Thursday - September 24 2009

west wing imagesHour One: Will health care reform hurt or help the economy? Thom debates Dr. Todd Rubin of Doctors for Patient Care

Plus Dr. Paul Hochfeld, Mad as Hell Doctors

Hour Two: "Was the Bush White House like tv's 'The West Wing' or more like 'The Office'?!" Thom talks with Matt Latimer, former Bush speech writer, about his new book "Speechless"

Hour Three: Dr. Ravi Batra - Is the Dollar tanking?


Mark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

After Barack Obama declined to appear on his Sunday morning program (after appearing on just about everyone else’s), Fox News Chris Wallace bellyached in the usual incestuous way “news” is disseminated on Fox about what he considered “whining” from the administration. The truth is rarely heard on Fox, but Wallace accidentally let slip one possible truism: that on Sunday the Fox did set aside time for serious news, inadvertently implying that during the rest the week, Fox was in fact engaged in something other than news.

Not that CNN is much different, spending much of its time disseminating stories designed to manipulate viewers’ emotions, relying on polls instead of hard investigative journalism, and generally disinterested in distinguishing the trees from the forest. There are few Sunday morning network hosts who actually take the hard news disseminating process seriously and do their homework (unlike, say, Lou Dobbs, who merely repeats what his hate group friends tell “Mr. Independent” to say). The only place where “serious” news dissemination is occurring on a daily basis on the airwaves is, seems to be on NPR and assorted progressive radio stations; newspapers themselves are increasingly failing to fill the void, as they become slimmer and more emaciated by the day. Meanwhile, right-wing talk (Michael Medved is a possible exception) delves almost wholly in clichés, talking points, blatant appeals to bigotry and bald falsity.

This fundamental failure to disseminate news contributes to an atmosphere where a large percentage of the population concerns itself with one or two issues that effects them personally, others—beyond bellyaching incoherently—just don’t give a damn, and a smaller percentage attempts (often vainly) to keep informed of all the issues that one way or another is conspiring to send the country down the path of doom. Sure, the UN this week is talking climate change and renewable resources, but how many people are paying attention? How many people want to take the time to understand the complex issues involved, let alone make the hard choices that must be made that will require a change in personal as well as governmental and corporate behavior?

It is one thing to hold signs, shout-out or stomp on cars; it is quite another to persuade an entire country of 300 million people to actually think about what they need to be doing to confront crisis on multiple fronts, and act accordingly. Even something as simple as bringing a reusable “green” shopping bag to the grocery store instead of using paper or plastic seems too difficult and require too much thought-processing for most people. It is only shortages or collapses that seem to force a change in personal strategy in the short term, but beyond that there seems to be a belief in magic acts rather than finding alternative strategies that will prevent future dependence on resources controlled by outside forces.

Perhaps events occur too slowly for many people to think long-term; it’s all too incremental to notice. They think “Why do we have to change anything? Things have been this bad before, but it will eventually get better in a year or two. Besides, if all these other people are not doing their part, what difference will it make if I do?" The problem is that little by little our manufacturing is leaving the country, natural resources are diminishing, the cost of goods and services rise will wages decrease. Day-to-day existence occupies the mind, leaving little room to be bothered with the world at large, other than to repeat what they heard or read that someone else who has time to sit around and ponder has said.

This is why it is important for Obama and progressive Democrats to stick to their guns and follow-through on a bold new vision for the future that addresses the roadblocks to growth and stability. Somebody must do it, because most of the masses would prefer to follow and react than do the busy work themselves. Meanwhile, those who speak in entrenched opposition should just be ignored entirely, because these cowardly bullies, when they are ignored, tend to get even more unreasoningly agitated, and reveal themselves even more to be completely irrelevant.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Let me start by saying that what has motivated to write this comment after I received Thom's newsletter for September 23, 2009. There was an article titled, "America failed model for the world." This article as well as Ralph Nader's words on Thom's show that the rich can save our country. Warren Buffet's belief that the rich need to pay more in taxes and Thom says that we need to rollback the Reagan and the Bush II taxcuts.

Yes, the rich can save this country but please do not count on it. Greed has a strangle hold on America and Americans.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

I do not watch Fox News because I do not want to contaminate my mind with garbage. Imprinting is a powerful experience. Once the mind is contaminated with garbage it is difficult to return the mind to its normal functioning.

For twenty-one years we have listened to Limbaugh, another reichwing clown. I wonder how many brain-dead Americans are out there from listening to Limbaugh? Do you honestly believe that their minds can ever function normally? These minds are too contaminated with garbage. Garbage in, garbage out!!!

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Gerald Socha,

Re: Your last posts yesterday and your posts today...

I feel compelled to share a quote which may brighten your outlook:

"Keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
Molly Ivins...RIP

DDay says: You don't want to emulate Ralph Nader in all things. Laughter is the music of the soul. A happy warrior is an effective warrior for good. Never go around with a pickle taped under your nose. Remember Molly. You have more friends than you know.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago


Ditto on the gloom and doom.
While I understand and agree with most of your thoughtful writings, I don't agree with your bleak assessment of "most people". I believe you are conflating the approximately 30%, (one third?), who really are too stupid, too afraid, or too mean and selfish to bother with. I believe another third of people are too preoccupied with their own lives or too apathetic at the moment to engage as they should. (This is our target and is where the "gold" lies) The final group are those of good intentions who are engaged; whether on the left or the right.
One thing history has demonstrated time and time again is that Americans have an unfortunate tendency to wait until they are at the edge of the cliff before they act. I'm unsure what can be done to counter this truth. Thom has been talking for sometime about movements. If you think about it, that is what most of us are struggling to accomplish; a movement. How do we identify what form of movement to promote and what is the "hook" which will inspire others to join together uniting their energies behind a cause or movement? Once you get significant enough numbers to attract attention, even the polluted media has to take note. The Internet is a powerful vehicle to spread the word, but only if it sparks real action. One may be able to spark a revolution from a keypad, but, that revolution must move to the streets to be effective.
Another problem from my perspective is that too many of us are too grandiose in our aims. We want to rock the Administration, or, rock the system etc. Perhaps if we lowered our sights and start by picking off the low hanging fruit, we could build upon success. For example, what if we were to target a few specific and especially egregious right-wing nut-cases and help to remove them from the stage? Do a test project. Bring the border-less power of the Internet and it's ability to pool funds down on a specific locale. What if the left wing progressives targeted a slimy blue dog Democrat? That would send a message to the DCCC and Rahm. Put a shot across their bow, so to speak.
Or...take out a real thorn in everyone's side like Michele Bachmann for example. The DCCC has been unable to be effective against her. Do it without their input. Gain the credit for the left. Here is the hard part. It takes money. It will take money to get money out of our political system. It will take a steely eyed pragmatism, an intelligent strategy and real effort, but it is doable. The key is to select the less expensive fights first. That is what the lobbyists have done. It is no mystery why they go after the Kent Conrads, Max Baucaus's, and Blanche Lincoln's. They come from cheap markets. We should do the same, maybe even start with State Legislators. 50K could turn two seats in a State race. We need to show the too often corrupted and spineless Dems how to do it. Many rank and file Dems are waiting for a savior and would arise behind this kind of movement.
Thus endith my rant. Sorry I'll sit down and shut up...for a while.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago


Re: Your Molly Ivins quote regarding bringing joy to the "fight" (paraphrase), It reminded me of how surprised/startled I was the first time I heard belly laughs from Buddhist monks. (So unlike so many of our "Hellfire and brimstone" western religious leaders.) (Life isn't supposed to be about FUN, is it?!)

Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Gerald Socha,

Re: Your post yesterday:

'As Cyrano said, “One doesn’t fight in the hope of winning” (Mais on ne se bat pas dans l’espoir du succès).

I believe that Cyrano is speaking for me. I am 70 years old and in poor health. The people who are important to me will never have the clout or money to defeat the American fascist-Nazi powerbrokers. I carry on because I cannot and I will not remain silent or become complicit in the killing of God’s children on either side of the pond. When I meet my creator in judgment, I hope that I can say, “I TRIED TO MAKE OUR WORLD A BETTER PLACE.”'

I have long believed that the world changes ONE PERSON AT A TIME. One person --- you --- is all you really have control over. I carry on because I cannot do otherwise. That is the only way I can live.

Bless you, Gerald. 'Wish I could give you a hug in solidarity...

Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Breaking news on MSNBC:

Paul Kirk, longtime aide to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, has been chosen to take his senate seat in the interim until the next election.

Info on Kirk:

Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Gerald Socha,

Please take a look at yesterday's post from brian a. hayes:

"thom just want to share this with you, my mentor is Dr. daisaku ikeda there is a daisaku ikeda website think you might find it interesting"

Here's the first thing I noticed on that website:

"A great human revolution in just a single individual...will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind."

Gerald, 'sounds like you are on the right track.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

what is it with all this French speaking around here? Keep it up and we will all be branded as intellectually effete wine drinking snobs. Nest pas? Mon Dieu!

Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago


Your guest says "STUCK" with the single payer. What is motivating him?

B Roll (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Message to all the doctors who will leave their profession if "Obama Care" is passed.


Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Your second guest answered my question very eloquently!

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

I used to work in a surgical dept. of a very good hospital back in the eighties. I was one of the few non-MD's allowed in their lounge. I used to sit and study in there. I enjoyed listening in on them. For every discussion of medical matters in there....there were three about various investment topics, and two about how bad lawyers were.

rewinn (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

About your apology for saying "S.O.B." ....

... one day, our grandchildren will look upon our peculiar institution of profiting from the misery of the sick with a horror similar to that with which we now look at our former peculiar institution of profiting from the misery of slaves.

JohnnyO (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Thom Hartmann: Would the following apply in the way President Obama is pushing the combination of Education and Healthcare?

"Education is the key to life and Healthcare is the key to death".

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

It becomes like Christmas morning for me when I hear that Dr. Ravi Batra will be on in the third hour. I love third hours!

Brenhin (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

This is the Big Issue we should all be talking about. Regulation.

Healthcare is important, but it still requires, 'a financial system' to begin with. So while we pass Healthcare, we cannot loose sight of the economic dangers we 'still' have.


Brenhin (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

BTW, I actually favor a 3rd way where HealthCare DOESNT need a financial system, or anything need a financial system period.

But, C'est la vie.

Annette (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

What was the article Thom mentioned on daily kos about the Iraq war and who was planning this before 9-11??? I would like to read it.

Annette (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Please let me know what the name of the article thom was talking about with christine earlier on the iraq war and that it was planned before 9-11 happened? I beleive he said it was daily kos but I can't seem to find it.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Money is not the sole motivator in the omniverse. Enjoyment, sense of community and the opportunity to assist others EXISTS. Vacations EXIST. The desire for excellence EXISTS. The avoidance of fear or pain EXISTS.

The acolytes of Rand and Freidman and their on-faith-only followers are insane.

West (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago


You just mentioned that we need to open up the education system so that we have more Primary Care Physicians who are willing to work for ONLY $150,000 per year. I think we might be missing a larger point. Is anyone else a little concerned that we are arguing over anyone making ONLY $150,000 PER YEAR?!?!?!?! There are people in this country that go to work every day of the week and make 1/10th this much. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO MY COUNTRY? THIS IS ABSURD! GREED IS NOT GOOD!
Rant over.


rewinn (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

That "45% of doctors would quit" study was not a scientific study. IIRC, IBD/TIPP sent out a push-poll and added up those who bothered to reply, which tends strongly towards those who agree with the object of the "push". The IBD article mentioned something like 1300 doctors "participated" but does not say whether that means they were sent to poll or they returned it; without knowing the return rate and some analysis of the returners vs. the non-returners, the poll has no real value.

In contrast, the NEJM study that finds the vast majority of American doctors favor a public option is scientific. It describes how it picked those surveyed, followed up on non-returners, analyzed returners vs. non-returners, crafted non-push questions, and so on. No doubt you've read it:

Now the point for lovers of truth: When these two surveys come up with such hugely disparate results, we should favor the results of the scientific survey. Thom's guest who pushed the non-scientific poll, should be ashamed of himself.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

How sad, this 'conservative' can't see why someone would try to do better without being paid more. There is just a very fundamental difference in how we see the world. Avarice becomes a virtue threw their eyes. Our values are incompatible because they demand being actively opposed to the other side when applied to public policy. It wouldn't matter if we all lived on our separate ranches. It is when their small-minded beliefs stretch past their fence lines and begin to impede their neighbors that opposition becomes necessary. You will never convince a fellow like the one that called of anything. Brute political force is the only remedy for those similarly afflicted.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Re: threw their eyes?

OOOPs I must have been thinking about the ball game last night...2 & 1/2 games out. Go Twins I meant: through!

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Matt did seem awfully eager. I bet Rove did it. Mr. Lattimer may have made a BIG mistake misunderestimating ol' Turd Blossum! It was Karl in the studio with a candlestick!

Brenhin (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

ROVE was hunting nearby!!
He reached out with The Force; "I find your lack of faith disturbing"
no no,
He had him declared an Unwelcome Combatant!
No no no,
... ah this is just too good!

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

@Annette: Google "Project for New America" Iraq 1999 and you get 2,620,000 opportunities to read all about America's plans to invade Iraq before the G. W. Bush Administration took office.

rewinn (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

News today: Beck's home town says NO to his hate speech.

.Mount Vernon, WA, home of Glenn Beck has a mayor who thought he'd get some good press by giving Beck the Key to the City.

What he got was a City Council that voted 7-0 to say no, they don't want anything to do with hate talk: "Mount Vernon City Council is in no way sponsoring the Mayor's event on Sept. 26, 2009, and is not connected to the Glenn Beck event in any manner."

So the mayor has to have a private reception (tickets $25) with the press excluded ... both the mayor and Beck are afraid to face the public:

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Thank you Randy,
That news puts a smile on my face. God Bless the Mt Vernon City Council. I'll bet that mayor has a fun time at City Council meetings.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

You can read about the census worker's hanging at

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

To refuse to cooperate with a census worker is not only illegal but is likely to result in the loss of a great deal of money for your state of residence. Moron.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Thanks to Dr. Batra,
My middle class family got out of the equity market with our retirement money in Jan. 2008 when the market (DOW) was around 11,500. Thanks to the stimulus package passed by the Congress we traded a lousy Chevy Blazer in for a Prius using the Cash for Clunkers program. Finally, thanks to the Obama administration, workers are finishing up our new geo-thermal heating/cooling system tomorrow, because of a 30% tax credit with no limits. That amounts to 10k of savings. The only two problems: 1. I wish our Prius was made in the U.S.A.
2. You had to have had the money to spend in order to benefit Too many people didn't listen to Dr. Batra and therefore do not have the where- with-all in these tough times. Cash is King in a recession and timing is everything sometimes.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago


Sign petition here:

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Traffic here seems to dry up when Ravi is on. Is everyone listening in rapt attention? or Are their eyes glazed over with boredom?

Done Quark! (the petition) thanx

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Thom's third hour show with Ravi Batra (sp) was great.

If I heard him correctly, the bailouts will hurt the economy. He also said that we should fix the economy first before we try to fix health care. How can we fix the economy if the bailouts have hurt the economy?

He also said that we should first bring back manufacturing jobs through the auto industry. I say we should start with mass transit and the manufacturing of the light rail system throughout the country and efficient buses. Plus, we should move forward on energy efficiency jobs. Rollback the obscene taxcuts for the rich and for American corporations.

How can the economy be fixed with the prediction that we will have another financial meltdown in the next six to eighteen months? I see 90% of Americans wailing at the wailing walls that will be built with the definite financial meltdown.

The rich and the powerful will be extremely happy with the enslavement of 90% Americans. These will be glorious times for the powerbrokers.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago


I don't know about everyone else but I'm always trying to "read between the lines" when Ravi talks. You know, we're getting closer to 2012 every day. LOL

Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Gerald Socha,

Wow --- it's a long list. Somehow we need to chop it up into small bites.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Gerald Socha,

It's awfully easy to get depressed. Maybe the "cycles" on the Mayan, Hopi, Buddhist and others' metaphoric wheels of time really DO observe that each new cycle starts out with a hopeful age of humans and degenerates over the millenia to a corrupted culture and world, to its doom (to restart a NEW hopeful cycle.) Can you really "fix" such a problem? Or is this all a dream?

Creation and it's complement, entropy.

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Thom, If you and Louise are in Portland right now you both might love to hear Dorianne Laux at Reed college at 6:30 pm tonight. She is the people's poet for our spirit.

Here is a poem from her book "Smoke"


When he walks by an old drunk or a stumbling vet
he stops to rummage in his pockets for change
or a stray bill, remembers the cold urge
of fifteen years ago that kept his joy trapped
in a bottle or the stained nub of a roach
passed from one set of cracked lips to another.
Their creased palms open like scrolls
toward the bright coins of light, stamped like chips
of winter barter for the scraps and opiates of this city.
He won't ask and doesn't care
what his money is exchanged for: a blanket,
a pair of wrecked shoes, the harsh sharpened
glare of a needle, or a pack of smokes.
Who can calculate the worth
of one man's pain? what they need, he figures,
can't be more than what he owes.

Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago


Meant to say"Hindu", not "Buddhist." (Had that wonderful website Brian Hayes menitoned - URL mentioned in previous post - on my brain.)

Quark (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago


HI! 'Glad to see your post. I missed you.

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Me to Loretta.

Gerald, I'm going to venture that you haven't read Ravi's latest book: "The Coming Golden Age". Remember what I said about Americans needing to get to the cliffs edge before acting? Unfortunately we apparently need another dose of salts to wake up financially. Even the best economists sound a little like those who read the stars and give our horoscopes. Like Thom likes to say: "we'll see". Hang on meanwhile, because, as Betty Davis famously said, "it's going to be a bumpy ride."

DDay (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

That was: me too....Loretta! I was so excited that I flubbed up again. You'all are so intimidatingly smart that I get nervous sometimes.

Loretta (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

I missed you guys too, but I've been reading your wonderful conversations and loving them. warm wishes

Gerald Socha (not verified) 14 years 38 weeks ago

Quark, I am more disappointed than depressed. We are a country divided.

I will be away from the computer for a few days. Keep up the good fight!

I have just heard that Americans are stockpiling guns and ammunition at a record pace.

Is a civil war near?

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