• Guests:
  • Topics:
    • Is Barack Obama still the nation's Rorschach test? Straw poll.
    • Does the election in NY’s 23rd prove the fallacy of the Republican strategy of emulating Reagan in saying one thing and doing another?
    • Why are corporations getting free speech rights?
  • Bumper Music:
  • Today's newsletter has details of today's guests and links to the major stories and alerts that Thom covered in the show, plus lots more. If you haven't signed up for the free newsletter yet, please do. If you missed today's newsletter, it is in the archive.
  • Quote: "In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people." --- Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • Article: Rightwing activists fly in face of efforts to cut CO2 emissions by Anna Fifield.

    "A 70-foot-tall hot air balloon rose above South Carolina, on three days last week to "expose the ballooning costs of global warming hysteria" in the latest "grassroots" event organised by Americans for Prosperity, the rightwing group that inflamed the healthcare debate over the summer and is set to do the same on climate change. ...

    AFP aims "to build troops, to build activism, to get Americans to become active and to work for our freedoms", says Tim Phillips, the mercurial president of AFP.

    "Our goal is to fight for basic free-market principles - limited government, lower taxation, the ability of entrepreneurs to go out and create. It's to build grassroots," Mr Phillips told the Financial Times.

    Although it has only 8,000 registered members, the organisation is a force to be reckoned with as it tours the country whipping up support for its campaigns and teaching people how to use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to get their anti-government message out.

    But detractors - and there are many among liberals in particular - accuse it of "Astroturfing", or faking its grassroots, saying it is a front for big business opposed to Obama administration reforms.

    AFP is partly funded by the Koch Family Foundations, an offshoot of Koch Industries, the largest privately-owned US energy company, and receives other corporate funding, including from ExxonMobil in the past.

    Mr Phillips declined to give details of current funders and insisted the group also had many individual donors."

  • Speech: State of the Union 1888 by President Grover Cleveland, 3 December 1888.

    "As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people's masters. "

  • Conservative Jason mentioned Thom saying that liberals who run as liberals have a better chance than those who run as conservatives, as given the choice between a true Republican and a Democrat running like a Republican, people will choose the real thing every time, as with Creigh Deeds. He said Obama ran on tax cuts and being tough on defense, cap and trade, and moved away from single payer health care... Thom's reply:

    Let's just take those things one at a time. He ran on a platform of tax cuts for working people and tax increases for the very rich. That's a liberal position.

    With regard to defense, he ran on, of course, liberals have always wanted a strong national defense, it was liberals who fought and won world wars one and two. In fact, the Republicans used to call the Democratic Party the War Party because of that. So, yeah, he ran on a strong national defense, but he also ran on a platform of peace, just like Dwight Eisenhower did, whose slogan was, "Vote for Eisenhower, vote for peace", just like Richard Nixon did when he ran on a platform of ending the war in Vietnam. Obama ran on a platform of ending the war in Iraq. ...

    He did run on cap and trade and he did say that he was going to do something about the environment, and with regard to the taxes he was quite explicit. He said, many times he said, 'if you earn over a quarter of a million dollars a year, I'll tell you right now, your taxes are going to go up. If you're earning less than a quarter of a million dollars a year, your taxes are going to go down'. And he actually enacted a tax break for those of us who make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year in his first six months in office. It's there now. You've got a tax break, Jason.

  • Clip: "I've always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'." Ronald W. Reagan.
  • Speech: "Fifth Annual Message" by Andrew Jackson, December 3, 1833.

    "In this point of the case the question is distinctly presented whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages or whether the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and control their decisions. It must now be determined whether the bank is to have its candidates for all offices in the country, from the highest to the lowest, or whether candidates on both sides of political questions shall be brought forward as heretofore and supported by the usual means."

  • Speech: "State of the Union 1837" by Martin van Buren, 5 December 1837.

    "I have found no reason to change my own opinion as to the expediency of adopting the system proposed, being perfectly satisfied that there will be neither stability nor safety either in the fiscal affairs of the Government or in the pecuniary transactions of individuals and corporations so long as a connection exists between them which, like the past, offers such strong inducements to make them the subjects of political agitation. Indeed, I am more than ever convinced of the dangers to which the free and unbiased exercise of political opinion--the only sure foundation and safeguard of republican government--would be exposed by any further increase of the already overgrown influence of corporate authorities. I can not, therefore, consistently with my views of duty, advise a renewal of a connection which circumstances have dissolved."

  • Speech: "State of the Union 1888" by Grover Cleveland, 3 December 1888.

    "As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people's masters."

  • Speech to the 1912 Constitutional Convention in Columbus, Ohio by William Jennings Bryan.

    "The first thing to understand is the difference between the natural person and the fictitious person, called the corporation. They differ in the purpose in which they are created, in the strength which they possess, and in the restraints under which they act. Man is the handiwork of God and was placed upon earth to carry out a Divine purpose. The corporation is the handiwork of man and was created to carry out a money-making policy. There is comparatively little difference in the strength of men. A corporation may be one hundred, one thousand, or even one million times stronger than the average man. Man acts under the restraints of conscience, and is influenced also by a belief in the future life. A corporation has no soul and cares nothing about the hereafter."

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