June 11 2008 show notes

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

Wednesday 11 June '08 show

  • War, economy. It's always the economy, stupid. Oil.
  • Book: Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, Kevin Phillips.
  • Guest: Congressman Peter DeFazio. Bloggers spamming for the oil industry. Refineries, the industry has been colluding to close them. Speculation. Enron loophole. They say they need more leases, but they aren't using all they have. Kevin Phillips, book "Bad money". They are keeping oil prices high and blaming Pelosi. Transcript.
  • Bumper Music: Puff the Magic Dragon, Peter, Paul and Mary (video).
  • Article: Chrysler Building On The Block: Sovereign Arab Fund To Pay $800m.
  • Thom:
    Let me let me just get right down to what's going on here. I mean, who are the fat cats killing our economy, how are they doing it and why? And there's a bunch of pieces to this and there's a bunch of interlocking pieces to this, frankly, and I think it's really important to point them out. One of them, you know, Peter DeFazio just said, "okay, the strategy", and I thought this was fascinating, and he pointed out that apparently Newt Gingrich is now running the Republican strategy machine, which makes perfect sense.

    The strategy is to attach to every piece of legislation the "Pelosi premium", to get that word out there in everybody's mind, to repeat it over and over and over again, and to try to keep bringing this back to "oh, it's all the Democrats' fault that the price of oil is high because they're not drilling", because we have not opened up ANWR. When in fact the majority of the oil leases out there are not even being used by the oil companies. All this oil under the ground, I mean not that it necessarily should be, I'm, you know, frankly not an advocate of burning more oil, but in terms of the price, this is a manipulation. This is a system that is being manipulated. Add to that, for example, things like John McCain and Airbus, this is all about ripping off as much as possible from America, from Americans of America. This is an ad about John McCain and the Airbus contract that is running:
    Some straight talk about John McCain. A French company, Airbus, and an American company, Boeing, were competing for a contract worth up to 100 billion dollars. Seven of McCain's staff and fund raisers lobbied for Airbus. McCain got more money from Airbus's US executives than any other politician. And guess what. John McCain intervened which helped Airbus get that Pentagon contract. Tell John McCain to kick those lobbyists off the "straight talk express" (video).

    Good luck, good luck that that might happen. So here we have, you know, John McCain and his lobbyists on his campaign committee, on his staff, trying to blow a contract out of the water, an American firm, Boeing, and instead hand it off to Airbus, a European company. Why? Well, obviously, because they're making a whole pile of money off this, another piece of this thing.

    But the bottom line is there's something much larger than that. And I think something emblematic of it is, for example, today, this in the New York Post: "The latest Big Apple trophy being coveted by oil-rich sovereign wealth funds is the landmark Chrysler Building." The Abu Dhabi Investment Council is going to buy the Art Deco treasure that has defined the Midtown skyline since 1930. This follows last month's sale of the GM Building and three other properties for $3.95 billion to a group of investors including the wealth funds of Kuwait and Qatar. And it goes on and on and on.

    The bottom line is since, basically since Reagan, we've seen home mortgages go from in the neighborhood of a little over one trillion dollars, that's the debt of all the American people. We've seen home mortgages go from that to over eight trillion dollars right now. So, you now, I have cons and they say "you know, the economy is great, just look around, look at all the houses that people own". No. People don't own their houses any more. People don't own their cars anymore, people are leasing their cars, basically renting them. Consumer debt has gone from two trillion dollars under, you know, before the end of Reagan, this is 1987, to today over eleven trillion dollars. We're broke.

    National debt. The national debt when Reagan came into office just in the neighborhood of, you know, one and a half, two trillion dollars. He drove that thing up to around five. Now we're pushing nine trillion dollars. The Republican 'borrow and spend' philosophy has bankrupted America, but perhaps more important is the balance of trade deficit. People don't get that there's a difference and it sounds esoteric but there's a difference between the national debt and the balance of trade deficit. The national debt is how much money our government spends more than it takes in, OK? Just plain old debt. That's like you're spending money on your credit card and you don't have the paycheck coming in. That's the national debt.

    The balance of payments is the amount of stuff that we're buying from other countries that isn't balanced by stuff we sell to them. So if we buy a trillion dollars worth of stuff from other countries, and that amount, by the way, in 2006 the trade deficit 765 billion dollars. When when Bush came into office was only in the neighborhood of 300 billion dollars. It's more than doubled. That money, when we buy stuff from foreign countries, they're now sitting on their money and where can they spend dollars? Here. That's it.

    So it's like going to somebody and saying, "hey, you know, I'd like to that big screen TV for 5,000 bucks, you know, a big super deluxe one". And, you know, "but I don't have your cash to give you, so I'll tell you, what I'll give you my front porch". Then you go to somebody else and you say, "you know, I'd like to buy that car, I'll give you my bedroom or I'll give you my living room." Basically what we have been doing is we've been selling off America. Foreign ownership in the United States now over two trillion dollars worth of American companies have been sold off to foreign firms. 2,071,961 million dollars worth of American companies sold off; all the profits, all the taxes now going overseas.

  • Bumper Music: Five to One, the Doors.
  • Bumper Music: Crazy, Gnarls Barkley.
  • Article: McCain Vows to Campaign in All Thirteen Colonies: Kicks Off Contest in Dominion of Virginia.
  • Bumper Music: Ghost Chickens in the Sky, Sean Morey.
  • Article: New York City Spa Offers New Skin Care Geisha Facial Treatment "Bird Poop Facial".
  • Contest. Before the last segment of the show, go to thomhartmann.com and post a comment in response to today's "On the Program" entry. The winner gets a signed copy of screwed.
    The winner (announced the next day) was Jgmdesign for:
    Hi Tom, Shawn,

    Please send ME the book "screwed", because I'm one of those middle class sub-prime mortgage holders who's seen his payment double in the last year, as my equity sinks deep into the negative. I feel like a veteran of this undeclared war, and I want to know what I can do about it!!!

    Bush-whacked in Rhode Island, hopin to whack back.


  • Article: Gazprom warns oil could hit $250.
  • Bumper Music: What's Bush Got To Do With It?, Us the Band.
  • Shelly Drobny, co-founder of Air America, suggests that Obama should announce a Manhattan-style project to get America and the world off oil. Speculators will freak out. Panic selling goes faster than panic buying.
  • What's going on? Who are the fat cats killing our economy, and why?
  • Article: Art School Displays Painting of Crucifix in Man's Posterior.
  • Guest: CNS Editor-in-Chief Terence Jeffrey. Cooper Union and the art display; disgusting art involving a crucifix and a rosary. Blasphemy. The school does not get a direct grant but is supported with tax dollars. Funding of the arts, architecture. The right to free expression.
  • Visitors to the Olympics will be searched for information, for example about the Dalai Lama. Reporters Without Borders.
  • Bumper Music: Rich Man's War, Steve Earle.
  • We're looking at the possibility of another war, and to what extent might that be a war crime an impeachable offense? Dennis Kucinich yesterday in the House of Representatives reading articles of impeachment against George W. Bush.
  • Book: Fire-Breathing Liberal: How I Learned to Survive (and Thrive) in the Contact Sport of Congress.
  • Clip:
    [Thom]: There's no UN provision allowing us to attack Iran at the moment. This would be a war crime if we were to bomb Iran.

    [Bolton]: Of course it wouldn't. That's ridiculous. Article 51 of the UN charter states that nothing in the charter is intended to contradict the inherent right of individual and collective self defense. So we would be operating under the inherent right recognized right in the UN Charter.

    [Thom]: So you believe the possibility that they could enrich to react, to bomb grade, represents sufficient threat that we can invoke self defense ... preemptive strike?

    [cross talk]

    [Bolton]: You need to read the latest IAEA report; all public information that the IAEA has on Iranian work with shaped charges of high explosives clearly intended for a weaponization capability. There's very little doubt what they're aiming toward.

    [Thom]: OK. Ambassador, former ambassador, US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. He's working with the American Enterprise Institute, aei.org... check out his writings. He's a senior fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Ambassador, thanks so much for dropping by.

    Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, Thom Hartmann Program, 10 June 2008.
  • "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security."
    Article 51 of the UN charter.
  • Guest: Congressman Robert Wexler (D - FL). Author of the forthcoming book "Fire Fire-Breathing Liberal: How I Learned to Survive (and Thrive) in the Contact Sport of Congress". Congressman Kucinich's Bush impeachment resolution introduced yesterday. He's the only one who supported it. Yesterday John Bolton was on the program and Thom was trying to get a sense of what this administration is going to do before Bush leaves office. And he was talking about how Iran was a great threat. Clip of Bolton and Thom. On Thursday 5 June 2008 Thom did the show live from the United Nations and had Tracy Brown, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) liaison and public information officer to the UN, on the show. She said that there's no evidence that there's weaponization going on. Article 51 of the UN charter.

    [Wexler]: "Well, I think there a couple of important points. Number one, Iran is in fact a grave danger both to the United States and to several of our allies including Israel in the region. We do know that Iran continues to enrich uranium in violation of its international obligations. We also know that Iran is the leading sponsor of terror in terms of their financial support with respect to Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian rejectionist organizations.

    Having said that, though, however, the best course of action in my mind is for the United States to engage in the strongest, most principled type of diplomacy possible with the aim of economically isolating Iran and preventing Iran from getting the financial resources that it needs in its energy sector which is what propels their economy. And make it so that Iran becomes isolated not just from the United States, but from Europe and then ultimately from China and Russia to the degree that we are able to persuade them.

    The proposal for an international consortium to run their enrichment facilities within Iran, totally transparent.

    [Wexler]: "Yes, the Russians have proposed that the Europeans negotiating on our behalf have proposed a number of different items, none of which thus far have been successful and none of which have resulted in the type of economic isolation that we desperately need to procure. And the problem that we have under the Bush Administration policy, being very candid, is that its economic incentives have not yet worked. We haven't created the type of isolation we need to create. And we're going to be left, unless we change course, with two very difficult choices, which is, accept Iran as a nuclear power, which for me is an unacceptable reality, or use military power which is also fraught with enormous problems."

    If they were to do a preemptive strike before Bush leaves office, Congress ought to be consulted with and ought to either approve or disapprove beforehand. That is an act of war and Congress needs to be engaged with it.

    Earlier on the show Congressman DeFazio said why not aggressively try to prosecute these guys next year.

    [Wexler]: "Well, first of all I applaud what Congressman Kucinich has done because the Bush Administration has systematically abused the power of the presidency. That is what we are learning. Not just in one instance or two, but several, specifically with respect to the war in Iraq we are learning more and more about the manner in which the Bush Administration falsified the march to war or way in which they fabricated evidence, the way in which the ignored evidence that disagreed with what they were attempting to do. We know that.

    The Bush Administration may have illegally authorized a spying program not on terrorists but on American citizens, We know that they may have illegally ordered the torture of people detained by American officials that violates both American law as well as international law. We also know that they may have taken money that was appropriated for the war in Afghanistan, the war we need to win, and they may have subverted it to us it to prepare for the war in Iraq that of course was a discretionary matter. And that in fact may be against the law.

    Impeachment does not preclude prosecution.

    [Wexler]: "The constitution is very clear in its division of responsibility. And where we stand today is that the Congress, in my view, the House, particularly. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee we have a constitutional responsibility to oversee the administration. And part of that oversight is to investigate and inquire about constitutional violations. And that's why we need a hearing or two or several with respect to these kinds of issues. I'm actually quite pleased that chairman John Conyers has called Scott McClellan in to the House Judiciary Committee and he apparently will be appearing on June the twentieth. Scott McClellan can shed some light on several of these issues, particularly with respect to the outing of the covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. Also with respect to the firing of US attorneys. Did the Bush Administration violate the law? "

    Comparison with the Watergate hearings and the lack of support to impeach Nixon before the facts came out during the hearings.

    [Wexler]: "And the other point that I would like to make, Congress can do more than one thing at a time. Yes, we're in the midst of a very difficult economic time. People are having very traumatic problems with respect to their health care, schools need a lot of assistance, we need an enormous investment in infrastructure in our country and we need to get our troops out of Iraq. But there's no reason in the world why the House Judiciary Committee can't conduct the kind of oversight that the constitution requires while we address these very important issues."
  • Watch Thom during the show on ThomVision.
  • Would Chuck Hagel be a good vice presidential nominee?
  • Bumper Music: Radio, Paul Wright.
  • Article: McCain On When Troops Can Come Home From Iraq:

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