Thursday 09 April '09 show

  • Article: Just 53% Say Capitalism Better Than Socialism.
    "Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.

    The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better.

    Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.

    Investors by a 5-to-1 margin choose capitalism. As for those who do not invest, 40% say capitalism is better while 25% prefer socialism.

    There is a partisan gap as well. Republicans - by an 11-to-1 margin - favor capitalism. Democrats are much more closely divided: Just 39% say capitalism is better while 30% prefer socialism. As for those not affiliated with either major political party, 48% say capitalism is best, and 21% opt for socialism.

    "
  • Guest: Erich Pratt of Gun Owners of America, son of Larry. “Mexican Drug War + More Gun Control = Solution?” Guns in Mexican cartels, figures of those coming from the USA were not true - government were not giving us all to trace. Europe's murder rate compared to US. Gunman with AK47 killing liberals. "Socialism". Rasmussen poll. Glenn Beck, Michael Savage. Countries with strict gun control also have mass shootings.
  • Bumper Music: Wild Wild West, The Escape Club.
  • Guns and right wing demagogues, socialism rant.
  • Bumper Music: Happiness is a Warm Gun, Beatles (video).
  • Bumper Music: Crazy, Gnarls Barkley.
  • Clip:
    "If you don't think that some of these Marxist revolutionary courses that are being taught out in California, the Marxist revolutionary influences in our own unions, in our own businesses, in our own uh, you know, protests out in the streets -- if you think those are spontaneously happening by Americans, you're an idiot. "
    Glenn Beck’s latest conspiracy: Foreign nationals have ‘penetrated’ U.S., staging Marxist revolution..
  • Reinstate the ban on assault rifles. Depressed people are getting guns without checks and killing themselves.
  • Constitutional duty to own gun. Militias vs. standing armies.
  • Quote: "I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be". Thomas Jefferson.
  • Article: Harvard Derivatives Whiz Fired For Emailing Larry Summers About "Frightening" Trades?.
  • Guest: Whistleblower Iris Mack, MBA/PhD; previously was an astronaut semifinalist, an investment banker, an Enron Energy Trader and an MIT professor. Harvard Derivatives Whiz Fired For Emailing Larry Summers About “Frightening” Trades? She does not call herself a whistleblower; she was doing her job as a quantitative analyst, and it was a result. Email/fax direct to Larry Summers telling him.She's a Harvard alumnus. He was responsible for her being fired, because she did not pass on documents. Her site, phatmath.com, is not just for girls, she thinks a lot of current problems are due to math, finance illiteracy. The investments tanked, Harvard suffered. She was at Enron. Thoughts of Summers being Obama's advisor? Puzzling, he's been wrong on a lot of things, for example the environment, women in in science, derivatives. The group should be more diverse in skills. It's not science.
  • Bumper Music: I Wanna Be Rich, Calloway (video).
  • Clip:
    "We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."
    President Obama, Ankara, Turkey, April 6, 2009.
  • Clip:
    Sean Hannity: "You know, one of the things that every past president has done -- first of all, most -- Harry Truman, Wilson, our framers -- they all acknowledged that America is a Christian nation. But more importantly, when a president goes abroad and apologizes for America and doesn't tell the great story of America -- what makes us great, why so many people want to come here -- were you as offended as I was and Newt Gingrich obviously?"

    Karl Rove: "Yeah, look, America is a nation built on faith. I mean, we can be Christian, we can be Jew, we can be Mormon, we can be, you know, any variety of things. We're a country that prizes faith and believes that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights; among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    And to somehow go to Turkey, and in order to sort of identify yourself with this Turkish secular movement that began in the early part of the previous century, and trying to somehow making Turkey and America equivalent, is to deny each nation's reality. And Turkey is a country that adopted a certain attitude towards the role of religion in the public arena, and America has a different attitude. And we have historically had, you know, a robust presence of faith in our public square, and to deny that that's a reality is, you know, very strange, I think."
    Fox News figures outraged over Obama's "Christian nation" comment.

  • Turkey is a secular country. The USA is a secular country.
  • As Thom wrote in his "The Founders Confront Judge Moore" article....
    "On the topic of Washington's religious sentiments, Thomas Jefferson wrote in his personal diary entry for February 1, 1799, "when the clergy addressed General Washington on his departure from the Government, it was observed in their consultation, that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought they should so pen their address, as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not. They did so.

    "However," Jefferson noted to his diary, "the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly except that, which he passed over without notice." Jefferson concluded that Washington "never did say a word on the subject in any of his public papers, except in his valedictory letter to the Governors of the States, when he resigned his commission in the army, wherein he speaks of 'the benign influence of the Christian religion.' I know that Gouverneur Morris, who pretended to be in his secrets [in Washington's confidence] and believed himself to be so, has often told me that General Washington believed no more of that [fundamentalist Christian] system than he himself did."

    In fact, President George Washington supervised the language of a treaty with African Muslims that explicitly stated that the United States was a secular nation.

    The Treaty With Tripoli, worked out under Washington's guidance and then signed into law by John Adams in 1797, reads: "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,--as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,--and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

    But for the Founders this wasn't just an issue of being Christians or not. Just as they were opposed to warlords taking control of the government and thus took the ability to make war out of the hands of the president; just as they opposed economic forces from taking control of the government and thus excluded the word "corporation" from the Constitution so companies could be closely watched by the states and wouldn't be able to corrupt national officials; so, too, they opposed religious leaders from gaining any access whatsoever to the levers of political power or intermingling in any way with state business.

    For example, on February 21, 1811, President James Madison vetoed a bill passed by Congress that authorized government payments to a church in Washington, DC to help the poor. Faith-based initiatives were a clear violation, in Madison's mind, of the doctrine of separation of church and state, and could lead to a dangerous transfer of political power to religious leaders.

    In Madison's mind, caring for the poor was a public and civic duty - a function of government - and must not be allowed to become a hole through which churches could reach and seize political power or the taxpayer's purse. Funding a church to provide for the poor would establish a "legal agency" - a legal precedent - that would break down the wall of separation the founders had put between church and states to protect Americans from religious zealots gaining political power.

    Thus, Madison said in his veto message to Congress, he was striking down the proposed law, "Because the bill vests and said incorporated church an also authority to provide for the support of the poor, and the education of poor children of the same;..." which, Madison said, "would be a precedent for giving to religious societies, as such, a legal agency in carrying into effect a public and civil duty."

    Thomas Jefferson was perhaps the most outspoken of the Founders who saw religious leaders seizing political power as a naked threat to American democracy. One of his most well known quotes is carved into the stone of the awe-inspiring Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny imposed upon the mind of man." Modern religious leaders who aspire to political power often cite it as proof that Jefferson was a Bible-thumping Christian.

    What's missing from the Jefferson memorial (and almost all who cite the quote), however, is the context of that statement, the letter and circumstance from which it came.

    When Jefferson was Vice President, just two months before the election of 1800 in which he would become President, he wrote to his good friend, the physician Benjamin Rush, who started out as an orthodox Christian and ended up, later in his life, a Deist and Unitarian. Here, in a most surprising context, we find the true basis of one of Jefferson's most famous quotes:

    "DEAR SIR, - ... I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten," Jefferson wrote, noting that he knew to discuss the topic would add fuel to the fires of electoral politics swirling all around him. "I do not know that it would reconcile the genus irritabile vatum [the angry poets] who are all in arms against me. Their hostility is on too interesting ground to be softened.

    "The delusion ...on the clause of the Constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists.

    "The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, and they [the preachers] believe that any portion of power confided to me [such as his being elected President], will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough too in their opinion."

    Thus began a long and thoughtful correspondence - mostly about religion - between Jefferson and Dr. Rush. In later years, Jefferson would put together what is now called "The Jefferson Bible," in which he deleted all the miracles from the New Testament and presented Jesus to readers as an inspired philosopher. His Jefferson Bible is still in print, and well received, if amazon.com sales and readers' comments are any indication.

    In his autobiography, Jefferson wrote an interesting historical footnote about the religious leaders seeking political power he confronted head-on when he authored the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and who the other Framers confronted when they submitted the First Amendment, which specified, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

    Speaking of the Virginia law he authored, which was the inspiration for the First Amendment, he noted, "Where the preamble [to the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom] declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word 'Jesus Christ,' so that it should read, 'a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.' The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination."

    But it wasn't just religious tolerance that was the issue for Jefferson - it was preventing any one religion from claiming it was uniquely the American religion, and then using that claim to grasp at political power. Thus, secular government must allow even pagans and pantheists to coexist, while at the same time rigorously preventing any of them from gaining power over it. In his "Notes On Virginia," Jefferson laid it out clearly: "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." ...

    "Sir Matthew Hale lays it down in these words," wrote Jefferson to Cooper, "'Christianity is parcel of the laws of England.'"

    But, Jefferson rebuts, it couldn't be. Just looking at the timeline of English history demonstrated it was impossible: "But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first Christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here, then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it....

    "We might as well say that the Newtonian system of philosophy is a part of the common law, as that the Christian religion is," wrote Jefferson. "...In truth, the alliance between Church and State in England has ever made their judges accomplices in the frauds of the clergy; and even bolder than they are." ...

    As Thomas Jefferson wrote in a June 5, 1824 letter to Major John Cartwright, "Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground [than the foundation of English or Biblical law]. It presented us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased. We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature, and found them engraved on our hearts."

    "
  • Bumper Music: Drivin' My Life Away, Eddie Rabbit.
  • Article: The Elephant in the Room: Obama vs. United States, Rick Santorum.
    "Watching President Obama apologize last week for America's arrogance - before a French audience that owes its freedom to the sacrifices of Americans - helped convince me that he has a deep-seated antipathy toward American values and traditions."
  • If the French had not lent us the money to fight the revolution, there would be no United States of America.
  • Pandering, incitement. Turkey. Kurds. Civics stripped from schools. Moses lived in Egypt, they had laws. code of Hammurabai. Indigenous people have similar laws - don't steal, kill.
  • Bumper Music: Lawyers, Guns and Money, Warren Zevon (video)
  • Guest: Successful advertiser segment: Rachel Maloney.
    "Natural Built Home was founded in October of 2005. Our mission was to create a one-stop shop for the safest and most sustainable building supplies. We initially provided these products to our customers on the world wide web through our e-commerce website. Our first brick and mortar showroom opened in Minneapolis on Earth Day in 2006. Since then we have continued to seek out the best green building products to bring to our customers. We want to thank all of our customers for making our first year a success. We look forward to helping you with your new projects in the near future! "
    She has a degree in genetics, worked in medical businesses. Everything Green Radio radio. Minnesota.
  • Book: "Scamming God", Morgan Ibarra.
    "In 1851, only ten per cent of the people of the North wanted to abolish slavery. A year later, all that changed. Uncle Tom's Cabin had become a worldwide bestseller. The reason for its popularity was simple. It portrayed blacks as fully human.

    Rather than humanize a race, SCAMMING GOD humanizes a savior. It begins in 1976 and vibrates with the drift and thrust of the ambitions of our era and how they effect a young woman who gets knocked up by a con man, then gets even by pulling the mask off his Enron-like swindle, corporate law and conservatism.

    "
  • History of derivatives, came out of physics, chaos theory. It's so chaotic that even if regulated it would still misbehave.
  • Article: Protecting kids while protecting free speech, Stephen Balkam.
    "The most high-profile case is that of Megan Meier, a troubled Missouri teen who took her life after being harassed online by the mother of a classmate pretending to be a teenage boy. This case may be more unique than what most teens face because the person behind the bullying was an adult. What is also different is that Lori Drew, the perpetrator of the computer hoax, was not charged with a crime related to her bullying behavior; instead, she was charged under a “federal statute designed to combat computer crimes that was used to prosecute what were essentially abuses of a user agreement on a social networking site” (Jennifer Steinhauer, “Verdict in MySpace Suicide Case,” The New York Times, Nov. 26, 2008). The prosecutor in the Meier case may have been overreaching by using this computer hacking law to punish bullying.

    U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) introduced legislation in 2008 to criminalize cyberbullying. The Megan Meier Cyber-bullying Prevention Act called for a fine or imprisonment of up two years for cyberbullying (H.R. 6123, 110th Cong. 2nd Sess. (2008)). This legislation, which was referred to a House subcommittee but failed to pass, ensured that only “severe, repeated, and hostile behavior” should be punished. The bill, however, went too far by making imprisonment a punishment for cyberbullying.

    "
  • Linda Sanchez, the Democrat from California, has introduced legislation concerning cyberbullying. Will it harm our rights? Between the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, which may allow the president to shut down parts of the Internet, and the cyberbullying issue, we may be on the edge of a big big brother issue in the US. 13 year old student Ryan Halligan in Vermont was cyberbullied and committed suicide in 2003. The legislature passed a law against cyberbullying. The Megan Meier case. Thom remembers Dennis, the neighborhood bully who went after him, but would he have wanted him put in jail for 2 years? Message board Internet stalker. We already have laws against defamation, slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and stalking. Rather than criminalizing cyberbullying and putting more restrictions on the Internet, wouldn't it be better to start teaching digital citizenship skills in schools? Teach how to protect your private information, block harmful information, report abuse. They don't know how to balance a checkbook or change a diaper, either. We already have enough laws. Slippery slope. As we criminalize more behavior on the Internet, w e are handing to the Leura Canary's of the law the power to selectively enforce laws against people they do not like. The constitution is a charter of negatives rights, of restrictions on government power.
  • Article: Bill Would Grant President Unprecedented Cyber-security Powers.
    "The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 introduced in the Senate would allow the president to shut down private Internet networks. The legislation also calls for the government to have the authority to demand security data from private networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access."
  • Bumper Music: After the Hurricane, Jazmine Sullivan (video).
  • Anonymity on the net. Thom ran forums on CompuServe, and has had a message board with his site for years.
  • Bumper Music: Big Yellow Taxi, Counting Crows. (video).
  • Bumper Music: Dizzy, Tommy Roe.
  • Article: Tofu license plate too foul for Colo. DMV. "ILVTOFU".
  • School bullying, you have a right to education without it getting in the way. It's not what happens to us, it is how we respond, we can overprotect kids and ourselves so that we become less resilient. Hawaii study on migrant workers who could not go anywhere. Kids of severe poverty and abuse, as adults, either became slightly more fragile or substantially more resilient.
  • Bumper Music: Democracy is coming to the USA, Leonard Cohen.
  • Cyber sexual bullying. Sending naked pictures should be illegal. Kids sending pictures are getting done for porn.
  • Article: President Obama Announces the Creation of a Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record.
    "Today, the President, along with Secretary Gates and Secretary Shinseki, announced that the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have taken the first step in creating a Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record. Currently, there is no comprehensive system in place that allows for a streamlined transition of health care records between DOD and the VA. Both Departments will work together to define and build a system that will ultimately contain administrative and medical information from the day an individual enters military service throughout their military career, and after they leave the military."
  • Victoria Jones of Talk Radio News. Piracy, the president refused to answer a question at a refinancing event. Biden at another event, an aide did try to get the press out, but then Biden started to answer it. He said it was not going to be solved here. CEI says should send letters authorizing mercenary navy. Blackwell, who changed name to Xe, going into protection of ships. Obama, Gates and Shinseki, joint lifetime health record. DoD budget increases about 4% - Republicans saying it is a cut.

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