Thursday - September 10th 2009

homeland security imagesHour One: Did President Obama inspire you or worry you with his healthcare speech?

Hour Two: "Pass or fail - 'The Test of Our Time'?" Thom confronts former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge about back peddling on his own words in his new book "The Test of Our Times".

Hour Three: More on Healthcare plus.....

Geeky Science - Is Global warming the cause of the wildfires? Rolf Skar,


EDWARD CAPO BEACH (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Next week, the Supreme Court reconvenes early for a special hearing on the constitutionality of campaign finance limits for corporations. To hear the arguments, Bill Moyers sits down with Trevor Potter, president and general counsel of The Campaign Legal Center and a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, and Floyd Abrams, a First Amendment attorney.

Mark (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

I am writing this before Obama's speech, but a local paper is reporting that a measure is circulating in Congress that will require that people without health insurance be levied with fines. This presumes that Congress will pass a health care reform bill that provides affordable coverage to those who otherwise could not afford it, but I'm not so sure of it. I already have had experience with "affordable" coverage that covers virtually nothing in the way of primary and preventative care.

Mark (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

The other day, the History Channel spent the afternoon on gangs, bikers and white supremacist groups. I couldn’t help but to observe that while inner-city gangs and rogue bikers rarely venture beyond their own turf (and generally prey on each other), white supremacists—who claim to seek to exist in a whites-only environment—seem quite prepared, and in fact is their very reason for being, to venture beyond their forest hideouts and encampments to kill people who are not white. But let’s not give them too much “credit.” Although the film “American X” had their neo-Nazis target a couple of black gang-bangers, this isn’t their usual MO; they are too cowardly to venture into gang territory. What they will do is pick-out a black couple, such as the one caught walking outside of Fort Bragg, NC in 1995, or an inebriated man stumbling along a deserted road, like James Byrd in Jasper, Texas.

While the police are busy refereeing the process of minority gangs killing themselves off in their turf wars (gang-bangers call it the quest for “respect”), white supremacists are biding their time, stockpiling heavy weaponry (these are people that 2nd Amendment rights advocates are protecting) to take care of the law-abiding minorities who want their piece of the American Pie—that is, what is “rightfully” white people’s pie. We could, of course, simply dismiss them as a crackpot fringe, but the fact that they are allowed to exist largely unmolested by the law suggests that many white people view them useful as secret repositories for their fears, paranoia, prejudices and stereotypes (perhaps not so “secret,” given the Limbaughs, Dobbs, Becks, and the rest of that kind). Perhaps they see white supremacist militias as a “frontline” defense against the dark-skinned “hordes,” to be tolerated just in case they are “needed.”

It is frequently stated that the current rise in white supremacist hate groups is due to immigration and affirmative action (the actual effect of the latter on white “privilege” is well over-stated, to see the least). But the real reason is because of the “mainstreaming” of hate propaganda by politicians and the media, who find it useful for their own reasons. It of course goes beyond even that; it should be a source of pride that many white Americans were willing to put aside their prejudices in order to elect Barack Obama president, but it is clear that there is a hard core of white America that only sees a black man who must be stopped at all costs, even if it means destroying the country. The white supremacist godfather, Hitler, also sought to leave his country a burnt-out wasteland after his “vision” of a world ruled by the “master race” was left an ashen heap.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

As I post this before the big speech, my prediction is our president will please no one in the end which is a tragedy given the circumstances.

I will listen now............7:14 CST Minneapolis, MN.

I hope I'm wrong............

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

I am very curious to hear what everyone has to say about President Obama's speech. He is such a wonderful orator that I bounced back and forth so very many times between feeling like he is selling out and feeling that he is cracking the code in the way he is putting reform together in little packages that the right cannot argue with.

It isn't the public option that we had hoped for, but it's a pretty good start for the millions of uninsured Americans. From what he said, it seems that uninsured Americans will be given the same choice as congress. And by the time the plan is put into effect, there will more than likely be millions more in the uninsured category.

Am I accurate in my understanding of what he presented?

belletiane (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

I am in a different time zone so I read Obama's speech then listened to it. I was very disappointed possibly because I had let myself hope yet again. It looks as though, like everything else, it all comes down to money. Money from the insurance companies to lock in for the election seasons and money for the insurance mandated private insurance.
Obama will be no FDR. There are those who say it is the work of Rahm Emanuel and I have railed against him too, but now this is Obama's stance and he is responsible. He chose his advisors and if he adopts their views they become his choices.
What makes this doubly enraging is the squandered opportunity, opportunities like this come so rarely; they are historic moments. Had he dared to sollicitate even more enthousiam that that which existed when he was elected I think he could have accomplished much. Now he may lose his majority in Congress and the next presidential election.
Obama seems to be reserving his evergy for a disasterous occupation in Afghanistan and the Supreme Court is on the brink of bringing a national calamity on what is already a dismal future for poor bewildered people.
To be brief I think he blew it.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Mandatory insurance for all (like mandatory auto insurance) is a real boon for the insurance industry.

belletiane (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Sorry to be so lengthy but I just saw over at Buzz Flash that the headlines are devoted to the loony Republican who called Obama a lliar.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Re: He is such a wonderful orator
I agree; Obama is indeed very good at tickling our ears.

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Obama seizes the moment but did he change the game
Congressional speech: a political victory for Obama, but is it a victory for the health care reform?

Quark (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago


I was able to hear the speech after all. I agree with many observers that it was a truly great and moving speech. I was crying at the end when Obama read the letter from the late Sen. Teddy Kennedy. I felt that Obama was not only thinking about the senator but also about his own mother when he commented that we shouldn't have to say to a loved one that "the treatment for your illness is available, we just can't afford it..." (paraphrase)

BTW, I think Keith Olbermann is listening to b Just before Obama's speech, he said (again, paraphrasing), "Now we will see who Obama is for: the corporations or the people!"

Quark (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago


I think Keith Olbermann is listening to you. Just before Obama’s speech, he said (paraphrasing), “Now we will see whose side Obama is on: the corporations or the people!”

Quark (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Obama's speech was great, but can he keep Congress on track?

Quark (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago


You may be interested in the following email I received this a.m.:


Please Forward


President Obama will speak at the Target Center in Minneapolis on Saturday. He's scheduled to speak at 12:30. The rally is free and open to the public. First come, first served. Here are the details from the White House:

President Obama to Hold Health Insurance Reform Rally in Minneapolis, MN Saturday
WASHINGTON, DC - On Saturday, September 12, 2009, President Barack Obama will travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota to hold a rally on health insurance reform.

In Minneapolis on Saturday, President Obama will discuss what's at stake for the American people in this debate - why we need health insurance reform and why we need to act now.

President Obama's health insurance reform plan has two goals-to bring stability and security to Americans who have insurance today, and affordable coverage to those who don't. And his plan will bring reforms that will reduce the unsustainable growth in the cost of health care, which has doubled in the last decade and will again, unless we act.

The rally will be free and open to the public. Space is available on a first come, first serve basis. No ticket is required.

Rally on Health Insurance Reform with President Barack Obama

Target Center 600 First Avenue North Minneapolis, MN 55403

Doors Open: 9:30 am CT

Program start time: 12:30 pm CT.

This event is free and open to the public. Space is available on a first come, first serve basis. No ticket is required. All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, no sharp objects, no umbrellas, no liquids, no strollers, and no signs will be allowed into the venue. Cameras are permitted.


Hello: President Obama will be in Minneapolis on Saturday, September 12 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. If you can volunteer, please email your name, phone number and email address to

Phone Bank for the Rally

We need help with a phone bank for the Health Care Rally with President Obama for Saturday, September 12, 2009. Volunteers for the phone bank are needed Thursday, September 10 starting at 5 p.m. at the DFL office, 255 E. Plato Blvd, St. Paul. Please let others know about help needed for the phone bank.

Help at the Rally

If you can volunteer at the rally Saturday morning, you have to be at training on Friday, September 11, 2009 at 7 p.m. at Target Center. Use the 1st Ave entrance. At the training you will get your credentials to the event. On Saturday, September 12, you have to be at the Target Center at 8 a.m.

Email me now, if you can volunteer for the phone bank and/or the rally.


RoseAnn Zimbro
Outreach Director
Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
255 East Plato Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55107
651.251.6321 (D.L.)

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Obama plays down importance of public option‎

The so-called public option is at the heart of the debate on Capitol Hill. ... of Americans -- 5 percent -- who are unemployed or in small businesses. ...

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Re: Mandatory insurance for all (like mandatory auto insurance) is a real boon for the insurance industry.

Mind you, the health insurance companies already agreed to the Administration's terms on rescission and pre-existing conditions months ago in exchange for a mandate that all Americans would have some kind of insurance coverage. And, of course, covering more preventative care has been one of the major objects all along. So, there was nothing new here.
Obama also promised health insurance exchanges, to make it easier to buy health insurance companies' products once the government mandates that you must do so. ..

Post Mortem: Did Obama's Speech Set Stage For Death Of Change?

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Where do I start? First, Thom's plan for health care reform is the answer. Medicare, Part E, is a great idea. Medicare for everyone!!!

How can we afford it? Rollback the Reagan and Bush II taxcuts!!! Corporate America needs to pay more in taxes. Some increases in our taxes to help God's children should not be too much to ask of us.

Whose paying for the three wars in the Middle East? Why can we afford to kill God's children but not to afford to save God's children with decent health care? Everytime I hear that we are a Christian nation, I experience a torrential puke, similar to Niagara Falls.

Richard F (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Watching the Republicans keep negotiating for Health Care Bill that they have no intention of supporting it became obvious how the Democrats were being "played" yet again. The intention is not to create a bill that would be palatable to the "moderates" but to keep pushing the agenda to the right to make it unpalatable to the left. This is an intentional and brilliant strategy. They are using the "poison pill" tactic that Wall Street Corporations use all the time in Corporate America.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

One of the most distressing aspects of last nights speech was how our President characterized the public option as being a "liberal" concern. Like he was throwing us a bone. Upwards of 70% of Americans polled indicate their support for a public option. I need to examine and digest what the President's plans really mean, but, at first blush it seems overly convoluted, complicated, and timid to me. None the less, I personally will reluctantly support him for now. It seems like the president didn't throw us, (progressives), under the bus...but...he has left us dangling perilously suspended in front of the spinning tires. Being a progressive in the Democratic Party is all too often an exercise in learning to survive being ridden hard and being put up wet, to borrow an old cowboy phrase.

Trevor Seitz (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

is it true that President Obama will make me buy my socks from Wal-Mart?? or is he just going to force me to buy health care?

libgalohio (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Yes, it seemed like he played Mr. Bipartisan and kind of shoved we progressives off to a corner. So many "liberals" seem so school girl giddy over this speech but in the end, the option is no option and it's really Kent Conrad's lame idea, and on and on. The insurance companies make out like bandits with enforced consumers and remember, he has already given us up to the drug companies, they have free reign to keep shaking us down.

There is more to dislike but what's most distressing to me is how many so called liberals seemed snowed by this speech.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

DRichards and Gerald Socha,

I agree with both of you. I guess I am in a temporarily weakened state (fever, sore throat) and want SOMETHING to work.

I have been thinking about what Jonathon Cohn (author of the book Sick) and later (this a.m.) Howard Dean have said about Obama's proposals --- that this is a good start (my interpretation.) Rep. Maxine Waters was pleased with the principles laid out in the speech, too. I'd like to hear what Rep. Anthony Weiner thinks, too. Time (as Thom says) will tell. Dean video:

Cohn said last night on MSNBC that he wants single-payer reform but that the principles Obama laid out can be built upon legislatively over the next few years. It's up to Congress (with Obama's "guidance") to follow through.

Anyway, if this is a start, LET'S GET STARTED!

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Obama is who we thought he was
He's a stark raving centrist compromiser --

Quark (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

BTW, the MSNBC website has been changed overnight. It is MUCH harder to navigate (i.e., links to Countdown and Rachel Maddow are harder to find --- "buried" in other headings rather than being listed in the previous side panel.)

Could Keith Olbermann's anti-corporate comments last night have anything to do with it? Just asking...

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

I believe many college professors as adjunct faculty at private schools would fall into the 5%.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Thom's analysis is spot on. He is confirming what I thought I heard last night. That is why I'm reluctant to attend his event here in Minnesota on Saturday. I would be lending support to something that very well may be a pig in a poke. I want to believe him and don't want to do anything to hinder his efforts if he really is working for the real change we all worked and voted for. I walk a tight-rope between my convictions and his promises. Keeping the heat on him seems like the best course until he proves otherwise. Blind support is nothing more than joining a cult and drinking the kool-aid. The only cult I'll join is one that promotes the promise of our liberty as envisioned by our fore fathers.

Rasta (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Children in Britain living like in ‘times of Dickens’

Poverty levels in parts of Britain mirror "the times of Dickens", leaving schools struggling to cope with increasing numbers of children lacking the most basic personal skills, according to a teachers’ leader.

Rasta (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

UK schools hiring bouncers as cheap teachers

Thousands of former postmen, driving instructors and nightclub bouncers are being hired as “cheap labour” to teach children as young as five

Trevor Seitz (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

DDay - you need to go and call him out!

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Wow! Lets here it for both Shawn Taylor and Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor!!!

Lore (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

THOM! Make Sonia Santomayor your person of the day and send her a signed copy of your book!! Please! She would love the insight into something she sees already!

DDay (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

I'm kinda new to all this, but, is there some way to vote Rasta off the island?

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Caller- I did not hear Barack Obama say he was going to fine poor people-

Here is the nice graphic layout of the President's plan at this link, be sure to scroll down or you might miss it

Ed Crist (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Thom gave me this idea....."What the CHIC Senator should be wearing these days"

Check it out!

DDay (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago


Thanks for the vote of confidence....but....I have no voice that will be heard by those in power. I've seen this movie. I can't even get the ear of my congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, (though I would prefer her head on a platter.....figuratively speaking.)

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

I am with Lore- we should let Sonya know that we are out here and that she Rocks!

Food Fascist (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Excellent Ed, we could actually get some photoshoppers going and set up an entire site. I will try to tweet your link today.

And while I have everyones attention- twitter is making Beck nervous- twitter your favorite progressive link- especially internet radio link daily- I think its working, honesty I truly believe the folks on the other side are just misinformed- you get them the facts! and they will do the right thing.

FOIA Gras (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

President Obama's proposal fell short of change for which I voted. If I understood his plan correctly I will not be eligible to drop my employer based coverage and buy into the government run plan. In other words the "public option" is not an option for Amercans like me. This is unfortunate because I believe the pool needs to be expanded to include people like me who are, fortunately, able to afford the coverage that I have right now in order to make the public plan more financially robust. No wonder health insurance stocks are up today.

Here is a translation of Rep. Wilson's "apology" to the White House for calling President Obama a liar during his address last night: "I still believe that you are a lying sack of you-know-what but I acknowledge that I can expect no political cover whatsoever from my Republican colleagues." That is why I did the following: 1) I called my congressman (Brian Baird) and demanded a House censure of Wilson; 2) I called Rep. Wilson's office this morning and politely told the staffer who answered the phone that he should resign. This call took several attempts to make by the way. I have had trouble getting through to my Senators' offices but the only time it took so many attempts to connect to a Representative's office was when I was calling Speaker Pelosi. 3) I called Leader Hoyer to thank him for his call on Wilson to apologize to the House but I also requested that he amend the request to include Rep. Wilson's acknowledgement that the very premise of his petulant outburst like a teabagger at a town hall was patently false. Failure to do so should draw an immediate censure vote on the House floor; 4) send $5 to Wilson's likely 2010 Democratic challenger.

Thanx, Thom, for all you do. I have learned so much from you and your listeners on your shows (local and syndicated).

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

The President's health care policy speech was brilliant but when you get into the details another picture emerges. Unfortunately, at this point, the proposal outlined last night is the ultimate corporate giveaway. It's not health care, it’s insurance care. As many as thirty million new customers for an insurance industry which makes money not providing health care. The only way this country will see true health is by investing in real health care. That is the essence of HR676, the single payer bill.

The President's health care policy speech was brilliant but when you get into the details another picture emerges. Unfortunately, at this point, the proposal outlined last night is the ultimate corporate giveaway. It's not health care, it’s insurance care. As many as thirty million new customers for an insurance industry which makes money not providing health care. The only way this country will see true health is by investing in real health care. That is the essence of HR676, the single payer bill.

The President opened his speech speaking of how we have solved the economic crisis - how? By rewarding those who caused the crash! Is this the way we solve the health care crisis? Rewarding the insurance companies? Helping insurance and pharmaceutical stock to soar, propping up markets while skimping on health care? The very same system which caused the health care crisis is being rewarded with the guarantee of tens of millions of new customers mandated - by law - to have health care. The latest plan rewards the very companies that have denied treatment, denied care, denied drug coverage while their profits grow daily.

The only way this country will see true sustainable economic recovery is through investment in the real economy, priming the pump through job creation. The only way this country will see true health is by investing in real health care.

The "public option" has been relegated to insignificance. What we will now get is yet another "private option", not a public option, because single-payer is "off the table." We the people deserve better. We have been faced with general warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan - multi-trillion dollar ballouts for arms merchants, $12 trillion in bailouts for Wall Street, bailouts to coal and nuclear industries, and now proposed huge subsidies for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. What's wrong with this picture? Everything!

- Dennis Kucinich

Lore (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

When Pres Obama chastised the Left and the Right, I figured that he was not willing to support single payer healthcare. When Pres Obama said lets go with what works, I expected him to say he would add Medicare for All. The Public Option -- should be Medicare for All. Anyone who wants at a reasonable price. We need to push that.
Can you just see someone tossed into jail for lack of health insurance? Die in Jail!!!???
Forcing people into health insurance is not a good idea. We have many people that can't afford car insurance. It will be the same. People hoping they don't get caught!

DRichards (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Re: Where did the movement go

It seems to me that Obama (like Clinton) campaigned on the left, and governs from the right of center.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Quark, what greatly concerns me, we are a nation divided.

DRichards, thank you for the info from Dennis Kucunch!

Oh yes, why can we bailout the crooks and banksters with $12 trillion but we cannot afford to save God's children with decent health care?

Is Obama a total fraud with brilliant verbal skills? I believe that he is a fraud.

Thom says a Republican president in three years would be a disaster for our country. He is right. Personally, our country is now in a state of total disaster. We have slid into the abyss of hell and there is no getting out. No chance! Never a chance to escape!

I believe that Obama will not seek re-election in 2012. Why should he? He has around $150 million of unspent campaign money. He and his wife will receive a wonderful pension with a huge stipend to pay for office space, hire staff to carry out various duties, etc. Obama will be only 50 years of age with another 30 to 40 years to live the good life. OBAMA WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION IN 2012!!!

EDWARD CAPO BEACH (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

South Carolina Congressman Who Screamed at President Obama Fought to Keep Confederate Flag

Gazmik (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Couldn't healthcare for all Americans be considered as being in the interest of national defense?

Think of the next 9/11 not involving hijacking airplanes, blowing up buildings or shipping anthrax through the mail.

Terrorists could be exposed to vaccine-resistant and antibiotic-resistant infectious diseases and sent to high-traffic public areas such as airports, shopping malls, college campuses, etc. exposing many Americans to the disease. It may be a matter of weeks before the infected people become symptomatic, and the meantime, they may have infected many more people.

The disease would spread rapidly among the low income, uninsured and underinsured victims who would not go to a doctor to receive treatment. And by the time that the country realized what was happening, panic would ensue and the emergency rooms would be overwhelmed causing even more people to remain untreated.

And by that time, it would be difficult to trace the epidemic back to the source.

What actions would have to be taken to get the outbreak under control? Martial law? Isolation of entire areas with high infection rates?

Our (lack of) healthcare system could be used to the terrorists advantage.

L Grace (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Last night during Obama's speech I was yelling "YES!!" and pumping my fist in the air. "Obamacare" seemed 1000% better than "con-care".

Now Thom and his callers are trying to convince me that Obama's speech was one level-better than dog crap -- if we are lucky!

And Thom wonders why Democratic leadership has not embraced progressive media!

Lore (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Pres Obama did stress some of the factors that were agreed to by both sides.
that rescission will not be allowed ( in 2012)
that ceilings will be removed from policies (not the cost of the policy)
that people will have limits to out of pocket (not sure who pays for that)

Quark (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

This caller --- supposedly an ER doc --- doesn't ring true.

jgmdesign (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

I don't share your pessimism about the speech. in fact, I heard 3 things I never expected to hear last night, and that gave me great hope. First, he gave concrete examples of insurance company abuse. Second, he singled out the profit motive as the reason for the abuse. And third, he stressed that the public option must be non profit. I think that paves the way for single payer somewhere down the road, and I'll take any compromise that moves us in that direction.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Gerald Socha,

Please enlighten my fevered brain --- to which divides do you refer (the crazies on the right --- 25%? --- and everyone else?)

Quark (not verified) 14 years 41 weeks ago

Food Fascist,

RE: "I am with Lore- we should let Sonya know that we are out here and that she Rocks!"

How can we do that? I've tried to leave comments for Supreme Court justices in the past and couldn't find a mechanism through which to do that. Do you know of a way?

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 Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Hartmann combines a remarkable piece of historical research with a brilliant literary style to tell the grand story of corporate corruption and its consequences for society with the force and readability of a great novel."
David C. Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and Agenda for A New Economy
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
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Dean Baker, economist and author of Plunder and Blunder, False Profits, and Taking Economics Seriously
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions."
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