June 29th 2009 - Monday

michael-jackson-imagesHour One: Has Goldman Sach's caused both the 1929 and 2008 depressions?
Also - the real cause of Michael Jackson's death - It has not yet been discussed.
Hour Two: "CIA Memos...did they or didn't they authorize torture?" Thom debates Peter Ferrara of the American Civil Rights Union www.theacru.org
Hour Three: "Labor Update" Doug Cunningham of Workers Independent News joins Thom with the latest news from the labor front www.laborradio.org


DRichards (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

Obama Opposes Trade Sanctions in Climate Bill
Published: June 28, 2009
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Sunday praised the energy bill passed by the House late last week as an “extraordinary first step,” but he spoke out against a provision that would impose trade penalties on countries that do not accept limits on global warming pollution...


What is so wrong with requiring imports to meet the same standards required of domestic products? Can someone please explain why requiring a level playing field is bad?

Mark (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

Funny how that doctor who disappeared was the only person who saw Jackson go into cardiac arrest. Anyways I thought I’d comment offer this comment on Jackson. One thing the media has not talked about, but was the most disturbing later feature in his life to me, was his efforts to “recreate” himself physically, like some Frankenstein monster. I’m not talking about what passed for a nose or his Kirk Douglas chin, which frankly looked much better on Douglas than Jackson. I’m talking about his pathological effort (through various medical quackery) to turn himself literally into a white man. In his song “Black and White” Jackson informed us that it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, but it quite obviously very much mattered to him. More than his “friendship” with Bubbles and his predilection for boys (Jackson obviously had a Peter Pan complex), I found his lack of comfort with who he was and where he came from hard to take. It is astonishing that he couldn’t accept himself as a black man in a white man’s world. He had wealth and fame—what did turning himself into a grotesque caricature of a white man bring him?

Speaking of flights from reality, I must confess that I never heard of the Jon and Kate “reality” show until a few weeks ago. Apparently they are getting divorced. It seems to me just because a camera crew is filming a couple “acting” normal doesn’t mean that normal life is going on. People tend to be self-conscious when their lives are being scrutinized, especially in front of millions of viewers. Instead of behaving naturally, they are constantly aware that their actions or words define how they are perceived. It would seem clear that the stress of “faking” normalcy would put a relationship under duress that it might not otherwise be under. Take this Kate, for instance. “Before” she was a mildy frumpy brunette, perfectly comfortable with herself. In the glare of public scrutiny, she turned herself into a dolled-up, mildly frumpy phony blond. Did it make her happy? It doesn’t seem so.

AZAFVET (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

Could someone please cite Thom's source in Rolling Stone again?

Quark (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

B Roll,

If you're there, I just wanted to let you know that I had a reply ready to send you via the blog on Friday and the power went out. I thought, "oh nuts!" That was the end of that...

'Sorry for the abrupt end to the conversation.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

btw, we on the blog say "Hi, Thom!"

rak (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

@AZAFVET: Taibbi's RS article is available in full at Alternet:
"The Big Takeover: How Wall Street Insiders are Using the Bailout to Stage a Revolution"

RS has a brief sample - the sense of which is discussed here:
Bizarre web strategy of the day, Rolling Stone edition.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago


I probably caused the power outage with my long complicated answer to your simple question. I take full responsibility but can't promise not to do it again.

AZAFVET (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

Rak, Thanks

rak (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

No problem Azafvet.

Anyone have the links to Pam(?)'s Counterpunch and the Financial Times piece that Thom mentioned?

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

My prediction is that Bernard Madoff won't serve his full 150 sentence. These rich guys always seem to find a way to get out early.

AZAFVET (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

Let me tell you about the Mayo Clinic model. My wife had a stroke 30 years ago and, after local tests and many visits to her local neurologist we were referred to Mayo in Rochester MN. When we registered, we were given an itinerary of visits and tests all within the 3 day visit schedule. The appointments were all on time, all within the same building, except one that had to be done in the hospital accros
the street.

After the three days, a team of doctors from many specialties met with us and gave us their findings and recommendations. We chose the least invasive drug therapy as opposed to surgery.

Twenty years ago we moved to the Phoenix area. We are fortunate to have both the Mayo Clinic and the Mayo hospital located here. She started seeing a Mayo Neurologist and continues today. 2 years ago, she had a seizure that caused her to burn her fingers severely. Again, we went to Mayo where she was admitted for a 5 day period of brain monitoring, tests by a psychologist for cognitive reasoning and memory, MRI's etc. after the five day period again there was a staff meeting including the neurosurgeon. We learned that surgery to fix the problem was ruled out because of another head injury received in a car accident 22 years ago. Fortunately, almost miraculously, Mayo was running a clinical study for a company that was attempting to get FDA approval for a NeuroStimulator device that is surgically implanted in the brain that works similar to a heart pacemaker. She meets with two separate teams for the evaluation and is within six months of completion. She will receive follow up by Mayo after the trial period is over. It is truly a pleasure to be a patient at Mayo. My opinion is that Mayo Clinic is to clinics as Walt Disney World is to theme parks.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

B Roll,

I think I probably had at LEAST as long a series of comments I was about to send to you. I had typed a number of paragraphs with references and links. Just as I was about to click "POST COMMENT," the power went out!

Quark (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

This guy Thom's talking to (Peter Ferrara) sounds like he sifts through the info. and keeps only the info. that agrees with HIM! (Typical of extremists!)

AZAFVET (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

Thom, I have all the information and contacts at my site http://democratichealthcareturncoats.webs.com/. As much news as I can find related to Democrats who don't support public option health care. Non commercial.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago


As long as this meme is accepted as truth by various right-leaning factions in this country, real justice and rehabilitation cannot occur:

At a fund-raiser in New York City for the Conservative Party of New York State in June 2005, Karl Rove said, "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago


There's a term for your description of Peter Ferrara behavior. It's called "confirmation bias" and we all tend to do it. Some do it more than others. I believe that the more emotional investment we have in the topic, the more prone we are to unconsciously use it.

Thom has often referred to Barack Obama as America's Rorschach test, because everyone saw in him what they expected to see (based on hope or fear). My observation is that the world is our Rorschach. We are constantly projecting our thoughts/interpretations on the various things we experience and perceive.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago


Michael Jackson autopsy news this a.m. said he weighed ~130 lbs (approx. 5'10" tall) and had only a little "fuzz" on an otherwise bald head.

Yes, very sad --- all the pain in his life.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

B Roll,

Yes, I agree that we see only what our preconceived filters allow us to see. It makes me wonder what filters I use of which I am unaware...

Vincent Daniels (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

I can definitely agree that anti-gay sentiment may be more prominent in the black community. As a black man, I can say that it is hard to have the deep friendships often thought about when you think of "best buddies", because it's often seen as being gay. So even your "best friends" only keep you at arms length.

brian a. hayes (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

with children that are glbt is their parents. the parents must realize that they must be there for them. if the parents make it hard, the kids have noone to talk about life issues

Ben (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

Here is another way to phrase the health care argument. Compare a disease to a burgler. If a burgler enters your house, you can call the government run police department to expel and contain the burgler. Many of our illnesses are like burglers as they enter our bodies and steal our nutrients. Then they move on to other bodies and do the same. Should we not have a government run police department for these body invaders?

brian a. hayes (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

society is rough on glbt children parents need to not be hung up if they have a glbt child. if the kids have the love and suport of their parent, then they can win. my son at age 10 made a gay remark. i told him that there is nothing wrong about people being gay. this was my way to show him respect for others.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

Vincent Daniels,

I think the same might be said for many men in the white community, if what I hear from my husband and son is a reflection of a broader scale. It sounds to me as though being gay is an anathema to many groups.

It does make me wonder about Saudis, though. If, as Thom says, being a gay Saudi is punishable by death, the accepted practices in that culture of men holding hands and kissing seems a little strange. (It might make a Freudian adherent wonder.)

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

re Michael Jackson,


Your take on Michael Jackson is almost exactly the same as mine. I also believe that he was most probably gay and that he didn't dare reveal it. One fact I'd include is that he grew up as a Jehovah's Witness, which I consider to be a kind of fundamentalist religion.

As far as his father's abusiveness, I recall hearing that his father beat and emotionally abused several (maybe all) of his children, so I don't know if the abuse was related to Michael acting gay.

I'm not sure how big of a part being black played in his psychological makeup. I'd tend to think racism may have had more of an affect on his parents than on the children, but that's just a hunch based on my gut feeling.

I wrote on this blog on Friday that I thought that Jackson's eccentricities may have been related to his possible homosexuality and his feeling that he didn't dare reveal it.

I also agree that if he was gay, his life might have been easier if he had been born one or two decades later.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

adding to my previous comment:

I'm not sure that his plastic surgery was connected to his being black. I think he may have suffered from a kind of self-loathing because based on his homosexuality, if in fact he was. I think that being a Jehovah's Witness may have accentuated his internal conflicts over that.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

see... your caller confirmed my comment about how being a Jehovah's Witness would have put additional pressure on him.

Long Doggie (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

I don't believe there is any real evidence that Michael Jackson was gay.
I think there is a lot of evidence that he was transgendered. It's not the same.

I really have no opinion about the alleged child molestation, but if that were to be true, Pedophilia is also NOT THE SAME AS BEING GAY. That misconception really makes me angry because the right wing throws it around to justify bigotry.

Mark (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

In regard to Michael Jackson's suspected homosexuality, that's been around for some time. I think it was one of those 'Don't ask, don't tell" things. I remember listening to "Billie Jean" back in 1983 and thinking how odd it was that he was singing a song like that, since he didn't seem to be into girls. During his pedophile trial, people had a stong suspicion, in fact may have assumed it, but Jackson had become such a bizarre, almost pathetic character that he actually arroused sympathy. And his marriages--who didn't think that they were set-up jobs? At least there remains the music--I happen to think that "Off the Wall" was a superior record to "Thriller" from first song to last.

Ameire (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

Hey Thom,

I am a 36yr old African American male who resides in Detroit,Mi. Responding to the fire fighters that were so called discriminated against.. Well just like slavery, jim crow and just out right government discrimination in schooling, safety, business opportunity, investment which still exist today those test were designed to exclude people and I wonder what was on the test anything to do with just the job?

And as for MJ we in the black community knew he was gay, there never was any doubt about it. We are not as naive a people to not know that gay people have rights because they are human. Its not the black community its the black churches which are not the major in Detroit, they are just the majority that votes in Detroit which is an African American community.
As a single man is discriminated against when it comes to rights in America in family law (rights to my children), tax law( single not married). Marriage is a regilious thing and should not be in the government because it actually discriminate against single American's.

Now to resolve all the issues in America give all American citizens EQUAL RIGHTS ie good PUBLIC EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY.

When I was working I was in the 15% tax bracket but paying $800 a month for health care which I had to pay co-pays, plus deductables. I would be willing to pay 20 to 30 percent for a good health care system.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago


I imagine you didn't mean your comment about our seeing only what our only seeing what our "preconceived filters allow us to see" as absolutist as it seemed.

Here's my take: Over time, we develop filters (to use your word) that effect how we perceive various things, let some information in and keep other information out. I think of some of these filters as being mental reflexes or default settings of our minds.

I often recall an experiment in which college students were given material to read that both confirmed and disconfirmed the existence of UFOs. It was determined whether they believed in the existence of extraterrestrial UFOs before the students were given the reading materials. The students were tested to see how much of the information they retained. I think they may have been tested right after reading the materials and then a week or two later.

The finding of the experiment, as I recall it, was that the students who didn't believe in UFOs could recall information on both sides of the issue equally well. The students who believed in UFOs before reading the materials retained the information confirming the existence of UFOs much better than they retained the information disconfirming the belief in UFOs.

My interpretation of the results was that if you believe in the existence of UFOs it's much more important to your view of reality than if you don't. If you believe in UFOs, you might either fear what they're going to do to us or hope that they will help us in various ways through their greater knowledge and technologies. But if you don't believe in them, the information doesn't have the same emotional charge.

We now know, through the use of fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) that our brains respond differently to information that confirms important beliefs than to information that challenges our important beliefs. In fact, different parts of our brains become active.

When we are receiving information that confirms our beliefs, the reasoning part of the ours, the prefrontal cortex, becomes active. But it doesn't become more active when we receive information challenging our beliefs. Instead, the limbic system, which is the which is the emotional center of the brain lights up.

So Quark, one way to tell when your "filters" are activated and what they might be is to observe your feelings when you're dealing with information. When you feel angry at something you hear or read, you're limbic system has kicked into overdrive. I imagine the same goes for when something you hear makes you feel elated. Your feeling doesn't make the information or your response to it right or wrong, but it does give you pause to reconsider the informaion without your reflexive reaction.

Sometimes we hear or read someone say something and we think, "How can they believe that?" Part of the answer is that they believe it, because they've filtered in information that confirms their beliefs (and makes them feel good) and have filtered out information that challenges their beliefs.

JE40 (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago


I have been a life-long liberal Democrat. With your radio show today you have done something no other person has been able to do in decades: you moved me to the right. To suggest that we should entrust our property and lives to less-qualified firefighters because someone in this country owned slaves years ago is the most asinine argument I have ever heard.
"Equal Opportunity" should be exactly that: equal. If a person does better at certain aptitudes they should be penalized if they don't belong to a list of approved racial or geographical designations? Come on.
I really don't care if the entire fire department is black, or asian, or from Greenland - as long as they are the most qualified.

Truth Nut (not verified) 14 years 51 weeks ago

I'm not 100% sure, since I didn't listen to the entire show, but I think the Taibbi article Thom was referring to is in the latest RS issue:

"The Wall Street Bubble Mafia"

This is not available on-line yet on the RS site, but I did start to read it on another site that you could find by googling.

rak (not verified) 14 years 50 weeks ago

Anyone else having trouble posting comments?

Here's the one I've been trying to post since yesterday

rak (not verified) 14 years 50 weeks ago

Pam Marten's Counterpunch piece:
"Four institutions, Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc., four institutions out of 8,246, control 35% of all the insured domestic deposits and 46% of the assets according to the March 31, 2009 figures from the FDIC."

PDF of Taibbi's Bubble article: http://www.scribd.com/doc/16763183/TaibbiGoldmanSachs

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