Daily Topics - Friday December 11th 2009

carbon footprint imagesHour One - "Brunch With Bernie" Sen. Bernie Sanders www.sanders.senate.gov

Hour Three - Why Copenhagen summit may be a disaster Bill McKibben www.350.org  www.BillMcKibben.com

Geeky Science Rocks! - Could hook worm infections help cure celiac disease?


Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Expect the regularly scheduled phone call from the “21 year old capitalist “ whose “grandma doesn’t use Medicare cuz she does not like to use other people’s money” today . . . The bounty freepers must need to make rent or by misdirected Solstice presents.

Quark (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago


Thanks for that. I'll listen for those callers. I love games!

Quark (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago


Are you out there? Now I'm missing you!

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

We are so excited. I want to share with you the good news. We welcome a new member into our family. It's a boy and we named him Jesus!

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Obama's speech in his acceptance of the Nobel prize was lame. He sold out our country for change with 30 pieces of silver.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

I have had an opportunity to see the work at a free health clinic. As I looked over the people who were at the clinic, I saw a feeling of hopelessness. How can any true American be so insensitive to the needs of their brothers and sisters in God? We are in a full scale depression.

I would like to share with you the words and thoughts of G.K. Chesterton. We will need time to reflect on his words and thoughts and not just read his words. I will give you his words and thoughts in 5 parts or sections. I do not want to overload you in one part. True reflection will take time.

This is part one of five sections.

The Gilbert Keith Chesterton Society is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) had profound influence on such diverse 20th century figures as Mohandas Gandhi, C.S Lewis, and T.S. Eliot. Mr. Chesterton is also known as the Apostle of Common Sense.

I had a chance to listen to G.K.’s words and thoughts on radio from January, 2003 through January, 2004. His writings were discussed for thirty minute parts. His writings would be discussed for a week here and a week there. What is amazing about his work and writings are that his writings can be applied today. While I listened to the radio shows, I took notes.

I have divided the information on G.K. Chesterton into several parts or sections in order not to overwhelm you. Please do not just read the words. It is important to reflect on the words and thoughts.

I want to begin with his steps for conversion. Actually, these steps had to do with religion but these steps can be applied to parties and politics.

Here are the three steps for conversion.
One, be fair and open minded to the truth!
Two, realize the truth and investigate the parties and politics!
Three, is the party or politics pulling you to the truth and you can accept conversion or reject it!

G.K. was a master of logic. Only the truth can free us and make us happy. We cannot compromise in these areas – wisdom, truth, innocence, and goodness.

streamer (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

1st appeal to Bernie regarding health care Medicare eligibility. Advocate for the proposal for Medicare to be available starting at age 55 comes with No Strings Attached.

DRichards (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Uh, you might want to hold off on that Nobel Prize in Economics

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, who's either the best young journalist in America or the best journalist, period, is back to tell us the sordid tale of how Obama sold out to the Wall Street banksters:

That was the day the jubilant Obama campaign announced its transition team. Though many of the names were familiar — former Bill Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, long-time Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett — the list was most notable for who was not on it, especially on the economic side. Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist who had served as one of Obama's chief advisers during the campaign, didn't make the cut. Neither did Karen Kornbluh, who had served as Obama's policy director and was instrumental in crafting the Democratic Party's platform. Both had emphasized populist themes during the campaign: Kornbluh was known for pushing Democrats to focus on the plight of the poor and middle class, while Goolsbee was an aggressive critic of Wall Street, declaring that AIG executives should receive "a Nobel Prize — for evil."

But come November 5th, both were banished from Obama's inner circle — and replaced with a group of Wall Street bankers. Leading the search for the president's new economic team was his close friend and Harvard Law classmate Michael Froman, a high-ranking executive at Citigroup. During the campaign, Froman had emerged as one of Obama's biggest fundraisers, bundling $200,000 in contributions and introducing the candidate to a host of heavy hitters — chief among them his mentor Bob Rubin, the former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs who served as Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton. Froman had served as chief of staff to Rubin at Treasury, and had followed his boss when Rubin left the Clinton administration to serve as a senior counselor to Citigroup (a massive new financial conglomerate created by deregulatory moves pushed through by Rubin himself).

Read the whole thing, and ask yourself: If Glenn Beck is determined to build a show around criticizing Obama's appontments, why does he not criticize these appointments?

DRichards (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

The Obama Effect: The Demise of the Democratic Party and a Gift to the Country

"The Democrats are one of two levers by which the ruling oligarchy controls the political process to their nearly exclusive advantage."

Pretty much sums it up!

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Herein lies the dilema: the problems are truly structural, however, as Thom has mentioned, opening a Constitutional convention to address structural problems would undoubtably, under present conditions, lead to further structural problems.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

This is part two of five sections.

When a man stops believing in God, he loses his common sense. Faith will help us recover our common sense. We are not guaranteed whether or not we will win battles. We still must fight for what is right and just. Humility is very important in life. Being a moral human being is hard work. Religion gives us meaning and purpose. We have a responsibility to pass along truth. Democracy and common sense must go together.

What is wrong with the world? CHRISTIAN IDEAL IS NOT IN PRACTICE!

Democracy requires people to think for themselves. Enjoy yourself! Give money to the poor! Preach against pride! Conflicts begin when a person feels superior to another person. Man must have a vision. What kind of picture will you paint? We must choose our light!

Wealthy people do not worry about ordinary people. To worry about someone or something you need to be interested in someone or something. Wealthy people are not interested in ordinary people.

Injustice must be resolved before we have true democracy. Family and religion matter! Wage salary deters democracy. The servile state destroys the family and democracy. Property is the positive form of democracy. Skills have decreased and services have increased. The family is paramount over the factory and wages. (With the loss of manufacturing jobs we are also losing our skilled trade workers.)


Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

But Robert A. Heinlein would say, "A paradox can be paradoctored."

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

This is part three of five sections.

Government and commerce should not grow too large because the people will not control government and commerce. They will control us. You cannot have a moral government from an immoral government.

Industrialism is too crooked and complex. The voice of God is important in a democracy. Enemies of the family are the enemies of democracy. For democracy to work we must value the family. (Do you sense that there are politicians and corporations who care very little about families in our country?) Democracy is from the bottom up and top down. Freedom is independence. Self-denial is the test of self-government. Self-government is thinking for your self. We must do things for ourselves. Big business and big government are bad for democracy. When you lose a common heritage, you lose common sense. We live by the wage. Wage slavery is still slavery. The servile state is inconsistent with democracy.

Property is a form of democracy. Distributiveness is necessary for democracy. Human happiness should be our end in a democracy. A small salary is eternal slavery. (Today, we are seeing eternal slavery in the USA with small salaries and the loss of the middle class.) Democracy is difficult. Democracy must be concerned with justice. For a democracy to work we must love God and we must love our neighbor.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

This is part four of five sections.

People are divided up into two groups. Capitalists and socialists are alike. Puritans and pagans are alike. Both lack the balance in common sense. Christmas and Easter changed paganism forever. Modern pagans worship something but God. God is not worshipped. Paganism leads to nowhere. Without God we are doomed. Puritanism was a mistake. They looked at the physical world as evil. Puritanism is revival of righteousness. Their Christianity was narrow. They worship by thinking. Christianity worships by dancing and drinking. Modern Puritans worship health and fitness. Modern Puritans are intolerant. Their morals are upside down.

Chesterton defends wine and beer. You drink because you are happy and because you are depressed. Puritanism and paganism miss the point of pleasure and incarnation.

Good should lead us to the Incarnation – spirit and flesh. There needs to be a balance in our life.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Gerald, I distrust those who claim to hear the voice of God.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

"Christianity worships by dancing and drinking." - Gerald

Where true, isn't that a continuation of Pagan and also Judaic tradition?

Make a Joyful Noise!

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

This is part five of five sections.

G.K. Chesterton argues politics. In a democracy people should govern themselves. Corporations and the rich are governing us. Common sense is better than a corrupt government. Government and commerce are ugly necessities. They control the people and the people do not control them. CAPITALISM IS NOT A FRIEND OF DEMOCRACY. Democracy MUST serve both God and man. Both capitalism and communism are too materialistic. We cannot give everything to the government and commerce. Rich men would rather starve the people.

Industrialism is an indirect system. The voice of the people is the voice of God. Enemies of democracy are the enemies of families. For democracy to work the best interests of the family must be considered. (Single payer health care reform plans is democracy and it serves the families.) Self-denial is important in the world. We cannot rely on other people. We should do something for love.

Mob rule is democracy in its purest sense. Government and democracy isolate people from each other. We have cut off ourselves from each other.

Property and money need to be distributed to the people. We need more skill trades. Society declines when there is a great difference in salaries between the rich and the poor. (Our minimum wage law has not kept pace with the cost of living. If our minimum trade law had kept pace with the cost of living since it was enacted, the minimum wage would be at nineteen dollars per hour.) For democracy to work we need to be concerned about justice.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Gerald cannot justice be separated from religiousity? Which is not to say that the religious should not pursue justice.

Steve Pipenger (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

I just heard Bernie Sanders regarding Ben Bernanke. There was only one problem with what Sen. Sanders said. He called Bernanke asleep at the wheel. This is false. Bernanke knew exactly what he was doing...protecting his Wall Street friends. The problem with the Federal Reserve Systems is not its governance. It's the system itself. True reform will come when we nationalize our monetary supply and get rid of the Federal Reserve. Enough welfare for banksters. Also...asking for a "more progressive" chairman of the Fed is an absurd notion, as well. When has anyone ever met a "progressive" banker?

DRichards (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Unemployment Rates by County
This should be an iPhone application for job seekers.


Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Zero G, the voice of God can be read in the Bible, such as when you do it for the least of my brethren, you do it for me. The voice of God is also in the Beatitudes. The voice of God is "Love one another as I have loved you."

Zero G, there are people who misread the Bible and they put in the words that they want to hear.

My God does not believe in war, torture, and the killing of His children. My God has a heart that is filled with love, mercy, and forgiveness.

There are people who paint God in the image they desire. Bush II and Cheney have painted their God as punishment and vengeance.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago


"When has anyone ever met a “progressive” banker?" Gordon Wasson?

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Gerald, IMHO "the Bible" is a confusing set of many times edited and translated voices of humans, mostly male humans at that. Although "The Book of 'J' by Bloom and someone, posits that the original Jehovah story was authored by a female member of King David's court. What do I know?

Quark (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Re: Campaign Finance

Paul Wellstone ran against a better-financed opponent each time he ran for the U.S. Senate. He was a truth-teller, too, and he always won.

Steve Pipenger (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Zero G.,

That's not a banker in the pure sense of the word. In any event, that's not the point of my meme. Certainly, a Wall Streeter is not going to be progressive (yes, I know Bernanke was the economics professor from Princeton, but he's also bought into the system).

The point still stands that putting a different person as the driver of a clunker doesn't make the clunker a classic.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

DLC = Democrats Loving Corporations: Riding the wave to a permanent minority.

Quark (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Ethics and morals do not depend on religion to exist. The ancient Greeks showed us that.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago


I wasn't arguing, it was just my odd sense of humor.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Zero G, justice and religiosity can be separated. What I find are people who misuse God in their speeches to benefit their causes or issues.

Steve Pipenger, I agree with you. There are people who know what they are doing and what they want to do to benefit their philosophy. There are people who have sold their soul for the almighty dollar.

DRichards, thank you for the alert on unemployment by counties.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago


Wellstone always won until he wrestled with a small plane. Influential progressives should always avoid small planes. I wonder about the actuarial tables re: meddlesome politicians and small planes.

Quark (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Zero G.,

Your slip is showing (metaphorically speaking.) How do you know about Gordon Wasson? (Mushrooms, anyone? LOL)

Quark (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Zero G.,

Re: "actuarial tables re: meddlesome politicians and small planes."

Dick Cheney compiles those tables...

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

G.K. Chesterton believed that religion has been important in a democracy. I do not disagree with G.K.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Mushrooms, Russia and History - actually. Wish I had a copy of that!

West (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago


Regarding health care. It seems as though the Obama administration itself is trying to make this more difficult. Even the head of the FDA, Margartet Hamburg is outwardly opposing the importation of pharmaceuticals, citing that they may not be safe. Well...correct me if I'm wrong, but if the drugs aren't safe when they reach the market, the she's NOT DOING HER FREAKING JOB!!!

Rant over...keep it up!

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Ethnopharmaceuticalbotany has been a hobby subject of mine for a long time. Thom has brought up the Amanita Muscaria mushroom in the past, and while it does not contain DMT it does have a long history with human cultures and society. Gordon Wasson posited that the Amanita Muscaria was the Soma of the ancient Vedas.

Click here to see a representation of the Amanita Muscaria as the Tree of Life c 1291 AD http://www.ambrosiasociety.org/the_fruit_of_the_tree_of_life.html.

DRichards (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

War on Christmas?

Ho, Ho, Ho Merry Mithras To All!

by Stephen Van Eck

One of the most tiresome and predictable aspects of the holiday season is the annual lament that we're "forgetting whose birthday it is." Related to that is the exhortation to "keep Christ in Christmas."

Those who employ these tired slogans simply do not understand Christmas at all. A review of the true historical roots of Christmas might help ease their confusion, and should be diverting to those who've never been bothered by the secular aspects of this holiday.

Devout Christians are of the opinion that Christmas has been corrupted, becoming more secular in recent decades than in its authentic form. Nothing can be further from the truth. What they fail to understand is that Christmas is actually the awkward amalgamation of two distinct cultural heritages, Christian and pagan. And the pagans had the holiday first.

Unknown to many, Christmas has its origins in the winter solstice festivals that virtually all ancient civilizations observed. (The Romans called it the Saturnalia.) The sun had ceased its ebbing, and had started to return to the world. Days stopped getting shorter, as if the light were reborn. The occasion was marked with feasting and merrymaking.

The original Christian church spread itself into cultures that had strong pagan traditions. They found these practices difficult to eradicate, and instead settled on a policy of consciously co-opting them. Pagan traditions continued, but in a new Christian context. This is what happened with the winter solstice festivals.

There is no record whatsoever of the specific date of Jesus' birth, but December 25th is extremely unlikely. (While shepherds watched their flocks by night? Not in the winter they didn't!)

The Church quite deliberately selected December 25th as a way of co-opting the solstice celebration. Since it was the time of the light coming back into the world, it had a practical symbolic tie-in that served their purposes well.

It could have been December 21st, a typical date for the actual solstice, but December 25th happened to be the birthday of Mithras, a Persian savior-god who was himself considered the light of the world. Mithras had a sizable cult within the Roman Empire during the first two centuries of the Christian Era, and by appropriating his birthday for their Savior, Christians could more easily convert Mithraites with a remarkably similar tale. As Mithras is forgotten today, it's clear the strategy was a rousing success.

But Christmas continued as a schizophrenic holiday, part pagan festival, part Christian narrative. Along the way it absorbed more pagan elements that had absolutely nothing to do with Christian theology. Such things as decorating fir trees, hanging mistletoe, and sleigh bells in the snow simply do not pertain to ancient Palestine or Christian dogma at all, but they've had a strong appeal to our civilization just the same. It's a true reflection of our forgotten pagan heritage.

Eventually, most Christians were no longer aware of the pagan origin of Christmas, which only created confusion over its persistent pagan aspects. The Puritans, however, did recognize its essential pagan character, and some early American colonies actually prohibited the celebration of Christmas.

One suspects they may have been disturbed not just by the paganism, but by the prospect that some people might actually cut loose and have fun. To them, December 25th was strictly to be just another working day, to be faced as sternly and joylessly as possible. The present-day Jehovah's Witnesses attitude, when it comes to the legitimacy of Christmas, is pretty much the same.

The increasing secularism of the Christmas season, then, represents not a corruption of its original form, but a re-emphasis on the paganism that lies at its very foundation. Paganism that, since it was the original source of the holiday, has a more legitimate right to define what that holiday is. And let's face it - all these pagan customs are actually rather enjoyable.

You'll get no "bah humbug" from me - I'll leave that to the Christians, who failed to co-opt the holiday completely, and are now upset that to most of us, it means something besides drab indoctrination. Merry Mithras to all, and to all a good night.

Tim From LA (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

After hearing Darth Cheney's explaining how much cheaper it is to drill for oil in Iraq than Saudi Arabia, only proves that the Bush administration and the 9/11 commission were not so forthcoming?

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

@GeraldSocha: I firmly disagree with your premise that “When a man stops believing in God, he loses his common sense. Faith will help us recover our common sense.”

Faith only has a place in faith–based religion. Faith allows folk to ride directly into their respective Hell on the pony of their personal good intention(s). One can default to non-action because intentional action is not required. Pre-destiny (read entropy and anarchy) rules as folk abdicate all their responsibility to act to the magic beastie they have chosen to surrender their intentional, rational minds to . . . The faithful default control to this ‘other’ to solve all.

In act-based religions, faith is irrelevant and it is only ones actions that affect the universe. Judaism, in its typical interpretation, holds that faith is personal (and while it may influence one’s tendency to act responsibly) and is not necessary to chose to do the righteous thing.

I believe that civics courses and not faith will return the American people to sane, rational behavior.

margaret m walsh (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

good morning from camp luna linda --

i would like to see SIMPLE MAJORITY rule --
and ALL BILLS voted on LINE-ITEM --
creating balance between executive/legislative branches --

cannot be vetoed by executive branch --

SUPER MAJORITY allows rule by minority --
in a venue supposed equal representation --

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

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

@StevePipenger: I agree. Ben Bernanke intentionally chose and acted to sewer America’s economy. There was No sleeping at the wheel.

@GeraldSocha: The Bernanke thing Pipenger points out is the very reason that I reject your Faith-Based support of Faith. Bernanke worships at the alter of deregulation in financial markets. IT is his GOD and all his faith put us in the toilet.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

@GeraldSocha: The voice of God can be heard when one goes off their meds . . . What’s your point?

Tim From LA (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

How Do you spell relief? N-O-G-O-P-S

Lee (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Testing the blog, thanks Nigel

Scott (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

The health care debate is well thought out and framed by Thom. It's always fun to hear him joust with right wingers insisting on what we have is so great.

sean (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

"name one successful free market health care system in the world."

"name one country that allows for-profit-health-insurance in the world"

These shoulda been the main talking points for progressives.

Lee (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Time from LA, about the 9-11 commission, check, roger and over and out.

I wish people would think of the Saudi connection and connect the dots: Saudis and Unocal in CENTGAS consortium in mid 1990s, can't negotiate route through Afghanistan because of Taliban, Taliban come to Houston in 1999, negotiations fail, 2000 election Floridia recounts stopped, James Baker heads the legal proceedings against Gore, Bush, Bush senior Prince Bandar, Bin Ladens all in oil business. Cheney meets secretly with Enron and oil giants prior to 9-11, 9-11 happens and Bush Senior is sitting with Bin Laden family at Ritz Hotel with Bin Laden family, Bush freezes air traffic with exception of Arabs and Bin Laden family, ushers them safely out. James BAker defends the Arabs against the suits by the 9-11 victim's families, we invade Afghansistan, BBC report in 2002 states pipeline back on track. We invade Iraq, James BAker named by bush to head Iraq Study Group. and it goes on and on.

Lee (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

A very revealing insight on the Bush Bin Laden, Afganistan, Pakistan, can be had very easily just by wikkiing Zalamy Khalizad (sp) and see how he groomed Hamid Karzi, both with ties to Unocal. Also make sure to read the transcript of John J. Maresca's presentation to a subcommittee of Congress in 1998 where he discussed the various possible routes and markets from the Caspian Sea oil and gas, and how he concluded that the TAPI route was the best but that "The Taliban Had to Be Removed From Power." Its on in Congressional record, Never hear it on TV though.

Zero G. (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

Published on Friday, December 11, 2009 by the Telegraph/UK
G77: 'US Should Spend as Much on Global Warming as War'
Poor countries have demanded that the US spends as much on tackling climate change as it does on warfare.
by Louise Gray, Environment correspondent and Rowena Mason in Copenhagen

Lee (not verified) 12 years 36 weeks ago

More connections. GHW Bush was CIA even before he became a director. CIA created the Mujadeen (sp) empowered Osama Bin Laden, Bush Zappata, Harken etc, in business with Bin Laden family of Saudi Arabia. Prince Bandar (Bush) was frequent guest at Bush home in Texas. CIA and their asset Osama duped Saudi Arabian muslim extremist to believe they were actually going to attack on 9-11. FBI intervened and stopped subordinate agents Cowleen Rowley and Sibel Edmonds from outing these patsies, Edmonds placed on gag order. Patsies allowed to leave trail and the rest is history, or actually isn't history we are still killing people in other nations and occupying other nations in order to control their resources: Corporate tyranny!

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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