June 16th - Tuesday
Hour One: Is this the end financially of the American empire?
Guest: Dr. Michael Hudson www.michael-hudson.com on The future of the US Economy
Hour Two: "Are faith and evolution compatible? Thom challenges Dr. John West of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture www.faithandevolution.org
Hour Three: "The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics" Dr. George Lakoff joins Thom to talk about the "new paternalism" and "The Obama Code" www.linguistics.berkeley.edu
After Buchanan gave his “culture war speech” at the 1992 Republican Convention, liberal journalist Molly Ivins said “it probably sounded better in the original German.”
Regarding yesterday's posting of the Turthdig article and the 1st-hour subject today, on the end of America's financial empire -
WHEW! - scary stuff indeed! The scenarios stated in that article are, indeed quite possible - however, they are not the only possible scenarios. Here's another, which I consider more likely.
Yes, the Russians, the Chinese, and others are tired of the shaky dollar. Yes, they are meeting now, with no American presence, to decide upon a new standard currency for international exchange. So, what positions are the big dogs likely to take?
Well, the Russions would probably like to see the Ruble as the global exchange standard. The Chinese, on the other hand, would likely support the Yuan. Is either side likely to give in and support the other nation's currency as a global standard? I sure don't think so! How about the Euro? Again, I doubt it.
So, I suspect that after much bluster and posturing, this meeting will accomplish the same results that most meetings do - NONE! The parties will eventually leave the table to "study the matter further", and go home, with the US Dollar still the global exchange standard.
B Roll - Damn I miss Molly! :(
*****Fed Planning 15-Fold Increase In US Monetary Base*****
This from a MARCH 20, 2009 article
Mark - I found it absolutely fascinating that this past weekend, when "ISSUE ONE" on "The McLaughlin Group" was the shooting at the Holocaust Museum, Mort Zuckerman sat in Pat Buchannan's usual seat, and the "guest seat", (often Mort's spot) was occupied by a guy from Mother Jones. Even Buchannan's "friends" don't wanna hear what he has to say on THAT subject! :)
Subject: Counterfeiting Update
In May of last year the U.S. money supply stood at roughly $834 billion. Now, a year later, the Federal Reserve has created an additional $941 billion out of thin air. Pay close attention to those numbers...
* The amount of new money the Fed has created is roughly $107 billion more than all the money that was in circulation just a year ago
* In other words, the U.S. money supply has more than doubled
Think about what this does to the value of your dollars, to your savings, to your paycheck, to your retirement income? A doubling of the money supply means your money is worth half what it was.
Of course, your money's loss of value won't manifest itself overnight. It will take time for the Fed's counterfeiting to drive up prices. But those who get the new money first will be able to spend it while prices are still low, increasing their wealth at your expense.
The Federal Reserve, as you might expect, promises that prices won't rise. They claim they'll withdraw their counterfeit money before that happens. Do you feel comforted? Should we really believe that...
* The Fed can really undo so much counterfeiting
* The attempt to withdraw the counterfeit dollars won't cause economic disruptions of its own
And if they did sop up their funny money, wouldn't that mean another "contraction?" ...more unemployment? ...other sectors in trouble and screaming for a taxpayer-funded bailout?
Our position is simple. If it's wrong for individuals to counterfeit, it's also wrong for the government to do it. What we need is money that no one can counterfeit, like gold and silver. Some people want to make this happen by abolishing the Fed. We agree. That needs to happen. But it's a big step. We think there's an easier way...
Congress should start by ending the Fed's monopoly control of money. Congress should permit you to use whatever form of money you prefer. This would...
* Empower the creation of an alternative money system
* Reduce the Fed's ability to counterfeit by forcing Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs) to compete with honest money
* Make it easier to abolish the Fed once a new money system is fully operational
I hear you. Molly Ivins was informed, insightful and funny as hell.
I don't know if that sense of humor is specifically Texan or more generally Southern, but some of funniest and most charming comments from the left have come from Texans like Molly Ivins, Ann Richards and Jim Hightower.
Re: Yesterday's U.S. Chamber of Commerce comment
I am a small business owner who canceled our membership with our local Chamber of Commerce because they would not support the local business (unless we could match the prices of the Mega Stores).
Re: Faith & Evolution
Joseph Campbell said that myth was someone else's religion, and that religion was when you took the myth to be literal.
Mark and B Roll,
Just to show how irrational all this racism is, consider the following:
Many "Republic" congresspeople and political figures have been members of white-supremacist-related groups like the CCC (http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=487.) Pat Buchanan fits into this mold (http://www.bloggersforchange.com/?p=16339.)
The KKK and similar hate groupstarget their attacks against the black communities; Jews and Catholics. (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_do_the_KKK_hate_black_people)
Pat Buchanan, however, is a Roman Catholic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Buchanan). How can Buchanan associate himself with this race/group hatred while still a practicing Catholic? (http://www.realchange.org/buchanan.htm). This last URL has fascinating insights into Buchanan's background and thinking. Apparently Buchanan comes from a sheltered upbringing in a fairly affluent family headed by a father who was a government bureacrat. Buchanan lacks the insight into others' lives that would allow him to overcome the racist "blinders."
Re; Faith & Evolution -
Perhaps Thom could ask his guest why we should settle for an incredibly lazy god-of-creation... seeing as all mammals (including humans) share nearly-identical architecture?
Great whales have pelvises and rudimentary hind legs concealed within their bodies; bats wings are adapted from the same 5-digit hands that we humans share with many other creatures; the same bones. muscles & ligaments which make up the human foot can be seen in the hind legs of dogs, cats, rabbits, kangaroos, etc. & etc. (check Higgins' footie-paws).
If an engineer at Northrup tried to submit the same basic plans for a submarine, an airplane and a land vehicle, they would be fired for gross incompetence...yet we're supposed to worship a deity who shows the same laziness in reusing- and adapting a basic design for creatures of the sea, air and land?
Evolution is a much better solution - and it doesn't require us to be saddled with a stupid, lazy god.
Most doctors do not support the AMA's position.
Interesting article on today's NYTimes front page:
You probably need to be a subscriber to access that link, so I have pasted the article below. (If you can access the article without a subscription, please make a comment on the blog --- I won't take up so much space with it.)
June 16, 2009
Credit Bailout: Issuers Slashing Card Balances By DAVID STREITFELD
The banks were bailed out last fall, the automobile companies last winter. For Edward McClelland, a writer in Chicago, deliverance finally arrived a few days ago.
Mr. McClelland’s credit card company was calling yet again, wondering when it could expect the next installment on his delinquent account. He proposed paying half of his $5,486 balance and calling the matter even.
It’s a deal, the account representative immediately said, not even bothering to check with a supervisor.
As they confront unprecedented numbers of troubled customers, credit card companies are increasingly doing something they have historically scorned: settling delinquent accounts for substantially less than the amount owed.
The practice started last fall as the economy worsened. But in recent months, with unemployment topping 9 percent and more people having trouble paying their bills, experts say this approach has risen drastically.
They say many credit card issuers have revised internal guidelines to give front-line employees the power to cut deals with consumers. The workers do not even have to wait for customers to call and ask for a break.
“Now it’s the card company calling you and saying, ‘Let’s talk turkey,’ ” said David Robertson, publisher of the credit industry journal The Nilson Report.
Only a few creditors are willing to confirm the practice. Bank of America and American Express say they decide on a case-by-case basis whether to accept less than the full balance. Other card companies refuse to discuss the subject, but their trade group, the American Bankers Association, acknowledges that settlements are becoming more common.
The shift comes as the financial services industry finds itself losing some of its legendary power. A credit card reform bill that makes it harder to raise rates on existing balances and prevents certain automatic fees flew through Congress and was signed by President Obama in late May.
Borrowers still have a crushing amount of debt to deal with, however.
Revolving credit, a close approximation of credit card debt, totaled $939.6 billion in March. The Federal Reserve reported that 6.5 percent of credit card debt was at least 30 days past due in the first quarter, the highest percentage since it began tracking the number in 1991. The amount being written off was also at peak levels.
After a balance has been delinquent for six months, regulations require the card company to reduce the value of the debt on its books to zero. If a borrower has not paid by this point, chances are he never will.
“The creditors would rather have a piece of something now instead of absolutely nothing down the road,” said Adam K. Levin, the founder of the consumer education Web site Credit.com.
Banks and credit card companies are discussing new programs that would, for the first time, allow credit counselors to invoke reductions of principal as a routine part of their strategy, said Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum, a lawyer for many counseling agencies. In the past, counselors could persuade card issuers to adjust interest rates and modify late fees, but the balance was untouchable.
An example of how quickly the card companies are shifting their approach is in the behavior of HSBC, a major issuer, toward Mr. McClelland.
He was paying fitfully on his card, which was canceled for delinquency. In April, HSBC offered him full settlement at 20 percent off. He declined. A few weeks later, it agreed to let him pay half.
Traditionally, the creditors could play tough with any accounts that became delinquent because the cardholders had assets. The creditors could sue or place a lien on a cardholder’s house.
As the recession grinds on, though, many cardholders have less to lose. Mr. McClelland, 42, is a renter. Since he is self-employed, he has no wages to garnish. But he did not want to feel like a deadbeat.
“Having this over and done with was appealing,” he said. He raised the agreed-upon $2,743 and sent it off electronically last week. He has spared himself the prospect of years of collection calls.
HSBC said it did not comment on individual cardholders and would not discuss its policy toward settlements. “Every customer situation is unique,” said a spokeswoman, Cindy Savio.
The card companies, perhaps understandably, do not want to promote the idea that settlements have become merely a matter of asking nicely. The creditors also point out that a delinquency, like a foreclosure, destroys a credit record.
And there can be a Catch-22: those with the fewest assets are the likeliest to receive a settlement offer, but they are also the least able to come up with the cash for that final negotiated payment. Some creditors, though, are helpfully letting people stretch this out over months.
Still, a line has been crossed, credit experts say.
“Even in the early stages of delinquency, settlements can be dramatic,” said Carmine Dorio, a longtime industry executive who ran collection departments for Citibank, Bank of America and Washington Mutual.
During the boom, nonpayers were treated more harshly because, paradoxically, their debt was more valuable. Collection agencies were eager to buy bundles of old debt from the card companies for as much as 15 cents on the dollar. In a healthy economy, even the hopelessly indebted can pay something.
In this recession, where collection agencies have little hope of collecting from the unemployed, that business model is suffering. Experts say 5 cents on the dollar is now the most a card company can hope to get for its past-due accounts.
Another factor undermining the card companies is the rise of debt settlement firms. These are profit-making companies that charge fees, nearly always in advance, to bargain with creditors on a consumer’s behalf.
Settlement companies are under fire from regulators, who say they promise much and deliver little. But their ubiquitous ads, which make a settlement seem not only easy but also a moral victory over shamelessly gouging card companies, have done much to spread the idea.
Although there are few independent statistics on the settlement industry, there is no doubt that some generous deals are being done.
Consider Bedros Alikcioglu, a gas station owner in Newport Beach, Calif. He owed $112,000 on four cards and was paying $3,000 a month in interest and late fees. “It was so hard to earn that money, and paying it to nowhere didn’t make sense anymore,” said Mr. Alikcioglu, 75.
He signed up with a debt settlement company named Hope Financial, which negotiated deals with his creditors to settle for about 35 percent of his balance. Hope Financial is charging Mr. Alikcioglu about 12 percent of his original debt.
“I did not want to leave the legacy of bankruptcy,” Mr. Alikcioglu said. “I am now at peace.”
Re: Credit Card Companies
Soaring Credit Card Transaction Fees Squeeze Independent Businesses
Has anyone else noticed that there's been a "surge" of caller over the last few months who are raising "9/11 Truth"?
It's not just on Thom's show. I've heard calls like this on all the "progressive" shows I listen to. It seems like more than a coincidence, and it seems like some of the calls, like the one today are aimed more at the audience than the show's host.
john mccain has came out and say that we must speak up for the iranian people. say the election was a sham. that we need to show that america will lead in this. i just want to tell mccain we know the election was a sham and we do support the people. to me the most inportant thing i would like to say to mccain is that everything now in the 21 century must be done with wisdom. we must think before we try to make international decision. the world does not revolve around the united states. we need to talk with our allies. need to make decisions based on the international community. i am so glad you are not presdent because you are stuck in the eary 20 century.
Not sure how this fits into any broader discussion, but it must be significant.
Last Friday, the Italians arrested a pair of men, described as Japanese, carrying $134 BILLION in U.S. Treasury bonds concealed in a false bottom of their suitcase.
Surprisingly this has not been covered by domestic news outlets.
Every national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses, the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints, and the Turks their Mohomet, as if the way to God was not open to every man alike. Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say their Word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face, the Christians that their Word of God came by divine inspiration, and the Turks say that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
_Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason
When George Bush came into office...
The Devil made him do it.
Has anyone else noticed that there’s been a “surge” of caller over the last few months who are raising “9/11 Truth”?
Yes, I have noticed them, too.
Thom Hartmann When I listen to Air America they play a commercial with President Barak Obama saying he is happy to listen to Air America. So someway he has to listen to your show which is not on Air America. So hopefully a staffer is listening to your show. Perhaps so?
Bill Maher agrees with you about "pushing" the prez:
I do, too!
It's time that we all wake up to the fact that both parties have been bought & paid for by the corporations. There is no way that the peasants can have equal representation concerning their representatives; we don't have enough money & favors to throw at the politicians (the corporations will outspend us every time). We will not have a democracy until the rights of personhood are removed from the corporations (and we all no that is not going to happen in leu of another revolution of some sort).
@#%$@! Please excuse the typo (I do know how to spell "know")
I was looking for something else and came across this. 'Want another conspiracy theory?
So anti-illegal immigrants fanatics don’t kill legal residents, like former Minuteman Shawna Forde and her gang during a home invasion in a border town in Arizona last month in order to steal money and finance her “campaign,” which just now merits mention in the local Washington state papers because of her local connections? But I digress…
Larry King, who is Jewish, calls him a “friend.” Stephanie Miller refers to him as her “daddy.” Thom is “ambivalent” about him. The mainstream media in general is reluctant to challenge him. Fellow commentators allow themselves to be mollified whenever he throws them a bone, deliberately misinterpreting his sorties on behalf of the “white working class male.” But let’s be clear about one thing: Pat Buchanan is a white supremacist. He may not wear a hood, a camouflage military-style outfit, swastika tattoos or any of those accoutrements signifying that he is preparing for a “race” war. But taken in their totality, Buchanan’s various commentaries and opinions should be taken at face value, even if his friends in the media do not. There is no other honest way to describe him. His sister Bay (like Lynn Cheney) is the Lady Macbeth of the family, but we’ll leave the women out of it.
Of course, many people assume that Western civilization is superior to all others; whether or not this is true is a matter of opinion. The most obvious “gift” has been science and technology, which has given us many fine toys to play with. But the cost of those toys may be the destruction of the planet, and which at any rate threatens to shorten considerably humanity’s stay here on the Earth. But Buchanan, like other white supremacists, isn’t interested in science or technology, but “culture” and “society.” Meaning what? It means he disapproves of “race mixing,” and he has expounded on this subject many, many times. Take, for instance, the titles of some of his books, which are accurate reflections of the rotted guts within:
“The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization”
“State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America”
“Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World.”
If Buchanan was just some unknown author on the fringes, we’d assume that he was some far-right fanatic with clear racist tendencies. But then again, he is.
Buchanan can seem jovial and collegial—when he is with other white people. He has nothing against white people, you see, but just against Jews, blacks, Hispanics and anyone else who threatens to disturb white rule. Presently, his main preoccupation is with Hispanics. A few years ago, as a regular panelist on PBS’s “The McLaughlin Group,” he declared entirely out of blue and off subject that “Hispanics are out to destroy America.” It wasn’t just the words that forged an uncomfortable silence among his co-panelists, but the nakedly ugly tone in which they were delivered. During the presidential race, whenever the Hispanic vote was mentioned in front him, he would become outwardly annoyed and say something like “Well, the ‘legal’ voters.” His contemptuous remarks directed at Sonia Sotomayor reflects his various and sundry bigotries; in front of right-wing audiences, it has been reported that Buchanan even deliberately mispronounces her name—odd, considering his habit of deriding Hispanics in toto for not being able to speak “properly.”
There is much information about Buchanan’s anti-Semitism. The late William F. Buckley, a man too deliberate to waste time consumed with hate, concluded after examining Buchanan’s various commentary concerning Jews that he was definitely anti-Semitic (but not toward Semitic Muslims). There is no room to go into detail here concerning his various anti-Jewish sophistry, but they are easy enough to find and go on and on, endlessly. Even the American Enterprise Institute declared that "Taken cumulatively, Buchanan's rhetoric about Jews pretty clearly betrays an underlying sense of grievance or irritation." Buchanan has questioned the Holocaust, insisting that gas chambers were too inefficient to kill very many people. He has many times praised Adolph Hitler, and has ashamedly defended former Nazis accused of crimes against humanity. He has scolded colleagues on the right who are reticent in embracing Holocaust deniers like David Duke.
Buchanan’s racism is usually couched in terms of infringement on white privilege—which, given the fact that whites dominate and control the political, economic and institutional levers of our society, is proof enough that he has an acute case of race on the brain. Presently, he expresses indignation and thinly disguised racism when confronted with the fact that a black man is president of his white country. Last year, on an episode of “Race to the White House” on MSNBC, he in an immoderate and abusive tone insinuated that Obama “stole” the Democratic nomination from Hillary Clinton, and implied that electing Obama president was tantamount to national suicide because he had “one foot in the far-left.” The fact is that Buchanan has never allowed an opportunity to pass in which to insult or demonize Obama with his brand of far-right propaganda.
Buchanan has in the past demonized Martin Luther King Jr.; he has opposed every major civil rights initiative; he supported South Africa’s Apartheid regime; opposed the integration of schools and other public accommodations: “The 'negroes' of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours." Buchanan famously stated "If we had to take a million immigrants in, say Zulus, next year, or Englishmen, and put them up in Virginia, what group would be easier to assimilate and would cause less problems for the people of Virginia?” Needless-to-say, Buchanan’s penchant for hiring “assistants” and staff who have to ties to white extremist groups is well-documented and doubtless they provide “support” for such views.
Buchanan’s ignorance on race was much in evidence when he declared "How, then, can the feds justify favoring sons of Hispanics ( in regard to affirmative action) over sons of white Americans who fought in World War II or Vietnam?” The problem with that statement is that contemporary media tended to ignore minority soldiers, as if they didn’t exist at all. Hispanics fought in both those wars. Their exact numbers are not precisely known, since Hispanics—especially in WWII—were often classified as white, but studies indicate that their representation per their percentage of the population was higher than that of non-Hispanic whites in both wars. Like Lou Dobbs, Buchanan has little interest in facts if they get in the way of racist propaganda.
Buchanan, it should be recalled, was also one of Richard Nixon’s chief strategists and speech writers. He has admitted to assisting in Nixon’s “dirty tricks” schemes, as well as advising him on obstructing the Watergate investigation—such as simply destroying all tapes rather than deleting the odd embarrassing passage.
Behind the façade of "affability"—in the company of other white people—is a brutal bigot. Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Beck, Malkin, Coulter, Savage and others of that ilk cannot be taken seriously by thoughtful people—they prey on base emotions. But Buchanan is of a different breed. He has, beyond all comprehension, been given a measure of “mainstream” acceptability by being allowed sit at the same table as people who profess to speak for the public interest. In the face of his brutality, they quiver like jelly. Buchanan’s true place is in the margins, where he can sit at the same table with other hollow bigots.