Tuesday 28 April '09 show

  • Guest: Dr. Darius Rejali, professor of political science at Reed College. The author of "Torture and Democracy". How torture affects the tortured, the torturers, those who give the order to torture, society and democracy. Transcript.
  • Bumper Music: Chicago, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (video).
  • Bumper Music: The Boy in the Bubble, Paul Simon.
  • Article: Democrats' 'Battered Wife Syndrome', Robert Parry, author of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush.
    "In recent years, the Washington political dynamic has often resembled an abusive marriage, in which the bullying husband (the Republicans) slaps the wife and kids around, and the battered wife (the Democrats) makes excuses and hides the ugly bruises from outsiders to keep the family together.

    So, when the Republicans are in a position of power, they throw their weight around, break the rules, and taunt: “Whaddya gonna do ‘bout it?”

    Then, when the Republicans do the political equivalent of passing out on the couch, the Democrats use their time in control, tiptoeing around, tidying up the house and cringing at every angry grunt from the snoring figure on the couch.

  • Robert Parry's "Democrats' 'Battered Wife Syndrome'" article - Thom has written and spoken on the show on that theme. Doris Kearns Goodwin (who wrote about Abraham Lincoln), Jon Meacham (who wrote about Andrew Jackson) talked about Obama's presidency so far on 'Meet the Press', April 26, 2009. Partisanship was very different prior to Nixon. Vietnam. LBJ tapes. Jim Jefford's shift. Nixon was running for election, LBJ was president and had a deal with the Vietnamese to end the war which would mean Humphrey would probably become president. Nixon's people told the Vietnamese that they would get a better deal with them if they waited until after the election.
  • Clip:
    President Johnson: "Some of our folks, including some of the old China lobby, are going to the Vietnamese embassy and saying please notify the president that if he'll hold out 'til November the second they could get a better deal. Now, I'm reading their hand, Everett. I don't want to get this in the campaign."

    Sen. Dirksen: "That's right".

    President Johnson: "And they oughtn't to be doin' this. This is treason".

    Sen. Dirksen: "I know".


    President Johnson: "And my judgment is that Nixon ought to play it just like he has all along, that I want to see peace come the first day we can, that it's not going to affect the election one way or the other. The conference is not even going to be held until after the election. They have stopped shelling the cities. They have stopped going across the DMZ. We've had 24 hours of relative peace. Now, if Nixon keeps the South Vietnamese away from the conference, well, that's going to be his responsibility. Up to this point, that's why they're not there. I had them signed on board until this happened".

    Sen. Dirksen: "Yeah, OK".

    President Johnson: "Well, now, what do you think we ought to do about it?".

    Sen. Dirksen: "Well, I better get in touch with him, I think, and tell him about it.".

    President Johnson: "I think you better tell him that his people are saying to these folks that they oughtn't to go through with this meeting. Now if they don't go through with the meeting, it's not going to be me that's hurt. I think it's going to be whoever is elected, and may be--my guess--him. And I think they're making a very serious mistake, and I don't want to say this, and you're the only one I'm going to say it to.".


    President Johnson: "I know this--that they're contacting a foreign power in the middle of a war".

    Sen. Dirksen: "That's a mistake.".

    President Johnson: "And it's a damn bad mistake. Now I don't want to say so, and you're the only man that I have confidence in to tell them. But you better tell them they better quit playing with it. And the day after the election I'll sit down with all of you and try to work it out and be helpful. But they oughtn't to knock out this conference.".


    President Johnson: "You just tell them their people are messing around in this thing, and if they don't want it on the front pages, they better quit it".
    Phone conversation between President Lyndon Johnson and Sen. Everett Dirksen (R) Illinois, November 2, 1968.

  • Bumper Music: Go Walking Down There , Chris Isaak (video).
  • Democrats began wimping out with LBJ not exposing Republican crimes. He had audio tape proof.
  • President Johnson: "Well, Dean [Secretary of State Dean Rusk] just says he doesn't think that we can confirm or say anything or have any comment in connection with it on the basis of the sensitivity of the information".

    Clark Clifford: "Well, I would think that there would be a good deal of merit to that. I'd go on to another reason also. And that is, I think that some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I'm wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story, and then possibly to have a certain individual elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubts that I would think it would be inimical to our country's interests".

    President Johnson: "Well, I have no doubt about that".
    Phone Conversation between President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford, November 4, 1968.

  • The second time that President Nixon bugged Watergate was when he got caught. Democratic Chairman Robert Strauss tried to shut down the investigation because he thought it would be bad for the country.
  • Article: Democrats' 'Battered Wife Syndrome', Robert Parry.
    "With Nixon’s Watergate-compelled resignation in August 1974, the Republicans were at a crossroads. In one direction, they could start playing by the rules and seek to be a responsible political party. Or they could internalize Nixon’s pugnacious style and build an infrastructure to punish anyone who tried to hold them accountable in the future.

    Essentially, the Republicans picked option two. Under the guidance of Nixon’s Treasury Secretary William Simon, right-wing foundations collaborated to build a powerful new infrastructure, pooling resources to finance right-wing publications, think tanks and anti-journalism attack groups. As this infrastructure took shape in the late 1970s, it imbued the Republicans with more confidence.

    The evidence is now overwhelming that Republican operatives, including campaign chief Bill Casey and some of his close associates, had back-channel contacts with Iran’s Islamic regime and other foreign governments to confound Carter’s hostage negotiations. Though much of this evidence has seeped out over the past 29 years, some was known in real time.

    For instance, Iran’s acting foreign minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh told Agence France Press on Sept. 6, 1980, that he knew that Republican candidate Ronald Reagan was “trying to block a solution” to the hostage impasse.

  • Bumper Music: It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine), REM.
  • They have worked themselves into a corner, a triangle of Democrats, conservatives and money/ the Military Industrial Complex.
  • Article: Specter To Switch Parties And Run As A Democrat In 2010.
  • Battered spouses will often choose another abuser when they remarry. Two party system. Join in calling for Instant Runoff Voting in states. Support the Green Party at local level. New Zealand and Australia are two of six countries like the US. Greece has first past post, but a local version of proportional voting.
  • Bumper Music: You Get What You Give, New Radicals.
  • Article: Global Warming Denier Michele Bachmann Named To House GOP ‘Energy Solutions’ Group .
    "There isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows carbon dioxide is a harmful gas. There isn’t one such study because carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural. It is not harmful. It is part of Earth’s life cycle."
  • Win: Green Festival - VIP breakfast with Thom Hartmann giveaway! AM 760 Colorado's Progressive Talk, Saturday, May 2nd. Even if you aren't one of the lucky 5, you will still have a chance to win tickets to the Denver Green Festival!
  • Putting stuff in a budget bill means it expires after 5 years. After 5 years it is hard to undo anything unless you have a major change in administration.
  • Guest: FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean. His latest book, "Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches". Previous books, "Conservatives Without Conscience" and "Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush". The Bush torture memos and prosecution for those involved. What Dr. Darius Rejali said about torture. Arlen Specter flipping. Democrats behaving like battered wives. It all started with the administration that he was part of. Teddy Kennedy was the driving force behind Watergate investigation; Strauss, the chair of DNC, was trying to stop it. CBS/New York Times poll said 60% agreed with Obama to not have hearings on torture. Don't they know the implications? The majority is never for torture. He's not sure if Democrats in Congress will roll over, Conyers and Leahy want to go ahead. Statute of limitations 5-8 years. Some will become moot. Ouch.

    Elizabeth de la Vega saying there should be no special prosecutor. She did not factor in the statue of limitations, but otherwise he agrees. Judge passed information to Congress about Watergate. Congress is not usually good at investigations. Special investigations can get limited, like The Scooter Libby probe not going after Cheney. Maybe foreign prosecutors will take action. The Spanish Attorney General may be against, others do not agree, and other countries are looking, international statutes are longer, would be a major embarrassment for the US. It would be better to do the right things ourselves. Consolidation to one committee, or several better? Cheney with Iran Contra got a joint hearing, those don't work - inner conflicts, too big. It is better to have a select committee.

    If there is a statue of limitations on war crimes, how come we are still prosecuting Germans? Each country has its own limits, and in nearly all it is unlimited for murder. Torture without death is generally 8 years, assaults and conspiracies 5 years. What happened to sodium pentathol? It is against the law and not much better than torture. How to give Democrats a spine? Embarrass them, make them blow up the Senate. It is a collegiate body operating by consent. Trent Lott. Mike Mansfield created a two track system for filibusters.

    People died during torture, Taxi to the Dark Side was homicide, would an extension of the statute of limitations go all the way up? It would be problematic connecting the death to the memos. Conspiracy is 5 years. Watergate used conspiring to do things they were not supposed to be doing, like torture rather than legal opinions. International law, common plan. Could we use international law? Yes, we should under treaties, we don't necessarily have to go to the Hague. It is unusual to operate on international law in federal court, it might have to go to an international court.

    Today's story of a soldier killing an Iraqi girl, a Texan being tried in Kentucky near Fort Campbell. He is being tried as a civilian, why did the military not try him? He will look at the article. Philosophically, does this come down to as a society is America ultimately driven by reason and civility or corporate? is there a process that would serve us after limit? truth and reconciliation. history of civility - Obama trying to bring us back to more civility.

    Bob Altemeyer's "The Authoritarians" is the source of the 25 year study on authoritarian personality he mentioned. Appoint Janis Karpinski as special prosecutor? Conservatives appointed people loyal to them not the constitution. Broken government.

  • Bumper Music: Changes IV, Cat Stevens.
  • Book: "The Authoritarians", Bob Altemeyer. Free online.
    "OK, what’s this book about? It’s about what happened to the American government after "conservatives" gained control of Congress in the 1990s and the White House in 2000. It’s about the disastrous decisions that government made, which have created the enormous problems we face now. It’s about the corruption that rotted the Congress. It’s about how traditional conservatism has nearly been destroyed by authoritarianism. It’s about how the “Religious Right” teamed up with amoral authoritarian leaders to push its un-democratic agenda onto the country."
  • Bumper Music: All I Really Want to Do, Bob Dylan.
  • B Roll won a copy of "Cracking The Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, & Restore America’s Original Vision" for:

    Blue Dog Democrats have red fleas… that’s the problem.

  • Article: Memo to GOP: Seat Franken or we'll keep Specter's committee seats, David Waldman.
  • Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News. It was cool coming in to New York City Sunday. Arlen Specter, the world has changed, over 200,000 people switched party so he did so too. Thom said some days ago on the program for people to call Specter and ask him to switch, he got slammed. Is he amenable to pressure, or is it to avoid Senator John Thune? She thinks he could not have won a Republican primary, but could have gone independent. Still pressurable? Doubtful on Employee Free Choice Act. Chairmanships? Reid should tell Republicans we have the committees and won't release seats until Al Franken is seated. Supreme Court not likely to take on Al Franken case, so maybe it will be over by June. FCC vs. Fox News, FCC can levy fine, it is administration not first amendment case - two people used the f word, one was fined, another not. California state of emergency for swine flu, New York has many more cases.
  • Financial crisis. Call Congress, tell Attorney General Holder to review the Don Siegelman case.


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