August 31 2009 show notes

As many of you will already know, I am now producing the free Thom Hartmann Program Newsletter each day which includes a list of the guests and topics and all the major links to articles etc. I send it out shortly after the show. You can see today's here and the archive here. I will no longer be repeating all the same information here, so please sign up for the newsletter if you want to keep fully informed. It also has details of events, selected videos to watch, what's coming up in the next show or next week, blogs, articles and a variety of other features. These show notes will now simply fill out some of the detail that is not in the newsletter.

  • Today's guests were Dr. Yaron Brook, James Hoffa and Victoria Jones.
  • Today's topics were "does the healthcare debate show how corporate power has nearly completely destroyed democracy?", "how long will Dick Cheney be able to stay out of jail?" and "have the trans-national CEOs taken over America?"
  • Discussing health care reform on a giant conference call with thousands of Nevadans, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., stressed he is in favor of a "public option," which is a top priority for many Democrats.

    But while Reid used the term "public option," it wasn't clear whether he supports a new government-run health insurance plan, similar to Medicare, that most liberals mean when they talk about what health care reform must accomplish.

    "I've told people, whoever will listen, that I am in favor of the public option," Reid said in answer to a participant who asked why he hasn't been more vocal on his position. "We're working now to try to come up with a program that would allow that to take place."

    Reid said a public option is essential to provide competition to private insurance companies that enjoy an exemption from federal anti-trust laws. He added that "a lot of people misunderstand" the public option as "some government run program."

    "But there are many ways we can do it," he said. "One would be to have an entity like Medicare. I really don't favor that. I think what we should have is a private entity that has direction from the federal government."

    "Reid stresses support for health 'public option' " by Anjeanette Damon.

  • Bumper Music: Pocket Full Of Sunshine, Natasha Bedingfield (video).
  • MOYERS: I don’t think the problem is the Republicans . . . .The problem is the Democratic Party. This is a party that has told its progressives -- who are the most outspoken champions of health care reform -- to sit down and shut up. That’s what Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of Staff at the White House, in effect told progressives who stood up as a unit in Congress and said: "no public insurance option, no health care reform."

    And I think the reason for that is -- in the time since I was there, 40 years ago, the Democratic Part has become like the Republican Party, deeply influenced by corporate money. I think Rahm Emanuel, who is a clever politician, understands that the money for Obama’s re-election will come from the health care industry, from the drug industry, from Wall Street. And so he’s a corporate Democrat who is determined that there won’t be something in this legislation that will turn off these interests. . . .

    Money in politics -- you’ve had in the last 30 years, money has flooded politics . .. the Supreme Court saying "money is free speech." It goes back to the efforts in the 19th Century to give corporations the right of personhood -- so if you as a citizen have the right to donate to campaigns, then so do corporations. Money has flowed in such a flood into both parties that the Democratic Party gets a lot of its support from the very interests that -- when the Republicans are in power -- financially support the Republicans.

    You really have essentially -- except for the progressives on the left of the Democratic Party – you really have two corporate parties who in their own way and their own time are serving the interests of basically a narrow set of economic interests in the country -- who, as Glenn Greenwald, who is a great analyst and journalist, wrote just this week: these narrow interests seem to win, determine the outcomes, no matter how many Democrats are elected, no matter who has their hands on the levers of powers, these narrow interests determine the outcomes in Washington, even when they have to run roughshod over the interests of ordinary Americans. I’m sad to say that has happened to the Democratic Party.

    I’d rather see Barack Obama go down fighting for vigorous strong principled public insurance, than to lose with a [corporate-dominated] bill . . . . the insurers are winning. Everyone already knows the White House has made a deal with the drug industry -- promising not to import cheaper drugs from Canada and Europe – promising not to use the government to negotiate for better prices -- that deal has been cut . . .

    There’s this fear that Barack Obama will become the Grover Cleveland of this era – Grover Cleveland was a good man, but he became a conservative Democratic President because he didn’t fight the powerful interests – people say Obama should be FDR – I’d much rather see him be Theodore Roosevelt --– Teddy Roosevelt loved to fight – … I think if Obama fought instead of really finessed it so much . . . I think it would change the atmosphere.

    "Bill Moyers on the health care debate, Democrats, and Afghanistan" on Bill Maher's show 28 August 2009.

  • Bumper Music: The Revolution Starts Now, Steve Earle (video).
  • The fact of the matter is the lawyers in the Justice Department who gave us those opinions had every right to give us the opinions they did. Now you get a new administration and they say, well, we didn't like those opinions, we're going to go investigate those lawyers and perhaps have them disbarred. I just think it's an outrageous precedent to set, to have this kind of, I think, intensely partisan, politicized look back at the prior administration.

    I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me, frankly, Chris, is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaeda. The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, how did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?

    "Transcript of Cheney on 'FOX News Sunday'", August 30, 2009.

  • Bumper Music: Miniature Disasters, KT Tunstall.
  • McCain went so far as to say some of the interrogations in question violated international law.

    They “were in violation of the Geneva Convention against torture that we ratified under President Reagan,” McCain said. “I think that these interrogations, once publicized, helped al Qaeda recruit. I got that from an al Qaeda operative in a prison camp in Iraq who told me that. I think that the ability of us to work with our allies was harmed. And so -- and I believe that information according to the FBI and others could have been gained through other methods.”

    McCain said he spoke with the formerly high-ranking al Qaeda operative at Camp Bucca in Iraq.

    “I said, ‘How did you succeed so well in Iraq after the initial invasions?’” McCain recalled. “He said two things. One, the chaos that existed after the initial invasion, there was no order of any kind. Two, he said ‘Abu Ghraib pictures allowed me and helped me to recruit thousands of young men to our cause.’ Now that's al Qaeda.”

    McCain also said, presumably from his first hand experience as a Vietnam War prisoner of war, “if you inflict enough pain on anyone, they'll tell you anything to make the pain stop. So you not only get perhaps right information but you also get a lot of wrong information.”

    "McCain Opposes Both Former CIA Interrogations and Justice Department Review of Them".

  • WALLACE: Do you think what they did, now that you’ve heard about it, do you think what they did was wrong?

    CHENEY: Chris, my sort of overwhelming view is that the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives, in preventing further attacks against the United States, in giving us the intelligence we needed to go find al Qaeda, to find their camps, to find out how they were being financed. … It was good policy. It was properly carried out. it worked very, very well.

    WALLACE: So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you’re okay with it.

    CHENEY: I am

    "Cheney Endorses CIA Interrogators Going ‘Beyond The Specific Legal Authorization’" By Amanda Terkel.

  • Williams: But let me just if I could say quickly, two quick things. One is, in a democracy you don't torture people. It's against the law. We're having this discussion here like oh well, you know if it works, it's okay. No. It's not okay. You don't torture people.

    And the second thing is, did it make America safer? No, in fact it led to our reputation in the world being diminished, and people not sending forces to fight with us in Iraq and else where. That doesn't help America.

    Wallace: Alright. We have to take a break here, but I just want to point out to the audience that it is purely coincidental that this country has not been attacked again since 9-11.

    "Chris Wallace Plays the "We Haven't Been Attacked Since 9-11" Card While Defending Torture" By Heather Monday.

  • Bumper Music: Rockin' in the Free World, Neil Young.
  • Bumper Music: The Mail Must Go Through, Larry Groce & The Disneyland Children's Sing Along Chorus (clip).
  • Japan’s centre-left opposition Democratic party won a crushing victory over the long-ruling conservative Liberal Democrats on Sunday, redrawing the political landscape of the world’s second largest economy.

    The result – the first time since the LDP’s founding in 1955 that any other party has won an electoral majority in the Diet’s lower house – gave the DPJ a mandate to pursue its campaign policies of taming the nation’s powerful bureaucrats and rolling out generous child allowances and welfare payments.

    "New era for Japan as DPJ triumphs" By Mure Dickie (liberal means conservative outside the U.S.).

  • Bumper Music: Union Maid, Woody Guthrie.
  • Clip:
    "That very word freedom, in itself and of necessity, suggests freedom from some restraining power. In 1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy - from the eighteenth-century royalists who held special privileges from the crown...

    "But since that struggle, man's inventive genius released new forces in our land, forces which reordered the lives of our people. The age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production, mass distribution - all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a problem for those who sought to remain free.

    "For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations and banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital - all undreamed of by the Fathers - the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service...

    "Private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise...

    "The royalists I have spoken of, the royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live...

    "These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. But in their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.


    Franklin D. Roosevelt, 27 June 1936, "A Rendezvous With Destiny" Speech to the Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • Bumper Music: Democracy is coming to the USA, Leonard Cohen.

Popular blog posts

No blog posts. You can add one!

ADHD: Hunter in a Farmer's World

Thom Hartmann has written a dozen books covering ADD / ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

Join Thom for his new twice-weekly email newsletters on ADHD, whether it affects you or a member of your family.

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 - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.