Friday August 6th 2009
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
Plus..Robert Greenwald is joining Thom & Bernie for a special announcement...Bernie Sanders Unfiltered? www.bravenewfilms.org
Hour Two: "News Under The Radar" Christy Harvey of the Center for American Progress stops by www.americanprogress.org
Maria Cantwell just came out unequivocally for a full public option on the Bill Press Show this morning. She suggested that the bill they vote out of Finance Committee will not have it but that it will be in the final bill. She likes the HELP Committee bill. Her comments sounded very unforced and well thought out, suggesting that this has been her view all along. I think she is being somewhat subdued about Public Option advocacy until the bill is out of Finance Committee.
It was nice to hear.
I just wanted to say how great it is to hear Thom focusing on inequality. I first became sensitized to this issue when I found Robert Reich's lecture "How Unequal Can America Get Before We Snap? " on his site. I highly recommend you listen to it if you're interested in this subject.
Personally, I think inequality is less important than social mobility. However, I also think inequality can be a good measure of mobility - after all, we're all born pretty much the same. There isn't a 1000 to 1 difference in the intelligence or productivity between the best among us and the average person, so when income inequality reaches that level it's a sign that the system is broken. I think many libertarians buy into the Randian myth that the vast majority of people are parasites, and that there are very few innovators who actually are 1000 times more clever or creative than the average person. To them, extreme inequality is the sign of a healthy society.
Pressed by industry lobbyists, White House officials on Wednesday assured drug makers that the administration stood by a behind-the-scenes deal to block any Congressional effort to extract cost savings from them beyond an agreed-upon $80 billion.
Bush:Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog
Prior to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush told French President Jacques Chirac that " Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog *, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse."(1)
Yes, thats right, Gog and Magog. Mr. Chirac recounted ( in two 2007 interviews and a recently published book ) a strange conversation he had with Bush as his administration was soliciting allies to assemble the “coalition of the willing”( to support the Iraq invasion). Bush appealed to their “common faith” with this disturbing and cryptic revelation:
Though this is old news, it shows how scary it can get when one takes the myth as being literally & historically true.
It appears that Bush really did consider his war as being a religious crusade.
Just a reminder today is Friday August 7th 2009, it is no longer the 6th of August. someone's calendar is out of sync.
Mel Martinez (R-Foley’s State) is announcing his EARLY resignation.
Now taking bets on the type of sex scandal:
3. Under age
4. Sex worker
10. Inanimate objects(s)
OR what it choosing a Latina Justice over the NRA?
Jenny Sanford, the wife and sole-mate of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, is moving out SO does this mean that María Belén Chapur, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’ soul-mate is moving on up?
It seems that we have quickly forgotten how "public" rallies that were held during Bush's tenure were so exclusive. People wearing any anti-war or anti-GOP messages (or even having such indicators in their wallets!) were not only not allowed to attend the rally, but some were arrested.
Now, shouting people down or beating them up is happening without many consequences.
Shardenfreude . . .
LOL. 'Love your Mel Martinez post. I was thinking along the same lines.
We Can NOT Inflate Our Way Out of The Debt Trap
UBS economist Paul Donovan shows that governments can't inflate their way out of debt traps:
Inflation pessimists cling resolutely to the belief that inflation will inevitably return. “Fiscal deficits are rising dramatically” goes the argument. “Governments will have to create inflation to reduce debt: GDP ratios, as they have done in the past.”
The problem with the idea of governments inflating their way out of a debt burden is that it does not work. Absent episodes of hyper-inflation, it is a strategy that has never worked. Government debt: GDP burdens tend to be positively correlated with inflation. Market mythology has created the idea that inflation will help reduce government debt ratios. The facts do not support the myth. [G]overnment debt rises as inflation rises. Meaningful reductions in government debt will require a low inflation future...
The higher debt service cost becomes a problem for a government that is pursuing an inflation strategy because government debt does have to be rolled over. Unless a government is willing to pursue hyper-inflation as a strategy, raising inflation will not reduce the government debt burden. Indeed, history indicates that the reverse result will be achieved.
So if inflation isn't the ticket out of the debt trap, what is?
According to Ellen Brown, even countries which are so deep in debt that they are bankrupt have regained prosperity by taking over the money and credit creation functions from private banks. See this and this.
Abolishing the Fed and the other private central banks and reclaiming the sovereign power to create money may be the only way out of the debt trap.
Richard, maybe Martinez is sick of his party and is just giving them a big FU by putting Crist in this position.
Regarding the noise from those who's brain cells are dying from loneliness, why should we complain if our representatives are not willing to discuss the only health care system that has been PROVEN to work.
I created a bumper sticker and window sign in support of the four honest members of congress. I posted them on Yahoo at feel free to copy and share.
Birthers, Roudy crowds, ect.
I wonder what the percentage of these folks being Christian Fundamentalist is. My fundamentalist in-laws believe that the Republican Party is God's chosen party, and they will support the party's platform, what ever it is (because the republicans are against abortion) even if they shoot themselves in the foot. Yes, my in laws are birthers, anti gov healthcare, believe that CEO's get what they deserve, and that George Bush was chosen by God.
OMFG! I am tried of idiots.
It's not just Medicare, a lot of those people also depend on their socialized VA health benefits.
Unfortunately, the tactics presently being employed by the ‘Tea-Baggers’ being activated by Dick Army’s Health Insurance Industry financed Astroturf campaign are directly mimicking early tactics recorded in William L. Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".
I find it deplorable that democracy’s underpinnings are being subverted by corporate-sponsored disruption campaigns.
I find it deplorable that the very folk who might be helped most by a government program are being activated against their best interests by corporate-sponsored propaganda campaign.
I find it deplorable that the country where Alexis de Tocqueville was astounded to find that lowliest of farmers could converse intelligently about government and American history has been reduced to this crap (Thank you, President Reagan).
A message to birthers: To become the president(let alone senator) you need to obtain a top secret security clearance (president needs the highest caviats). The fact that you aren't a legitimate american citizen would have come out. They have to verify your citizenship on your Standard Form-86(SF-86). The Single Scope Background Investigation(SSBI) that most TS clearaned people have is pretty extensive. And for higher clearances there is much much more (many-times to different types of polygraphs(full-scope, anti-espionage).
Shoudln't this fact alone end this retarded argument?
Last week a Gallup poll showed that nearly 30% of the insured have government plans, up from '08: http://www.gallup.com/poll/121970/Nearly-Insured-Government-Coverage-200...
Probably more like a cross-fade than a morph...
Pauline e Hopkins wrote in the preface of her book contending forces publish in 1900.' mob- law is nothing new. southern sentiment has not changed; the old ideas close in analogy to the spirit of the buccaneers, who formed in many instances the first settlers of the southland, still prevail and break forth clothed in new forms to force the whole republic to an acceptance of its principles. rule or ruin is the motto which is committing the most beautiful portion of our glorious country to a revival of piratical methods; and finally to the introduction of anarchy.
Isn't the effort to reform the health system ANTI-fascist? I mean part of fascism is corporate-government partnership.
GM gets to dump its polluted sites
When General Motors Co. emerged from bankruptcy, it was freed of obligations for polluted properties at discarded plant sites that will require millions of dollars to clean up.
GM’s unusual, government-engineered bankruptcy allowed the Detroit automaker to emerge as a new company — and to shed billions in liabilities, including claims that governments had against GM for polluting.
I heard this on NPR's All Things Considered. It's RAM's 10th annual Free Medical Clinic at the Wise County Fair Grounds in Virginia. The above link is to the NPR story. It has the article, lots of pictures, and the 8 minute audio which includes an interview with one of the 2,700 patients they saw. It's remarkable stuff!
Thank you for your kind words on yesterday's blog. You are so extremely generous in your comments toward me and, though I am not a hero, I do try to walk through life one step at a time. So much of life is just enduring… and trying to comprehend.
My dear mother-in-law grew up in extremely difficult/abusive circumstances, too, but was an orphan as well. Somehow, she kept her soul and heart. I love her and we spend our time together laughing. btw, she is an extremely intelligent, capable person. I learn from her all the time.
You don’t need to say any more. Thank you so much for what you did say. I take you at your word regarding Mark’s attitudes. Mark is obviously so smart, I have hope that he will come to understand and appreciate other more positive, less bigotted points of view. So much of life’s true wealth comes with age and experience, I think.
Let’s hug and have a good weekend! Thanks so much for your friendship.
I miss Loretta. 'Hope she's back Monday.
It's curious that Martinez left with about the same time left in office as Sarah Palin. Maybe they will be doing some kind of vaudeville act at Republican rallies.
Here's my answer to all these astroturf protests on health care: MARCH ON WASHINGTON!!! And I definitely encourage folks to show up at their local town hall meetings...
In this case it may be the remedy for what ails the health care debate. Fight fake grass roots with REAL grass roots. I'm kind of surprised I haven't seen more buzz about an idea like this.
Surely the netroots, unions, nurses, doctors and the progressive community-at-large could organize a massive gathering that would demonstrate the country's overwhelming desire for a health care system that puts patients before profits. The main hurdle would be focusing on the goal of passing a good bill versus passing a perfect bill (ie. one that contains single-payer or an iron-clad public option).
Think about it... we could get Dr. Dean, Bill Clinton, Michael Moore... the list goes on and on.
Why isn't Organizing for America doing something like this??
We have plenty of time to put it together... the health care debate will be going on through the fall!
What say you Kos community???
For the past two days, Michael Medved has spent the majority of his time fighting off the rabid birthers. I have never liked him more.
Doesn't it bother you that Obama now seems to regard the progressives in the party as the problem (more than the Blue Dogs or the crazies on the right?) He wants us all to sit down and shut up. (That theme seemed to be echoed on several of the Sunday a.m. talking heads programs today.)
I don't feel that Obama has really earned that ability to call us out. He has not governed the way he said he would during the campaign --- with everything out in the open. He has, in many ways, continued the same trajectory as Bush, in Iraq and Afganistan as well as on Wall Street, catering to corporate America.
I know that the hatemongers on the right will try to take advantage of this disaffection, but I think we have to be honest about where this country should be going.
It's too bad that the American people don't understand that this country has swung so far to the right, and that "moderate" in this country probably means "conservative" in many European countries.
Frank Rich's column today says alot about all this:
"Is Obama Punking Us? "
I think Loretta might not be back until the middle of the week. She posted a comment on Monday, August 2 that she was going to be in a workshop and wouldn’t be able to hear the show for 10 days.
As far as Obama not governing the way he said he would, I think it’s a complex issue. You said that he’s continuing Bush’s trajectory in Iraq, Afghanistan and on Wall Street.
His position on Iraq was that he was going to remove fighting forces from Iraq, but leave behind a residual force of 30-40 thousand for training and security purposes. It looks like that might happen. Somehow, it seems a lot of his supporters only heard or remember the part about withdrawing troops. I think it was Amy Goodman who asked him, as he was leaving some event, if he was going to withdraw the private military contractors. He said that withdrawing them would have to be in proportion to the withdrawal of troops. In other words, his answer was, “No.”
His position on Afghanistan was that it was the right war while Iraq was the wrong war and a distraction. He said he was going to intensify (i.e., build up) the war in Afghanistan. He also hinted that he might increase operations in Pakistan, which he has with unmanned drones. Do you know he’s having a city size Embassy built in Pakistan; one that’s similar to the one in Iraq?
As far as military contractors, from what I’ve read and heard, a lot of the work that was going to Blackwater/Xe is now going to Triple Canopy, a company based out of Chicago. Xe still has a lot of government contracts going.
The honeymoon started ending for me as soon as I heard he had selected Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. I wish Emanuel would act like Moses’ staff and return to his snake form and slither away. When I saw he was building his economic team around Goldman Sachs big wigs, I figured we were in trouble.
The fact is that he has never been very progressive since joining the Senate. I don’t know what he was like in politics in Illinois. Hillary Clinton was slightly more liberal than Obama in the Senate.
I’ve been thinking about the difference between Democrats and Republicans and although they aren’t nearly as great as I’d like them to be, the Dems are way better than Republicans and usually come into politics from a much better place. Remember, Obama could have easily gone into a high paying job at a big law firm. Instead he chose to go to Chicago and work as a low paid community organizer. Hillary probably could also have gotten a good paying job as a corporate attorney, but she chose to work with the Children’s Defense Fund. Even someone like Chris Matthews, who worked for Senator Patrick Moynihan, was in the Peace Corp. Republicans don’t seem to have those instincts. I have a feeling that politics degrades the character of decent and idealistic people like Obama and Clinton.
Add all of that the fact that it’s likely that no one really knows how to solved the myriad of interconnected problems we’re facing. Some may think they have the answers, but you can think anything you want. The proof is in applying your theories and very few people have that kind of power. Those that have power face tremendous opposition and may not get to fully implement their programs.
I’m not trying to make excuses for Obama. I hate a lot of the decisions he and his administration have made. On the other hand, I have to admit that I don’t know all the pressures and forces he has to deal with. Still, I believe he’s basically a moderate liberal who is pro-business.
But what about us on the left; have we been effective? Obviously not. I don’t know what our best strategies should be and I’m not sure who is. The fact is that we need a massive progressive social movement to counter the concentrated and imbedded power of corporate America, and we don’t have that. To make matters worse, the American public is incredibly misinformed and uninformed. I think it was Bill Maher who read some really troubling statistics on his show this week. I can’t remember them right now, but one of them was something along the lines of around half of Americans can’t name even one branch of government. That’s why it’s so easy to scare them into a reactionary direction.
We just have to keep up the fight the best we can. We have fantastic people on our side. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get lucky.
On an unrelated note, the guy from the Ayn Rand organization always makes me have to change the station when he's on. I can listen to almost any right wing talker - in fact, I find Thom's conversations with Chris Hitchens fascinating and informative.
He just sounds so uncaring, so unfeeling - I understand the need to be rational...I agree with it, but to dismiss actual *people* based on a flawed black and white view of the world just makes me sick to my stomach.
Correction to my post above (one day later)
I was just washing some dishes when I remembered that I had written (in the 8th paragraph of my post) that Chris Matthews had worked for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. That's incorrect. I was confusing Matthews with Lawrence O'Donnell who did work for Moynihan. Matthews worked for Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill as well as several other Democrats and was a speech writer for the Carter Administration.
It’s a quaint notion, that hermits, mountain men and lone Wild West gunfighters would deride: that individuals can co-exist without resort to some measure of “force.” Alex Eptsein would suggest that the nature of human beings to submit instinctually, to “volunteer” to co-exist with other humans and share resources. That must be why there are armies, navies and air forces. That must be why there are judges, prosecutors and police. That must be why there are laws and statutes governing human behavior. That must be why colleges and universities have often seemingly arbitrary standards allowing to some and denying to others the opportunity to develop their minds and expand their horizons. That must be why businesses hire some and discriminate against others. That must be why health insurance companies operate on the principle that some can live, and others must die in the pursuit of profits.
Epstein apparently is blind to the fact that “force” is all pervasive, and is employed in all levels of human endeavor, not merely governmental. Individualism, and the individual’s ability to change reality through proper use of his mind, is limited by individuals with the same ideas and who want to occupy the same turf. Individuals must be compelled to yield or to share; it is also an unfortunate fact that some groups in this country don’t like the idea of sharing the general prosperity. Epstein’s remarkably naïve and simplistic ideas of individualism and voluntary civilized behavior is not hard to understand; after all, this is a man who spends most of his time in a right-wing bubble chamber, doing nothing but “using his mind” to cook-up new rationales to maintain the status quo when the world is crumbling around him.