July 14th 2009 - Tuesday

budget-imagesQuote: Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it --Thomas Jefferson

Hour One: Are we disconnecting ourselves into oblivion?

Hour Two: "Is it time to declare the experiment of laissez faire capitalism failed?" Thom challenges John Berlau about the proposed Shareholder Bill of Rights www.cei.org

Guest: Former Governor Don Siegelman for an update..Is he returning to prison?

Hour Three: "Can you build a world class business on a shoestring budget in a recession?" Thom talks with Richard Hooker, author of "Shoestring Venture: The Startup Bible" www.shoestringventure.com


Mark (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

I thought I'd mention that I sent an e-mail to Maria Cantwell's office detailing my feelings concerning the health care system and what should be done, to include a public option. I received an e-mail letter in return which basically stated the following: She supports tinkering with the system on the peripheries, a "public option" for Washington state residents but no public option on the federal level, which given the state of the State's finances, is voodo reform. She does point out some important issues, such as not enough medical providers, and wants to provide incentives for people to become doctors and nurses; she also points out that many doctors refuse to accept Medicare patients because of reimbursement issues. Since she supports reform of Medicare, why she opposes a public option that includes remedies for all her concerns about Medicare doesn't make much sense. Instead of a public option to keep costs down, she supports something called a "health insurance exchange" which is supposed to foster "competition" between insurance companies; how this will work is not entirely clear.

Mark (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

After listening to Republican senators express their “concern” about Sonia Sotomayor’s “objectivity”—funny coming from the Party that gave us “objective” people like Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia—Thom’s warnings of a “September Surprise” from the Supreme Court should come as no surprise. One thing should be abundantly clear by now: the Roberts court will undoubtedly go down as one of the most reactionary in the history of this country, another “legacy” of the Bush administration. It has engaged in a systematic reduction in the rights of the individual (save for gun rights), while entrenching the power of corporate elite, extending the abuse of police power and re-establishing the groundwork for defacto racial discrimination. Interestingly, even given the stolen election of 2000, none of this would have been possible had it not been for the consent of Justice Kennedy, the so-called “swing” vote and a man wholly without any independent or discernable principles. Kennedy’s votes seem to be the product of a licked finger held-up in the wind; whoever’s hot-air blows hotter—usually the court’s right-wing—that’s where he goes.

Mark (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Just one more thing. Last Friday Ron Reagan had a guest on his show named Chrissie Brodigan, who achieved her fifteen minutes of fame via a New York Post story, which alleged she deployed anti-Semitic comments at a police officer of the Hasidic persuasion who was trying to arrest her for allowing her dog to take-up floor space on a subway train, which is apparently illegal. This story embarrassed her employer, who fired her from her position. She is now demanding a retraction for this alleged slander, which, she says, was motivated by gender bias. She also claimed that the officer grabbed her breasts, and tied what she claimed was a forty-pound handbag to her wrists handcuffed behind her back, making it difficult for her to stand straight. What was in that bag?

Now, people who are familiar with some of things I have posted here know I am no friend of the police. But I in no way feel any commonality with this woman. First, I have had many “run-ins” with police, not instigated by anything I had done, but because the officer thought that because of my “ethnic” appearance, I was a “prime” candidate for whatever stereotypical assumptions he might have. This white woman attracted attention only because she was breaking the law. Second, my “discussions” with police, though often heated on my part, involved issues of ethics and civil rights; after some gentle prodding, this woman—whose frenzied dialogue bespoke of self-involvement—confessed that her “discussion” with the officer included lobbing a few f-bombs and calling him an a-hole. The question then is did this occur before the handcuffing and the alleged breast-grabbing in a crowded subway car with lots of witnesses, or after. She claims he said that if she was going to act like a woman, he was going to treat her like a woman. I’d have to take the officer strongly to task for making this uncalled-for statement; I would have said if you act like a jerk, I’ll treat you like a jerk.

In response to the alleged anti-Semitic remarks, the woman claimed she did no such thing, although given the nature of the remarks she admitted to making, they certainly were subject to interpretation. She also claimed that she couldn’t be a bigot, because she was into sexual and gender rights issues. OK. So is Harriett Christian, Geraldine Ferraro and Gloria Steinem—along with a legion of “disgruntled” women on feminist blogs—all who used the race card against Barack Obama during the primaries and afterwards. So was Bonnie Erbe, who after Obama had won the primary “urged” him to step aside in favor of Hillary because “whites won’t vote for him.” And just to show how shockingly self-involved some of these people are, it still appalls me when I recall a statement “Ellie” Smeal made to an overly friendly USA Today reporter in 1991 that went entirely unchallenged and unremarked upon by the media: that covering crimes committed by white women—with the Pamela Smart murder case as an example—was evidence of “racism against white women.” I admit I’m a bit off track here, but this is liable to happen whenever I’m exposed to what seems to be patent hypocrisy—particularly in light of the present fact of the media’s fixation on attractive white female victims, a sure ratings hit with certain demographics.

If the New York Post did slander this woman, and she lost her job because of slander, then of course I think she has a legitimate grievance. If the officer did go beyond the typical pat-down (which no witness has come forward to say), then he should receive his own fifteen minutes of infamy, and more. But whenever I think of all these local all-white inquest juries which all found killings of unarmed minorities by police “justified,” and all-white juries who acquit police who commit heinous acts of lethal force such as in the case of Amadou Diallo, I find myself thinking “So what’s your point?”

DRichards (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Nothing will change -- nothing -- until the money lenders are tossed out of the temple, the ATM's are wrested from the marble halls, and we tear down the sign they've placed on government -- the one that reads, "For Sale."
--- Bill Moyers

DRichards (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

"The Cheney Deception" -- a plot that doesn't add up

There's been a sudden flood of information about secret programs linked to the CIA and to Busg administration, especially vice president Dick Cheney. Indeed, the stories overlapped in a way that seemed to confuse the 24/7 news cycle with too much information. Specifically, we learned at the same time that the Bush White House had circumvented the normal channels -- using John Yoo as its point man -- to get the OK for a spying program that became known as the President's Surveillance Program, the details of which are largely unknown. Then we learned that the CIA had also been hiding from Congress information about a reported assassination squad that would target al-Qaeda leaders around the globe.

Over the last day or two, it's been the hit squad that's been getting the headlines. But you have wonder...why all the fuss about a plan to kill al-Qaeda leaders? Why would the Bush administration have thought there'd be such negative reaction from Congress, which was rubber-stamping everything with the word "terror" attached to it after 9/11, that it felt the need to essentially break the law by keeping it secret. As the New York Times correctly points out, we already have such a program that is widely known and has been supported by the Bush and the Obama administrations, but it involved firing missiles from unmanned drones rather than teams of trained CIA killers. Although clearly there were massive logistical and political issues (can you imagine the uproar in Saudi Arabia, which would be a logical staging area?), which is why the program never got off the ground, the idea was not on its face illegal; the much-discussed mid-1970s assassination ban by then-President Gerald Ford only covers foreign leaders, not terror suspects.

David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo is thinking what others are thinking, that something still isn't adding up:

So regardless of how you might feel about targeted assassinations, it's not at all clear why this particular program would be so radioactive -- compared to what the U.S. was, and still is, doing more or less openly -- that (1) Cheney would demand the CIA not brief Congress about it for eight years; (2) Panetta would cancel it immediately upon learning of it; and (3) Democrats would howl quite so loudly when finally informed.

And here's an expert who agrees:

Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, told TPMmuckraker that because we've been in a state of war against al Qaeda since just after September 11, there would have been no need for a secret CIA program that received special legal authorization.

He later adds:

As for what the program did involve, Cannistraro suggested that it involved Americans as targets, and that it went beyond surveillance, but declined to elaborate. He added that, though Cheney may have directly ordered the CIA to keep Congress in the dark, the veep wasn't acting alone. "The approval was from the president," said Cannistraro.

Look, the CIA is supposed to be very good at misinformation campaigns -- that's why we pay them the big bucks. And I can't help but wonder if that's not what's happening here ("The Cheney Deception," sounds like a Ludlum novel, doesn't it?). The programs that would have caused the greatest uproar among Congress and the American people would have involved domestic operations (which the CIA is supposed to be banned from carrying out) that would have entailed spying on U.S. citizens, or worse. Perhaps it's related to this President's Surveillance Program, perhaps not. I do think that the idea of a hit squad reporting to Cheney is a shiny metal object that can easily distract our ADD-addled media.

I also still think most Americans want the truth of what happened during the Bush years, whether that comes by means of a Truth Commission or criminal prosecutions or both. Some say that truth would undermine ongoing national security efforts, other say that looking backward would hurt Obama politically. Those arguments ignore the reality on the ground, that something resembling the truth is dribbling out, but wrapped in misleading packages. Getting the actual truth out there in one fell swoop would actually be the best way for America to move forward.

Rasta (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago





Quark (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

This a.m., Goldman Sachs repored 2nd quarter earnings of $3.44 billion. Interesting discussion on MSNBC "Morning Meeting":


Quark (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

repored: s.b. "reported"

The Food Fascist (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Better nutrition for America's kids is a vital part of the Obama’s agenda in dealing with the health care crisis. Initiatives in this area are planned by the White House in the coming months. Recently, Brahm Ahmadi, Executive Director of People’s Grocery spoke at Sacramento’s second annual Common Table event, “We don’t have a health crisis, we have a food crisis.”

Jason S (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Does anyone have the link to the FT article aboht how Repubs are wrong in opposing Obama's health care reform Thom was reading from in his first segment?

Loretta (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Hi Mark,

Thank you for the report on Senator Maria Cantwell. She seems to be taking on a few important issues in health care reform, but not the big one.: Actually providing decent health care to all Americans. The exchange system sounds a bit like the co-op system which many people have right now, and doesn't work, doesn't it? Do you think the Washington State Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are worried about rocking the boat of welfare recipient Bill Gates, who lives in Seattle? He might not like the idea of the tax money required from the very rich for a public option? I worked hard for both of Cantwell and Murray in 2004 while I was living in Longview. It makes me very mad!


Quark (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago


We "evolved" humankind have continued to poop in our own "sandbox" since we left our hunter-gatherer ancestors behind. It seems inevitable that the sandbox will eventually "fill up." That was the choice and the trade-off.

Maybe Higgins has a suggestion...

Quark (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Jason S,

I was looking for it, too. This is the closest I could find. Maybe "Sue's Stacks" will post it later today.


Loretta (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Hi Mark,

Thank you for the report on Senator Maria Cantwell. She seems to be taking on a few important issues in health care reform, but not the big one.: Actually providing decent health care to all Americans. The exchange system sounds a bit like the co-op system which many people have right now, and doesn’t work, doesn’t it? Do you think the Washington State Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are worried about rocking the boat of welfare recipient Bill Gates, who lives in Seattle? He might not like the idea of the tax money required from the very rich for a public option? I worked hard for both of Cantwell and Murray in 2004 while I was living in Longview. It makes me very mad!


Richard Adlof (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Missing eggs are more likely oppossums.

West (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

I have little doubt that I will never hear another talk show host correctly use the term "Precautionary Principle" on the air. This is a term that could only come out of the EU, where they actually care about their people. See the academic work of Cristina Ruden for more insight.

You say you have the best listeners in teh world, I say we have the best host in the world.


Yellowbird7 (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Baby swallows missing?


They reach into the nest and steal the babies, fly off with them and eat them.

You can avoid this by making the holes of the birdhouses smaller and putting a little bar in front of them to make it hard for starlings to enter. The instructions are on the net under "swallow birdhouses".

The Food Fascist (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Help! What was the name of that movie that caller was talking about regarding that movie with the footage of the tuna getting caught in the fishing nets? She was same caller that mentioned the book 'My Year of Meat' - or did I not get that name right either- I wish people would speak with more emphasis when giving out these important references.

Caller now talking about Food INC should also see The Garden and Fresh

Sorah (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Thom is hitting the core problem of this planet -- the inability to connect cause and effect because humans don't see themselves as part of the whole. In the book Ishmael, the idea that humans are different from other species and that this earth was created for humans, gives humans license to destroy the earth. In the process, they destroy themselves. That's cause and effect. We are not only Dr. Frankenstein, but we're his monster.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

John Berlau offended by death sentences for corporate entities inflicting malfeasance upon the public BUT not flesh and blood folk. Corporatists disturbed by defined longevity for artificial constructs BUT readily argues for humans having the right to die because they can’t afford insurance. What happens once a corporation finally becomes sentient? Will John Berlau finally turn against them, too?

What about cyborgs? When is a human sufficiently inhuman enough to live?

Quark (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

The Food Fascist,

The caller was talking about Discovery Channel programs, "Wild Pacific." Several were on T.V. last night. I saw them, too. They were amazing!

The Food Fascist (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago


Thank you so very much.. Very kind of you to respond with this information.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

The Food Fascist,

My pleasure. 'Hope it helps.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

There is no respect due to President Obama for his Administration’s handling of Justice issues. I hate when politicians lie.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

I called Sen. Jeff Sessions' office after I watched him question Judge Sotomayor this a.m. I said that Sessions' criticism of Sotomayor is based on race and gender. I asked how Sessions can act without being influenced by his WHITE MALE background. I said his position was "silly." (I wanted to call it something else, but thought that I wouldn't be able to get the staffer to listen to my message!)

Mark (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

One thing about this country where people (and the people who own or run corportations) have never had to own to is the fact this land, which was essentially stolen from the original inhabitants, was never subjected to real tyranny, not in the way the reat of Europe was; in fact it was viewed originally as a haven for religious freedom, and then as an opportunity for economic exploitation by individuals. The pioneers who ventured into the wilds of virgin forests found the only obstacle to freedom was the occassional Indian, who was shot if he stood in the way of the excercise of that freedom. The French Revolution was unlike the American Revolution in that it was a bottom-up revolution, not a top-down revolution run by leaders who were for the most part more interested in the freedom to pursue their own personal agendas. Likewise, the revolutions of 1848 in Europe gained momentum from the urban and rural poor. In this country, even when people want change, they don't want to do the work needed to do it, if it means a loss of freedom to do whatever they want, or it costs money.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Boutique businesses offer niche services. Also, service folk who are at the notch you wish to be at. SMALL banks need more response . . .

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 46 weeks ago

Even though I sometimes refer to the two political parties as Demublicans (some prefer Republicrats, but I prefer Demublicans because it makes them sound dumber) I think it's foolish to deny that there are vast differences between the two political parties.

There are many examples that could be given, but Obama's nomination of Dr. Regina Benjamin for Surgeon General of the United States is a good example. Dr. Benjamin could have made big money as a big city doctor but chose devote her talents to providing medical services to people in rural Alabama. Dr. Benjamin is the founder of a Gulf Coast medical clinic that has been rebuilt twice after hurricanes.

But I often wish the differences between the two major parties were greater. Here's a case in which well connected Democrats are working on the dark side.


Honduran Coup Regime Hires US Lobbyists with Clinton Ties

Meanwhile, new details are being revealed about American lobbyists that have been hired to support the coup. The New York Times reports the coup government has hired a public relations specialist with ties to former President Bill Clinton. The specialist, Bennet Ratcliff, was part of the delegation that met in Costa Rica last Thursday. According to the New York Times, the delegation, including the installed Honduran president Roberto Micheletti, “rarely made a move without consulting” Ratcliff. An official close to the talks said Ratcliff wrote or approved every proposal that was submitted at the meeting. Meanwhile, the Honduran branch of an influential Latin American business group has hired Lanny Davis, the former White House special counsel to President Clinton. Davis is leading a lobbying effort to muster up support for the coup on Capitol Hill.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"In an age rife with media-inspired confusion and political cowardice, we yearn for a decent, caring, deeply human soul whose grasp of the problems confronting us provides a light by which we can make our way through the quagmire of lies, distortions, pandering, and hollow self-puffery that strips the American Dream of its promise. How lucky we are, then, to have access to the wit, wisdom, and willingness of Thom Hartmann, who shares with us here that very light, grown out of his own life experience."
Mike Farrell, actor, political activist, and author of Just Call Me Mike and Of Mule and Man
From Screwed:
"Thom Hartmann’s book explains in simple language and with concrete research the details of the Neo-con’s war against the American middle class. It proves what many have intuited and serves to remind us that without a healthy, employed, and vital middle class, America is no more than the richest Third World country on the planet."
Peter Coyote, Actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen