Tuesday - July 28th 2009

housing-bubble-imagesHour One - What's really going on in the housing market- should there be a right to rent plan? Thom speaks with Dean Baker, macro economist and co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research www.cepr.org

Hour Two - Thom will challenge Gary - Isn't the birther movement really about racism? Gary Kreep  www.usjf.net
Hour Three -  Why is the U.S. getting further into bed with Communist China?


Mark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

After listening to the “independent” women’s forum spokesperson yesterday (why do conservatives call themselves “independent” when they are beholden to a narrow-minded ideology that opposes any whiff of change?), one thing is quite clear: for the right, morality and common human decency does not belong in any discussion regarding political, economic, social and cultural affairs—let alone health care. When people’s lives are at stake, the only variable they consider is cost, and whether they will be forced to pay additional taxes to assist the lower classes that they regard with contempt. It always seems that these right-wing commentators, who have no cause to worry about their own health care, seem absolutely conscienceless when it comes to any regard for the people who by the policies they support ensure they remain mired in a social underworld. Health care reform, then, is essentially a shibboleth if it does not contain at least these the following elements:

Guarantees a general universal coverage for all citizens and legal residents, meaning access to care regardless of the “acceptability” of the insurance provider.

That all insurers allow for primary and preventative care at minimal out-of-pocket expense for the consumer.

No one will be denied coverage if they have a pre-existing condition, or a post-existing condition, for that matter.

Force competitive pricing for drugs; if drug companies remain recalcitrant in the pursuit of profits, allow for the importation for cheaper drugs after agency approval, and increase government-run or non-profit research and drug-development.

No one will be made financially vulnerable to exorbitant health care bills.
Provide government incentives and medical school tuition assistance to encourage an increase in the number of primary care physicians.

Help finance new construction of public hospitals throughout the country.

If Congress cannot pass a plan that will provide immediate relief to uninsured or under-insured people, or fix the core problems—which seems rather more likely than not--than a public option backed by the full authority of the U.S. government, with penalties to health care providers who refuse to honor its mandate, is not merely essential, it is a requirement. The only issue that needs to be discussed is funding requirements, period.

Ben (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Today's Dilbert comic strip captures very well the problem with stock options for CEO's. It shows Dogbert the CEO manipulating the company stock before he retires.


Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Dr. Dean will be the guest host for "Countdown" both tonight and tomorrow night. It should be interesting.

btw, I called Rep. Barney Frank's office this a.m. to thank him for his work (with Harvard economist Elizabeth Warren) to put together a bill to regulate the banking/financial industry and protect consumers.

I was particularly touched when Frank said on Rachel Maddow's show last night that "consuming" was only a small part of what people do.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

B Roll,

Re my comment yesterday:

"...we already tried to make changes (2004 and 2008 elections) the peaceful way. The response was laughter from everyone in our group.

Too bad they didn’t know I was only partly kidding."

Thanks for your concern about my safety.

That brought back memories of people like William Kunstler and Angela Davis and other human rights advocates of the '60s, '70s, etc. When I was in college, those advocates would visit schools around the country to talk about their causes. They also spent time talking directly with us students after their main talks. They were such brave people to march and to speak out. What I do doesn't take nearly the courage they had. I wish we had "lightening rods" like them today. (Maybe we do and I'm just not seeing them.)

(Or, maybe it just a side effect of listening to "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" when I work out. lol)

It's people like Thom who've taken on their mantle in a more "work-within-the- system" way. (That was Paul Wellstone's m.o., too.)

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

I will agree with Bill O Reilly in that the right have no basic education on what health care reform is about altogether and we must bear the few hours it would take to put a simple power point together or promote pieces like ‘Sick around the world’ at pbs.org.
Every college student can put one together to educate their class mates, surely our leaders ought to be able to bring those that do not understand the need for health care reform, the basics, and bring them up to speed. And certainly, we should not be allowing disinformation to interfere with what we need and want. In this, it would not be unreasonable to have case studies to reveal. For example, the City of San Franciso’s shot at a universal health care is not working so well and the Massachusetts a disaster [ well thx to Mitt Romney]. Mike Papatonio had some reasonable strategies this past Saturday on Ring of Fire. Start, he says by ferreting out the inefficiencies in the system, as we are doing with mileage standards. Pitifully slow, but until we stop attacking the other side for how stupid they are and become teachers, we will just be hampsters spinning the same wheel

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Tonight, Tuesday July 28, join our special guests as they update us on the evolving health care reform debate and provide us with specific examples about how we can effectively speak about health care's more contentious points.

Our experts include:

Patrick Romano, California Field Director for Health Care for America Now

Dr. Alex Blum, National Field Director of Doctors for America

Dave Roberts, veteran health care policy expert and OFA CD 50 volunteer

July 28, 2009 - 7:30PM Pacific Time

Register for this conference call at the link below:


Yellowbird (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Housing prices are going up because foreclosed properties are being held off the market. The pricing is STILL artificial, with the real estate brokers and lenders staying in bed with each other to game the market.

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

We have to build ecovillages and protect and value our natural resources and become self sufficient.

Yellowbird (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

How is it that we can't talk about the big news of the day? It seems public option, along with single payer, has gone into the dust bin. Why is this not on the outrage, business of the day level?

Why can't "baby-boomers", who were jettisoned in mass by their employers from their high paying positions these last 8 years in a collusion with the bush government by corporations to lower their overall social security benefits; and who were forced to pay twice the taxes for Social Security than any other group, since Sir Ronald of Reagan signed that one into law; and who have no option for earning back the losses this failed economy has reaped upon them; receive increased Social Security paychecks to make up for the losses?

The rest of the nation will eventually be put on public health care either by default from an ongoing depression, or because if we don't get it NOW, we will work hard to jettison blue dogs and republicans from the halls of congress, solidifying our position for the next round, and winning SINGLE PAYER in that round. We are NOT stupid enough to let this slide or to let the rethugs back into office.

So, if at THAT time the nation moves to single payer, the boomers will have been completely and totally treated with lost faith by the Congress. And at that time I think we should demand a payback of the tax overage we paid since Reagan, in the form of cash payments in our Social Security checks. Remember that every other member of the nation will then receive FREE benefits they did not have to pay for other than their taxes, and Boomers will have had to pay for them THRICE. Once, originally in their taxes, twice in the Reagan increase, and third through income taxes on their Social Security.

Oh, you young folks didn't KNOW we have to pay taxes on Social Security?

Boy kids. You have a LOT to learn.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

States' Projected Budget Gap: $166 Billion. AIG Bailout to Cover Gambling Debts: $180 Billion. Portion that Went to Foreign Banks: $40 Billion.

Arianna Huffington writes:

America's states are facing a projected cumulative budget gap of $166 billion for fiscal 2010. Even more budget gaps are expected for fiscal 2011. Total shortfalls through 2011 are estimated at $350 billion to $370 billion -- and could be even higher if unemployment continues to rise.

These are massive numbers. But when you remember that we spent $180 billion to bail out AIG ($12.9 billion of which went straight to Goldman), you realize that that alone would be more than enough to close the 2010 budget gap in every state in the union.

What Huffington fails to mention is that $40 billion of the AIG bailout money went to foreign banks. That is more than enough to cover the budget gap of California and several other states.

Both AIG and the foreign banks (and Goldman) were paid so they could recoup their bad gambling debts - bets on credit default swaps, which add nothing to the stability of the economy but actually destabilize the economy, and which help prematurely drive companies into bankruptcy.

So - literally - the federal government covered bad gambling debts and is letting the states go bankrupt.


Boris31 (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

RE: the 66 cent Myth...
Had to Offer a Good Enough Deal for the Banks to Get in Bed with the Government ???

this sort of accounting reminds of when Art Buchwald had to sue over the movie "Coming to America"...
and was told that the movie LOST MONEY even though it was one of the biggest hits of the year of it's release !!!

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Food Fascist,

And in city's, individual neighborhoods could become ecovilllages. People are starting by planting up the parking strips with vegetables, mapping fruit trees that have fruit that goes to waste. Our individual houses, with our individual everything that we could be sharing more, is part of the problem, I guess. Every neighborhood could have a tool library. We have one or two tool libraries for all of Portland but we could have one house in each neighborhood for all of the shared belongings, the free boxes, the big huge garden that everyone works in. That would be more fun, too. A community garden every two or three blocks.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Food Fascist,

What a wonderful idea (to plant vegetable gardens in public areas.) There are some large condominiums here in Minneapolis which have communal gardens. To have neighborhood gardens would be such a great way for people to get to know their neighbors and share the fruits of their labor.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Maybe there was no reason to discuss the FACT that State of Hawaii IS a farging State and his mother was an American citizen.

McInsane was born to American citizens on property leased to the United Stated of America.

Both of these corporatist pukes were citizens who have sold out to corporate entities . . .

chabuka (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

The one thing the "birthers" will not take into consideration is the simple fact that it doesn't matter where President Obama was born...he was born to an American citizen...(his Mother) and at the very least that would automatically make him a dual citizen....(my Father was born (early) while my Canadian Grandparents were visiting relatives in Washington state.. he was a dual citizen (all his life) a citizen of bothe the U.S. and Canada, no questions, no problems)

L Grace (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

The Hartford arrest case drives me crazy, once again.

While many white people will acknowledge a problem with racism in arrests, they will NEVER EVER acknowledge it in a specific case.

Even if there is proof-positive video of white cops beating the crap out of unarmed black guy, they will say "but you don't know what he might have whispered to the cop" or some other ridiculousness.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

I have a Certificate of Birth from the hospital (Not official) and two (2) certified copies from the county.

EVERY county is different.

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

That s what the Republicans do. The deflect their own infirmaries by accusing the other side of exactly what their own shortcomings are. Class Rove. Mc Cain was born outside the USA, so therefore, they deflected that by accusing Obama of the same.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

We had a right to be secure in our premises . . . Then came the PATRIOT Acts . . .

mathboy (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Here's an example of subtle racism from the news at the top of the hour: "The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court."

No, they've approved her to be an Associate Justice occupying the 4th seat on the Supreme Court. Her job title will not be "first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice".

L Grace (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

The term "racism" is commonly used as a synonym for bigotry -- this confuses the issue and this gets used to confuse the debate.

Laws can't end bigotry but they can end the system of racism.

But, racists don't want us to clearly make that distinction -- they want us to believe that laws are generally ineffective against racism.

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

I love the completely controlled, respectful tone Thom uses with the nutyanks. The "birther" thought he really had Thom by saying that if we don't check on President Obama's birth certificate we could lose other rights -- First amendment, yada yada... It was like a kid the very first time he learns to turn his parents' own arguments against him to defend something crazy... and doesn't do it very skillfully. That was hilarious.

I wonder who came up with this one? Who was the first person to get this crazy idea?

L Grace (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


Good point.

In the hearings, there was this attitude by the Senators that white guys were the neutral standard.

Judging from a woman's or Hispanic viewpoint was considered "bias."

This is racism AND sexism!

L Grace (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

I'm convinced that these birthers are racists.

They just can't come-to-grips that a brown guy can be a real American, let alone be president.

Richard Adlof (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Yo! Idiot claiming to be a legal beagle . . . Question asked and ANSWERED and you are too stupid to grok that the physical evidence has been submitted.

You care entitled to your opinion, but NOT your own set of facts. Please farg off.

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

So if his mother was American, Barack would be an American no matter where the mother was.

If an American give births in France, her child is not an American?

Catsrule (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

OMG! I can't believe people could actually give this crazy theory any credence at all. After all the documentation proving the President's birth in Hawaii, they still persist! They totally ignore the facts, because it doesn't fit their agenda! They just can't stand the fact that he is President. They are beside themselves and will claim anything to avoid admitting the truth! He is legitimate! Get over it!

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Well, the only good thing that comes of stuff like this is that we learn the bits and pieces of the constitution that are outdated and need to be changed. We need to change the "Natural Born Citizen" requirement but most of us haven't thought about that requirement since fifth grade. I still don't understand really. So is John McCain considered a natural born citizen? If President Obama were born in Kenya and his mom was a citizen, would he be a citizen but not a natural born citizen? If you are in the military do you retain your natural citizenship but if you are a born in another country to one American parent then you are just a citizen or are you not even a citizen then?

Richard Adlof (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

@L Grace - “While many white people will acknowledge a problem with racism in arrests, they will NEVER EVER acknowledge it in a specific case.”

There was a racist component to this specific situation.

BTW The photo to the right is an accurate representation of my actual phenotype . . . I am Caucasian . . . A white folk . . . Ooops.

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

That's so true Richard, especially a white police officer who feels he is an expert in racial profiling!

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


The ends justify the means in the Republican world view.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Mob beats Chinese steel factory executive to death

Thousands of workers had gathered in northeastern rust belt city of Tonghua to protest the takeover of their company and threatened layoffs.
July 27, 2009

Chinese state media confirmed Monday that a steel factory executive was beaten to death after thousands of workers gathered to protest the takeover of their company.

Chen Guojun, an executive at Jianlong Steel Holding Co., died Friday after an angry mob in the northeastern rust belt city of Tonghua beat him and then blocked ambulances from reaching him, according to the China Daily.

The protesters worked at the state-owned Tonghua Iron and Steel Group, which was going to be sold to Chen's privately owned Jianlong Steel. Chen sparked the riot by announcing 30,000 workers would be laid off, the newspaper said.

They dispersed later only after they were assured by authorities the sale would not go through.

-- David Pierson


Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Our politicians are creepy criminals.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

This is so distressing. People are more interested in their own opinions and supposed facts that support their opinions. And to tell you the truth, I’m not sure that we are much better than those on the conservative side.

I think this would apply to both John McCain and Barack Obama since it predates both of their births by a long shot. It’s from an article about the question of McCain’s eligibility to be president at factcheck.org The article does state that the issue hasn’t been resolved in court.


But McCain is a natural-born citizen, even though he was not born within this country's borders, since his parents were citizens at the time of his birth. As a congressional act stated in 1790:

Congress: "And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens."
Another congressional act in 1795 issued a similar assurance, though it changed the language from "natural born citizen" to "citizen."

But the State Department clarifies the issue, saying that the 1790 language is honored under section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

P.S.; Adding to my post above.

I'm looking at an official copy of my birth certificate. It doesn't list the name of the doctor who smacked me because he was jealous of how good looking I was. It doesn't even name the hospital where I was born. I must be pretending to be alive.

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

THX for that reference B Roll I will twitter it search 'health care'.

L Grace (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

>> B Roll July 28th, 2009, 10:23 am
>> This is so distressing. People are more interested in their own opinions and supposed facts that support their opinions.
>> But McCain is a natural-born citizen, even though he was not born within this country’s borders, since his parents were citizens at the time of his birth. As a congressional act stated in 1790:

Ironically, your statement of "fact" about Mccain is actually your arbitrary opinion.

McCain's status as a "natural born citizen" is debatable.

Here is the Snopes article on the subject:


But there are plenty other articles by real lawyers who know this stuff. It's simply not as clear as you arbitrarily declare it.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


Barack Obama's father's name is Barack Obama, Sr.

L Grace (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

>> Richard Adlof July 28th, 2009, 10:09 am
>> @L Grace - “While many white people will acknowledge a problem with racism in arrests, they will NEVER EVER acknowledge it in a specific case.”
>> There was a racist component to this specific situation.

Yeah you! An fair-minded white guy!

I'm a white guy, too, and it's very hard for me to imagine that racism didn't play a role in the Harftord case. At the very least, stupidity played a role, just as Obama said in his press conference.

As a white guy, I can't imagine myself getting arrested breaking into my own home.

Sure, someone might call the cops. But, surely the cops would back-off as soon as it became clear this was my own home. Heck, they'd probably back-off as soon as they saw my race and age.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Pharmaceuticals and Marketing -

Being one of those lucky Americans who is (a) still employed, and (2) has health insurance, i went to see a urologist last week. He prescribed a drug for me to take named Proscar, for an enlarged prostate. Because I like to know at least a little what I'm putting into my body, I looked the drug up on the web. The real chemical name is Finasteride. One of the side effects listed is increased hair growth. And one of the warnings regarding the drug was this:

Women who are pregnant, or may become pregnant, should not HANDLE this drug (emphasis mine).

That warning sounded familiar to me. I was sure that I'd heard it before, in one of those TV advertisements/disclaimers for prescription drugs. But the name was unfamiliar - I was pretty sure that I'd never seen an ad for Proscar on TV.

Further research proved that I was right. The SAME COMPANY that markets Finasteride as Proscar, for enlarged prostate, also markets the same drug as Propecia, for Male Pattern Baldness, and includes the warning about women not handling it in the TV ad for it. The only mention about prostate effects on the Propecia site is a statement that if a doctor does a blood test to check your PSA level (a prostate cancer indicator) you should tell him you are taking it, because it can effect the results.

One drug - TWO products, targeted at different markets (one legit health concern, the other, VANITY!), and different information on the 2 sites about the substance. There's a good picture of the industry that many of the Rethugs and Blue-Cross Dems in our Congress seek to protect!

renazantz (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


President Obama is a #2, he has his fathers name. so he is a Jr.

also, why aren't people posting and pointing to the Constitution (other original documents from the beginning. I think it is in Amendments or Bill of Rights, i just don't have time to look right now. but it states it very clearly) ..it states what constitutes a citizen and there are like 7-9 ways. one is Mother is US Citizen.
end of story.

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

You know what., This is a sexist requirement too! Geeze. It's the father that determines if a baby is a natural Born Citizen? The father has to be a natural born citizen to hand down that status to a kid born outsiide the country? It doesn't count if the mother is a Natural Born Citizen living outside the country?

Hey wait a minute. Who is going through the horrible labor pains here, and will raise this kid when the father ups and leaves. I protest! That is a despicable law, if that's the case.

I think what the law used to say is that to give a kid born outside the US the status of being a Natural Born Citizen both parents had to be citizens but only the father had to be a Natural Born Citizen which is outrageous.

Adele Richert (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Barack Obama's father's name was Barack Hussein Obama. The president's full name is Barack Hussein Obama II

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

I love Ellen. I sure wish we could get her a better phone.

L Grace (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

I want single-payer, universal health care.

I would compromise at "government option," universal health care.

Anything less is a failure in reform and I'd rather not have a bill.

Ive written this to my Representatives and Senators... what else can I do? Ideas anyone?

L Grace (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

>> Richard Adlof July 28th, 2009, 9:57 am
>> Yo! Idiot claiming to be a legal beagle . . . Question asked and ANSWERED and you are too stupid to grok that the physical evidence has been submitted.

Yeah, I had to laugh at that guy, too. He reminds me of these guys who fancy themselves "military experts" because they did some time as a soldier.

Typically, they picked-up some military (or legal) jargon which they love to frequently use as "proof" of their expertise but you can tell they only have the narrowest grip on the subject they are pontificating about.

Kay (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago


When people say, "Show me the birth certificate, just answer, "Show me the Kenya birth certificate." Speaking from experience--my daughter was born in 1971 in Nairobi, Kenya. She has THREE birth certificates: one from the U.S.Consulate, one from the U.S.Department of State, and one from the local Kenya Vital Statistics office. The latter was required for her Certificate of Citizenship processing. If someone is so sure that our president was born in Kenya, they have THREE ways to locate his Kenya birth certificate and prove it.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

L Grace,

Offer them the carrot AND the stick? (Explain you'll support their reelection if they support the legislation, work against them if they don't.)

mstaggerlee (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

Loretta -

You've got that WAYYYY backwards - American citizenship (like Judiasm, BTW) is passed from MOTHER to child, not from father to child.

The reason is obvious - a mother can (and often does) lie about the fatherhood of her child, but questions about who the mother is are far less ambiguous.

L Grace (not verified) 14 years 47 weeks ago

>> chabuka July 28th, 2009, 9:27 am
>> The one thing the “birthers” will not take into consideration is the simple fact that it doesn’t matter where President Obama was born

But would this be "natural born" citizen or legal citizen?

I know everybody wants this to be perfectly clear but it isn't.

The Wkipedia entry on this is enlightening:

But read the WHOLE THING ... don't just grab at a few sections that build your case.

But, in the case of Obama, being born in the USA, it's not debatable: he's is fully a citizen. Period. People who argue otherwise are walking jokes.

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