Tuesday - September 22 2009
Hour One: Are conservatives and trans-national corporations using the G-20 and the WTO to end the sovereignty of the United States? with James Roberts www.heritage.org
Plus...Reasons to protest the G-20 in Pittsburgh with Charles McCollister www.pointofpittsburgh.com
But wait....there's more! The Urgency of Climate Change with Kumi Naidoo www.civicus.org
Hour Two: "Health care...a constitutional right?" Thom mixes it up with Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute www.aynrand.org
Hour Three: "The Mythology of War and the Economics of Peace" Thom speaks with author/philosopher Dr. Sam Keen www.praxispeace.org
That was Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips quoted on the Ohio voting.
I mentioned on this page that one reason why men account for the majority of the homeless population (one study claims that 80 percent of single homeless adults are male, many of them Vietnam vets) is the relative dearth of community and public services that have their problems in mind, quite unlike the rows and rows of services catering to women (with or without children). But in these hard times when many people consider themselves one paycheck from destitution, it seems that even women’s services must resort to subterfuge to get attention and funding. I heard an advertisement on a radio station recently by an organization I knew to be a women’s advocacy group. The ad, however, mentioned only homeless children, painting a picture of such destitution that you thought they were describing a Jacob Riis photograph .
That is until the end, when the vision was spoiled by a small “catch”: the aid was for “Children—with their mothers.” The "with their mothers" line was read out as if it was one of those "terms of service" messages that you are not suppose to catch the meaning of. The intended effect behind the wording seems to have been to emphasize helpless children, and de-emphasize the not so helpless accompanying adult. The deviousness was rather off-putting (although understandable); children were being offered-up as cheap props by adults to elicit money to give to other adults, money that might not end-up helping those children at all. Such tactics are necessary, I suppose, when confronted by an unwillingness to suffer prejudicial political advocacy when it is the welfare of the children that is at stake.
New PSA: Protect Insurance Companies
Goes nicely with the Billionaires for Wealthcare campaign.
Why haven't any Wall Street tycoons been sent to the slammer?
More than a year into the gravest financial crisis since the Great Depression, millions of Americans have seen their home values and retirement savings plunge and their jobs evaporate.
What they haven't seen are any Wall Street tycoons forced to swap their multi-million dollar jobs and custom-made suits for dishwashing and prison stripes...
"WE'RE SCREWED": Media Heist Blankets NY with 'Special Edition' NY Post
Early this morning, nearly a million New Yorkers were stunned by the appearance of a "special edition" New York Post blaring headlines that their city could face deadly heat waves, extreme flooding, and other lethal effects of global warming within the next few decades. The most alarming thing about it: the news came from an official City report.
Distributed by over 2000 volunteers throughout New York City, the paper has been created by The Yes Men and a coalition of activists as a wake-up call to action on climate change.
ADD THIS GUY TO MY "HERO" LIST
Richard Trumka, new president of the AFL-CIO talked about specifics unions will fight for to strengthen workers' wages, rights and the middle class on Rachel Maddow last night. Video:
I think it's time for me to write to Rachel Maddow about MN Gov. Pawlenty and his "under-the-radar" financial backing. He's adapting to right-wing "crazyhood" more and more in his Manchurian candidate bid for Republican presidential backing. Video (Minute 7:00):
Tim Pawlenty - Part 2
Pawlenty wasn't thought to be able to win the 2002 MN gubenatorial election until he received a last-minute stealth $500,000 contribution from Houston homebuilder Bob Perry. This guy (Perry) is said to "own" Texas state government. Take your pick of news stories about his bad behavior:
Pawlenty IS the Republican Manchurian candidate!
Pawlenty/Perry --- Part 3
Don't forget that Bob J. Perry ALSO funded the Swiftboat Vets:
Landmark Decision: Massive Relief for Homeowners and Trouble for the Banks
By Ellen Brown
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15324
Global Research, September 21, 2009
Web of Debt
A landmark ruling in a recent Kansas Supreme Court case may have given millions of distressed homeowners the legal wedge they need to avoid foreclosure. In Landmark National Bank v. Kesler, 2009 Kan. LEXIS 834, the Kansas Supreme Court held that a nominee company called MERS has no right or standing to bring an action for foreclosure. MERS is an acronym for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, a private company that registers mortgages electronically and tracks changes in ownership. The significance of the holding is that if MERS has no standing to foreclose, then nobody has standing to foreclose – on 60 million mortgages. That is the number of American mortgages currently reported to be held by MERS. Over half of all new U.S. residential mortgage loans are registered with MERS and recorded in its name. Holdings of the Kansas Supreme Court are not binding on the rest of the country, but they are dicta of which other courts take note; and the reasoning behind the decision is sound...
Surrender of sovereignty? We whore ourselves for Mobil and act purely their interests internationally? Canada and Mexico are totally in the light weight category.
The ACORN issue is about ACORN going to court and getting injunctions about red-lining in the mortgage lending industry in the farging 1970s. This is payback for empowering non-Caucasians a third of a century ago.
TIME TO CHANGE BERNANKE'S MEDICATION?
Secret White House letter to G-20
by Greg Palast
Tuesday, September 22, 2009, New York
For The Huffington Post
I still get a thrill whenever I get my hands on a confidential memo with "The White House, Washington" appearing on the letterhead. Even when—like the one I'm looking at now—it's about a snoozy topic: This week's G-20 summit.
But the letter's content shook me awake, and may keep me up the rest of the night.
The 6-page letter from the White House, dated September 3, was sent to the 20 heads of state that will meet this Thursday in Pittsburgh. After some initial diplo-blather, our President's "sherpa" for the summit, Michael Froman, does a little victory dance, announcing that the recession has been defeated. "Global equity markets have risen 35 percent since the end of March," writes Froman. In other words, the stock market is up and all's well.
While acknowledging that this year's economy has gone to hell in a handbag, Obama's aide and ambassador to the G-20 seems to be parroting the irrational exuberance of Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke who declared last week that, "The recession is very likely over." All that was missing from Bernanke's statement was a banner, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED."
And the French are furious. The White House letter to the G-20 leaders was a response to a confidential diplomatic missive from the chief of the European Union Fredrik Reinfeldt written a day earlier to "Monsieur le Président" Obama.
We have Reinfeldt's confidential note as well. In it, the EU president says, despite Bernanke's happy-talk, "la crise n'est pas terminée (the crisis is not over) and (continuing in translation) the labor market will continue to suffer the consequences of weak use of capacity and production in the coming months." This is diplomatic speak for, What the hell is Bernanke smoking?
May I remind you Monsieur le Président, that last month 216,000 Americans lost their jobs, bringing the total lost since your inauguration to about seven million. And rising.
The Wall Street Journal also has a copy of the White House letter, though they haven't released it. (I have: read it here , with the EU message and our translation.) The Journal spins the leak as the White House would want it: "Big Changes to Global Economic Policy" to produce "lasting growth." Obama takes charge! What's missing in the Journal report is that Obama's plan subtly but significantly throttles back European demands to tighten finance industry regulation and, most important, deflects the EU's concern about fighting unemployment.
Europe's leaders are scared witless that the Obama Administration will prematurely turn off the fiscal and monetary stimulus. Europe demands that the US continue pumping the economy under an internationally coordinated worldwide save-our-butts program. As the EU's Reinfeldt puts it in his plea to the White House, "It is essential that the Heads of State and Government, at this summit, continue to implement the economic policy measures they have adopted," and not act unilaterally. "Exit strategies [must] be implemented in a coordinated manner." Translating from the diplomatique: If you in the USA turn off fiscal and monetary stimulus now, on your own, Europe and the planet sinks, America with it.
Obama's ambassador says, Non! Instead, he writes that each nation should be allowed to "unwind" anti-recession efforts "at a pace appropriate to the circumstances of each economy." In other words, "Europe, you're on your own!" So much for Obama channeling FDR.
The technical policy conflict between the Obama and EU plans reflects a deep difference in the answer to a crucial question: Whose recession is it, anyway? To Obama and Bernanke, this is a bankers' recession and so, as "stresses in financial markets have abated significantly," to use the words of the White House epistle, then Happy Days Are Here Again. But, if this recession is about workers the world over losing their jobs and life savings, the EU view, then it's still Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime.
If Bernanke and Obama were truly concerned about preserving jobs, they would have required banks loaded with taxpayer bail-out loot to lend these funds to consumers and business. China did so, ordering its banks to increase credit. And boy, did they, expanding credit by an eye-popping 30%, rocketing China's economy out of recession and into double-digit growth.
But the Obama Administration has gone the opposite way. The White House letter to the G-20 calls for slowly increasing bank reserves, and that can only cause a tight credit market to tighten further.
It's not that the White House completely ignores job losses. The US letter suggests, "The G-20 should commit to ...income support for the unemployed." You can imagine the Europeans, who already have generous unemployment benefits—most without time limits—turning purple over that one. America's stingy unemployment compensation extension under the Stimulus Plan is already beginning to expire with no live proposal to continue aid for the jobless victims of this recession.
The Europeans are so cute when they're angry, when they pound their little fists. Obama assumes he can ignore them. The EU, once the big player in the G-7, has seen its members' status diluted into the G-20, where the BRIC powers (Brazil, Russia, India and China) now flex their muscle. But Europeans have a thing or two to teach Americans about the economics of the twilight of empire.
Maybe the differences are cultural, not economic; that Europeans lack America's Manifest Destiny can-do optimism.
So, to give the visitors a taste of the yes-we-can spirit, Obama should invite Pittsburgh's 93,700 jobless to the G-20 meet to celebrate that 35% rise in the stock market.
Or -- my own suggestion -- change Bernanke's medication.
For the entirety of the White House-EU exchange, go to GregPalast.com.
Thank you for the update and heads-up on T-PAW. I wasn't aware but am not surprised to learn about his connection to Perry. Texas scum. I don't know what we are going to do down-ticket wise to compete with the Republican money machine advantage. The internet might be part of the solution. We need to reach and encourage the younger voters to get active. They are one of our best hopes for changing the paradigm and trumping big money. They are more impressed with accurate information than phoney T.V. attack ads.
F.Y.I. For a little more Minnesota centric political news: I was with national child protection advocate and former challenger to Michele Bachmann, Patty Wetterling last weekend at our Beast Feast. Patty will endorse Tarryl Clark over bluedog Dr. Maureen Reed. This is a bit of a surprise because Patty works for the State of Minnesota and has her checks signed by T-Paw. She has been reluctant to take such an overt political stance for the last 3 years. God bless Patty Wetterling! This will shorten Ms. Reed's tenure as a candidate and allow Sen. Tarryl Clark to direct her funds against Michele Bachmann. You heard it here first!
ALSO See Federalist Papers # 44 . . . It addresses General Welfare.
OMFG!!! Rights are INHERIT; not given or bestowed. Our rights flow from the PEOPLE!
NOTE: People . . . Not individual. Not Person. Libertarians ‘distort’ or more colloquially ‘LIE’ as a state of being.
Sorry . . . Federalist Papers # 44 defends the right of the Federal government to address the needs of our country or as Publius summed it all up:
“We have now reviewed, in detail, all the articles composing the sum or quantity of power delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, and are brought to this undeniable conclusion, that no part of the power is unnecessary or improper for accomplishing the necessary objects of the Union. The question, therefore, whether this amount of power shall be granted or not, resolves itself into another question, whether or not a government commensurate to the exigencies of the Union shall be established; or, in other words, whether the Union itself shall be preserved.”
I agree with Richard! What kind of person is Thom's guest! Talk about apathetic! I can't believe people have attitudes like that! Earn rights? We the people as a whole are born with certain inalienable rights! This guy is a economic shill for corporations with his swill about needing to earn things that are our rights to begin with. His ilk only believe in corporate rights.
OMFG, Part II:
It is not force to people to expect folk do the right and righteous thing by paying for the goods and services they receive. The Ayn Rand folk advocate THEFT then apply an Orwellian spin to keep themselves off the gallows.
@Catsrule: Unfortunately, the Ayn Rand folk seem to be whores for the corporations BUT what they really do is totally drink the Kool-aid for individualism.
They are about the individual over society. Corporations hide/mitigate the individual from risk. The net effect is similar to pro-corporatism or pro-MNEist (Multi-
National Enterprisists) but it approaches the whole affair backasswards.
The basic problem of individualism is the very act of encoding the concepts of individualism REQUIRES the tool of communal animals: LANGUAGE. They are beyond the very definition of oxy-moronic.
Loretta, Randy, and Others interested in the debate over the mixing of religion and politics in public discourse:
Thom demonstrated by example his deft touch yesterday when he talked about those who are middlemen with money in our health care system. He started with a brief nod to Christian teachings by mentioning "The Money Changers" that Jesus threw out of the temple. As I considered how Thom did so, it allowed me to further fine tune and solidify my personal rules concerning using religious tenets in political arguments. First I noticed that Thom took a story that is widely known and broadly understood. (Jesus throwing out the money changers.) It was a lesson that precisely dealt with the issue at hand and was not technical or ambiguous. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, he quickly moved on with other buttresses to his argument that were secular by nature. The point is that he didn't invite the debate to be centered on, or side-tracked by theological terms or interpretations. For me it was a perfect illustration of when and how to employ religion into polite political discourse. Thom did it: Selectively, Respectfully, and Sparingly in a nuanced way. It was gentle wisdom on display from our professor emeritus at T.H.U. (Thom Hartmann University)
Have you seen this Will Farrell PSA to protect insurance companies?
I was able to listen toThom for the first hour but the second hour our progressive radio went silent. I do not know what the third hour will do.
During the first hour there was mention that to fix climate change if we do not do it now will cost mega-dollars. What so many people fail to realize that when we reach the point of no return on our climate, the damage cannot be reversed or repaired.
@Thom: While you are correct about the brutality component of slavery, economic thralls are still thralls.
I thought of a way to argue for national health. Ask a conservative, "Name an industry where people are put in life and death situations atainst their will where people make a profit besides health care." They will not be able to do it as there are no other industries of that type.
@Catsrule: It is probably easier and more realistic to think of Ayn Rand folk as the Renfields of corporate entities. They devour rights, the lives of others and worship money in a pale imitation of the Multi National Enterprise BUT they are bottom feeders, happily ‘scarfing’ up insects ant toadying up to their larger and nastier corporatist brothers. Their sycophantism is purely about themselves and the glory they imagine will befall them by guarding their vampiric overloads.
You gotta give it to an ideological construct that allows it's adherents to feel intellectually and morally superior by simply acting in greedy and self-centered ways. Objectivist, (Ayn Rand), and libertarian belief systems are the facile creations of a sort of," Religion of Greed", by mostly people who would describe themselves as atheists. Ironic? It seems to me to be an example of smug cognitive dissidence mixed with moral self-delusion. It is SOCIETAL POISON!...But...the kool-aid sure tastes good!
Guaranteed profits are the providence of cartels. The Health Insurance Industry is a publically protected cartel. My heart bleeds for all the folk that will lose their jobs when the insurance bureaucracy is doffed by Health Insurance Industry once they lose their government protection.
I believe that the “Public Option” would best serve our interests by “emanate domain”ing / socializing these operations into Medicare to protect and re-educate this portion of our workforce.
Oops . . . Emanate = eminent.
re: Name me an industry...
@Richard: Well put indeed, thanks.
Re: Dept. of Peace
Who was it that said that it takes the invisible fist for the invisible hand of the market to work?
Could you please have Dr. Sam Keen back sometime soon? Your conversation was SO interesting. You barely touched the surface of the topic. I could have listened to it for the whole hour. Thanks!
@Thom: Prostitutes perform sexual acts forced upon them by asymmetric sexual power, economic desperation and true acts of force. Senators have no such compulsions inflicted upon them. The majority of them consciously and intentionally choose to debase themselves and mete out the decrees of the entities which hold their purse strings.
You owe prostitutes an apology.
Re: "Name me an industry
Answer: Too much of mining. When mine owners willfully use unsafe practices unbeknown to their employees. This could be applied to other industries.
I'm a Republican, I came here to check out Thom's website becuase I had seen some of his YouTube's videos on the Constitution's Founders.
(Flame Away - I'm tough).
I think what you're missing is that most Republicans are centrists. They want healthcare for everybody and they don't care a damn about the insurance companies.
But, like your suspicous of the insurance companies, they do not want to turn healthcare over to the government. That's who they distrust.
If you look at how corrupt congress is on both sides and how dysfunctional things the things are now the government runs. You'll never get that 60% to agree to it (I'm in that camp).
However, the right does see the government as an effective guaranteeor of rights. A good referee if you will.
There are compromise positions that fix the commonly agreed to problems - provide care - and make the insurance companies compete (for us not for themselves). But, congress has to move to the middle.
It's feasable to pass somethign on a non-partisan basis and that may be what happens but the democrats take a huge political risk (and it could be rolled back).
If both sides would stop demonizing the other - you'd realize that most folks are not that far apart on what we want here:
1. Coverage for everyone that does not bust the budget (by GAO standards no CBO). You can't have an "all you can eat" buffet like Medicare - but you can get coverage.
2. Everybody in the same risk pool.
3. Insurance reform
4. Legal Reform (yes it is important and a significant cost driver).
5. Efficiency Reforms
Not a popular opinion I know. But, congress will not put the insurance companies out of business in a direct confrontation - they have taken too much money and need it to get re-elected.
Better to get something done that helps the most people now and revise it later.
@DRichards: THE IRON FIST BEHIND THE INVISIBLE HAND
Corporate Capitalism As a State-Guaranteed System of Privilege
by Kevin A. Carson
While I agree with your distinctions and believe you are right about most cases of prostitution...I think there are some professionals who enjoy their work. Not that I have any first hand knowledge.
EVERY time we communicate with our government officials, we need to remind them that we have plenty of money to deal with most issues and actually lower taxes. The source? The Department of War (Pentagon) budget. We need do dramatically slash our military budget, and by putting that money into clean energy, education and health we can dramatically improve our security and welfare.
@David: Welcome! You have found a safe place here. Please feel free to discuss the points you feel relevant. Jingoism and knee-jerk ideology will get immediate criticism but if you are about actual discourse you are one of us.
@David: I believe that you need to podcast Thom’s show. Regarding the Rank and File Republicans, Thom’s most often express sentiment is a fervent wish that you folk rise up and retake your party from those whose relationship to government dovetails into fascism by the classical definition of the fusion of the corporate and the governmental.
Regarding healthcare, there are two issues that most folk here commonly agree upon:
1. The healthcare issue is about delivering healthcare to Americans, and
2. The Health Insurance Industry is about maximizing profits through denying healthcare.
Whole bunches of us advocate various forms of public pooling for payment and spreading/mitigating risk. This does NOT necessitate socializing medicine. It necessitates socializing to some degree the payment of healthcare to generate the largest available risk pool.
You see . . . We are not so different.
It is good to hear from a Republican who is centrist. Your kind of voice is either seldom raised or all too often drowned out by the extremists who appear to be in charge of your camp. We all want to believe that our position represents a majority, but that aint necessarily so.
As to your assessments of "Government" being unreliable or bad, I'll agree that Congress is often craven and obnoxious, but, "government" is far more than just the legislative elected. There are hundreds of thousands of hard working Americans who get up every day and do their level best to perform their jobs in the publics' service. They do remarkably hard and important work extremely well. Your side first demonized them, a long time ago by derisively calling them bureaucrats. Then their think tanks expanded the cynical attacks by making government a buzz word. You conflate the failures of our many money poisoned politicians with ALL who draw a government check. Not true and Not fair. At least you recognize that money is a big factor. This is the area where we can come together. I fear that you are a rare kind of Republican though. Your party it seems is the party that worships the dollar and free market capitalism above all other values. Your most laudable Republican of all described government this way: "Of the people, by the people, and for the people. So, logically you either would quarrel with Lincoln or would quarrel with the people's democratic voice.
I was rude not to welcome you too. i appreciate your voice being added to the debate. One thing we can all assume is that visitors to this forum love their country a great deal. It's welfare is a preoccupation of all of us. Attacking ideas to test their metal is common and happily engaged. You will find the level of discourse fairly high I'll wager. Attacking in a personal way or questioning motives is a rarity from what I have experienced. Trolls are ignored and poorly reasoned arguments are dismantled with relish. Yours is a voice from the wilderness which will be appreciated if not always shared. I for one long for the time when people from both camps consider themselves more brother countrymen than political enemies. By the way, I once considered myself a Republican. We all can grow. just kidding.....
Welcome, also. BTW, I came from a VERY Republican background, too!
Glenn Greenwald is one of my favorite writers.
Thom! You called Pittsburgh Philadelphia! That's an insult! We here in the City of Champions would like an on-air apology. Thanks. (Love your show, you're brilliant!)
This ACORN business has the rather strong aroma of hypocrisy, since unlike the voter suppression that swung the presidential elections in 2000 and 2004 to Bush, ACORN’s failures in oversight had little or no impact on 2008 presidential election. The corporate-run media, which utterly failed in its responsibility to expose the voter suppression tactics deployed by Republican operatives—most notably in Florida and Ohio—seems quite at ease with the disenfranchisement of minority and low-income voters in Democratic-leaning districts, but when it comes to efforts to enfranchise them, this is cause for wild consternation.
It was the BBC that uncovered the “secret” communiqués revealin gthe Republican use of caging lists, voter intimidation (such as private detectives hired to sit in dark-tinted cars outside of polling places), and voters baldly challenged by alleged “poll workers.” There were also claims of faulty polling booths, and shortages of booths in Democratic-leaning (mostly minority) districts. After claims of voter suppression in Ohio in 2004, the House Judiciary committee was “allowed” by the Republicans to conduct an investigation—as long as it did not conclude that voting irregularities changed the election result.
Dr. Richard Hayes from the University of Oregon, who wrote a book on the 2004 Ohio election fraud, and was a key witness at the committee hearings, stated that:
"It is my professional opinion that John Kerry's margins of victory were wrongly reduced by 22,000 votes in Cleveland, by 17,000 votes in Columbus, and by as many as 7,000 votes in Toledo. It is my further professional opinion that John Kerry's margins of defeat in Warren, Butler, and Clermont Counties were inflated by as many as 37,000 votes in the aggregate, and in Miami County by as many as 6,000 votes. There are still 92,672 uncounted regular ballots that, based upon the analysis set forth of the election results from Dayton and Cincinnati, may be expected to break for John Kerry by an overwhelming margin. And there are still 14,441 uncounted provisional ballots."
Doubtless Ohio was not the only state where this occurred, and doubtless it continued in the 2008 election. However, the Judiciary committee’s report on the massive fraud in Ohio passed virtually unnoticed by the corporate mainstream media, yet now the ACORN “controversy” is made to appear as if it is a “fraud” on an unimaginable, heinous scale. The mendacity runs thick and heavy indeed.