June 12th 2009 - Friday
Hour One: "Brunch With Bernie" Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) joins Thom for his weekly nationwide town hall meeting www.sanders.senate.gov
Hour Two: "News Under the Radar" Christy Harvey with the Center for American Progress stops by www.americanprogress.org
Great show on Thursday; I felt as if Thom and I were on the same page for once. Brian Tackett’s comment that we shouldn’t let guilt or shame prevent our children from learning from the past is in direct conflict with the wishes of the likes of Mathew Vadum, who doesn’t want the dirtiest laundry of the right aired. We shouldn’t be talking about these things at all according to the right, and organizations like the SPLC should be assailed for exposing hate groups. Why? Because the difference between the right, the hard-right, the far-right and the racist-right is only a matter of degree, whether it is the role of government or taxes. They also share a common ideology that white is the ultimate right, and other races are interlopers. With the white race “under siege,” how best marginalize non-whites is their principle area of disagreement.
I watched the recent Weather Underground documentary, and I have to admit (putting their underground activities aside) I didn’t find their commitment to social justice the least bit embarrassing, although their communiqués were, to quote a former leader of the student left, “Kindergarten” stuff. I was particularly fascinated by Bernardine Dohrn’s unequivocal and utterly fearless pronouncements, as when she declared it was inexcusable how anyone could enjoy Christmas after the murder of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton by Chicago police; the documentary, however, glossed over Dohrn’s unfortunate comments concerning the Sharon Tate murders. Interestingly, integration of police forces around the country was accelerated not by equal opportunity considerations, but by the desire to infiltrate black militant groups—including the officers who were involved in Hampton’s killing.
I have to admit I am also interested to know what happened to the $9 trillion dollars the FED “lost,” what I understand is money that the FED “loaned” to financial institutions in recent years, and now cannot account for—none which is helping people who have lost their homes. That this is both outrageously incompetent and probably criminal need not be gainsaid. This lack of accountability is beyond the scope of the imagination of the mere mortal. I also find it interesting that banks are hastily repaying TARP money, for the reason that they need to get out from under the executive compensation restriction in order to pay “top” executives “top” dollar in order to retain them. Have these people learned nothing? Are they that contemptuous of the American people? Have they no sense of shame, morality or ethics? These “top” executives” helped drive this country’s economy into the ground, and they still have the utter gall to demand their “proper” compensation.
Also in the news is the federal lawsuit on behalf of residents of Baltimore against Wells Fargo, for predatory lending that specifically targeted African-Americans and seemed deliberately designed to take every last dime from new home-owners until their homes could be foreclosed on. People who bought homes on the lower-end of the price scale (in Baltimore mainly African-Americans) were charged higher mortgage rates than people who purchased homes on the higher-end, as well as mysterious fees and surcharges.
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “We’re the United States, and we’re here to help.”
From B Roll updates Reagan - June 12, 2009
1) Re: your comment about the Fed's "lost" $9 trillion, here's a fascinating video clip from the recent congressional hearing on this subject:
I am as morally outraged as you regarding obscene executive pay "entitlements." I think most people in this country are.
2) And, as usual, the working poor are preyed upon, whether it involves check-cashing businesses, furniture rent-to-won schemes or this home-owning scam. Those with the most money seem to get justice along with SCOTUS-designated "free speech."
Hitchhikers, we are all on the "B Ark."
Campaign Finance Reform
The reason we cannot get anywhere with changes such as health care reform or any major legislation is because of corporate lobbying of Congress. We need to make bribing Congress illegal again. Campaign Finance Reform, including ONLY public financing of campaigns, must be instituted to free Congresspeople from enslavement by corporate lobbyists.
After THAT, we could potentially pass CFR...
argh... "potentially pass Universal Health Care"
The insurance lobbies throw millions of dollars at the Congress members who seem never to miss a shot, quietly of course, we never hear them bragging about how much money they got for selling out their constituants.
This is legalized bribery and until this pratice is abolished, though I hardly see how, since Congress would have to vote a law which they will never do, how can there be any real change? The same House members and Senators get elected for years on end;
Where can I find the point by point refutation of Karl Rove's WSJ opinion on Health Care?
I did go back to yesterdays blog. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
I agree with you that capacities, both physical and ontological are a function of use and practice.
My sense of the visualization thing is based on anecdotally. My granddad told me he was disappointed by talkie movies because the dialog was not as good as what he created in his head. Each viewer made up a dialog most appropriate to them.
I was a kid in Wyoming in the late 40s and early 50s and had no TV. When I finally saw shows like the Lone Ranger on TV, I was disappointed because they weren't as exciting as when I just closed my eyes and "saw" the radio show in my head.
The thing about kids playing with sticks speaks to that. I think if kids today had to give up their Gameboys and Wiis they would regain that visualization capacity. I don't think that it is an either/or conversation either. If kids could play with their tech stuff and also had some time when they got to play without it they could have a wider set of capacities.
This is a bit tangential, but some years ago I saw a story about a father with three kids. He attached a generator to a stationary bike and plugged the TV into it. He told them they could watch all the TV they wanted, all they had to do was pedal. He said it was a win/win/win situation. They practiced empathy, negotiation skills, watched a limited amount of TV and got lots of exercise. Practice in lots of life capacities.
I did find some more info regarding research for Mary Gordon's [I had forgotten her name yesterday] on http://rootsofempathy.org
There is a list of several research studies, I didn't get into it deeper.
The info Thom gave about mothers seeing too much TV while pregnant is expounded upon in the Edison Gene, that's where I got the info re kids brains developing in ways depending on their exposure to cortisol.
I think the way the technology is used has more to do with the cortisol production that the technology itself. I do think there could be effects from the "flicker" and other cyclic phenomena from the technology.
I think kittens and puppies could give the same results re empathy. When families were larger, kids probably had more opportunity to practice empathy.
I can't remember the name of the thing in quantum physics that says basically that a process is impacted by the fact it is being observed, maybe the Observer Effect.
Thanks for stimulating my grey matter.
I am absouletly enraged to continue to see our constitution be treated like cr*p, like a second hand law in a third world country.
A thought on executive compensation and the right saying you can't limit it. We have a history of limiting executive pay, we taxed the crap out of it. You can have your 100 million, it will just cost you 90 million. If you can't live well on 10, tough.
I will have a point by point refutation of Mr. Rove on my groups site later in the day.
Sports Alert! – Los Angeles Lakers v Orlando Magic – Sports Alert!
Has B Roll lost it, posting about basketball on The Thom Hartmann Show blog?
I enjoy sports, but I’m not fanatic about it. But I was watching Game 4 of the NBA finals last night and I noticed something. Coming back from a commercial break, they had an outside shot of the arena. It’s named Amway Arena. I thought, “That sucks”, because I know that the people who own Amway are big funders of the far right and the religious right.
This morning, I come across an article in The Nation by Dave Zirin, the only openly progressive sports writer I know of. (OK, I don’t really know of many sports writers, but still…) The title of the article is “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Lakers” and it can be found at http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090622/zirin
It turns out that the owner of the Orlando Magic is 83 year-old Richard Devos, the co-founder of Amway who has a $4.4 billion fortune, much of which he devotes to promoting right-wing causes. The name Devos may be familiar to you if you’re familiar with Jeremy Scahill’s writings about Blackwater, the mercenary company so infamous that they recently changed their name to Xe (pronounced zee). The son of Richard Devos is married to the sister of Erik Prince, the founder and sole owner of Blackwater. It’s the merging of two billionaire right-wing families.
Below are some excerpts from Ziron’s article:
DeVos has used not only his company but his own epic fortune at the service of his politics. He could be described as the architect, underwriter and top chef of every religious-right cause on Pat Robertson's buffet table. The former finance chair of the Republican National Committee, DeVos is far more than just a loyal party man. For more than four decades he has been the funder in chief of the right-wing fringe of the Christian fundamentalist movement. Before the 1994 "Republican Revolution" made Newt Gingrich a household name, Amway contributed what the Washington Post called "a record sum in recent American politics," $2.5 million. In the 2004 election cycle Amway and the DeVos family helped donate more than $4 million to campaigns pumping propaganda for Bush and company, with around $2 million coming out of Devos's own pocket.
He then used these extra gains to further empower his nonprofit, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, to direct millions to groups that support radical reparative gay therapy, antievolution politics and other "traditional" family values. The organizations they support include Focus on the Family, the Foundation for Traditional Values, the Federalist Society, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Media Research Center, among many others. They also supply grants to the Free Congress Foundation, which claims that its main focus is on the "Culture War." It hopes to "return [America] to the culture that made it great, our traditional, Judeo-Christian, Western culture."
The article also states that Devos is a big contributor to Florida4Marriage, a group that supports Florida’s Amendment 2 which would add Florida’s ban on gay marriage to the state’s constitution.
I have something to help all those who try to defend health care as part of the commons to say to those who only want to make health insurance affordable & available to all. With over 9% unemployment, how much do you think is an "affordable" price for health insurance for someone without an income? For someone without means to support themselves, even five dollars a year for health insurance is unaffordable! Please, explain how lowering the cost of insurance, a system built only to help you if something goes wrong, not health care, a means to prevent things from going wrong as well as helping when it does go wrong, fixes the problem?
On cigarette smoke, starting late 50's and early 60's formaldehyde is one of the preservatives in cigarettes. OSHA's recommended safe limit of formaldehyde in the work place is 2 to 3 parts per million. EACH burning cigarette puts 30 to40 parts per million of formaldehyde in the air. I have a formaldehyde sensitivity and it is very difficult to deal with in today's America. Don't smoke!
If corporations are persons, why are they allowed to buy and sell each other? If they can buy and sell each other, why would they be considered persons, since persons cannot buy and sell other persons?
I worked on Amy Klobuchar's senate campaign. After she won the senate seat, someone from her office called me to ask what issues I thought were the most important. I said,
"CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM! It effects everything."
Amy did make an attempt to deal with that on a 1-campaign level. She sent out campaign fund pledge forms (with monthly donation amounts) to her constituents. We must have been spent-out, since nothing more has been said or done about it (of which I'm aware, anyway.)
BTW, earlier this week (Wed.), Lawrence O'Donnell challenged Joe Scarborough concerning his new book. O'Donnell said, "There are no conservatives left." Scarborough said he agrees with the "Burkean" conservatives who want to preserve the social order. (min. 7:48 of a 12:17-min. clip)
Does that include impoverishing the middle class?
For those of you who are wondering why Single-Payer is "off the table", there's a very interesting article on it at Campaign for America's Future. Have a look:
The fact that all information on the terrorist at the Holocaust Museum has disappeared from the internet, tells me, he didn't act alone.
Mena -- that's a very interesting point. If he's badly wounded and in jail, who removed his website?
Mena and Kim,
I wondered that, too...
Can we get someone to propose a law that any corporation that has a lobbyist must make its tax returns public?
hi kim, mena, and quark, rachel maddow reported on her show earlier in the week that von brunn had turned over his website to someone before heading out on his murderous spree. i'll try to find that segment, if you're interested.
I agree with DON'T PANIC. Campaign finance reform is the most fundamental issue that we must correct. Almost exclusively all bad pieces of legislation comes from the lack of a decent campaign finance system. Why hasn't Obama addressed this? If I were president it would certainely be the very first issue on my agenda!
Thanks, eDebbie! Interesting...
in the interest of full disclosure, i've been trying to find that segment and haven't been able to. i hope i haven't given you some wrong information! darn memory... can't rely on it anymore! oh, you know what, i might be thinking of roeder, dr. george tiller's murderer. rachel's been reporting heavily on that story and i might be confusing them. so sorry if that's the case! perhaps von brunn did the same. but i felt i should correct the record.
That still kind of sounds like someone at least knew about it before the deed was done.
Unions should be strongly for a solid public option
Answers I can think of:
1. It gives them a better bargaining chip when they go to negotiations.
2. It gives them insurance against layoffs and terminations.
3. Retirees lose some, most or all of their medical insurance privileges when they retire. For instance, my medical insurance costs are now 10 times what they were before I retired. In addition partially or fully able bodied retirees are the politically most active group in any union. Unions, if they are to have any influence, cannot alienate us guys.
4. If they stay narrowly interested in their members welfare, they lose their soul.
Bernie Sanders is right but needs to take it one step further for a sense of urgency for single payer health care reform. Congress, Senate, Judicial and Exec branch need to reform healthcare from within first. There is no urgency if our elected officials have the cadillac healthcare plans. I propose that our elected officials only get Medicaid or Medicare if they are 65 or older.
Every election we hear the slogan "I won't quit until each citizen gets a healthcare plan like the one congress has." What?? That's is not feasible. What is feasible is every member of elected office give up their healthcare and beat the streets to find healthcare like the rest of us.
Health benefits of congress per senior league: http://www.seniorsleague.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2...
what’s good for the goose apparently isn’t good enough for the gander
According to the website of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the FEHB program offers working Members of Congress, retirees, and their survivors the widest selection of health plans in the country. In addition to health insurance benefits, Members of Congress may also receive dental, vision, as well as long-term care benefits. Generally the federal government (funded by the taxpayer) pays up to 75% of the health insurance premiums, and Members of Congress cover the other 25% out of their (taxpayer-funded) salaries.
Next year I'm running for office... Just to get the healthcare benefits.
I'd like to preface this by saying I am NOT a fan of the GOP, at least not in its current state.
Ready? Did you know this? Did you realize the following:
Over the past 75 years, Democrats have controlled the House 78% of the time, the Senate 72% of the time, and the White House 52% of the time. Between 1933 and 1999 (66 yrs), the Democrats controlled the House, Senate, and White House simultaneously for 33 of those 66 years.