Friday August 14 2009

under-the-radar-1images1Hour One: "Brunch With Bernie" Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spends the hour with Thom discussing the issues and answering listener questions

Hour Two: "News Under The Radar" Christy Harvey of the Center for American Progress stops by


sebillah (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Thom - Could you cover the H1N1 vaccination issue on your show? Meryl Nass has been blogging about this issue and I see her as a fairly trusted source since she figured prominently in Glenn Greenwald’s reporting of the Bruce Ivins case. (Link to her blog: When I saw that she had picked up this issue of squalene and the vaccines, I took notice. Is this an issue or not? While I do not prescribe to a depopulation conspiracy theory, I do think that the corporations involved in the production of these vaccines are not 100% trustworthy and I question the “testing” process. But most of all, I see the MSM getting ready to portray vaccine resistors in the same vein as the Deathers and the Birthers when I think there is possibly a real issue here. Here’s what I want to know:

1. Is squalene going to be used and in which populations?
2. Are vaccines going to be mandatory? (So far, I have not heard that they will be, but Joyce Riley mentioned that they will be mandatory. Is this true?)
3. Is it true that under emergency provisions set up after 2001, under Bush, that the vaccine makers will not be liable if there are complications and deaths as there were in 1976.

Please do a show on this soon. It is getting close to the beginning of school and decisions will need to be made soon (mandatory or not).

By the way, I am not an anti-vaccine person. My kids have actually had all their other shots, but it sounds like this one in particular is different due to the rushed production, the use of attenuated virus, and the use of adjuvants such as squalene.

Mark (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

My, my. How our heroes fail us. But is it reasonable to have expected the president to have performed miracles after three decades of corporate entrenchment? Too many people have simply become used to the idea, it’s too big for them, they don’t know what to do, or are too lazy to do anything about it (tuning in to Thom instead of Limbaugh might help) As bad a shape the country is (or was) in, it simply isn’t bad enough for enough good people to demand change; that would have required a real depression. If “only” one-in-ten is unemployed, the other 9/10th is afraid of change; if one-in-four are unemployed, the 3/4th that is employed would not be allowed to forget it. If “few” are suffering, it is easy for corporate American and their political stooges to ignore them and strike fear in the rest by insinuating they might be next if change occurs. But if every fourth person is suffering, it becomes harder to convince the rest that they won’t be the next ones standing in line anyways—because instead of a neighbor, there will be a family member or two who is suffering, and they see corporate executives who only seem concerned with filling their own already bulging pockets. There has to be a point when people, no mattered how deluded they are blaming the “others” for their problems, ask themselves: “How could I have been such a fool to believe these lies for so long?”

For the time being, there are fools aplenty. A woman stood up in a town hall meeting the other day in Maryland, indignantly demanding to know how a Democratic lawmaker could put more debt on her family. Where the hell has this woman been the past eight years? Let’s put things in their proper perspective: Democrats are trying to do something to help people and save their future; the Republicans exploded the deficit by spending trillions of dollars on a needless war, give trillions in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, allowed corporations to escape their obligations, and numerous other policies that is simply money down the drain, to absolutely no purpose or use to anyone or anything but filling the pockets of the elite. The future—is that actually a word?

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney, who has been in hiding since the release of some of the torture documents put him back in a more sinister light, has re-emerged from his rock with a new strategy of self-defense. Now he claims that George Bush went soft, refusing to heed his “sage” advice during his second term, succumbing to “public sentiment.” If disseminating falsehoods to start a war, shaming the country in the eyes of the world by approving torture, and conducting national policy in secret with results such as Enron constituted “sage” advice, then perhaps we should be thankful that Bush played hooky from Cheney’s lessons his second term. In any case, Cheney’s arrogant claim tends to confirm that he saw himself as the “co-president” of the country.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago


Sorry for the long post. I tend to do that. But my main response is in the first half of this post The second half has details, which you may not be interested in but I included in case you are. Of course, you may not be interested in any of it, since it’s not a direct answer to your questions.

I know little to nothing about the concerns you raised, but I do want to make a few points.

First, you’re asking Thom to do a show on the flu vaccines. Maybe he will, but realize that Thom is a very busy person, so don’t be too disappointed if he doesn’t.

I also want to say a few things about Joyce Riley, one of the sources you mentioned in your post. Since you mentioned her, I assume you think she’s credible. I thought she was when I first heard her after the Gulf War, but as time went on I became more and more skeptical. Now, I pay no attention to her at all.

As we try to figure out what’s going on in the world, we come across people we don’t know much about. I learned about Riley after the Gulf War when she began making very serous claims about that war, many of which went nowhere. I believed her at first, but as I heard more and more from her, doubt crept in. It occurred to me that I couldn’t remember hearing her on one of my most trusted news sources, Democracy Now with Amy Goodman. Thom has mentioned Amy Goodman several times recently as someone who is doing good journalism. I checked the Democracy Now archives and couldn’t find any mention of Riley, so I assume Amy didn’t find Riley credible. I also tried to find her mentioned from a few other sources I find credible and couldn’t.

Some years later, she did a few other things that turned me off. One was that she and her husband made a 9/11 conspiracy DVD that was as flawed as your usual 9/11 conspiracy films. (I don’t know how you feel about those theories.) And then I found out that she was selling a natural cure-all type of product on her Hour of Power website. I’d heard of it before and found many of the claims about it to be false several years earlier.

If you want more details about the product and how I looked into it, you can find them below. Here I’ll just say that someone who claims to be a nurse, a medical professional of many years, should be able to find out that the manufacturer was making unsubstantiated and outright false claims, if I could. I’m just a guy, intelligent but not exceptionally intelligent, a college dropout, with no training in medicine and no special research skills, who debunked several of the manufacturer’s claims in a matter of minutes for one claim and hours or days for others. The reason it took hours or days was because I was making every effort to find proof of the claims and kept looking.

If you’re wondering why I put so much effort into debunking that product, it’s because it was being used as a premium during a fund drive for a local publically supported radio station and listeners were asking for it like crazy at about $100 above its retail price. And when I heard the first manufacturers’ claim about the tree it came from, it didn’t sound likely to me. Then it only took me a few minutes to find definitive proof that the claim was false.

One funny note about the claims they were making. Both the manufacturer and the host said they use the product daily. Among the many things this product is supposed to handle is colds and related symptoms. During the initial program (it was so popular they would offer it twice a week) the host had to cough and clear her throat many times during the program, and by the end of the show, the manufacturer nearly lost his voice. All the while they’re saying how great it was.

Some details about what I found out about the manufacturers claims if you’re interested:

The manufacturer claimed the product came from a tree that suffered from no diseases or insects. It only took me a few minutes with Google to find a site that listed 9 diseases and insects that attack that tree. That’s what motivated me to look at other claims.

The manufacturer claimed that his product had been tested and proved more effective than statin drugs in the treatment of vaginitis. He said the study was by the New England Journal of Medicine. Hours of searching (I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt) using several search engines turned up no such study involving his product or any similar product. I did find a study in that journal that tested statins as a treatment for vaginitis and found them to be statistically no better than a placebo treatment. That study didn’t mention his kind of product.

His other claims fell flat too. He had several letters on his website from medical professional who endorsed the product in various ways. One doctor and his clinic in Europe didn’t seem to exist. The only mention I could find of them was on websites selling this product. They had obviously taken it from the manufacturer’s materials.

A lab that supposedly tested the product was no longer in business. A doctor and medical researcher who I was able to tract down told me that he did sign the letter on the website, but didn’t write it. He said he regretted signing it. He did test the product, but one of the claims in the letter was incorrect. The one positive result in the test was gotten by asking the participants if they felt better or worse, not from medical measurements. He said the size of the test was too small to be meaningful. He told me that he told the manufacturer that the small test showed a positive results but a larger and more thorough test was required. The manufacturer, who the researcher told me he believed was sincere declined to commission a full study. He also told me that the AMA has passed a rule barring doctors from participating in studies too small to be meaningful but that could be used for advertising purposes.

Another thing the manufacturer did during the fund drive program was to read thank you letters relating miraculous cures from people who had no last names.

One last point; the week before the next fund drive at that station, I heard the same host say she would be offering that product again during the upcoming fund drive. I called the station and told the manager that the claims that the product came from a tree that was immune to disease and insect attacks and the claim that the product had been proven effective in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The manager promised to pass that along to the show host, who apparently asked the manufacturer. The host asked the manufacturer on-air the next week. His story had changed. He said that the tree was only immune to disease and insect attacks if they were in Spain and Northern Africa and not irrigated. He said that he got all his olive leaves from those areas. He claimed that the study he had referred to had been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (He had repeatedly said the New England Journal of Medicine during the first fund drive. It was one of his major points.) Those answers satisfied the host. But when I looked into his revisions, there was no such study in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the trees grown in Spain and Northern Africa also suffered from disease and insect attacks. Unfortunately, the product was very popular again, so they had him on during the next fund drive. During the program, the host mentioned that the manufacturer had his own olive groves somewhere in California. I think they had him on again during the next fund drive, this time with another product, even though the first product cured almost anything you could imagine.

sebillah (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

B Roll,

Oops! This is what I get for typing too fast and not giving the full context. The reason I mentioned Joyce Riley was because Thom was on her show for an hour on Tuesday (8/11) and the issue of the vaccines came up. That was actually the first time I ever heard of Joyce Riley and I could tell she was maybe libertarian or something. Anyway, my information has been coming from progressive sources and, actually, from Thom since he mentioned some concerns about Baxter (one of the vaccine manufacturers) early on in the H1N1 onset. I just want to make sure I am getting the best information and Thom is one of my most trusted sources.

I really appreciate your reply. I am a new member to the Thom site, even though I have been listening for almost two years now, and it is great to see that the folks commenting on his site are just as helpful and knowledgeable as Thom himself! Thanks again!

Quark (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Very interesting discussion on "lessons learned from Hillarycare" on Hardball last night with guest host Lawrence O'Donnell:

O'Donnell mentioned that, when he was a Moynihan staffer, at one point during senate finance committee meetings on Medicare, Moynihan covered the microphone and told him (O'Donnell) they should just take the words "65 and over" out of Medicare.

He talks about how "Medicare for all" was the original goal of its creators.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Re: "senate finance committee meetings on Medicare"

S.B. "senate finance committee hearings on healthcare reform (in 1995)"

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Why Aren't Progressives Disrupting ObamaCare Town Halls?

Many progressives are getting all bent out of shape over the "brown shirt" rabble organized by health industry PR firms to disrupt the so-called "town meetings" being organized all over the country by Democratic members of Congress.

What they are conveniently forgetting is that these are not really "town meetings" at all, at least in the sense of the town meetings I grew up with, and started out covering as a young journalist in Connecticut--that is, meetings called and run democratically, with leaders elected from the floor, open to all residents of a community.

These "town meetings" are really nothing but propaganda sessions run by members of Congress who are trying to burnish their fraudulent credentials as public servants, and trying to perpetrate a huge fraud of a health care bill that purports to be a progressive "reform" of the US health care system, but that actually further entrenches the control of that system by the insurance industry, and to a lesser extent, the hospital and drug industry.

ObamaCare is to health reform what bank bailouts are to financial system reform, which is to say it is the opposite of what its name implies.

The right-wing nuts who cry that ObamaCare is introducing euthanasia for the elderly and infirm, or that it is socialism, are ignorant wackos, to be sure, but they are right about one thing: Americans are about to be royally screwed on health care reform by the president and the Democratic Congress, just as they've been screwed by them on financial system "reform."

The appropriate response to this screw-job is the one the right has adopted: shut these sham "town meetings" down, and run the sell-out politicians out of town on a rail, preferably coated in tar and feathers they way the snake-oil salesmen of old used to be handled!

This is not about civil discourse. This is about propaganda. The Obama administration and the Democratic Congressional leadership have sold out health care reform for the tainted coin of the medical-industrial industry, and are holding, or trying to hold, these meetings around the country to promote legislation that has essentially been written for them by that industry--legislation that will force everyone to pay for insurance as offered, and priced, by the private insurance industry. What a deal for those companies--a captive market of 300 million people! There will be little or no effort to control prices, and the higher costs will be financed through higher taxes, and through cuts in Medicare benefits.

This isn't "reform." It's corruption, pure and simple.

Any mention of a system that works--single payer--the system we already have in the form of Medicare for the elderly and disabled, and the system that has proved successful for almost four decades in Canada-- has been systematically blocked and censored out of the discussion. Every effort has been made to bury an excellent bill, HR 676, offered up by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), which would cover every American by simply expanding Medicare to cover everyone.

The only proper response at this point is obstruction, and the more militant and boisterous that obstruction, the better.

Instead of opposing the right-wing hecklers at these events, progressives should be making common cause with them. Instead of calling them fascists, we should be working to turn them, by showing them that the enemy is not the left; it is the corporations that own both Democrats and Republicans alike.

The only proper approach to the wretched health care legislation currently working its way through Congress at this point is to kill it and start over. At these "town meeting" staged events, Obama and the Democrats need to hear, in no uncertain terms, that we don't want no stinkin' ObamaCare. We want Medicare for all.

streamer (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Will not be in chat today.

For inspiration to keep up the fight vs right wing mobs people should at the great Norman Rockwell painting "The Problem We all Live With"

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago


I don’t think you messed up by “typing too fast and not giving the full context.” Your comment was directed to Thom. Since it was directed to Thom, you had every reason to assume he would understand. My main intent was to let you know that Thom can’t do segments on all the topics listeners ask him to. Then I added "my opinion" that Joyce Riley isn't credible (not the same as being incredible).

I hate the fact that I write such long posts. But I figure, why should people believe what I say if I don’t present something to support it. This case was kind of difficult for me because I didn’t want to name the product or the guy from that company, but I wanted you to understand why I have serious doubts about Riley’s credibility. I mean, if the manufacturer’s first claim set off bells in my head (O.K., I admit the bells are already in my head, but he set them off) and it only took me a few minutes to find that his claim was false, why didn’t bells go off in her head? I think the sound in her head might have been the “ka-ching” of the cash register.

If you continue reading and posting on this board, you’ll find lots of good people here and a few not so good. I won’t name names and your perceptions may very well be different from mine. You’ll often find that I often disagree with Thom and take him on, sometimes kind of harshly.

On the whole and depending on what you hope to find here, there’s a good chance that there’s value here for you.

Frankie Dailey (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

for those who don't want SOCIALISM IN AMERICA
let's five them a form to fill out to sign over their Social Security checks to
be Direct Deposited in an account for Me

Quark (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Frankie Dailey,

Yeah, and what about "keep the government out of my Medicare!"

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago


re your comment on critical thinking being outlawed by the Reagan administration because it makes life too messy

Nah.. it's too easy to blame it on conservatives. We've already discussed how people tend to believe what they want to believe and dismiss what they don't. That applies to liberals as well as conservatives, though a lot of the things we want to believe are a little more reality based than what a lot of conservatives believe. But we have some pretty wild conspiracy theories on the left.

As for the comment (and video) I replied to, it bothered me to see someone accept the idea that this guy was the smartest man in the world especially after watching that video in which he's giving a detailed description of his thinking before he was even potty trained.

By the way, his I.Q. is supposed to be between 190 and 210, so the description of him being the smartest man hides the fact that Marilyn vos Savant is supposed to have an I.Q. of 228.

This critical thinking thing is a big deal to me. If you read my post to sebillah today, you'll see what I wrote about the guy with the cure-all natural health care product. The host of the show, who I believe is a direct descendant of Adam and Naive, was not only believing everything he said, but also was claiming it had done wonders for her family as she clearly was dealing with congestion and the guest was losing his voice. When I pointed out that several of his claims were wrong, she uncritically accepted his new story, which turned out to be false too.

We're all subject to uncritical thinking, but some people go without any struggle at all. One day, while discussing his spiritual beliefs, no less a person than Thom Hartmann said on his show (to paraphrase) the bottom line on why he holds the beliefs he does is because they make him feel good (or better).

I just got a call and have to go out for a while. So I deputize you to keep your ear on Thom and if he says anything too crazy, at least say, "Oh Thom". If you choose not to accept this assignment, this blog will self-destruct sometime between now and Monday morning.

P.S.: Due to time constraints, this comment was posted without proofreading.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Income Inequality Is At An All-Time High: STUDY

Quark (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

B Roll,

You just got a call and have to leave? You sound like a coroner (a job I definitely could not perform.) My dad used to get calls, only in the middle of the night. (He was a dentist in the highest poverty area in WI. He often was paid in vegetables, record albums and other "barterables.") About 3:00 one morning he got a call from someone complaining of a toothache. After asking a number of specific questions, he asked how long the tooth was bothering this man, who replied, "Off and on for the last 9 years!" Oh well...

I made the comment regarding critical thinking going out with the Reagan administration because, throughout my secondary school years, my teachers told us that they couldn't teach us everything there was to know. What they COULD teach us was how to find the information and how to think critically.

This kind of instruction continued at least through the mid-70s, when I was finished with college.

Maybe my education was a fluke, but I don't think so. My husband, who grew up in Michigan and Minnesota received similar instruction.

Oh yes, regarding I.Q. My son is "off the graph" --- extremely high --- in some areas of I.Q. (and overall extremely gifted), as measured by a psychologist. However, it is my understanding that there are many ways to measure (and definitions of) I.Q., from what I saw and heard, depending upon what criteria are tested for.

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Ask the caller who the government is =- a bunch of green martians? This is the difference between the parties- honestly.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

"You Do Not Have Health Insurance"

This should be copied and handed out at town meetings:

The article starts:

"Right now, it appears that the biggest barrier to health care reform is people who think that it will hurt them. According to a New York Times poll, “69 percent of respondents in the poll said they were concerned that the quality of their own care would decline if the government created a program that covers everyone.” Since most Americans currently have health insurance, they see reform as a poverty program – something that helps poor people and hurts them. If that’s what you think, then this post is for you.

You do not have health insurance. Let me repeat that. You do not have health insurance. (Unless you are over 65, in which case you do have health insurance."

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

THX Quakr- great article

See how poorly CNN is covering the health care reform issue. Rather than inform the public about why reformists say it needs to be reformed, they condemn Sheila Jackson by capturing some film where she is on a cell phone getting information The ‘quality’ of reporting at CNN

Geph (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Bachmann-Palin Overdrive tour is cancelled!

You can still catch their greatest solo hits on YouTube such as:

I Don't Read Newspapers

Let's Make Things Up

I Put the Hoot in Smailey

They Wanna Pull the Trigger on Trig

Alaskan Koan

Can You Guess What I'm Saying

Living In The Land of Make Believe

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

HEre is wish list from President Obama

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Here is David Axels' 'viral' email that further gives weight to the desired principles needed for health care reform:

I think Obama is allowing the media to cover the idiots to expose them, their masters and the media.

Obama is truly the Sherriff of Rockingham!

Quark (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Good site for updates on healthcare legislation progress, etc.

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago


Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Today is the anniversary of FDR signing the Social Security Act in 1935.

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

College graduates plenty of well educated idiots.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago

Angry lih-bruls are F U G L Y.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 14 years 45 weeks ago


To paraphrase RON-dog Re-AGAIN, there is only one set a facts.

Truth has been sacrificed for Colbert’s truthiness.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 44 weeks ago


Time for my weekend sneak attack.

Your story about your father’s dental practice reminds me of a woman I used to work with. She was a black woman who was a great grandmother while in her mid to late 40s. Her daughter and granddaughter both had children at 14-15.

After she left our company, she opened up a 99 cent store in a poor part of her community. Whatever you’re thinking of as a 99 cent store is probably way too grand. It was kind of a very small general store.

I visited her at her store a couple of times and two things stick out in my mind. One is that each time I visited; there had been recent acts of violence in the neighborhood for her and her customers to discuss. The other was people coming in and buying a few things and putting it on their tab, to be paid off when their welfare or social security checks came in. She had a drawer that held pieces of paper with the tabs of various customers. The thing that really struck me was seeing several people come in and buy one cigarette at a time for 25 cents, I believe.

I also remember an older immigrant woman I lived near telling stories of her widowed mother’s small store in a small town in Eastern Europe and how peasants would come into the store with a freshly laid egg or two to trade for something they needed.

As to your comment about the lack of education in critical thinking, I agree, although I don’t remember being taught that in school. Maybe I was just daydreaming. But here’s my point (which I’m really proud of, just because I (uncharacteristically) came up with a short succinct (oh the redundancy) way to state it.

You can teach people the tools and techniques of critical thinking, but they’re going to apply them when and where it suits them. If they don’t use them frequently, like anything else, they’ll forget some of the techniques they’ve been taught.

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.

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
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."
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."
From Cracking the Code:
"Thom Hartmann ought to be bronzed. His new book sets off from the same high plane as the last and offers explicit tools and how-to advice that will allow you to see, hear, and feel propaganda when it's directed at you and use the same techniques to refute it. His book would make a deaf-mute a better communicator. I want him on my reading table every day, and if you try one of his books, so will you."
Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall