Thursday 30 April '09 show

  • The president's press conference last night, he spoke in complete sentences, answered questions except for the one about prosecuting Bush. It was a breath of fresh air, he likes his job.
  • Should we regulate the hedge fund and financial service industries like the Europeans are trying to do? Chrysler had everything in place to avoid bankruptcy, which would harm pensions and workers. The bankruptcy is being forced on Chrysler by 40 hedge funds. They got going under Reagan, betting on the market. Two reasons why they are doing it, (1), they are holding stock or other debt instruments in other auto companies, which would become more valuable if Chrysler went under, (2), they have credit swaps - if bankrupt Chrysler defaults, they get a tax loss, and the insurer pays. T Boone Pickens, Mitt Romney, Blackstone, KKR making fortunes betting against American industry (hedge funds) or leveraging debt to buy companies and saddling them with the debt. Another dimension, they are trying to rewrite the bankruptcy bill. Thom talked to David Sirota about it on the air in Atlanta this morning. Cramdown. At the moment judges can change interest rates or balance for second homes, etc., but not for people living in the only home they own.
  • Bumper Music: Only in America, Brooks and Dunn.
  • Alan Greenspan promoted the ideas, began in the last two years of Carter, Leveraged Buyouts (LBO)s. The financial services industry. Evan Bayh. Fighting against cramdown. Combine with leveraged buyouts. January 1982 saw the first big LBO, William Simon, former treasury secretary, right winger who put the group together that created think tanks etc, put up $1m with a group to buy Gibson Greeting Company for %80m dollars. He dumped the debt on the company, and later took it public to raise more cash. He got away with $66m for his $1m. That example involved an IPO so did not screw the workers. Then there were over 2,000 over $250b. Carl Icahn, Victor Posner, Nelson Peltz, T. Boone Pickens, Robert M. Bass, Kirk Kerkorian, Sir James Goldsmith. Read "The Trap", by Sir James Goldsmith.
  • Bumper Music: How do you like me now?, Toby Keith (video).
  • Article: Hedge fund managers warn on EU plans.
    "Hedge fund managers and private equity bosses rounded on European Commission plans for sweeping new regulation of their industries, warning that proposals published on Wednesday in Brussels threatened to cripple businesses that managed €2,000bn of assets."
  • Article: Swedish bank rescue expert doubts U.S. efforts will work.
    "The acknowledged masters of bank rescues say the Obama administration plan for saving the U.S. banking industry may be doomed.

    While the U.S. has funneled tens of billions of dollars to embattled banks such as Citigroup, Sweden temporarily took over two banks late last year and then sold them back to private investors at a roughly 50% profit three months later, says Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg.

    "
  • Clip:
    "Roosevelt is dead, his policies may live on, but we're in the process of doing something about that as well." Rush Limbaugh.
  • They have disguised feudalism as capitalism. Chapter in Thom's Unequal Protection. Neofeudalism. We are the new serfs. The main means of ownership of us is health insurance.
  • Article: NC Rep. Foxx calls hate crime murder case a 'hoax'.
    "A North Carolina congresswoman says she made a poor choice of words when she called the infamous murder of a gay Wyoming student a "hoax" to justify passing hate crimes bills.

    Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx said during debate in the House that the 1998 death of Matthew Shepard shouldn't be used to justify a hate crimes bill because it wasn't a hate crime. Foxx said Shepard was killed during a robbery.

    "
  • "I believe that waterboarding was torture and, whatever legal rationals were used, it was a mistake." President Barack Obama.
  • Hedge funds used to be called pool operators before the depression.
  • Reagan tapped into social security, changed tables so that social security recipients got screwed. Calculation if inflation vs. social security. Subsequent presidents followed his lead.
  • Time to start pushing back on religions, etc that say no to birth control?
  • Article: No tuna, no salmon. No oysters, no skate. No cod and chips. Imagine a world without seafood for supper. It's nearer than you think..
    "The oceans are in a parlous state. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 70% of the world's fisheries are now fully exploited (i.e., fished to the point where they can only just replenish themselves), overexploited or depleted. The majority of fish populations have been reduced by 70-95%, depending on the species, compared to the level they would be at if there were no fishing at all. In other words, only five per cent of fish are left in some cases. In more practical terms, fishermen are catching one or two fish per 100 hooks, compared to 10 fish per 100 hooks where a stock is healthy and unexploited - a measure of sustainability once used by the Japanese fleet. In England and Wales, we are landing one fish for every 20 that we landed in 1889, when government records began, despite having larger vessels, more sophisticated technology and trawl nets so vast and all-consuming that they are capable of containing 12 Boeing 747 aircraft. ...

    Worse still, after stripping our own seas bare, we have "exported fishing capacity to the waters of developing countries", Professor Roberts warns. Off Mauritania, Senegal and other West African countries, fleets from the rich industrial north are "fishing in a totally unsustainable way with minimal oversight by European countries". In return for plundering the oceans, which deprives local people of food, and artisanal fishermen of their livelihood, these vessels pay minimal fees that impoverished countries are happy to accept. "It is a mining operation," Professor Roberts says, "a rerun of the exploitation of terrestrial wealth that happened in colonial days. This is colonialism in a new guise, albeit with a respectable cloak in the form of access agreements."

    "
  • Clip:
    "Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal"
    Richard Nixon in a televised interview with David Frost (19 May 1977).
  • Somalia, pirates. The population of the planet cannot sustain it.
  • Article: Condi Rice Pulls A Nixon: When the President Does It, That Means It is Not Illegal.
    "The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture. ...

    I didn't authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency, that they had policy authorization, subject to the Justice Department's clearance. That's what I did. ...

    I just said, the United States was told, we were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture, and so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.

    "
  • Article: Chrysler Files to Seek Bankruptcy Protection .
  • Donald Trump declared bankruptcy, got mortgages on his second homes renegotiated. Ask Harry Reid who said he was not sure if there were enough votes, it is time to lead, call him. Michelle Bachman. The system kills people, no health care, spousal abuse, suicides, just so a small number can continue to get very rich.
  • Bumper Music: Better Than I Ought To Be, Randy Rogers Band.
  • Bumper Music: Crazy, Gnarls Barkley.
  • The Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 recap. Introduced by Republicans, passed by Republican House, Senate, President at the start of the Republican Great Depression. An hour before FDR became president in 1933 a hundred banks failed.
  • Clip:
    "And as a matter of fact, the recession that FDR had to deal with wasn't as bad as the recession Coolidge had to deal with in the early '20s. Yet, the prescription that Coolidge put on that, from history, is lower taxes, lower regulatory burden, and we saw the roaring '20s where we saw markets and growth in the economy like we'd never seen before in the history of the country.

    FDR applied just the opposite formula -- the Hoot-Smalley [sic] Act, which was a tremendous burden on tariff restrictions, and then, of course, trade barriers and the regulatory burden and tax barriers. That's what we saw happen under FDR, that took a recession and blew it into a full-scale depression. The American people suffered for almost 10 years under that kind of thinking.

    "
    Michele Bachmann.
  • Article: Lawrence Summers: Africa Is "UNDER-Polluted".
  • Bumper Music: Shake It Up, The Cars.
  • Population growth rant. We reached 1 billion people in 1800, which took all of human history to that point. The second billion took 130 years; 1930. The 2rd billion took only 30 years; 1960. The 4th took only 14 years, to 1974. The 5th billion only took 13 years, 1987. The 6th only took 11 years, 1999. Last night Obama's reply about abortion referred to the issue, and pundits and comments, Chris Matthews - Obama will be the birth control argument not abortion. Thom's visit with the Dalai Lama, Dalai Lama Renaissance DVD is out, the Synthesis Dialogues, take the best from A and B and get C.
  • Article: More suicides under Conservative rule, 18 September, 2002.
  • Bumper Music: I'm Looking Through You, Beatles (video).
  • Guest: Successful advertiser: John Christianson, Christianson's Nursery.
  • Article: Obama praises Churchill for WW2 Torture Stance .
  • Article: FBI E-Mail Says Bush Authorized Abuse of Iraqis.
    "We have also instructed our personnel not to participate in interrogations by military personnel which might include techniques authorized by [Bush's] executive order but [are] beyond the bounds of FBI practices...The things our personnel witnessed (but did not participate in) were authorized by the President under his Executive order."
  • Article: Bush Calls Torture "an Affront to Human Dignity Everywhere", June 26, 2003.
    "United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

    Today, on the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the United States declares its strong solidarity with torture victims across the world. Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.

    Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. Beating, burning, rape, and electric shock are some of the grisly tools such regimes use to terrorize their own citizens. These despicable crimes cannot be tolerated by a world committed to justice.

    Notorious human rights abusers, including, among others, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Zimbabwe, have long sought to shield their abuses from the eyes of the world by staging elaborate deceptions and denying access to international human rights monitors. Until recently, Saddam Hussein used similar means to hide the crimes of his regime. With Iraq's liberation, the world is only now learning the enormity of the dictator's three decades of victimization of the Iraqi people. Across the country, evidence of Baathist atrocities is mounting, including scores of mass graves containing the remains of thousands of men, women, and children and torture chambers hidden inside palaces and ministries. The most compelling evidence of all lies in the stories told by torture survivors, who are recounting a vast array of sadistic acts perpetrated against the innocent. Their testimony reminds us of their great courage in outlasting one of history's most brutal regimes, and it reminds us that similar cruelties are taking place behind the closed doors of other prison states.

    The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment. I call on all nations to speak out against torture in all its forms and to make ending torture an essential part of their diplomacy. I further urge governments to join America and others in supporting torture victims' treatment centers, contributing to the UN Fund for the Victims of Torture, and supporting the efforts of non-governmental organizations to end torture and assist its victims.

    No people, no matter where they reside, should have to live in fear of their own government. Nowhere should the midnight knock foreshadow a nightmare of state-commissioned crime. The suffering of torture victims must end, and the United States calls on all governments to assume this great mission.

    "
  • Article: President Obama.
    "I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day talking about the fact that the British during World War II, when London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees. And Churchill said, “We don’t torture,” when the entire British — all of the British people were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat.

    And then the reason was that Churchill understood — you start taking shortcuts, over time, that corrodes what’s — what’s best in a people. It corrodes the character of a country.

    "
  • The corrosive affect of torture on a culture. Torture handed a recruiting tool to those killing Americans. John Dean. Expose crimes, people who authorized them.
  • Bumper Music: Tommy Can You Hear Me? The Who.
  • Geeky Science segment.
  • Article: Men Treated For Localized Prostate Cancer Could Benefit From Pomegranate Juice Consumption.
  • They just lowered the final magnet into the large hadron collider.
  • Article: Is that a cinder block in your pants or are you just happy to see me?.
    "Italian researchers have announced that at least one method of increasing the size of one's manhood actually works. Writing in the British Journal of Urology, a team from the University of Turin had volunteers attach weights of from 1.3 to 2.6 pounds for six hours a day for a six-month period and found that their size increased by an average of almost one inch."
  • Article: Fluorescent puppy is world's first transgenic dog.
  • Article: Children tracked by sat nav to stop bad behaviour.
    "Children will be tracked by satellite on public transport and encouraged to spy on their friends and report bad behaviour, under a pilot scheme by the Welsh Assembly."
  • Article: Sun at its dimmest for nearly a century, say scientists.
    "A lack of sunspots and solar flares has made the Sun its dimmest for nearly a century, claim scientists."
  • Bumper Music: The Mail Must Go Through, Larry Groce & The Disneyland Children's Sing Along Chorus (clip).
  • Member of the day was Jeff in Denver, a long, long time listener and caller, got an autographed copy of the galley of "Threshold" for posting...

    Regarding Michelle Bachman and the Cons:

    First we fought you, now we laugh at you, then we will ignore you, then we will win.

  • Any need or use for Guantanamo at all? Cuba can serve notice to quit or prosecute as landlord?
  • Bumper Music: Gone, Montgomery Gentry.
  • 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!
  • Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News. Department of Commerce says spending down, personal income down. The right wing is piling on Joe Biden for his comment about avoiding close spaces. It is sensible, if you can. The airline industry is unhappy. Chrysler bankruptcy chapter 11. Legislation about cash for clunkers, similar to voucher for first time home buyers. Specter, Republican donations went up just before he jumped, they will be refunded. Competing global warming bills coming up. Cap and Dividend Act of 2009 is one. Afghanistan, today special Inspector General saying the US has to do more to fight corruption there. Bribery at airports. Democrats are not happy about Specter?

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