Three Lawyers". He's in Belgium today. Matthew Diaz stood up for the obligation to reveal the names of detainees to at least the Red Cross. They imprisoned and bankrupted him, and now are trying to strip him of his law license. He'll put up contact details at Harpers.org, the "no comment" blog. Move to get Yoo kicked out of Berkeley. 6 may hearings by John Conyers about torture lawyers.
  • Bumper Music: Crazy, Alanis Morissette.
  • Bumper Music: Wake Up America, Bob Wickline.
  • Article: Turks 'have to adapt to a new way of thinking'.
  • 60 Minutes covered surveys over the past 30 years showing that the people of Denmark are the happiest. Thom plans to do the show from there some time in summer as a contrast from Darfur / Southern Sudan.
  • Bumper Music: Taxes Nashville Session Players.
  • Clip: "I've always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'." Ronald W. Reagan.
  • Guest: Congressman Timothy "Tim" Bishop (D-NY). Co-author of the Beach Protection Act. Vote soon. Reagan's "nine most terrifying words" - tell that to Bear Stearns, New Orleans. The commons. The pledge of allegiance - indivisibles means we all are in this together. Preamble - 6 things.

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