Daily Topics Blog - Thursday December 17th 2009

liberal imagesHour One - Mr. President, it's time to come clean on the deals you've made with the health insurance gangsters

Hour Two -  "How The Left Siftboated America: The Liberal Media Conspiracy to Make You Think George Bush Was the Worst President in History" Fox Radio Host John Gibson www.johngibson.com

Plus..."Everything You Know is Wrong" Gerald Posner www.dailybeast.com (also, www.posner.com) Is there a system that celebrities use to conceal bizarre behavior that Tiger Woods is giving us a glimpse into or is this just an aberration?

Hour Three - Why do oil billionaires oppose America being competitive with other nations that have national health care systems? Phil Kerpen www.americansforprosperity.org and www.joinpatientsfirst.com

Plus...Update from Copenhagen Climate Summit with Phil Radford Executive Director - Greenpeace USA www.greenpeace.org


Mark (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

I have to admit I share with many people disappointment and dismay with Barack Obama’s seeming inability to convert on his promise of “change,” although perhaps not to the degree that Thom is. Perhaps we misinterpreted what he meant by “change.” We can see “change” in the priorities of the Justice Department and on environmental issues, and the fact that this administration is even taking on health care “reform” at all. I suspect that the people who expected “change” fall into two camps: Those who simply did not want a continuation of the Bush/Cheney policies, and those who wanted something more “radical.”

I think most people should have known from prior experience that health care reform would be extremely difficult to achieve, given the powerful forces lined-up against it; perhaps they don’t remember just how difficult. I also think that a majority of people really are not all that terrified of reform, but then again, not all that sold on it either, and so they tend to stand in the background and watch. They do want the administration and Congress to do something to expand coverage and control costs, but the apparent wilting before the power of the insurance industry interests over the public interest is what they are perceiving instead. Such people (besides "progressives") may prove to be a problem for the Democrats if they continue to appear muddled, directionless, and even incompetent.

Thom is an enthusiast of Teddy Roosevelt, and without doubt the current image of Roosevelt as a man who got his way in passing strong pro-labor and regulatory measures seems in stark contrast to Obama. Roosevelt was certainly much less afraid to use the power of his office than Obama seems to be, but we shouldn’t make the mistake in thinking that he was the “ideal” progressive president. Roosevelt was not always seen in a positive light; years after his presidency, his image as a “rough rider” and carrying a “big stick” was the subject of jokes and caricature.

Like many “progressives” of that era and now, civil rights for minorities was not a priority for him; Roosevelt made a deal with the Japanese to suppress Japanese immigration to the U.S. in exchange for backing-off on legislation preventing Japanese from immigrating to the U.S.—a most curious “deal” indeed. Roosevelt was more talk than action on issues of concern for blacks; fearful of upsetting Southerners (particularly after the B.T. Washington “scandal”), he did not attempt to enforce the voting rights clauses of the 15th Amendment. A Darwinist, he made no pretense of his belief that blacks occupied the bottom rung of the evolutionary ladder.

Roosevelt made much of not compromising his principles, but he often was obliged to. Despite widespread public outcry after publication of the meat-packing expose “The Jungle,” the Pure Food and Drug Act that he signed was thoroughly gutted by business interests and their Senate stooges—just as the health care reform now is. Roosevelt actually did not forcefully back such progressive policies like a federal income tax, greater protection for labor unions, and workers’ rights until late in his presidency when public outcry over numerous corporate scandals finally moved him. Few of the policies along these lines that he proposed would be enacted until years after he left office.

We shouldn’t forget that it was a civil war that gave Lincoln the power to expand the reach of the executive branch, that it was 25 percent unemployment and much more widespread misery in the 1930s that gave FDR the clout he needed to take on the country’s elite, and that it was the atmosphere of moral responsibility fostered by the civil rights era that gave LBJ the moral authority he needed to pass his social legislation. Do those conditions exist today, even given the banking and financial system morass? If we say the answer is unquestionably yes over the long-term if we continue current economic and health care policies, then there has clearly been a failure to communicate this to the public—particularly by the mainstream media, which should be a force in moving politicians toward reality. Thom and Ed can’t do it all by themselves.

margaret m walsh (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

good morning from camp luna linda --


reading an amendement to the public before it becomes public law --


Sanders "thank-you for reading the entire amendment to the public --
thank-you for educating the public to the overall benefits of single-payer --
the way it will reduce the healthcare costs to employer and employees "


more readings on single-payer legislation --

thank-you for your consideration --
with so many options

margaret m walsh (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

good again --

my gripe --

Sanders stopped the SINGLE-PAYER LULLABY --
just because something has been done for a long time
does not make it right!! --

learned a lot from your segment on TRADITIONS --

thank-you for your consideration -
with SO many options -- mm

Quark (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Special Comment

Keith Olbermann's "Special Comment" last night echoes all the emails I sent to the White House and my U.S. senators yesterday, including my last statement: "I will not pay!" (Video)


Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@THOM: I can find no flaw in your supposition that Senator Lieberman played the villain to provide political cover to President Obama and give the President the bill he desired.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Tim Pawlenty is having trouble gaining name recognition in New Hampshire:

YO NEW HAMPSHIRE!!!! Pawlenty is the dude who allowed the bridge to collapse and kill and maim 179 citizens because he thought that preventative maintenance was an evil Democratic plot.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago
Watt Childress (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Right on Thom! Once again you've inspired my writing. Don't know if your website accommodates links (I'm barely computer literate), but I'm including a link to my blog today on healthcare at Talking Points Memo.


Ed Crist (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

We progressives have "compromised" on single payer, public options, Medicare expansion....what exactly have the conserva-Dems given up? Nelson, Lieberman, et. al....what is IN the bill that they do not like or what is NOT in the bill that they gave up?

thebinxster (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

progressives have consistently violated the most important rule for any negotiator.
any successful negotiator has to be willing to walk away from the negotiating table, and he has to let the other side know that he is serious about that possibility.
any serious negotiator always maintains the serious and credible threat that he/she will simply get up and end the discussion if their bottom line is not tended to adequately.
otherwise, a negotiating partner can simply hold out until a deal has to be made, in full recognition of the fact that progressives will always make some deal, any deal, no matter how bad.
progressives like tom harkin reek of this desperation and it fatally cripples any attempt to get the kind of legislation really necessary.
progressives in the house are even worse, as they consistently stake out strong positions, only to capitulate time after time after time.
no one takes them seriously, because they know the pattern of conduct and they know full well that progressives will never walk away from the negotiating table on matters of real importance.
if progressives are ever going to exert the kind of power their numbers should command, they need to walk away from the table.
they need to let the white house, congressional leadership, and republicans know full well that a new day has dawned and from this point on, if the needs and wants of progressives are not seriously adddressed and tended to in future legislation, that they can not simply pencil in their votes, no matter how putrid the compromise demands.
they need to get up and walk away from this putrid health care "deal" and they need to send the signal that can change the entire course of obama's last 3 years in office.
if they continue to capitulate and allow themselves to be taken for granted, there is no reason to expect that the white house - or anyone else, for that matter - will do anything but insist that they go along with any and every bad law that they believe they need to pass.
do they have the guts to do this?

DRichards (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Re: The republicans are against....

Let's be fair and acknowledge that the Obama Democrats are against.... too!
There's not all that much different between the two parties.

I want real change, so I am voting 3rd party!!

Steve Pipenger (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

All I can say is this: I'm beyond disappointed with Obama. The few crumbs he has given are just that...crumbs. I, for one, don't ever think I will vote again. You fight and fight and fight and the one you fight for is just like the ones who screwed it up. The only argument will be what the band is playing while the titanic sinks.

DDay (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

I know that most people are preoccupied with the Health Care debate and the miserable deal we are asked to settle for. I however want to comment on the subject of hour two. "How the Left "Swiftboated" America" and John Gibson's contentions regarding G.W. Bush not being the worst President in history. I am reminded of an amusing and revealing anecdote which partially explains the rift in perceptions of liberals and conservatives.

Two friends are walking down a country lane together. One is a liberal, the other a conservative. They came upon a dead bunny with tire tracks clearly visible on his back. Later that day when asked to recount what they had observed on their walk. The liberal mentioned the poor bunny which had been run over, hit by traffic. The conservative told of the poor rabbit which had clearly committed suicide.

How is it that two people who see the exact same event, "see" things so differently? Once you eliminate brain damage, or infirmity, you left with perceptions and preconceptions or plain old willful dishonesty. One must assume that John Gibson has at least a functional intellect. So what explains his long record of cognitive dissidence as demonstrated by his many inane statements made on Faux News? Why does his brain leap to the suicide solution? I don't know personally, but, suspect it is a combination of having drunk the Koolaid so often, (Koolaid Poisoning), a contrarian nature, and the willingness to sell his integrity for 30 pieces of silver. Whatever the reason(s), the fact that his words are given an audience is sad. Even Faux News took him off the air! The only satisfying justification for giving him a microphone again would be to hear him being hoisted by his own petards. It is not usually Thom's nature to do so, but, I hope we will be treated to his being exposed for the charlatan he is. After the recent disappointments, I am in no mood to suffer another fool. I wish Richard L. Adlof could take over this upcoming segment. No offense intended Thom. Sometimes you are a little too rational and forgiving by nature for circumstances like this. GRRRRR :-)

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

President Obama did not knuckle under . . . Obama is knuckling us.

Robert Miller (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Thom I have come to be of the opinion that the people we have put in office as agents of change have been threatened,Them and thier Families, Weather by Right wing Burreaucrats which have been put in place by the Regan Right Wing or right wing Military Personell I dont know but someone who is not subject to elections or removal and I believe that the people who were let into the White house a couple weeks ago were those peoples way of saying to President Obama that "see we told you we can get to you and your family anytime".

Sugarchai (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

I saw the clip of Bernie Sanders in the Senate yesterday. I sure hope his blood pressure medicine is working!

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Well, I wouldn't call him a leftist, but I AM feeling swiftboated by Obama et al.

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Can anyone point to any progressive goal that Obama truly supports?

If so, it would seem prudent to start pushing such goals forward, if the progressive base doesn't get some sort of a win under Obama soon, its screwed.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

I keep wracking my brain for President who was worse for America.

William Henry Harrison died to protect America from his full term . . .

Herbert Hoover was a piker compared to G.W. Bush . . .

Ronald Reagan only half destroyed America . . .

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Robert Miller,

Did you see this column by 27 year CIA veteran Ray McGovern?
Obama's Profile in Courage Moment
By Ray McGovern
November 24, 2009 http://consortiumnews.com/2009/112409b.html

Of, course Gerald Posner would tell you that Oswald was a lone nut, Case Closed...

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

John Gibson IS correct that the DLC Democrats called for regime change in Iraq. Just another instance of the far right calling centrist Democrats leftists.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@THOM: Ask Gibson to name one worse President and give a reason why . . .

DDay (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Here I sit broken hearted...came to s__t....but only farted.

dougw (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

First time in the chat room. I am getting a bit burned out by all the bickering going on over the health care debate. So once again the cons win by making the public sick of dems.

We could have public health care quickly if the unions went on strike. As Thom has said in the past "in Europe the govts are afraid of the unions". As a retired union member I have heard my union leaders say they cant strike because of signed contracts with contractors and govt agencies. The founders of our modern unions were murdered, beaten, lives were destroyed to help get the standard of liveing we once had before Regan destroyed the air trafic control union. The teamsters could shut down this country within one week. The Iron workers and Operation engeniers could stop all construction in this country in one day. Yes this would hurt the poor and middle class more than the upper 10% but it would begin to make buying legislators more expensive than serving the people of this country. You want to see the people angry in this country wait until they go to the grocery store and the shelves are MT. As long as it is more profitable for corperate America to buy congress than it is to be of service to the American people, we will contine to to get "Screwed". The people in this contry are unwilling to put their jobs and well being on the line so we don't deserve a better standard of liveing, national health care.

DDay (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

The claim Wilt made was 20,000 women. He didn't however use the term "porked".

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

The issue with the Gibson segment was it was discussed on Gibson’s ground. Gibson wanted to dish on ‘libruls’ and he got his way.

The REAL issue was who was worse. I can’t think of one nor could any other reasonable being. Gibson would have lost the debate AND been denied his opportunity to spew his crap. ‘Libruls’ would be correct and it would not be a conspiracy . . . AND Gibson would have remained just another inbred idiot.

It would have been better radio also . . .

DDay (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago


Well said.

molmsted (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

We cannot strike and protest like the 60s. Now we will be branded as terrorists and locked up like in China.
Obama voted for this before his election... the first sign of what was to come.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago


I think the real issue with Gibson should have been his, and in fact too many democrats as well, willingness to use military force as a matter of national policy, not as a last resort.

We are signitories to the UN Charter which starts with the preamble:

•to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
•to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
•to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
•to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
•to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
•to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
•to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
•to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,

DRichards (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Re: I have come to be of the opinion that the people we have put in office as agents of change have been threatened...

Perhaps, though I suspect that none of us want to acknowledge that we have been had. People kept making excuses for Clinton...

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Can senators and congressmen be recalled?

Quark (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago


Re: "I saw the clip of Bernie Sanders in the Senate yesterday. I sure hope his blood pressure medicine is working!"

I, too, have been thinking that Bernie doesn't look well.

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

I agree with Thom that a revolution may be the eventual result, however, as well intentioned as rebels may be, the results are rarely even close to the goals they set.

DDay (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@ Nels Nelsen

That depends on individual State law. The U.S. Constitution provides each state with the responsibility to determine election rules, recounts, and recall statutes for their state's U.S. senators. I believe Connecticut does have recall provisions; if that is where you are headed.

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@DDay well it would be nice if the people of Connecticut started heading in that direction. I wonder how quickly a Senator would back down as soon as his constituents began speaking of such options and collecting signatures.

DDay (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@ Quark & Sugarchai

I think Bernie looks sexy when he's mad. He kinda had a Ludwig von Drake thing going on with his hair too. Perhaps it was his reddened face which made you concerned? People who live in cold states like Vermont & Minnesota turn red easier.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

I have been asking for months . . . What does abortion mean to Senator Ben Nelson (D-Corporate America)?

DDay (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@ Nels

I have heard that people in Connecticut are in fact beginning to organize along those lines. I believe they need X number of petition signatures to get the thing rolling. Cross your fingers!

DDay (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@ Richard

Perhaps Ben found out his mother had wanted to abort him in retrospect?

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@molmsted: Yep, that’s part of the PATRIOT Acts I & II . . .

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@ DDay crossing fingers, (toes, arms etc... too).

Just say no Joe!

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

On Copenhagen:

Clinton's Copenhagen Announcement 'Was Naked Blackmail'
by Naomi Klein

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@NelsNelsen: Only by the election process. The Fed law affords NO opportunity to recall and recall and term limits in California for Federal offices was overturned by the court system.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

molmsted & Richard,

In the '60s we protested despite the risk of beatings and incarceration.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Speaking of the '60s and abortion, anybody remember, "Free Abortion on Demand!"

Nels Nelsen (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@Richard, seems as though we have another wonder way of keeping the will of the people silenced then. Not altogether shocking, just disappointing.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago


Beatings are foreplay in California . . . And incarnation for standing up for rights is a badge of honor . . . I was pointing out the an Union walk-out could get the whole organization GITMO’d without legal recourse FOREVER . . .

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

YO Kerpen! Deregulation is the issue . . . Not regulation.

Food Fascist (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Mr. Koch would not have to be a source for charity if we simply structured the government as to accomodate all the people we bring onto the Earth with the basics. The worse thing I see all year round is all the little charity photo sessions in which the rich appear like Gods at the holidays at trickle their pennies on us white- the rest of the year the poor suffer. Some plan.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Did Kerpen just pimp “Pay-Go” healthcare?

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Today, we are closing 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.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Through compelling personal stories, Hartmann presents a dramatic and deeply disturbing picture of humans as a profoundly troubled species. Hope lies in his inspiring vision of our enormous unrealized potential and his description of the path to its realization."
David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy, The Great Turning, and When Corporations Rule the World
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 Cracking the Code:
"In Cracking the Code, Thom Hartmann, America’s most popular, informed, and articulate progressive talk show host and political analyst, tells us what makes humans vulnerable to unscrupulous propagandists and what we can do about it. It is essential reading for all Americans who are fed up with right-wing extremists manipulating our minds and politics to promote agendas contrary to our core values and interests."
David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community and When Corporations Rule the World and board chair of YES! magazine