Daily Topics Blog - Tuesday December 15th 2009

one child imagesHour One - Matt Taibbi - on Obama's Big Sellout www.rollingstone.com

Hour Two: Should the world adopt China's one-child policy if it means saving the planet? Thom challenges Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum to a verbal duel www.iwf.org

Hour Three: Does the Rom Houben case revive the Terri Schiavo debate? Thom has a rumble with Wesley Smith of the Discovery Institute www.discovery.org

Plus...Do protesters want violence or their voiced heard in Copenhagan? Kyle Ash www.greenpeace.org


Mark (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

The Census count next year is expected to be a challenging endeavor, with potentially millions more of the homeless and “in transit” to find and count. Prior numbers ranged from less than 250,000 to 3 million, depending upon the level of advocacy. I know for a fact that “official” counts are inaccurate; many of the homeless deliberately seek “shelter” in places where they won’t be found, whether to avoid police harassment, to steer clear of mental or violent hard cases, or they just want privacy. Undocumented workers are also being told by immigrant advocates to shun census takers.

I have my own homelessness story to tell. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become cynical on some subjects and radicalized on others, but there was a time in my younger days when I was absurdly naïve and trusting. One day I fancied that Los Angeles would be a stimulating location for a new start in life. I bought a ticket on a Greyhound bus, pocketed my life savings of about a $1,000 and off I was in search of an exciting new career (in what I hadn’t yet thought of). It was a 2,000 mile trip, mostly dull and uncomfortable, even when we stopped in Salt Lake City, where while I was admiring the gardening on the grounds of the Mormon temple compound I was accosted by a very attractive female who tried to convert me to Mormonism. Back on the bus I found myself seated next to a new partner, who told me he was from Los Angeles, and would be glad to help me find a place to stay, and maybe even a job; he was such a fine fellow that I showed him my roll of bills. My new friend informed me that he had just left Texas, where he and his brother were helping to tidy-up a acquaintance’s abode by moving some of his more expensive belongings into the bed of their pick-up truck, while he was gone. That is until the police arrived after a neighbor reported the goings-on, and they were obliged to high-tail it through a few yards and over a few fenses, leaving their truck behind.

Now, I’m certain that most people would be wary of “assistance” from a character of this sort, but I didn’t know anyone in L.A., and this guy seemed most willing and surprisingly friendly, given that even my name was a matter of indifference to him. When we arrived in L.A., we sat in someone’s front lawn at noon and smoked some pot that he happened to have on him, and this had absolutely nothing to do with making uncomplicated my new friend’s aptitude for stealing things that were not his—like of all my money while I was asleep. When I discovered my deprived situation, it didn’t matter if I was in a haze or a daze; I walked aimlessly for about twelve hours around town trying to concentrate my mind on the most proficient and painless way of killing myself. I finally collapsed in an abandoned school house full of broken glass; I fell into unconsciousness before I could consider their uses.

By the time I awoke at the dewy break of dawn, sunshiny with birds chirping and all that other crap, I had forgotten the previous day’s tribulation and was ready to start afresh. What was that lyric from the song Me and Bobbie McGee? “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” I thought that being a beach bum in Santa Monica would be fun, until some kids started throwing mini firecrackers at me while I trying to sleep on the ledge of a lifeguard shack. Someplace down the beach was an open restroom, where I hid in a stall when company arrived around 2 am. I won’t describe the activity that occurred in the adjoining room with the sink, because this is a PG site; thus ended my career as a beach bum.

A couple days later someone who ascertained my impoverished situation while I was discreetly scanning the garbage cans outside a McDonald’s suggested that he had a place for me to stay for awhile; I found myself in house in North Hollywood run by Christian-types of the fundamentalist variety. I won’t say that it was difficult to abide by their rules, but I sensed right-off that I wasn’t going to “fit-in.” One day we went on a tour of the local churches; by evening I was ready to go home, but the “brothers” were not. The next stop on the itinerary had one of those rituals where you stand, sit and kneel every five minutes; it was fortunate that I was on my knees when sleep overcame me, because everyone around thought this pathetic sinner was deeply in prayer, and ought not be disturbed. The next day it was more of the same. I decided that I couldn’t fake it anymore; while we were waiting outside another church, I decided to take a look around, and kept on going.

I was one of L.A.’s homeless for another five weeks, had enough of that career move, and decided to visit an Army recruiting center in Crenshaw, back in the days when they took everyone.

DDay (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

@ Mark
Thanks for sharing this slice of life post. I enjoyed reading it.

Quark (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

THOMAS HOBBES PROVEN WRONG (About the Nature of Man)

"Social scientists build case for 'survival of the kindest' "


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

Judge pays attention to the part of the Constitution regarding Bills of Attainder and Republican lawyers grouse . . .


And all because Acorn helped stop red-lining in the 1970s . . . Talk about holding a grudge.

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

Corporate DEM recommends public reach-around reward to obstructionist working to deny the will of 250 MILLION people in the name of the profits of corporations paying his wife to ‘bang’ him . . .


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

FROM DEMNOW this morning --

BANKSTERS are on the MOVE to the CAP + TRADE as MARKET --

pugla46 (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

The Banksters paraphrase President Obamas tribute to Bruce Springsteen: "We are not the President, but we are the Boss."

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

@THOM: We have a better chance of having Lieberman’s man-crush, John McCain, support a DEM generated bill than Holy Joe.

DRichards (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago


The lethal cynicism of Joe Lieberman

I started to write a longer post about Sen. Joe Lieberman's move today to kill the more progressive parts of the healthcare bill today...but frankly I couldn't stomach devoting that much of my limited time on earth to him at this point. Let me just say this: I've been paying attention to politics on some level since I was nine years old and watched the cops beating up the hippies at the 1968 Democratic Convention, and over the course of 41 years I have never seen a move so cynical and so spiteful, at the expense of the health and well-being of millions of Americans, as Lieberman's backflips to kill any provision that is supported by liberals, even if it's something that he himself supported just three months ago.

Nine years ago, when he ran for vice president, Lieberman said that allowing people over 55 to buy into Medicare -- the very idea he killed today -- was the core of his ideas for health care, and he repeated that as recently as September 2009:

By allowing citizens who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid to buy in for a rate below the private market, the government can extend coverage to more of those who are currently uninsured, he said.

To arrive at his position, Lieberman said he reached out to "every conceivable group" in the state, including residents, providers, doctors and hospitals.

Now, it's clear that Lieberman doesn't want a bill, period, and his reasons keep shifting because his real reason is to stick it to the liberals who defeated him in a 2006 Democratic Senate primary (he then ran as an independent and won). Lieberman said he's worried about the cost of the Medicare buy-in but then he decided not to wait for the cost analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. Newsweek's Howard Fineman, who tried to get an explanation of the flip-flop from Lieberman's staff, came away with this:

The other half is it's personal with Joe, not with Obama, 'cause don't forget that Obama, the President, supported Lieberman in the fight in the party in Connecticut. It's the grassroots left of the Democratic Party ...He wants Moulitsas, he wants Firedoglake, he wants all those people who rode around on the bus of the challenger, who defeated him in the Democratic primary.

Hey, we're all human, we've all said or done things out of spite -- but for most of us nobody died when that happened. With millions fewer Americans carrying health insurance because of Joe Lieberman's treachery, people who would have been healthy will get sick, people who who would have been protected will file for bankruptcy, and people who would be alive will die. Pure and simple. And that unnecessary blood will be on the hands of Joe Lieberman, who's now offered no constructive platform for improving medicine in the country beyond the politics of petty spite and personal treachery. At least when thousands of people died needlessly in Iraq, there were plenty of others to share the blame.

But this one's all on you, Joe. And America will never, ever forget.

Celina (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

I have a radical idea.
Let's get a grassroots movement going and encorage everyone in America to vote the 4th or 5th candidate on ANY ticket.
At least, you know they haven't received any money form the fat cats and we would have idealistic people voted in...they can't possibly be worse than what we have now.
It's time we voted regular citizens into office and stop giving just two parties ALL the power...except for a very few, the Democrats need to go AND most importantly ALL the republicans...in both houses.
We need a serious RESET to our system.
Things are a bad as I ever seen in my life time. I lived through Reganomics...that was nothing compare to today.
I campaigned for OBAMA and knocked on doors....I feel violated.
It's time average Americans take care of America issues....these media seeking money hungry divas need to go.

brian a. hayes (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

we need campaign finance reform now, we must end the bribery in washington. our system is in the power of the corporations not the people. we must demand that finance reform be the next thing done. it must be made ilegal for politicians to take money from corporations. lets keep our eyes on rahl emanuel, for i don't trust him to move in the direction of campaign finance reform.

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

Carrie "Good (American, Wealthy & White-Skinned) Folk should breed (and consume good and services) like bunnies" Lucas . . .

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

Carrie Lucas is correct . . . If we adopt one kid per parent group, how will corporations dominate the masses with out masses to dominate? Damn any and all governments which suggest that humans should practice good animal husbandry upon the animal with the largest bio-mass on the planet.

“Yes, corporations love us. Yes, corporations love us. The (insert the Libertarian interpreted book of the dead of your choice) tells us so!”

SIDE LINE CONVERSATION: If we adopt one kid per parent group, how will the quiver-full produce a Rapturian Army for their deity?

John Roshell (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Rather than "outlaw" more than one child as China does, what if we (in the US) just eliminated the tax break after the second kid? Or even added a tax for the fourth or fifth on?

brian a. hayes (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

thom hartmann can you and jim hightower unite to lead the movement for campaign finance reform?

Wendy (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Thom, I loved your story about your daughter and third child! I had a similar experience with my youngest child and, like you, am convinced that a spiritual world exists.

Happy Holidays to you and your family! Thank you for being you!! =)

Aja (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Thom, I love the story you told about your third child!

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

TH -- can you ask your COP15 guest about any WEATHER MODIFICATION experts represented at COP15?

thank-you for your guest list

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

Climate Talks Suspended After Mass Walkout


brian a. hayes (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

jeremy scahill talking about war profiteerers war profiteering wasn't this what rumsfeld did right in front of our eyes the government sanctioned war profiteering.

Bryan Asklof (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago


Your last guest Rob made, whether he knew it or not, a convincing argument for physician assisted suicide. He kept saying "if you want to dehydrate someone to death". That is such a cruel way to have someone pass. It would be much more humane to allow Drs to administer drugs that would ease the patient's passing. So Thom make sure you put that into your last will if you find yourself in that situation.

Stan (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Will Lieberman, the whine with legs, support the government taking over full payment for care of anyone being declared in a vegetative state?

Wendy (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Great - I can't afford health insurance now because of skyrocketing premiums - but the govt is going to force me to buy it, like car insurance??? That makes total sense!

If I don't pay my car insurance, they suspend my license. What are they gonna take away when I can't pay for my health insurance?

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

TH -- 2010 resolution?

Lee (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Today's redundant expression:; CORRUPT REPUBLICAN,


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

@Quark: Thank you for the Berkeley article.

steve (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Wesley J. Smith once upon a time was a very outspoken left wing Democrat.
He used to sit in on John Swaney's morning show on KGIL 1260 about 20 years ago. Don't know what happened to him over the past 20 years other than the usual. Conservative talk radio is filled with these sellouts and phonys. Tammy Bruce and Ken Hamblin are two others I can think of off the top of my head that changed. Guess people sell out for money. Wish you would have known this before the interview Thom.....

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

The knees on Obama’s pantsuits were greener than the knees on HRC’s pantsuits in 2007/2008.

Mark (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

I have this theory that because Thom surrounds himself with women (who are doing quite well, I'm sure), he feels a need to gratify their prejudices (perhaps also the apparent anti-Latino bias I often hear). I think several items should be pointed out. The dirty little secret about affirmative action in this country is that white women benefited from it far more than minorities, and we can see it in employment figures and college enrollment patterns. When they didn’t need it, and saw minorities as a “threat” along with their white men, they voted against it, as they did in California and Washington—two allegedly “blue” states.

It should also be pointed out that in the countries Thom mentioned as “proof” that where women were uneducated and “forced” to have babies that these were where impoverishment were highest. Again, this is avoids the “big picture.” You tend to find high birthrates in countries where infant mortality is high; the U.S. figure is “high,” but only in relation to other first world counties. Poverty and illiteracy is an equal opportunity “employer” where resources are scarce and subsistence farming predominates, and what wealth there is, is concentrated in the hands of “elites.” How do you measure poverty and "victimization" between the genders in subsistence farming or where jobs are scarce? I have no idea, although Thom’s handlers apparently do.

Kathleen (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

I am appalled at the Cruelty of False Hope that the Congress has engaged in. Excellent, beneficial proposals are floated and then taken away.

It is absolutely clear that the American people demand a strong public option, especially in the face of a mandate. Anything less is selling out to the insurance companies. A cynic might conclude that the leadership is taking advantage of Sen. Lieberman’s posturing to betray the true interests of the American people.

I believe it is very damaging to the country if the people send a clear message to their elected representatives and the people’s wishes are ignored.

Quark (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago


My pleasure (re: article about kindness.)

I just sent Lieberman a very scathing email. I am so down right now... I am almost ready to sell my soul (except I don't believe in Satan.)

Quark (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

"Letting Go"

How to walk through life without holding on


Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

I watched Television Ontario (TVO). The program title was “The Corporation – The Pathology of Commerce”. The program mentioned that the Supreme Court ruled that a corporation is a person than surely a person is a person. The program highlighted a checklist for mental disorders. Since a corporation can be considered a person, the mental disorder checklist can be applied.

Here is the checklist.
1. Callousness toward people
2. Impersonal relationships with people
3. Disregard for the safety of others
4. Deceitfulness
5. Incapacity to experience guilt
6. Failure to comply toward social norms to benefit people

From the checklist corporations displayed a psychopathic mental disorder. If we use the same checklist for politicians, like Lieberman, or entertainers, like Limbaugh, we can use the same checklist to determine their abnornal behavior or a mental disorder.

Thom has used psychopath and sociopath behavior interchangeably. Here is my understanding of these two behaviors. Psychopath was the word used to differentiate between a crook and a murderer. A psychopath was prone to murder. Now the word sociopath is the norm used for a person who can be either a crook or a murderer.

Quark (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

So Gerald, I think we should be able to get sociopathic, out-of-control corporations "committed."

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

I have been ranting and venting since Bush II was fraudulent appointed president in 2000 and 2004. I have continuously said that wars are outmoded and they serve no purpose. Wars create more problems than they resolve problems. I had this idealistic belief that if people talked negatively about wars, they would become obsolete. I was wrong and I have been wrong. Wars will always be with us. They will never leave us.

Obama accepts the Nobel Prize and he lectures us that wars are necessary and he defends the use of power to continue with wars. A good article to read is by Glenn Greenwald. In fact it is a remarkable article. The article is Salon and titled, “The Strange Consensus on Obama’s Nobel Address.”

Chris Hedges speaks at UC Santa Barbara in a sixty minute speech and he shares his experiences concerning wars. He has said that wars are exhilarating and the greatest rush a person can experience, especially for a young man. Wars give persons a greater high than psychotropic drugs.

You can listen to Chris Hedges’ speech at UC Santa Barbara by going to the internet and his speech is on You Tube. The speech is on “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” The speech pulls together why wars will always be with us. Wars will never go away.

Wars are a force that gives meaning to the American way. When we compare Obama’s Nobel Prize speech with Chris Hedges’ speech at UC Santa Barbara, I agree with Chris Hedges that as an American, war is a force that gives us and our nation a meaning for living. Wars are embedded into the American psyche forever. Americans view wars as a glorious experience with a tremendous high and a tremendous rush.

We must not forget Stephen Lendman’s great article, “A Culture of Violence.” This article stresses America’s five hundred years of violence. Violence is a part of Americans’ true character. It is our universal signature as a people and as a nation.

These words describe America’s addiction to wars, “Fight, rape, war, pillage, burn! Filmic images of death and carnage are pornography to the military man” (and to the American people) by former sniper, Anthony Swofford (2003).

Wars are Americans’ comfort zones!!!

War and not baseball is America’s favorite pastime!!!

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Quark, that would be wonderful but unfortunately corporations rule nations and they have the power to refuse a psychiatric placement. We can only dream of such a placement.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Let us not forget that democracy is from the bottom up and not the top down.

I will be taking a respite from commenting and posting until after January 1. I will listen to Thom’s radio show and I will read his newsletter but I will need time to accept that wars will always be with us. Wars define Americans and America.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 35 weeks ago

Before I start my respite, I want to share with you a ninety second video and I also want to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.


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.

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From Cracking the Code:
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