May 20th 2009 - Wednesday

internet-gambling-imagesTopic: Are we on the brink of a worse depression or a new revival of the economy?

Topic: "Roll the dice...legalize internet gambling?" Thom confronts Eli Lehrer of the Comepetitive Enterprise Institute
Topic: "Everything You Know is Wrong - Legalizing pot and losing the war on drugs" Former drug smuggler Brian O'Dea talks with Thom


Mark (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

I have to admit that I was disappointed to discover that Mussolini's oft-quoted comparison of fascism with corporatism has never been verified in any of his writings or speeches. We have to be satisfied with FDR's injunction. Of course, many right-wing pundits and talk show hosts like to call Obama a fascist, but they just can't seem to make-up their minds what he is (other than black). I was walking past a Quest Communications van park in Republican Kent, WA when I noticed the license plate cover on an employee's car. It said "Comrade Obama - The Enemy Within." Probably some disgruntled guy unhappy that he can't listen in on private telephone conversations anymore--or maybe still is?

brian a. hayes (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

i just want to give jesse ventura a big thank you for his views on hannity's show. he stood up to the mannity viva jesse

Quark (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

I have been hesitant to repeat this because I didn't want to criticise Obama right away. However, now I will.

Shortly after Obama took the presidency, he made a comment regarding the difference in promises made by a candidate on the campaign trail and the fact that such promises are often changed once the candidate is elected.

He was referring to himself and the innocuous subject of the puppy he promised his daughters. However, you have to think he is well aware of his ability to do this.

Mark (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

Concerning the topic on legalizing drugs, I was watching a History Channel production on the genesis of the "war on drugs" which noted that technically the use of drugs is protected by the privacy clause in the Bill of Rights, but Congress found various ways to get around it. It is interesting to note that the use of opium for medicinal use in the U.S. quickly became the recreational drug that it was in China. To "combat" the abuse of opium, heroin was used to "cure" people of their opium addictions, which of course led to an unintended result. In China, Mao's solution to the opium addiction problem was the execution of incorrigibles.

Kai Wen (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

What about web sites that let you buy and sell stocks? Isn't that online gambling?

nora (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

GAMBLING is an addiction to RISK!

Indeed, our American Society follows the model of addiction. And largely it is an addiction to risk-based behavior. It is celebrated, modelled to our children, and is not subjected to moral, ethical, or common sense evaluation.

The basis for the continuously dysfunctional behavior of George W. Bush, whether in alcoholic behavior, business behavior (insider trading), lying us into a war, torturing fellow humans, facilitating a U.S. Treasury give-away to the Banksters -- THESE ALL INVOLVE A HUNGER TO SEE JUST HOW FAR HE COULD GO, JUST HOW MUCH HE COULD GET AWAY WITH.


kim (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

I am under the impression that in countries where drugs are legal and controlled, people who are addicted to various drugs are often still useful, productive members of society, working etc. If you question a heroin addict's ability to work, what about someone on allergy medication? I am very lucky in that I don't have allergies, but I know I could not work if I were taking allergy medication because it affects my brain enough to reduce my competence significantly. Does it not do that to other people?

kim (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

Kai Wen -- a very interesting point. Yes, the stock market is gambling. Why is it legal?
More importantly, why do we consider the price of a company's stock to be a (the) measure of a company's worth? Shouldn't we consider the living wage they pay their workers to be a better measure of the company's health? If they pay higher than average wages, that would mean they are healthier than average, and if they cut the wages of the people who do the real work, they are unhealthy.

nora (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

No conversation on addiction is complete without first reading a short book by Anne Wison-Schaef, "When Society Becomes an Addict".

The insights are great and the metaphor fits.

nora (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

When conversation that includes use of the psychological labels devised in the last century, it should be remembered that the list of symptoms given a label, like obsessive compulsive disorder, are only 'MODELS' used to try to understand a group of behaviors, experiences and complaints. There just attempted definitions, attempts to create a vocabulary for communicating about these states of mind/behavior/choices.

To keep a growing analysis of a problem, it's important to allow a continued development of the "model'.

Yellowbird (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

I have been studying addiction since the 1970s. I was one who chose to remain sober and not addicted to cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol. Or TV. I am on the net everywhere always telling people to quit sending their hard earned money to the enemies of the people of America in the form of monthly payments to big media.

I think most of the activities Americans do these days have taken on the defensive sick aura of addiction. It seems everyone, left, right, center, no matter what party you belong to, is unhappy with our government. We allow the elites at the top of our society, whether they be from Wall Street or K Street or Pennsylvania Avenue, to RULE us and EXPROPRIATE OUR LIVES for their use. All they are interested in is maintaining their extravagant lifestyles and to do so means they must suck the life out of our people. They throw us crumbs and platitudes to placate us and keep us shelling out.

The little that is left is defended to the point that the people behave as if they're addicted when the truth of the matter is that they are clinging on to what little thing might give them a little happiness in this nation of unhappiness and despair. Their overall behavior is defensive.

It is time we admit it. Everyone. America is broken. We are living in Rome, not America. Our chances of changing the status quo are the same too.
We are staring down the gun barrel of another Dark Age if we don't get rid of these people.

nora (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

It is disturbing to think that the Establishment KNOWS that high fructose corn syrup is physically. chemically ADDICTIVE and choose to do nothing about regulating -- or BANNING for that maqtter -- the use of it in processed food!

Is this an attempt to addict people to processed food products for profit? This would mean food is being turned into a product essentially the same as tobacco products -- that is, are food processors are using the tobacco industry addictive product model to guarantee addicted customers who will always buy again??? That's immoral and unacceptable.

Lore (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

nora -- it is part of the 'don't regulate' equation. high fructose corn syrup, leaded paint on toys, genetically modified seeds, ..... it is all part of the fascist lobbying efforts and political contributions that buy their interests over the average Americans.

The same people who can deny others everything are famous for refusing themselves nothing.
Leigh Hunt

Richard Adlof (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

Robbery & Pizza . . . In short, he was hungry and wanted to go to jail . . . To guarantee his next X number of meals . . .

What would you do if you had no choices?

zoezack (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

I have a very serious addiction to which I am finally, after this show, able to admit. I am addicted to listening to Thom Hartmann every single weekday!

nora (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

AND THAT ADRENALIN RUSH (mentioned by the caller who was a counselor) is exactly what happens DURING RISK-TAKING!

That's what I'm talking about:

GAMBLING is an addiction to RISK!

Indeed, our American Society follows the model of addiction. And largely it is an addiction to risk-based behavior. It is celebrated, modelled to our children, and is not subjected to moral, ethical, or common sense evaluation.

The basis for the continuously dysfunctional behavior of George W. Bush, whether in alcoholic behavior, business behavior (insider trading), lying us into a war, torturing fellow humans, facilitating a U.S. Treasury give-away to the Banksters — THESE ALL INVOLVE A HUNGER TO SEE JUST HOW FAR HE COULD GO, JUST HOW MUCH HE COULD GET AWAY WITH. (Imagine what a rush Bush got when he STOLE an ELECTION!)


Yellowbird (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago


Mark in Lomita (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

I have to point out, Thom - at least the second time I've heard you reference the Darwin Awards, and missed the critical distinction. They were originally conceived as a collection of true stories of people who kill themselves in stupid ways - thereby taking themselves out of the gene pool. Just being stupid doesn't qualify - if you live to reproduce and pass on the stupid genes, you have eluded the Darwinian filter!

brian a. hayes (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

we must learn that everything is based on cause and efect in life. when it comes to gaming, drinking drugingor anything in life. we must say what causes i'm i making.

Steve (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

Why is there addiction?
This mechanism allows Mothers (and fathers to a lesser degree) to get addicted to their children. This may sound crazy but I have read about this. Think about a mother who hears her 2 week old cry while she is sleeping. What about a 4 week old? If a helpless individual (new born) cannot get someone addicted to him / her this small helpless person is at a great disadvantage. Sex feels good to help propagate the species. Parents get addicted to their children so they always think about them. This is where the addiction mechanism comes from. There are other ways to 'tickle' this mechanism. Some examples: chocolate, some other foods, sex, gambling, drinking, many drugs and many other things that I have not mentioned. I am just trying to discuss the WHY. And many things about us are to propagate the species - it is only natural. There is NOTHING wrong to a parent getting addicted to their small helpless child!

Quark (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago
brian a. hayes (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

bush ,cheney rhumsfeld ... all have a right wing authoritarian personality. they can not think and decide right from wrong.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

Darwin Awards have Gold and Silver distinctions:

Golds are folk who term themselves BEFORE spawning at all.

Silvers are folk who term themselves AFTER spawning BUT before the spawn again . . .

Quark (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

Thom may be onto something regarding the relationship between fear and addiction. For example, here's some food for thought:

“Fear - The Motivation Of Addiction?”—The-Motivation-Of-Addiction?&id=956858

“Beyond Fear and Addiction”

brian a. hayes (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

is graig shirley advising newt ?

Quark (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

Did I say something wrong that you're not posting my comment and links?

Dorothea (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

Responding to Thom's thought process of "maybe G.W. Bush is addicted to death":
This may be the case. After reading "Bush on the Couch," the story of his sister's illness & death & the way his parents brushed the event under the rug, I gained a strange empathy for G.W. Not enough to forgive him for being a mass murderer, but maybe enough to forgive him after I see him in jail.

Mark (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

This is a perpetually off-topic issue on this show, but last Friday, and black male in Seattle was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to felony murder for a crime that would normally be called involuntary manslaughter. It was noted that this man had a prior criminal record, as if to make the sentence more palatable. Minorities always seem to have a criminal record—and if they don’t, the police always seem eager to provide them with one. The now defunct Seattle P-I published a report on how police often instigate confrontations that lead to arrests. If all else fails, then “obstruction” and “contempt of cop” is a handy way of getting a minority who has no criminal record a toehold in the criminal justice system.
One day last year I exited a bus in Renton after work with the intention of walking to the Fry’s Electronics store. I had not gotten far when I attracted the notice of a white female cop who followed me in her car for a few minutes, dodging in and out of parking lots. She then cut me off on the sidewalk, jumped out of her car and had me up against a wall. Moments later two other cops were on the scene; the contents of my small backpack were subsequently strewn on the ground. The cops asked me what I was doing and I told them, and they informed me that I fit the description of someone who had just robbed a bank. Of course I was incredulous, and informed them that I just gotten off work and a bus. I also informed them that I believed that they were guilty of harassment due to my “ethnic” appearance, and intended to file a complaint. In order to “appease” me one the cops called dispatch to allow me to hear the description of the perpetrator: dark clothes, white, five-feet ten, and grey hair. “See,” said the cop, “you’re wearing dark clothes”—my airport uniform. I pointed out that I was five-feet five, had dark hair and I had certainly attracted attention because I was not “white,” and non-whites tend to be guilty of something in the eyes of white cops. After awhile, another squad car arrived with a witness to the alleged robbery, and no sooner had the witness arrived I was left alone on the sidewalk, with no apology and my belongings still strewn all over the ground. Three cops wasting their time because of racial profiling for a half-hour, while the real perpetrator was making his getaway.
There seems to be, in my opinion, two tiers of justice in this country: one for whites, and one for everyone else. The acquittal of two white teens in the beating death of a Latino in Pennsylvania is on one tier; the sentencing of the African-American for what is being called the felony murder of a white man is on another tier.
Don’t believe me? Let’s review some recent local cases. A white firefighter who killed while DUI two Vietnamese girls who were walking on a sidewalk. He was sentenced to probation; all his supporters cheered lustily, and the family members of the deceased were so swept-up in the happy event that they joined in expressing joy in this shining example of “justice.” Contrast this with the African-American Bellevue police officer who, while DUI, severely injured his friend and killed a man in another car who was also DUI. Unlike the white firefighter, he felt he should be punished, and white justice obliged him with jail time.
Another case: The white woman struck and killed five members of a Bulgarian immigrant family of Turkish origin, while driving under the influence of a cell phone. Prosecutors declined to press charges, because there was no law against using a cell phone while driving. It’s hard to believe a Mexican immigrant had been responsible in like fashion for the death a family of white people for the same reason would have gotten off without so much as a dinged conscious. The outrage of some people over this case led to the new laws regarding hand-held cell phone while driving (which, by the way, most people ignore).
In the case I mentioned off the top, it’s hard not to see incongruities. First, that the deceased was illegally blocking traffic with cones was not noted; it was nice that he was watering flowers in a street circle, but I’m sure if some black codger was doing the same, white neighbors would have had the police on him like a duck on a June Bug. The girls who instigated the confrontation because they didn’t want to drive around the obstruction, and called the defendant from his home to come and "help" them, got away scot-free from any form of reprimand. The black man who punched the white man once and walked away had no thought of killing the man, but was still sentenced on a procedure set down by a new state law that makes involuntary manslaughter felony murder—a procedure that one might strongly conjecture is specifically targeted to minorities.
Yet recently in Shenandoah, PA white youths were acquitted by an all-white jury, in a town consumed by anti-Latino hatred, of the beating death of a Latino man, in a case purposely bungled by a prosecution who allowed an adult who apparently delivered the fatal blow to be the “star witness.” After the verdict, the all-white supporters cheered so lustily that even the judge and sheriff were moved to admonish them.

Morrow Hall (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

Is our economy on the brink of a revival? Quite possibly.

In Homer's "Odyssey," Odysseus had to steer his ship between two hazards, Scilla and Charibdis. If he got too close to one or the other, his ship would be dashed upon its rocks.

The Scilla and Charibdis of the world economy are Capital and Labor. If we steer a course too favorable to one or the other, we crash. We just about crashed on the rocks of Capital last year, and the Obama administration is doing what it can to correct our course.

If Capital is given too much power, it invariably enslaves and harries Labor while plumbing new depths of excess. We need to remember the grotesque hog-slop we witnessed beginning with the election of Ronald Reagan and finally collapsing in the final year of Bush Two. Given too much rein, Capital will "pollute the public treasure and accumulate wealth by impoverishing others," as Albert Pike put it.

We can't steer too close to Labor either, though. That way lies anarchy, which inevitably results in a new totalitarianism.

We need capital to create jobs. We need banks to provide funding for development. But we need to watch those with money like hawks.

We need controls over financial markets. We need to reduce the power of corporations over elected officials. We need to have a minimum wage that allows workers stability, if not comfort. We need to adjust tax rates to take less from those who have the least.

After World War II, most U.S. families had adequate incomes. In most families there was just one wage-earner. Taxes were relatively low on the lower and middle classes, and were confiscatory for the very rich. Corporations paid a big chunk of the taxes, too.

What happened? The rich and the corporations didn't like it, and they could afford to do something about it: they bought elected officials.

We just took the government back from these people. It's tenuous, but our majority is big enough to steer us away from the excesses of Capital.

This is our best chance to fix things, and Barak Obama is moving us in that direction. It's long overdue.

David Axtell (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

As a comment on Thom's 911 comment to the caller, I think that it was known ahead that the planes were going to hit the WTC and the demolition was planned afterward to increase the effect. This would answer Thom's question as to why the building were not just bombed.
All indications are that the Pentagon crash was a total fraud.

Frank Feuerbacher (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago
Anne Hamon (not verified) 10 years 40 weeks ago

I've been tuning in to Scott Horton's interviews via podcast on
and I am truly worried about the direction Obama is moving in. It seems he says what we want to hear with no intention of following through. I'm also worried about Cheney being in his face at every turn. I'm sorry to say that the future of the world looks very bleak to me.

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