Highlights Friday August 28th 2009

bernie-imagesHour 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 Three: Wendell Potter "Don't Drink the Co-Op Kool-Aid" www.prwatch.org


Jon in Md (not verified) 14 years 43 weeks ago

Will KPOJ web site leave old podcasts posted and available for download simply not adding new ones (because of loss of betterworldclub.org as a sponsor and no replacement) or will old podcasts be removed after today Aug 28?

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 43 weeks ago

We keep hearing how the Republicans are winning the minds of the American people on health care reform. I do believe that they are. Why??? Obama was elected and he gave us great hope but he appears to be another Bush with better language skills. HE CANNOT BE TRUSTED.

I would like to share with you a concern. It is the American education system. Texas publishing companies want to re-write history and highlighting the names of Reichwingers. Our son works with many foreign educated workers. In fact he appears to be the only American educated worker in his office. His company will not hire Americans. WHY? Let me share with you that European educated workers have language skills in several languages. The close proximity to different countries is a good reason. Every worker in his building must speak English. Our son speaks English, fluent Japanese, and a working knowledge of Spanish and French. Americans cannot compete with foreigners. There are also many very good universities in Europe and Asia.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 43 weeks ago

Americans lack Christian principles on many issues. Here is one issue and health care reform is another issue. Health care is a MORAL issue.


Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 43 weeks ago

I have tried to share information on education. Here is another thought to ponder. The U.S. has 5% of the world population. Our educated students must compete with 95% of the world population. The U.S. no longer has a lock on the best universities or the best K-12 education. Now the cry is buy American. When I was growing up, I would hear the endless propaganda of our great education system. We no longer dominate education. We cannot even compete or come close to foreign educated students. I would also hear about capitalism, the free enterprise system, and the best products and and the best creativity will survive. Now we have to bailout the goons and thugs on Wall Street, our banks, and our car companies. We do have a lock in one area. We are the greatest on Ponzi schemes, such as Reaganomics, credit card interest rates, mortgage loans, health care for profit, wars for profit, the bottom line is god, and screw your neighbor before he screws you.

Rasta (not verified) 14 years 43 weeks ago



Israelis restrict Palestinians' water supply

World Bank report: Israelis have access to four times as much water as Palestinians due to restrictions


Mark (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

It seems that Louisiana’s governor, Bobby Jindal, has rejected over a $100 million in Medicaid and unemployment insurance funds from the federal stimulus program; but heck, he has his constituents’ best interests in mind, whoever they are. At least we know that they are not the 27,000 state residents who are eligible for post-Katrina rebuilding funds, but have yet to receive a single penny. Or those effected by the fact that his state is last in the nation in health care delivery.

Meanwhile, just in case you didn’t know, the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is right around the corner. Earlier this week, Jon Elliot reminded listeners of how the Republican version of “social engineering” was applied by the Bush administration in New Orleans and its coastal areas. HUD secretary Alphonso Jackson (another one of Bush’s Texas toadies who was forced to resign on corruption charges) seemed to take pleasure in boasting of how New Orleans was going to change from an mostly black to mostly white city. How to do this? Easy: Don’t cover the mostly black wards in New Orleans and parishes along the coast with federal disaster relief funds, and give the mostly white rural areas further afield that received lesser damage an inordinate amount of relief money. I recall news stories reporting how white rural folks were just handed thousands of dollars for no other reason than they merely asked for it, using it to “repair” their trailers and shacks with large screen plasma TVs.

Today, New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward is still in disaster mode, while other mostly black wards are barely in recovery mode. More than 65,000 residences in the city remain unoccupied, nearly a third of the total. Almost half of the rebuilding money promised to the city has not been paid, doubtless because most of it would have gone to the mostly black wards. Public housing projects being demolished are being replaced by units that will offer only a tiny fraction of the previous number for the “public housing eligible.” Renters have been completely ignored in favor of homeowners in receiving community block grants, while rents have increased more than 50 percent. Unemployment and the inaccessibility of much the population to health care (90 percent of Ninth Ward residents have no health insurance) continues the extraordinary need for emergency services and food relief while billions of dollars in relief funds remains unpaid.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

I haven’t been around to participate much this week, but I did hear most of the shows. Looking back through this week’s comments I ran across this little gem from one of Mark’s posts. It’s about my posts regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

“Mark August 24th, 2009, 1:37 pm

… history is simply what it is. B Roll would prefer to “sex it up.” I suspect that B Roll thinks what I recounted was “pedestrian” because he simply has no idea of it, and being presented with reality it’s a problem for him.”

So Mark claims “history is simply what it is.” I would think that Mark is sophisticated enough to know that there usually are more than one history of events, based on the perspectives of who’s telling it. In this case, it seems that Mark prefers the history as “written by the victors”. That’s not the same standard he has for the history of his people.

As for his “sex it up” comment, that’s typical of Mark’s writing. He seems to derive satisfaction by trying to demean people and ideas he disagrees with. Maybe his comments made him feel warm and fuzzy inside or even strong and victorious. But to use a term like “sex it up” (as vacuous it was) just to try to dismiss the serious views of someone who he disagrees with is not only disingenuous, it’s offensive to the life and death issues being discussed.

When he says that I have “no idea of it”, i.e., the history of the Israeli/Arab/Palestinian conflict, he’s speculating about MY history which he thinks makes me unfamiliar with the history of the region. But what does he know about me and my life? Rather than leave his knowledge of my history as a vacuum for Mark to play in, I’ll provides some facts.

I come from a secular Jewish family, so there’s an immediate connection to the situation. But wait, there’s more! In the late 1870s one of my ancestors, Naphtali Herz Imber, wrote a poem titled Tikvatenu (“Our Hope”). That poem was changed a little so it could be set to music and is now known as Hatikvah (The Hope). It’s Israeli national anthem. Guess Mark didn’t know that.

Both of my parents were Zionist from their youth and I heard the “history” Mark thinks is so shocking to me in my home and in Hebrew school. By the way, Marks retelling of his version of that history would earn him an Aleph+ (A+) in many Jewish Sunday schools. But then Jewish kids usually stop going to Hebrew school and Sunday school after their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs at age 13.

Another thing Mark probably doesn’t know is that my parents sent me to a Zionist summer camp, where I had a great time, for several years when I was around 9-12 years old. We heard about the history of Israel and of the oppression of the Jews. It seemed that the main purpose of the camp was to recruit young Jewish people to go to Israel and possibly even move to Israel. The camp was connected to a kibbutz in Israel.

The camp leader was always a retired Israeli military officer, though a different person each year. Every night, they would have all the (healthy) kids play some sort of game. The game changed from night to night, but there was a common thread. That thread was that each game involved elementary military techniques and tactics.

When we would go on hikes, we would sing the marching songs of pre-statehood military groups like the Palmach and Haganah which we were taught to idolize. We also sang Israeli folk songs and danced the Horah.

I don’t think Mark knew any of that. And it’s clear that his suspicion that my views are based on me being uninformed is just a bad guess. What he very well may have learned through the magic of Google over the last week or so is what I grew up with. He didn’t impress me by mentioning the Balfour Declaration and Ottoman Empire. And he doesn’t impress me by regurgitating the history of the area as told by supporters of Israeli policy.

But there clearly are things about the history of the Jewish people that he either doesn’t or doesn’t understand. In our homes and in out temples we were taught that we are a people committed to justice. That’s a large part of the reason that Jews have and do play such major rolls in so many progressive movements like civil rights, labor unions, civil liberties, women’s right, gay rights and more. I included women’s rights and gay rights as a reminder that Mark has shown himself to be consistently misogynistic and homophobic on the pages of this blog. (I can provide the proof.)

What Mark doesn’t understand is that for many people from Jewish families like me, the love of Israel and the history that we were taught as children came into conflict with what we’ve learned as adults about the injustices the Israeli state has perpetuated against the Palestinian people. And we were taught that above all else, we are a just people.

For the record, I understand the oppression that Jews suffered as a minority in Europe. That’s also part of my family history. I’ve decided to briefly tell how my maternal grandmother bled to death in the snow of a Polish winter after being shot by the Nazis while she was trying to run away. She had been hiding in a house, helped by Polish Catholic friends when a young man in the town found out and told the Nazis where they could find a Jewish woman. Her friends wrote to my family. They said that the man who turned in my grandmother was rewarded with two packs of cigarettes. Like several of my Jewish friends growing up, I never knew the special love of a grandparent. I never saw even one grandparent.

It’s sad that Mark, who is obviously an intelligent man, constantly resorts to insults rather than just stating his case. It’s a shame because he may be the best writer on this blog and some of his comments are both interesting and insightful. Bit maybe it’s like he said in his anti-progressive white post after the recent talker’s event in Kent, Washington; he’s in a war on two fronts; against the reactionary right and white progressives.

It probably escaped most or all of you that I used on of Marks stylistic touches in writing him. I didn’t address him directly. Just like he does, I wrote it about him not to him. But now I’m going to change that orientation.

In the words of my people, Mark, “Gornisht helfn.”

I didn’t plan on translating this since Mark is so good with Google, but since this is an idiomatic phrase I changed my mind.

Mark, you’re beyond help.

Next, I’ll be displaying the truly amazing things you can do with Google.

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

For the record:

In my first post on today’s blog I quoted the last part of a post by Mark that referred to me on Monday’s blog. Here’s the first part of that short post:

“Mark August 24th, 2009, 1:37 pm

Well, reiterating what I said in my last comment (and it’s actually a surprise to me that he thought I ‘d respond to his Friday comments, since I’ve never directly responded to anything he’s said before), history is simply what it is…”

Well, the Internet has a memory. Google can be a way of accessing it. Sometimes it takes skill and sometimes it takes luck. Bingo!


“Mark June 4th, 2009, 4:02 pm

I was unable to respond to B Roll yesterday, so I will do so now..”

OK, so what. He forgot responding to one of my posts. I’m not saying he lied and I’m not making a big deal about him being mistaken; we all forget things. But this sets the record straight.

But what was behind that post I linked to does tell a lot about Mark’s perspective. Here’s the back story in a version shorter than I think I’m capable of. If you click on the link and read Mark’s post, this will help you understand the context.

Mark had criticized progressive talk radio for not dealing with the concerns of poor people and people of color. I wrote a comment to him saying that he shouldn’t judge all progressives by what he hears on “commercial” progressive radio and I pointed to several listener supported progressive media that not only deal with these issues, but on which poor people and people of color advocate for themselves. His response was to dismiss these sources at “a few brave souls out there on the fringes of the media” and went on to talk about racism.

I wasn’t telling him that racism doesn’t exist. I was pointing him in the direction of sources of progressive information, from white progressives and progressive people of color that deal with the topics he seemed to care about. His response was essentially to say that doesn’t count and white people are basically racist. That’s a theme he’s repeated on this blog several times. In his recent report on the progressive talkers event in Kent, Washington, he said that his opinion is that the difference between right-wingers and conservatives on issues of race is merely a matter of shading. He also said that he's involved in a war on two fronts, meaning he's at war with right-wingers and progressives.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

Dateline: 8-27-09 Minnesota Sixth Congressional District, Michele Bachmann Town Hall on Health Care.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann held a town hall on health care before a overflow crowd at a local (Socialistic) Junior High School in Lake Elmo, MN. The location and time of the event seemed designed to challenge the attendance of all but the idle rich. The location was at the far end of a extremely long large congressional district, but, near her home. It began at 2:45 pm and went until 4:15pm. Working people be damned. This was one of the only times the congresswoman has exposed herself to questions from her constituents. It became immediately clear that the primary tactic of the right was to filibuster. Bachmann began with inane comments about football and Bret Favre, members of the audience were soon yelling out their wish to discuss the issue of health care. The MC of the event asked the audience to await his signal to form lines behind one of the two microphones if they had a question. I was seated in an aisle seat less than 10 feet from one microphone. Before any word was given, several supporters of the congresswoman rushed down to the microphones and took up the first six places in line. The seemingly stern MC, local legislator Bob Detmer, (R), MN.) smiled and then gave the word that the rest of us could line up now. The deck was stacked to his seeming satisfaction.
These favored first questioners all seemed to be reading from the same playbook. They each gave long winding biographies about themselves going on for up to five minutes before ending with comment like that they felt their liberty was threatened by the Obama plan to take over our finest health care system in the world. An edited video of the event can be seen at www.dustytrice.com.
Congresswoman Bachmann did field the few critics who made it to the microphone. She was unflappable and almost like a "Stepfordwife" in performance. There were at least two interesting new wrinkles revealed by the Palinator. First, she wants to eliminate the individual State's rights to regulate insurance companies doing business in their jurisdictions. She wants to open up all borders to all insurance companies, thus fostering competition. This is a sticky and tricky path for the notoriously Pro State's Rights Republicans. (Interstate vs. intrastate could pose some legal problems.)
The other wrinkle had to do with the uninsured. What does one do if you want to be seen as a morally superior individual but are confronted by a fact which seems to prove otherwise? You change the facts of course! We all have heard the figures of between 47 and 50 million men, women and children without medical insurance in America. Well you be glad to hear from Michele Bachmann that the number is "only" around 8 million. I predict that this will be trotted out more and more. I believe that Ms. Bachmann gets most if not all her talking points from the Heritage Foundation.
On a personal note to those who showed some interest, (Richard L. & Loretta), I was the next person at the microphone when they decided to end the Q&A. Drats...I had (I think) a pretty good question to pose too. I was going to recite her voting record on Health Care:
Jan. 2007 She voted NO to require negotiating drug prices for Medicare Part D
Oct. 2007 She voted NO on adding 2-4 million children to SCHIP
Jan. 2008 She voted NO on adding 6 million children to SCHIP
Mar. 2008 She voted NO to giving mental health parity with physical health

Given Ms. Bachmann's well known concern for the health and welfare of the UNBORN, I wondered why she has so little compassion for our children after birth?
Alas it wasn't to be. That's what happens when you follow the rules and behave politely. You get screwed by those who feel entitled to cut ahead of the line. What was really tragic to learn was that the first guy at the Microphone, a Mr.Trent Hubbard, was a fourth grade school teacher. Those poor students of his. I now have an idea what kind of example he gives and wonder what drivel he tries to infect their eager brains with.
Finally, an observation. There was some questionable behavior from people from either camp, but, one difference between the demeanors of those on the right from those on the left was the level of anger towards neighbors of opposing political stripes. Many, many, right wingers really seem to hate us on a personal level. More often than not this does not seem to be the attitude of liberals towards conservatives. Incredulity, puzzlement, surprise, or frustration seem to better describe the average lefty's reactions. They are mad and angry. My theory is that they probably had problems with nursing as infants and never got over it.

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago


Here's an article discussing the reality you described so well of what's going on in Louisiana, versus what the mayor would like the world to believe. Your post is better than the article, but I thought you would like to see the news reports that are attempting to tell part of the truth, .

Why is it that it's so difficult for bureaucracies to get aid money into the hands of those that most deserve and need it?


Loretta (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

DDay, darn it! What an awesome way to question Ms. Bachmann: throwing her voting record back at her. We should all do this when we go to town hall meetings since many people don't actually know how our elected leaders vote. Too bad. You should have had your "don't cut in front of me weapon with you, (A squirt gun).

Great report. thank you. what a circus!

DDay (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

Thank you for your interest and kind words Loretta. As the founder of the group, D.O.G., Democrats Own Guns, here in Minnesota, I can assure you I could have brought heavier artillery than a squirt gun. I decided to come armed with what I think most intimidates the extreme right...the truth. Civil discourse can be threatened , or thwarted by any number of tactics as demonstrated by the right wing these past several weeks. By shining a light on them we can hopefully send the cockroaches scurrying. Persistence will eventually win out against charlatans like Joe McCarthy or Michele Bachmann. I'll keep her in my sights...metaphorically speaking. We all should. She is a very dangerous threat to all of us.

Making Progress (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

I listen to your show for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is the discussion of socioeconomics with experts in the field. Life in a macro world view. I’m sick of listening to the health care debate. I’ve been unemployed for four months and on the hierarchy of needs I need a job so I can eat, then I need health care.
I’m not hearing a single thing about how the economy is still getting worse. I live inside “The Beltway” in Northern VA and the jobseeker to job ratio in the Washington metropolitan area is 6 to 1. Yet no one is talking about the elephant in the room. It’s The Economy Stupid! Nothing is being done to curb the hundreds of thousands of jobs we are still hemorrhaging each month. When will it end, and where is the bottom?

Blue Mark (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

Ted Kennedy's passing leaves Massachusetts without full representation in the US Senate, and the nation without our greatest champion for Universal Health Care right when we need him the most.

With respect to the probability that Massachusetts will change it's law to appoint a temporary Senator until a new Senator can be chosen in a Special Election in February - most of those suggested in the media as replacements are not going to be interested in a temporary position from which they will be barred (as seems likely) from running in the special election

What Massachusetts, and the nation, needs is an strong interim Senator with no interest in a permanent position, but who has the stature, ability and connections to step into Kennedy's very large shoes and push Ted's health care reform through. Even better if that is someone with a long commitment to universal health care, who would find this temporary role as a chance to fulfill one of his own greatest goals.

I can think of one person who perfectly fits those needs:

Bill Clinton

He'd have to change his address, yet again, but he can afford it. He's been vetted - both as a former president and most recently during Hillary's confirmation.

The Big Dog can carry Kennedy's water for 5 months, working to get Universal Health Care passed, while Massachusetts works out who they want to elect for the permanent position. Then he can retire with his greatest legislative failure as president redeemed, and Ted Kennedy's legacy fulfilled.

Doug Wetzel (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

I find it extremely interesting that our Republican Secretary of the Treasury, which is the parent department of the Secret Service, has not instructed his agents to take seriously, detain, and prosecute those individuals who are clearly threatening the life of President Obama. Last time I checked, it was still a felony to threaten the president, no matter who he is.

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

DDay: I was making a joke of course, but I wish you were in Oregon because I have been seriously thinking about learning.

We have a health care reform rally here in Portland, OR on Saturday and I am hoping that Senator Ron Wyden will show up so we can, with our convincing arguments, make sure he will vote for a public option . The plan he was promoting taxes healthcare benefits, so I hope he is changing his mind now. He has been receiving tons of emails and letters and we have picketed outside his office.

If I heard accurately,Thom didn't list Wyden today, so I hope that means he's seen the light!

MahatmaKaneJeeves (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

Are pigeon coops anything like pigeon co-ops?

DDay (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

Loretta, Some unsolicited advice about your convincing arguments for Senator Wyden: Make your question as short and direct as possible. Remain calm and try and have a friendly disposition. Try to avoid talking about yourself unless your story is germane. Avoid making a speech. Come armed with facts. Have fun.
If you can do these things, your questioning will be seen in a positive light and your intended effect will be more successfully persuasive.
Good on you for taking a role in democracy. If you really want to have fun, take a squirt gun in a readily visible holster yourself. You'll get a laugh or two which never hurts.

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago


I so agree with you. There was such a call for personal stories about the horrendous experiences with health insurance that in the end it seems to give people an excuse to go on and on about themselves which weakens their argument, or muddies it to the point that people listening can't glean the important facts they need to arm themselves with when making a decision. The personal can be made political but there is artistry in doing it well.

AZAFVET (not verified) 14 years 42 weeks ago

I found a very useful site regarding the federal budget. Check this out.

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

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