Friday August 21 2009

barrymore-imagesLive from the Barrymore Theater in Madison, WI - Get tickets at www.barrymorelive.com

Hour One: "Brunch With Bernie" Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spends the hour with Thom discussing the issues and answering listener questions www.sanders.senate.gov
Hour Two: Is health care reform about reform or who controls K Street and who will fund a 2010 GOP resurgenece -- or not? with Jane Hamsher www.firedoglake.com
"How do we hold Dick Cheney Accountable?" John Nichols of The Nation Magazine joins Thom www.thenation.com

Hour Three: "Is Obama in danger from crazy right wingers?" Thom speaks with Matt Rothschild of The Progressive Magazine www.progressive.org

Comments

Gerald Socha (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#1

Although it is not Friday, August 21, 2009, Mr. Obama wants bipartisanship in passing bills. What he fails to understand, the crazy right wingers want to destroy him. The crazy conservadems are also aiding in his destruction. Plus, a large number of people cannot accept a Black president. Well, they need to learn to live with the changing demographers in the United States because we will soon have a Hispanic for president. Toward the second half of the twenty-first century a large number of Muslims will hold many key government positions. Our so-called Christian nation by the beginning of the twenty-second century may see Islam as the majority religion in the United States.

Mark (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#2

On a recent trip to Africa, a very undiplomatic Hillary Clinton scolded a Congolese student for having the temerity to bruise her ego. The student, who said afterwards that he was referring to what Obama thought about China’s increasing influence in Africa—which should be of concern to the U.S.—was misinterpreted as a referring to what Bill thought. Hillary burst out "You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? If you want my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband." This was just the opening salvo of Clinton’s gender crusade, spending more time being diplomatic with village women than addressing the root of all evil in Africa—economic instability.

Many African observers have criticized the U.S.’ focus on cultural issues, and the sending of “aid” merely to avert humanitarian disasters—which only promises that such disasters will continue. Clinton’s pet African project—preventing rape as a war tool—is admirable, but it is only a symptom of the larger issue of the lack of economic opportunity for the masses. The Congo is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources, yet the populace sees almost none of these riches, which instead go to fill the pockets of warlords, finance conflict and otherwise benefit foreign economies. While Clinton focused her energy on opportunities for women (like Oprah’s Leadership School for Girls, where the motherly matrons physically and sexually-abused the girls under their “care”), China is promising to help build roads, schools, hospitals and electrical grids in exchange for access to resources.

Hillary Clinton’s response was clearly an expression of her bruised ego. She needed Bill to resolve the North Korea hostage issue, and Joe Biden and others have been tasked to attend to other high profile diplomatic cases. Why? Is it because Hillary, who has a history of being “undiplomatic” in her interactions with people she views as “enemies,” has allowed this trait to be a problem for her in her current role?

Mark (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#3

Meanwhile, it is frustrating to listen to people who live in an alternate reality, like John Lott, who seem to lack simple human compassion in their make-up. The only variable worth expending brain power on, apparently, is the almighty dollar.

If Lott and other free market supporters are for competition, a “healthy” health care industry that makes billions in profits every year should not fear a public option run by the government, that is according to all right-wing accounts, inefficient. But they do fear. Are they afraid that people might be less inclined to a for-profit system that is in the business to shave every corner and every procedure just to gain unseemly profits and compensation for its executives, at the expense of their lives? Or would people be more inclined to a non-profit system that is in the business merely to pay for procedures deemed necessary by a doctor? Are the Lotts of the world afraid that in order to “compete,” health insurers might actually be forced to consider the patient first before profits?

Lott’s suggestion that Premera/Blue Cross offers a “non-profit” alternative also indicates that the right exists in a world free from the travails most of us experience. In states where they are forbidden to deny offering individual insurance, Premera/Blue Cross do their level best to price individuals out of the market. In three years, I saw my premiums rise from $170 to $400, even though I didn’t seek medical attention during those years. That was back in 2001; if I continued being covered under the plan, the 20 percent annual increase in premiums would almost certainly have exceeded $1,000 a month by now—about 75 percent of my current take-home pay.

If anyone is trying to “kill” us, it is those who put a price tag on human life.

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#4

The Case of Rasta and Rasta’s Case

(This is a two part post. The first part is an examination of Rasta’s claim that Thom wants the Palestinian people exterminated. The second part is a list of people who have been guests on Thom’s show, are well though of by Thom or both, and their views on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.)

Part One – Is Thom biased towards Israel?

Ever since Rasta began posting on this blog, people have been insulting and ridiculing him. A few have tried to reach out to him and suggest he try to be more rational in his posts. I hoped that he could be reached, but suspected that he couldn’t. I won’t play amateur psychologist. I don’t know the cause for his uncontrollable rage, but I feel he should either be ignored or treated with compassion.

But what if we dialed down his hyperbolic rage and his extreme statements? Is there any truth in his charges (when dialed down)?

He accuses Thom Hartmann of being a blood thirsty Zionist supporter bent on the extermination of the Palestinian people. That’s obviously absurd. Thom is a decent man who has risked his life and safety to help other human beings in dangerous places. Like all of us, he has biases, some of which he might not even recognize.

It’s obvious to me, that Thom has a definite pro-Israel bias. When he isn’t able to avoid the issue, he acts like an apologist for Israeli policies. Some examples:

He’s frequently used the term “Muslim crazies”, he’s occasionally used the term “Christian crazies” and rarely used “Jewish Crazies” and that was clearly as an afterthought as an attempt to be fair.

At the beginning of the Israeli attack on Gaza at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009, Thom said about the early casualty reports that it has been reported that most of the casualties were of military age. It sounded to me like he was channeling Donald Rumsfeld. It was the policy of the American military in Iraq to treat Iraqi men from teenagers to mature adults (military age) as terrorist suspects. “Military age” has a large and flexible range, but one fact that Thom left out, maybe didn’t know, was that among the targets at the beginning of the attack was the Islamic University in Gaza. University students tend to be of “military age”.

At the end of the attack, Thom expressed great concern, you could hear it in his voice, that Israel’s military actions were very bad for Israel. His opinion was that it was bad public relations for Israel. Around 1400 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s military assault, around 300 to 400 of them children, around 40,000 building were destroyed including United Nations schools and much of the already insufficient infrastructure and Thom’s concern was that it was a public relations disaster for Israel. To me, that’s perverse.

Thom tells us that he reads both the Jerusalem Post and the Haaretz to get both sides. So he reads a conservative Israeli newspaper and a liberal Israeli newspaper. He apparently doesn’t see the need of Palestinian or Arab sources.

He occasionally mentions that Iran approached the United States through a Swiss Ambassador and Ohio Representative Bob Ney offering (among other things) to recognize Israel’s right to exist, based on its pre-1967 war borders and to stop funding Hamas and Hezbollah. But I can’t recall him ever mentioning that the Arab League has offered the made that same offer several times since 1996, including in recent years.

As a final example (I could give more), we’ve heard Thom lament the good old days when he and his friends could freely drive around the West Bank but that’s not the case now. He made no mention of the fact that a 30 minute trip can take a Palestinian hours because they’re constantly stopped at checkpoints even to go from one Palestinian village to another and they can only go through the checkpoints at certain hours. This is the case even in medical emergencies. Sometimes they’re not even allowed to finish their trips.

When it comes to Israel, it seems that Thom becomes like the three wise monkeys. He acts like he sees no evil, hears no evil and, even if he does, he speaks no evil. I believe that Thom has an emotional attachment to Israel because of his close Jewish friends (including Israelis), the work he’s done there.

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#5

Part Two – How do other prominent progressive view the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict?

Here’s a list of people who would be in considerable agreement with Rasta if he wasn’t so over the top. These are people who Thom respects; some have been on his show. Thom agrees with them on so many issues, but he can’t get there on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Amy Goodman -- of Democracy Now features many stories about Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians. Amy is Jewish. Several of Rasta’s stories come from the Democracy Now website.

Chris Hedges – a favorite of Thom’s has an article from December 2008 on AlterNet “Israel's 'Crime Against Humanity'”

Naomi Klein – author of The Shock Doctrine made a video in Palestine calling for a boycott of Israel. Here’s the first paragraph an article “Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction” she wrote for her website. Klein is Jewish.

“It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.”

Ron Kovic – “Born on the Fourth of July”, peace activist. From his Wikipedia page:

“On 8 April 2009, Kovic joined British MP and activist George Galloway to launch Viva Palestina USA, an American branch of Viva Palestina. Kovic will co-lead with Mr.Galloway a humanitarian relief convoy to the Gaza Strip in early July, 2009.”

Cynthia McKinney – former congresswoman from Georgia who first lost her office to a candidate supported to a large part by pro-Israel American groups. McKinney was a member of the Viva Palestina convoy. She had been detained 7 days in an Israeli jail after the Israeli navy intercepted the Spirit of Humanity, a small boat trying to bring humanitarian supplies to Gaza. The day after she got home, she got a phone call from British MP George Galloway asking her to be part of the Viva Palestina convoy. She was in Egypt the next day to join the convoy.

Mad Mike Malloy (my name for him) – a friend and colleague of Thom’s. He’s never been shy about criticizing Israeli policies. I believe that part of the reason Malloy was dropped by Air America was because of his strong criticism of Israel’s assault on Lebanon in 2006. Mike often says that many of his best friends are Jewish. I call his audience the Hoy Malloy.

Jimmy Carter – Nobel Prize winner and former president wrote a book “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid” and has been a long time advocate for peace in the region. Here’s a quote from a commentary “Israel, Palestine, peace and apartheid” he wrote for the Guardian in the UK. The subheading of the commentary is “Americans need to know the facts about the abominable oppression of the Palestinians”

“…In many ways, this is more oppressive than what black people lived under in South Africa during apartheid. I have made it clear that the motivation is not racism but the desire of a minority of Israelis to confiscate and colonise choice sites in Palestine, and then to forcefully suppress any objections from the displaced citizens. Obviously, I condemn acts of terrorism or violence against innocent civilians, and I present information about the casualties on both sides.”

Desmond Tutu – South African Nobel Prize winner. Here’s a quote from a May 2009 article in the Guardian.

“Passing through checkpoints in the country, he said, "brought back memories of what things had been like at home" in South Africa under apartheid…”

Nelson Mandela – Nobel Prize winner and former South African president; quoted from “Mandela Memo on Palestine” a March 2001 letter to Thomas Friedman

“The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just an issue of military occupation and Israel is not a country that was established "normally" and happened to occupy another country in 1967. Palestinians are not struggling for a "state" but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa.”

Arundhati Roy – Booker Prize winning Indian author and activist that Thom has referred to several times lately. Here’s a paragraph from “An Open Letter On Israel/Palestine By Arundhati Roy, Harold Pinter, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn & Others. This excerpt follows a description of how some Palestinians kidnapped an Israeli soldier as a bargaining chip to for a Palestinian doctor and his brother who had been abducted from Gaza the day before. Note that Harold Pinter, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn are Jewish.

“That this "kidnapping" was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources - most particularly that of water - by the Israeli Defence (!) Forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land alloted to them by international agreements, during the last seventy years.”

Cindy Sheehan – Peace Activist and Gold Star Mother

Sheehan got a lot of attention for saying “You get America out of Iraq. And you get Israel out of Palestine.”

Dahr Jamail – A recent guest on Thom’s show. He was also a guest the last time Peter B Collins filled in for Thom. I recall writing on the blog that day something along the lines of that it was the most truth and honest information about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that I’d heard on this show.

I won’t quote, but I recommend you Google and read “Do you have love in your culture”. It’s an account of the difference kinds of experiences that Jamail and Muhammad Omer experienced when they were awarded the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in London on June 16, 2008. Omer’s treatment by the Israeli authorities was unbelievable.

Medea Benjamin – Peace Activist and co-founder of Code Pink. Thom has mentioned her recently. Here’s an excerpt from her May 29, 2009 article on Common Dreams “During His Trip to Egypt, Obama Should Visit Gaza”

“Isn't it more important for Obama to visit a region where 1,300 people have recently been killed and thousands of homes, schools and mosques destroyed? Isn't it more important for him to see how the Israelis are using the yearly $3 billion in military aid from U.S taxpayers?

Obama should take the opportunity, during this visit to Egypt next week, to visit Gaza. He should express his condolences for the loss of so many innocent lives, call for a lifting of the inhumane siege that continues to imprison an entire population, and support an investigation of how U.S. military funds to Israel are being spent.”

Thom Hayden – A recent guest and long time activist. Here’s a couple of paragraphs from “Obama’s Silence” published on Huffington Post, January 8, 2009.

“It's possible to defend Obama's retreat to a safe pro-Israel position in 2007, especially if he sat down first with long-time Palestinian friends and supporters in Chicago and explained himself. After all, Bush-Cheney and the neo-conservatives were virtually welded to the Israeli hawks, and Hillary Clinton, who once gave Arafat's wife a kiss on the cheek, was threatening to obliterate Israel's enemies. Obama would be a fresh start.

But Obama must know that his continuing silence today is more than expedient. It is immoral. And if being moral is not the business of statecraft, he must know that his November 4 election helped cause the Israelis to thunder into Gaza and change "the facts on the ground" before his inauguration. They are afraid of his coming.”

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) – Thom sits on the PDA advisory board. Several advisory board members are critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people. Several of those critics are Jewish. Here’s a paragraph from “PDA Reiterates Call for an End to Israeli Occupation” a recent article on the PDA website.

“Now is the time for progressive Democrats to speak out in defense of Palestinian human rights; in defense, essentially, of American decency. Our elected leaders and newspapers must be reminded that Americans want our values reflected in a just and peace-pursuing foreign policy. PDA opposes the powerful and dangerous lobbies that distort US foreign policy in the Middle East, much as we condemn those Palestinians guilty of waging and supporting terrorist war against Israeli civilians. And while we condemn such terrorism, it remains our belief that the root cause of violence in Israel and Palestine is the Israeli occupation and intransigence, despite Israel's trumpeted withdrawal from Gaza.”

All those I’ve mentioned about are progressives with ideas and values very similar to Thom’s. But they speak out against the Israeli treatment of Palestinians. Thom quietly implies that both parties are equally at fault.

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#6

Bonus Post

Part Three

I think Thom's closeness with Israel is enough to explain his bias, but I just remembered something he mentioned once. After Israel invaded Lebanon and seized control of Beirut, in 1982, the Israeli Defense Force allowed Lebanese Phalangist militiamen into the Palestinian Refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila where they carried out a massacre.

Thom got a call from the international relief organization from Germany, Salem International to bring aid to the Palestinian survivors (if I remember correctly). Thom agreed to go but when he told Louise, she said don't, so he didn't. Other people from Salem went and were captured by Palestinians and held for around 6 years (again if I recall). Thom could have been in that situation. So it would be understandable if he harbored some resentment against people who could have captured him and did capture and hold his colleagues for years.

That's just a thought, but I feel his bias towards Israel is really due to his closeness with Israeli friends and the children's organization he helped set up.

Note: I would have given links to the quotes in Part Two, but I think the blog deletes posts with or than two or three links. I think it treats the posts as spam. I think most of them can be found by Googling the titles or some of the text.

DRichards (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#7

Common Sense 2009 -

"The Real War Is Not Between the Left and the Right. It Is Between the Average American and the Ruling Class "

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-flynt/common-sense-2009_b_264706.html

Loretta (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#8

B-Roll,

You did so much awesome work on your post. WOW. I will save your post for future reference. You are such a generous, sweet spirit.

(I don't feel that Thom has an pro-Israel bias though, or he wouldn't have so many pro-Palestine guests. )

I hope Rasta will thoroughly read your amazing posts and feel honored by your round up of intelligent, passionate activists. That took a long time to do.

Loretta (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#9

If case you didn't see the healthcare forum yesterday I wrote an article on my blog

http://www.portlandlivingweird.blogspot.com/

During the forum I realized that there truly are many many people terribly afraid of losing their coverage and having to opt for a public plan. Obama has a very thin tightrope to walk. I feel badly about speaking so harshly about Ron Wyden, now, because he has been in the lead for insurance reform which is one of the the most important pieces of this complicated process. Ron Wyden is also responsible for helping to keep LNG out of Oregon.

Ben (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#10

One thing that I noticed was that whenever you talk about the natural monopoly with health care, the right always mentions food, because we also need it to survive. We cannot refuse to buy food as it is a necessity to life. However, food insurance already exists. It is called the FDA. We have collectively decided that we must have food to survive and that we want assurances that the food is safe to eat, so we created a government insurance program to protect us from bad food. Now all we need is a government insurance program to protect our bodies from illness and such.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#11

I'm afraid I got John Nichols into a little hot water a while back. I attended aweekend seminar presented by the MN Progressive Caucus of the state's Democratic Party.

Nichols gave a talk in which he said it was imperative that voters elect the most progressive candidate for U.S. Senator possible. After the talk, I asked Nichols how well he knew Al Franken (which it turned out later, he knew Franken fairly well, tho he didn't admit it at the time that I asked him about it.)

I pointed out to Nichols that there were much more progressive candidates than Franken running for that office. I mentioned several examples of this and tried to engage him in conversation about it. He quickly excused himself and didn't seem interested in exploring the subject.

I mentioned this on a local Air America program. Franken or his supporters must have been listening and contacting Nichols because Nichols was later effusive in his support for Franken.

Doug Wetzel (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#12

We can support national public health care through a program to sell bumper stickers:

"Don't be furniture! Support SIngle Payer Health Care."

Keep up the great work, Thom!

D

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#13

Rahm Emanuel is not the problem in the White House regarding healthcare reform. Rahm Emanuel is a SYMPTOM of the problem in the White House. While treating the symptom can bring some measure of relief; it often allows the disease to run its course unchecked usually leaving death to be the ultimate cure. The issue regarding healthcare reform in the White House is:

President Obama is not Progressive. President Obama has NEVER been Progressive. President Obama is a wishy-washy, mediocre, just-right-of-the-middle-of-the-road, pro-corporatist centrist.

We have gotta work to cure that.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#14

Richard L. Adlof,

You have named my greatest fear regarding Obama. What do you suggest as a "cure?"

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#15

Loretta,

Thanks for the kind words and for reading my long posts.

I apparently wasn’t clear about my list in Part Two. Most of the people I listed weren’t on Thom’s show to talk about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In fact, I don’t know if they’ve all been guests on Thom’s show. I haven’t heard all of them. I listed them as examples of important progressive people who share many common views with Thom, but who have been willing to openly oppose Israeli policy, while Thom acts as an apologist for Israel if he mentions the conflict at all.

Of the people I listed, I only recall Cynthia McKinney, Jimmy Carter and Dahr Jamail talking about the conflict at all.

He talked to McKinney because she’s a friend and the Israeli navy had rammed a boat she was on (trying to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, mainly medical supplies and toys for children).

Jimmy Carter was on to discuss his book “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid” and the situation in that region. Thom’s roll was to soften Carter’s criticism of Israel. (At least that’s my memory of it.)

Darh Jamail was recently on to discuss Afghanistan. The time he was on to discuss the Israel/Palestine situation was when Peter B. Collins filled for Thom.

So, while it’s true that Thom has many guests who are critical of Israeli policy, that’s not what he discussed with them. You’d never know their views on that topic from Thom’s from listening to Thom’s show.

In fairness, I do have to say that Thom did try to have a balanced show early in early January during the Israeli assault on Gaza. Thom had Jeremy Ben-Ami the executive director of J Street on as a guest. J Street is a fairly new group set up to counter the power of AIPAC. It’s pro-Israel but also pro-peace through negotiations. A day or two later he had Ben-Ami back along with Ray Hanania, a Palestinian-American journalist, radio talk show host and comedian. I think Thom had been a guest on Hanania’s radio show and found him to be moderate enough to fit well with his own positions. The problem with Hanania is that he has affiliations with Fatah or one of it’s organizations. So he is more anti-Hamas than anti-Israeli policy. So you had Thom who puts most of the blame on Hamas and Hanania who put most of the blame on Hamas and Ben-Ami who blames Hamas along with the Israeli government.

I won’t go into all of the details, but remember what I wrote in part one. At the beginning of the assault Israel reported that most of the casualties were of military age. Thom, sounding pensive repeated that claim. But what is military age? Do you just kill people of a certain age? I will admit that Thom probably wasn’t aware that one of the first targets was the Islamic University where almost everyone was of military age. Near the end of the assault, Thom was concerned that Israel’s attack on Gaza was bad for Israel’s public image. Around 1400 Palestinians killed (between 300 and 400 being children), 40,000 buildings destroyed and Thom is concerned about Israel’s image. What should its image be? Don’t you think that displays a bias?

I think that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict may be the issue that is Thom’s absolute worst. He just can’t make himself criticize Israeli policy. He couldn’t possibly not have come across the facts. His reluctance might be partly motivated by fear of bring the wrath of pro-Israel groups on himself, but I think it has more to do with his emotional attachment to Israel. How deep and how far back it goes I don’t know, but here’s an interesting fact that I imagine very few remember. Unless I was hallucinating, and I believe I may have heard him say it twice, Thom said that the first language he spoke was Yiddish. I kid you not. He never explained it. But I remember him saying it at least once, maybe twice. I don’t think that matters, unless it partially explains his emotional connection to Israel in some way. What does matter is that he plays the roll of an apologist for Israeli policy. I think that’s what has made Rasta so angry at Thom. But I don’t know. Maybe Rasta is just angry or has other psychological issues.

Here’s a resource you may find informative. http://www.annainthemiddleeast.com/

It’s the website of Anna Blatzer, a young Jewish-American woman who went to the West Bank to find out for herself what was going on. Much of what she found is now on her site and does presentations to. You can find portions of her talks on YouTube. Her whole presentation might be there in chunks.

I think the whole or majority of her presentation might be there in the form of commentary accompanying her photos. So look at the photos and read the commentary. But I’d also recommend watch her on YouTube to see what a kind and gentle person she is.

Near the bottom of the photo page is a picture of some maps with a caption “Maps & Media” below it. Click it, look at each map and read the commentary. It’s very informative.

Thanks again for taking the time to read my posts.

P.S.: You won’t believe this but this is my totally rewritten short version of my reply to your comment.

P.P.S.: Yes, these posts did take a lot of time and there’s a very sweet young lady who isn’t real pleased with my lack of attention to her.

Loretta (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#16

B-Roll

Well you better be very attentive to your sweetie this weekend:-)

I hope this doesn't offend you, but maybe you should ask Thom what he thinks instead of putting so many words in his mouth, though. I know this blog situation kind of leads to that, but I'm not sure I would appreciate all of your assumptions, if I were him. I was kind of hinting that with my earlier post.

Loretta (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#17

I disagree with some of the posts saying President Obama is wishy washy. Recently I have spoken with many many people who are truly afraid of the public option most progressives like us want. Obama is trying to find a step-by-step way to convince people who are in the middle that a public plan can work.

Many of us live in a progressive bubble because all of our friends are progressives, but like President Obama said in his forum, the majority of Americans are indeed insured . Most of the Americans who are insured haven't had to deal with the dirty tricks insurance companies are playing yet. In other words, it hasn't yet gotten bad enough for a majority of Americans to want single-payer health insurance.

So President Obama has to make changes slowly to bring everyone on board. He can't risk losing Democrat Senators because their constituents don't yet believe a single-payer system is the way to go yet. I feel President Obama is actually doing the right thing here.

And another thing too is that it may actually be better to keep some for-profit companies in the loop. No country has ever tried doing both at the same time, having private insurance companies compete with a public option. It might be a great way to go, after all. This sort of competition combined with strict regulations on for-profit insurance companies might energize both sides in ways we have never thought of before. We're being forced to break new ground here.

Loretta (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#18

While doorbelling today more than 75 percent of the people who answered their door signed down for healthcare reform that includes a public option.

7 people agreed to call Ron Wyden's office to say "no public option-- no vote".

One long-time social activist, who helped to start the first universal healthcare initiative in Oregon, refused to sign on because she feels a public plan will too heavily dilute our possibilities for a singe-payer system.

The most memorable negative response was, "If we didn't let women have all those abortions, more kids would be working now, and that would pay for medicare." Lordy....

Joey (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#19

Thom...if you are not reading

www.glenngreenwald@salon.com

then you will not see what is happening right now with who will affect the power in Washington. Though it's depressing it is extremely insightful. It explains why the dems will become just like the republicans thanks to Rham Emmanuel, where getting elected dominates policy, party over people...and why a public option is the end all and be all to stand against the special interests. Please read Greenwald's last 2 articles...it will change your rhetoric on the air... I guarantee.

Joey (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#20

Loretta

Do you think President Bush would have allowed a sitting senator like Grassley to lead him around by the nose delaying and stalling a major piece of legislation for an entire month by saying he is trying to be bipartisan with the opposition who have already vowed to excxlude a public option??

Do you honestly believe Obama and Rham are impotent and sitting back allowing a watered down bill to be shoved down their throats when they have a clear majority? Go read Glenn Greenwald's articles and ask yourself why Obama promised transparency when dealing with big pharma (on C-SPAN no less) but went ahead in secrecy promising them huge profits subsidized by the tax payer. These are the special interests that run congress and it's business as usual which is exactly what Obama promised he'd change. Like nearly everyone else who voted for him, I believed and trusted Obama but I am not blind, and refuse to ignore what is happening no matter how disappointing . Now more than ever we must raise our voices loud enough for Obama and Rham to hear that we are not going to accept this compromise and we demand a strong public option or Medicare for all...without it there is no real reform.

The only way to not know what is really going down here is to not "want" to know. Obama...YES. Rham Emmanuel and Tim Gietner...NO...They are the problem. We will not be pacified this time.

Loretta (not verified) 13 years 14 weeks ago
#21

Joey, Please don't put words in my mouth. I have a right to my opinion, too.

And no. I do not believe #1 That Obama is allowing Grassley to lead him around. President Obama is allowing Grassley to take some time to try and bring some of the Republicans in line with his proposals. Plain and simple. Grassley isn't getting this time because Obama is going soft on a public plan, but because he is trying to make deep, spiritual changes in government. President Obama said in his forum that in the end he will, however, "do what he needs to do, to keep his promises to the American people."

And the truth is that he doesn't have a clear majority if filibustering is taken into account and also illness among Senators. It would be so very much easier to accomplish our reforms if he were able to succeed in bringing a few Republicans to our side. So that is why he has taken this short period of time to try and do that.

What President Obama has done makes plain and simple sense. And unlike some people, he can argue respectfully, and still care about the people he disagrees with. He doesn't have the habit of demonization of human beings because they oppose his views.

I agree. We do need to raise our voices loud and clear. That's why I am out doorbelling for reform and asking people to call Ron Wyden to say "No public plan, No Vote." even though I respect Ron WYden for his work on LNG and so many other issues. But while we make our points, if we can't even respect the opinions of those with ideas that differ minutely from our own, how will we ever help to convince those who are completely greedy, afraid, or misinformed?

Of-course I don't believe Obama and Rham are impotent and allowing a watered down bill to be "shoved down their throats." I feel they are playing a mind-boggling game of chess with motives for moves that we do not entirely understand. Obama told us to raise our voices loud and clear so in the end we will have a public option, because as he has been saying all along, he cannot change Washington by himself. He has to work with what he's being given.

Hopefully the single payer plan that we get down the road won't be too late. I ran into a man who edits the books for the city of Portland and he said that cities across the US have not factored benefits that will be due soon into their accounting like they should . So it isn't only Medicare that could go broke in 8 years.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Today, we are closing 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.

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