Wednesday 29 April '09 show

  • Congratulations to Carrie Lukas, Vice President for Policy and Economics, Independent Women's Forum. Author, "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism", who has just had a baby.
  • There were problems overnight with the web site, there is so much people can and do upload, it had to be migrated to a a bigger server.
  • Patient zero in the swine flu outbreak has been identified, the 4 year old boy in Mexico, and it is related to a factory pig farm. Why are none of the corporate media discussing the role of factory farming?
  • Olympia Snowe. Thom suggested we call Arlen Specter, not her. Obama has a lot to do this year, next year will be lost to elections.
  • GM, Chrysler, debt for equity swaps.
  • Article: A Liberal Democrat Returns to the Fold, John Nichols.
    "Arlen Specter started his political life as a liberal Democrat.

    And now the senior senator from Pennsylvania is returning to the fold.

    Specter, who has served five terms in the Senate as the last of the old-school Rockefeller Republicans, has finally given up on his long, fruitless quest to revive the spirit of east-coast liberalism within what has become a hard-right party.

    "Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right," the senator explained in a statement announcing his decision to leave the GOP fold. "Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans. ...

    Specter was closely tied to Americans for Democratic Action, the liberal activist group, in his early campaigns as a Republican. The Philadelphia ADA backed his early campaigns on the Republican line.

    "
  • Article: The Need to Roll Back Presidential Power Grabs, Arlen Specter.
    "In the seven and a half years since September 11, the United States has witnessed one of the greatest expansions of executive authority in its history, at the expense of the constitutionally mandated separation of powers. President Obama, as only the third sitting senator to be elected president in American history, and the first since John F. Kennedy, may be more likely to respect the separation of powers than President Bush was. But rather than put my faith in any president to restrain the executive branch, I intend to take several concrete steps, which I hope the new president will support.

    First, I intend to introduce legislation that will mandate Supreme Court review of lower court decisions in suits brought by the ACLU and others that challenge the constitutionality of the warrantless wiretapping program authorized by President Bush after September 11. While the Supreme Court generally exercises discretion on whether it will review a case, there are precedents for Congress to direct Supreme Court review on constitutional issues—including the statutes forbidding flag burning and requiring Congress to abide by federal employment laws—and I will follow those.

    Second, I will reintroduce legislation to keep the courts open to suits filed against several major telephone companies that allegedly facilitated the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. Although Congress granted immunity to the telephone companies in July 2008, this issue may yet be successfully revisited since the courts have not yet ruled on the legality of the immunity provision. My legislation would substitute the government as defendant in place of the telephone companies. This would allow the cases to go forward, with the government footing the bill for any damages awarded.

    Further, I will reintroduce my legislation from 2006 and 2007 (the "Presidential Signing Statements Act") to prohibit courts from relying on, or deferring to, presidential signing statements when determining the meaning of any Act of Congress. These statements, sometimes issued when the president signs a bill into law, have too often been used to undermine congressional intent. Earlier versions of my legislation went nowhere because of the obvious impossibility of obtaining two-thirds majorities in each house to override an expected veto by President Bush. Nevertheless, in the new Congress, my legislation has a better chance of mustering a majority vote and being signed into law by President Obama.

    To understand why these steps are so important, one must appreciate an imbalance in our "checks and balances" that has become increasingly evident in recent years. I witnessed firsthand, during many of the battles over administration policy since September 11, how difficult it can be for Congress and the courts to rally their members against an overzealous executive.

    "
  • Bumper Music: City Of Blinding Lights, U2 (video).
  • Bumper Music: Ghost Chickens in the Sky, Sean Morey.
  • Article: 'Jailbird' ruffles feathers in Colombia.
    " carrier pigeon in Colombia gave new meaning to the term "jailbird" when officials discovered that it was trying to smuggle cell phone parts into a high-security prison, a news report said.

    The bird was carrying the contraband on its back in a little suitcase, the Caracol news outlet said Monday.

    "
  • Article: US economy shrinks at 6.1 percent pace in 1Q.
    "America's economy shrank at a worse-than-expected 6.1 percent pace at the start of this year as sharp cutbacks by businesses and the biggest drop in U.S. exports in 40 years overwhelmed a rebound in consumer spending.

    The Commerce Department's report, released today, dashed hopes that the recession's grip on the country loosened in the first quarter. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a 5 percent annualized decline.

    "
  • Book: "Eagle on the Street: Based on the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Account of the SEC's Battle with Wall Street", David A. Vise, Steve Coll.
    "The complete account of the most infamous economic debacle of our century, the story of how the Securities & Exchange Commission, under the sway of Reaganomics & the leadership of John Shad, brought deregulation to the stock market & helped fuel the great bull market while planting some of the seeds for the 1987 crash. No other book tells the whole story, with such color & precision. This is the definitive exploration of the Senate hearing rooms, office towers, trading pits, & back rooms where Wall Street & Washington cut the deals of a decade of greed."
  • Book: "Den Of Thieves", James B. Stewart.
    "'Den of Thieves' tells, in masterfully reported detail, the full story of the insider-trading scandal that nearly destroyed Wall Street, the men who pulled it off, and the chase that finally brought them to justice. Pulitzer Prize winner James B. Stewart shows for the first time how four of the biggest names on Wall Street — Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, Martin Siegel, and Dennis Levine — created the greatest insider-trading ring in financial history and almost walked away with billions, until a team of downtrodden detectives triumphed over some of America's most expensive lawyers to bring this powerful quartet to justice. Based on secret grand jury transcripts, interviews, and actual trading records, and containing explosive new revelations about Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky written especially for this paperback edition, 'Den of Thieves' weaves all the facts into an unforgettable narrative — a portrait of human nature, big business, and crime of unparalleled proportions."
  • Thom and Ravi Batra think we won't get out of it (though Wall Street may because we are throwing them trillions) until we make some fundamental changes, trade policies, Sherman Anti-Trust Act. John Shad, Chairman of SEC, "Eagle On The Street", "Den of Thieves". The Williams Act, the start of the SEC law, which restrained the ability of people to buy and sell companies. Buying a company using debt, then stripping it to pay the debt back. How T Boone Pickins and Michael Milken got rich.
  • Bumper Music: We Care a Lot, Faith No More (video).
  • 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!
  • Upcoming Event: May 21 - 22 Show live from 1080 KUDO, Anchorage, Alaska. May 22 Thom will speak at the IBEW annual Progress Meeting (Western States) at the Hotel Captain Cook on Friday from 10 - 11 am (ADT).
  • Upcoming Event: June 1-3, Washington D.C. – America’s Future Now – Thom is on Radio Row. Omni Shoreham Hotel. In 2006 and 2008, we began to TAKE BACK AMERICA - Our new mission: mobilizing a progressive majority.
  • Upcoming Event: June 5-6, NYC – TALKERS Convention – Thom is speaking.
  • Article: CIA Link to Cuban Pig Virus Reported.
    "[This article originally appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, January 10, 1977.]

    With at least the tacit backing of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officials, operatives linked to anti-Castro terrorists introduced African swine fever virus into Cuba in 1971. Six weeks later an outbreak of the disease forced the slaughter of 500,000 pigs to prevent a nationwide animal epidemic.

    "
  • GM, Chrysler debt swaps, taking back bonds.
  • Article: Snowe: GOP Has Abandoned Principles; Specter Switch "Devastating".
    "Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the few remaining moderate Republicans in the Senate, said Tuesday that Arlen Specter's abandonment of the GOP is "devastating," both "personally and I think for the party."

    "I've always been deeply concerned about the views of the Republican Party nationally in terms of their exclusionary policies and views towards moderate Republicans," said Snowe, who has been approached, she said, by Democrats in the past about switching parties.

    Specter's switch to the Democratic Party "underscores the blunt reality" that the GOP is not a welcome place for moderates, she said.

    "
  • Call Olympia Snowe, say you will contribute if she switches. Eisenhower saved and rebuilt the Republican Party, he was liberal and could have run as a Democrat. Colin Powell would give them a chance. They are doomed if they go for right wing whackos.
  • Clip:
    "Roosevelt is dead, his policies may live on, but we're in the process of doing something about that as well." Rush Limbaugh.
  • Buying American cars, etc. But where are they really made? How Mitt Romney used to make his money.
  • Tim Geithner started with Rand Corp., incestuous. Rand Corp. did the game theory, but only sociopaths and economists will screw others. Adam Curtis documentary.
  • TV documentary: The Century of the Self by Adam Curtis (video).
  • Bumper Music: Shouldn't Have Took More Than You Gave, Dave Mason (video).
  • Article: New hope for stalled labor bill, Jeanne Cummings.
    "Sen. Arlen Specter’s party switch is breathing new life into labor’s campaign to win new organizing rights for workers, an issue the business community hoped was stalled, if not killed.

    “This is a new day for the Employee Free Choice Act and labor law reform,” said AFL-CIO legislative director Bill Samuel.

    In discussing the party flip Tuesday, Specter highlighted his opposition to the labor organizing bill as evidence that he would not abandon his old principles and positions to conform to Democratic Party ideology.

    But he left himself some wiggle room when he announced his opposition to the bill in March by outlining revisions he says could improve it and gain his support.

    "
  • We're not going to have an economic recovery until we have a strong middle class, need to change trade, rules.
  • Amendment XIV, Section 1, Constitution of the United States

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State. ...

    *Changed by section 1 of the 26th amendment.

  • "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
    The First Amendment.
  • Guest: Fox News pundit Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, author, "Dred Scott’s Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom In America", "A Nation of Sheep", "The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land", "Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws". Recap of the Dred Scott case. Is a slave who has moved with his master (not escaped) to a slave-free state free? The Supreme Court ruled he was not a person so could not bring the case. It means Congress can declare people non-persons. Still in law, Roe v. Wade declared babies in the womb non-persons. He's against any majority that does anything like that. It was a personhood decision not a slave decision. The Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, 1886 argument that corporations are persons. The 14th amendment. Dow Chemical used the 14th amendment, Nike the first, Wal-Mart the 14th. Would he join Thom with a call for repeal of corporate personhood? He said not, it could do with them whenever it wants. The first 175 years of the Supreme Court all justices gave their opinions, which is why clerk summaries were relied upon. Marbury v. Madison. No judge today would accept a summary as precedent. Buckley v. Valeo used it. First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti. Find more about him at foxnews.com.
  • Bumper Music: Shake It Up, The Cars.
  • "For much of U.S. history, even white women were not permitted to own or accumulate wealth. Married women (single women were the property of their fathers and whatever they had was his) were not allowed to make out a will because they could not owm land or legally control anything else worthy of willing to another person. They could not have legal responsibility for their children, control of their own property, vote, own slaves, buy or sell land, or even obtain and ordinary license. White women could not sue in a court of law except under the limited procedures allowed for the mentally ill and children, and then only when supervised by a man. Enslaved women were the property of their owners, and other women of color suffered the same complete lack of rights that men of color experienced."
    "You call this a democracy?", Paul Kivel.
  • Bradwell v. Illinois (1873).
    "Justice Bradley concurring in the opinion of the Court.

    The civil law, as well as nature herself, has always recognized a wide difference in the respective spheres and destinies of man and woman. Man is, or should be, woman's protector and defender. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life. The constitution of the family organization, which is founded in the divine ordinance, as well as in the nature of things, indicates the domestic sphere as that which properly belongs to the domain and functions of womanhood. The harmony, not to say the identity, of interests and views which belong, or should belong, to the family institution is repugnant to the idea of a woman adopting a distinct and independent career from that of her husband. So firmly fixed was this sentiment in the founders of the common law that it became a maxim of that system of jurisprudence that a woman had no legal existence separate from her husband, who was regarded as her head and representative in the social state; and, notwithstanding some recent modifications of this civil status, many of the special rules of law flowing from and dependent upon this cardinal principle still exist in full force in most States. One of these is, that a married woman is incapable, without her husband's consent, of making contracts which shall be binding on her or him. This very incapacity was one circumstance which the Supreme Court of Illinois deemed important in rendering a married woman incompetent fully to perform the duties and trusts that belong to the office of an attorney and counsellor.

    It is true that many women are unmarried and not affected by any of the duties, complications, and incapacities arising out of the married state, but these are exceptions to the general rule. The paramount destiny and mission of woman are to fulfil the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator. And the rules of civil society must be adapted to the general constitution of things, and cannot be based upon exceptional cases.

    The humane movements of modern society, which have for their object the multiplication of avenues for women's advancement, and of occupations adapted to her condition and sex, have my heartiest concurrence. But I am not prepared to say that it is one of her fundamental rights and privileges to be admitted into every office and position, including those which require highly special qualifications and demanding special responsibilities. In the nature of things it is not every citizen of every age, sex, and condition that is qualified for every calling and position. It is the prerogative of the legislator to prescribe regulations founded on nature, reason, and experience for the due admission of qualified persons to professions and callings demanding special skill and confidence. This fairly belongs to the police power of the State; and, in my opinion, in view of the peculiar characteristics, destiny, and mission of woman, it is within the province of the legislature to ordain what offices, positions, and callings shall be filled and discharged by men, and shall receive the benefit of those energies and responsibilities, and that decision and firmness which are presumed to predominate in the sterner sex.

    For these reasons I think that the laws of Illinois now complained of are not obnoxious to the charge of abridging any of the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States.

    "
  • The Dred Scott case ruled that African Americans were not persons. Women were not persons at the time of the revolutionary war, married women had few rights. Elizabeth Katie Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were against the 14th amendment because it included the word 'male'. Bradwell v. Illinois. Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896: African Americans were told they were not persons, but Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad said corporations were persons. Time line. Corporations used to be for public good, could not own each other, there were anti trust laws. Rant.
  • Bumper Music: Working On A Dream, Bruce Springsteen (video).
  • Bumper Music: You can leave your hat on, Randy Newman.
  • Article: Church giving 'great sex' sermons might get booted.
  • Best comment so far today on the blog is from Frank Smathers...

    Regarding Obama’s first 100 days and Arlen Specter’s switch to the Democratic Party -

    “Ronald Reagan is dead. His policies may live on but we’re in the process of doing something about that as well.

    (paraphrasing Rush Limbaugh)

  • Article: Bank Lobby On Course To Gut Bankruptcy Bill.
    "The bankruptcy reform bill that passed the House weeks ago amid much fanfare is on course to be gutted by the Senate Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told the Huffington Post Wednesday that he wasn't sure the bill had enough votes to overcome a GOP filibuster and that its key provision -- cramdown -- may have to come out.

    "We're going to find out. I don't know," he said when asked if the bill had enough votes to pass.

    Democrats Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) have indicated to the Huffington Post that they oppose the bill's central measure -- giving bankruptcy judges the power to reduce, or cramdown, a homeowner's mortgage payment under bankruptcy proceedings.

    That provision is on the chopping block.

    "
  • The house just passed the Obama budget, no Republicans were for it.
  • Corporate personhood. actuarial tables, they should have limited lifetime.
  • Harry Reid, is there anything we can do? When Hillary was in limbo Thom called for her to take his place, but it turns out, as Bernie explained, it is an old boy network, and longevity is most important, she had not been there long enough, had little power.
  • Dick Durbin is the main proponent of cramdown - a good guy. Call Harry, tell him to make them filibuster.
  • Bumper Music: Go to the Mirror Boy, The Who.
  • Bumper Music: Crazy, Gnarls Barkley.
  • Article: Caped superhero vows to clean up crime in Cincinnati. "A costume-wearing superhero calling himself "Shadow Hare" has vowed to clean-up the streets of Cincinnati by fighting crime on the streets."
  • Article: GM debt swap greeted with deep scepticism, Nicole Bullock, Bernard Simon.
    "Tensions between the US government and investors owning $27bn of General Motors' debt showed no signs of easing yesterday as bondholders balked at a debt-exchange offer aimed at preventing the carmaker's bankruptcy.

    Advisers to a committee of bondholders called the proposal to exchange $27bn in debt for 10 per cent of the company "neither reasonable nor adequate".v "We believe the offer to be a blatant disregard of fairness for the bondholders who have funded this company and amounts to using taxpayer money to show political favouritism of one creditor over another," they said.

    The offer caps months of frustration for GM bondholders, a large group of investors ranging from big money managers to small retail investors.

    The group has pressed to negotiate the terms of a debt swap and complained that yesterday's offer was made without prior discussion with bondholders.

    Some government officials have argued that the bondholders are being difficult and unwilling to take their share of the pain to keep GM out of bankruptcy, which could happen by June 1 if the swap fails.

    The back-and-forth has had some observers wondering if the government, the unions and bondholders were all involved in a political game of chicken. The bondholders' response cast deep doubt on the likelihood that the offer will succeed.

    "
  • Bumper Music: Come On In, Brad Paisley (video).
  • Book: "The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope", Jonathan Alter.
    " 'The Defining Moment' shows how Roosevelt used his famous "fear itself" speech and his first 100 days in office to lift the country from the despair and paralysis of the Great Depression and transform the American presidency. With its themes of a nation in crisis and a strong executive, 'The Defining Moment' is not only an inspiring political story, but also a book that is pertinent to today's debates over both foreign and domestic affairs."
  • Article: Scoring Obama’s First 100 Days, Jonathan Alter.
    "With all that the president has done, he's in league, so far, with FDR and LBJ. But early success is just that."
  • Guest: Award-winning Newsweek columnist, television analyst Jonathan Alter, television analyst and author of the best selling book "The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope". It is artificial, not a guarantee of future of success, but it shows if he has the tools and can work with Congress. People said FDR and Obama were just talkers, and they started scoring. Foreign policy is more reactive, but in domestic policy presidents can take the initiative, "action and action now" approach to government. Different in times, FDR had longer to prepare, but he was a worse planner, the New Deal was not a plan, America was at the bottom of the depression then. Unemployment figures then did not include women. Dictator had a positive meaning then, Hitler was popular. Obama is under some pressure from the left on accountability on torture, prosecutions unlikely so he must be careful. Little pressure from the right - noise not power. Pressure on health care - half the loaf or the whole thing?
  • Guest: “Everything You Know is Wrong” Casey Anderson of the National Geographic special “Expedition Grizzly”, Sunday May 3rd, 9pm Discovery. Living With a Grizzly Bear? Thom's cat Higgins would take on his grizzly, Brutus. He rescued bear, which now weighs 900 lbs. Don't take in wild animals, like that chimp that attacked a woman. Is he concerned about Brutus? It's all about respect. Brutus spends 90% of his time with other bears, spends time with Casey because he wants to. Documentary. Yellowstone bears and Brutus. Horrifying map showing the range of grizzlies now and then - down to 1%. They are as American as apple pie. How do we better get along with wildlife? Native Americans called them grandfather, the 'all life is sacred viewpoint' vs the 'us only, the rest is for our pleasure' viewpoint. We are the species that can adapt.
  • Bumper Music: The Night Inside Me, Jackson Browne.
  • Article: Bybee defends his torture memos as ‘legally correct’ and ‘a good-faith analysis of the law.’
    "The central question for lawyers was a narrow one; locate, under the statutory definition, the thin line between harsh treatment of a high-ranking Al Qaeda terrorist that is not torture and harsh treatment that is. I believed at the time, and continue to believe today, that the conclusions were legally correct". He should be impeached.
  • Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News. Support Snowe to switch. Ellen thinks she would like to switch but will not. Jay Tamboli was at the Supreme Court, Voting Rights Act. Jay came on the line - a blockbuster case, section saying that where record of discrimination, if they want to change voting laws, they have to get pre-clearance from the Department of Justice. A district in Austin, Texas is asking for exemption, or for it to be declared unconstitutional. At least 5 justices are skeptical of the act. The percentage of voters registered. Rehnquist used to be a poll challenger - of African Americans. Justices asked if it was still needed, were told only 20th of 1% denied, but still there is a lot going wrong. The justices can't say it should be applied to more states.

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