Daily Topics - Thursday - December 10th 2009

space imagesQuote:  We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. -- Carl Sagan

Hour One - When will the revolution begin? And don't start it without Thom!

Hour Two - "Everything You Know is Wrong" Is Denver going to create the first voter approved Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission? with Jeff Peckman www.extracampaign.org

Guest:  "At Home in the Cosmos With Annie Druyan" Ann Druyan co-author of the "Cosmos" series and book with her late husband Carl Sagan (and Steven Soter) www.podjockey.com

Hour Three - Why are we letting American trans-national corporations poison our children for Christmas this year? Yaron Brook www.aynrand.org

Plus - Did Obama defend war at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony? with Robert Greenwald www.rethinkafghanistan.com


Zero G. (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Listening to Barack Obama mentioning Ghandi and MLK Jr. and then championing the state’s right and rightness to use force to enforce the peace.

Remember, MLK’s words:

“My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. ”

Obama’s speech validates the use of force, and a government's ability to claim a rightness of cause. He also claims that the use of American force has been a counter to a force of evil in the world, rather than an instrument to open unwilling markets and foreign lands to extraction of resources. He claims a false history, one that denies Mossedegh, Allende, Lumumba and many more. He denies, “War is a Racket” as told by Smedley Butler.

Now, I am not quite so naive as to argue that Ghandi’s non-violence would have defeated the Nazis. But as Nietzche observed:
Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.

One might be reminded of Tom Lerher’s reaction when Henry the K won the Nobel Peace prize.

It’s enough to make one’s head spin. And as the Grateful Dead once observed, “The faster you go, the rounder you get!”

Zero G. (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Thom, care to discuss Dr. Sagan's mischaracterization of Dr. Velikovsky's views with Dr. Duryan?

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Zero G.,

I think you mentioned Terence McKenna the other day. Something in my brain "pinged" but I couldn't remember what I once must have known about him ('read something about him a long time ago.) He and his brother Dennis (a professor at the U. of Minnesota) were discussed on the History Channel last night. According to the piece, the two ingested Amazon plants with the chemical DMT, a hallucinogen which supposedly expanded their consciousness. One brother claimed to psychically travel back in time, while the other travelled forward. Terence used the I Ching and what he called "periods of novelty" in his timewave theory, similar to the world view of the Mayans, Hopi and Hindus, who based their philosophies on the idea of recurring events (or "end of the world" and rebuilding of a new world events) which they claim are predictable. McKenna came up with the same cycles through mathematical formulas.

Do I understand this correctly? What are your thoughts on this?

Scott (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

I think Thom is really smart and insightful, however, his idea that the populist left can merge with the populist right is, in my opinion, not possible and there is a very good reason for this. John Dean in his book "Conservatives Without Conscience" goes into detail about the conservative right in this country, based largely on Dr. Bob Altmeyer's work on Authoritarians of over 30 years.

Altmeyer estimates that 25% of the U.S. population are Authoritarins.

:Authoritarians are: Authoritarian followers usually support the established authorities in their society, such as government officials and traditional religious leaders. Such people have historically been the “proper” authorities in life, the time-honored, entitled, customary leaders, and that means a lot to most authoritarians. Psychologically these followers have personalities featuring:
1) a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in
their society;
2) high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
3) a high level of conventionalism.

In North America people who submit to the established authorities to
extraordinary degrees often turn out to be political conservatives, 2 so you can call them “right-wingers” both in my new-fangled psychological sense and in the usual political sense as well. But someone who lived in a country long ruled by Communists and who ardently supported the Communist Party would also be one of my psychological right-wing authoritarians even though we would also say he was a political left-winger. So a right-wing authoritarian follower doesn’t necessarily have conservative political views. Instead he’s someone who readily submits to the established authorities in society, attacks others in their name, and is highly conventional. It’s an aspect of his personality, not a description of his politics. Rightwing authoritarianism is a personality trait, like being characteristically bashful or
happy or grumpy or dopey."

Who does Thom think the Tea Party members are? Who does he think the Social Dominators who are directing the Tea Party members are blaming for all that has happened?

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


Maybe the idea should be to try to enlighten the teabag groups...not necessarily merge with them.

DRichards (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


Maybe U.S. presidents shouldn't get peace prizes

This morning I wrote a package of two articles for the Daily News about President Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize he accepted in Oslo this morning. You can read the main story here -- in a sidebar I argued that the president is probably a lousy choice for a peace award....

DRichards (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


Giant Banks Are Trying to Make Bailouts Permanent

According to the following Democratic and Republican congress members, economists, financial experts and journalists, the "too big to fails" (with help from bank-friendly voices in Congress) are trying to make the bailouts permanent:

Congressman Brad Sherman, who serves on the House Financial Services Committee, and was formerly an accountant, and other Democrats in Congress
Congressman Spencer Bachus, the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, and other Republicans in Congress
Former Fed chairman Paul Volcker
Senior Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron
Peter Wallison, financial policy study analyst at the American Enterprise Institute
Veteran financial writer William Greider
Journalist Matt Taibbi
Unless we break up the too big to fails, they will again make speculative gambles that drive them into insolvency (as they have again and again), and the government will bail them out over and over - perhaps secretly - sending the American taxpayers the tab (through taxes or inflation).

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

@Quark RE "enlighten the teabag groups":

I know that I sing the utopian and cry the dearth BUT can an automaton be fortified with ‘mens rea’? Intentionality is sacred and separates us from flatworm but I do not see access to communication with folk incapable of the rational. They appear to lack even the ability to form access to the basic frameworks required.

I KNOW that I am a brain snob, but . . .

Zero G. (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


I learned so much about so much, "because I got high!" Most of Terrence's earlier works dealt with psilocybin and I was particularly indebted to him for a little book he wrote under the psuedonym "O. T. Oss, O. N. Oeric."

Anyway that was long ago, and beyond the statute of limitations, I'm sure.

One of his theories dealt with human/entheongenic interaction as a possible leading cause of language, and religion...in the beginning there was the word, after all.

As I understand the Mayan calender, and the Hindu yuga cycles, they are coordinated with the precession of the equinoxes which culminate in 2012.

I never really got my head around time-wave zero.

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


Several times a week I cut and paste parts of this blog and send it to Pres. Obama and my representatives in Washington, D.C.

I just did that with your previous piece "Giant Banks Are Trying to Make Bailouts Permanent."

Thanks for posting that!

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


Re: my sending of your post to elected officials

Ironically, part of the password to send an email to the White House today was the word "Gomorrah." 'Just thought that was amusing...

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Zero G.,

Apparently filmmaker Jay Weidner made a movie, Timewave 2013, about Terence McKenna's theories:


Mark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

I have to question the rationale of Thom’s about-face on the public option yesterday, beyond the issues yet to be fleshed out—and not just the details of the rather vague Senate proposal to replace the public option. I agree that it is a step (even if a baby step) in the right direction to reduce the eligibility age for Medicare. But it is a mistake to think that this will result in a wholesale run to retirement (or motivate someone to create a business), and the subsequent job vacuum to be filled by the unemployed. First, many of the unemployed are older workers anyways. Second, very few of the newly eligible would want to retire; many military retirees have civilian jobs because either they are bored, or their retirement check is insufficient the pay the bills with. Third, most people can’t afford to retire at 55 because their pensions are based on the number of years they work; stock-based and other yield-based retirement plans are worth the amount of money put into those plans—so unless someone is a millionaire, retiring early is a risky option. Fourthly, and not leastly, Social Security benefits are based upon the amount of money you pay into the system and the age you choose to retire; for Thom’s idea to work, the eligibility age for Social Security would also have to drop to 55; then the question will be whether the benefit is sufficient enough not to force the “retiree” to look for a job to supplement it. And the next question is how do you pay for an increase in eligibility for both Medicare and Social Security. And then, of course, is the Republican opposition to any change at all in the Medicare eligibility age.

I don’t know why, but I’ve never mentioned this health care-related tale. Quite some years ago I was hired on by a company that offered somewhat generous health benefits at low cost to the worker. I signed up for it, but I had to wait an entire calendar month for the insurance to kick-in. Not 30 days from date of hire, but one complete month—that is even if you were hired on the fifth day of a given month, you would not be officially covered until after the following month was over. It was in this no-man’s land that I found myself in a very uncomfortable medical situation: the skin under my left jaw began to get puffy, and over a week it continued to bloat and cause some pain whenever I tried to open my mouth. I knew something was seriously amiss, but I still had to wait another two weeks for my insurance to kick-in.

So I thought I would tough it out. Another week passed, and by then I couldn’t fit a straw in my mouth. It was just three days before the end of the month, but I couldn’t wait any longer, the pain was so unbearable. I found myself in the emergency room of Harborview Medical Center, the main public hospital in Seattle where all the bums go. When my number was finally called, the check-in nurse apparently thought I was just some punk who was slugged in the jaw by another punk, and didn’t take at all seriously my condition. I sat in the waiting room in absolute agony for several hours until I was at last called into a cubicle for an examination. The first doctor who looked at me was completely befuddled, and called in a “specialist.” He peered into the tiny hole that was my mouth, and determined that I had a hole in a back molar, and through it developed an abscess of epic proportions. You should not have waited so long, he told me. I was wheeled into emergency surgery shortly thereafter, and I still have the scar underneath my jaw to prove it. Fortunately, the abscess had not spread; such abscesses kill many young children who do not have access to proper dental care.

When I received the bill, it was five figures for a four day stay; it could have been more, had I not escaped my hospital bed wearing cardboard and plastic bags over my feet; my shoes had mysteriously disappeared, and no one claimed to know where they were. Naturally, the insurance company laughed when presented with the bill—it was, after all, a “pre-existing” condition.

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Zero G.,

I have mentioned on this blog that I never got high --- I tried to smoke MaryJane once during my college years but I, like The Big Dog, couldn't inhale!

I did try a mild form of "speed" to finish work before graduation, but decided not to continue that because I liked it too much and didn't want to be dependent on it.

I may have been unwittingly self-medicating, though, since I have found out in recent years that I have ADD and ritalin and adderall have helped (though I don't use them regularly, either, for the same reason.)

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Re: ETs

Remember this?

"Vatican Acknowledges Possibility Of Extraterrestrial Alien Life"


Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


Please use Akido in your conversations with conservatives from the right-wing think tanks. These would be lessons to help us use this idea.

Thomas Jode (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


I'm sure he tries to.

Zero G. (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


There are many paths to enlightenment, and after enlightenment, it is back to life as usual.

As is said: Before enlightenment chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.

Zero G. (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Remember when Pres. Carter promised to tell the truth about UFOs.

Thomas Jode (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

I hardly think that it is simply Us vs. Them. It is all Us, and those who against Us are confused, because the are us. As everyone has been saying, the confused need help.
What do you do with a sick person? You heal them.

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

I am a member of The Planetary Society and I truly admire the minds and work of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. However, I have come to change my mind about the "We Are Here" gold records on the Voyager spacecraft. I keep thinking, "What if "V"-like (malevolent) aliens find it?


Thomas Jode (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

I guess one thing that I didn't agree with Carl Sagan, if he disagreed at all, was the lack of spirituality in the values he portrayed in science at the time.

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Zero G.,

Your last post reminds me that the "Kill Bill" movies were just shown again this last week. (They are more of my guilty pleasures, though I'm not sure why.)

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Thomas Jode,

Gosh, the feeling I got from Sagan, his writing, movie and TV shows was that he was a very spiritual person, though not necessarily religious.

Zero G. (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

I admire the work the Sagan's did in popularizing science, and legalizing marijuana.

The Velikovsky affair was not science at its best, however.

Zero G. (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Quark, since I went to film school (AFI cinematography) I hardly see any movies. I guess it is harder to suspend disbelief when you are analyzing lighting and camera moves.

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Zero G.,

I envy you. I have wanted to live in California ever since I use to watch Roy and Dale on their ranch-based TV show. I think I would have gravitated to work in the film industry (possibly as a costume designer or writer --- I had the equivalent of a double major in 1) Apparel, Textiles and Design and 2) Journalism. Instead, I went to NYC and ended up working on a trade magazine.

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

s.b. "I used to..."

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Zero G.,

BTW, I know a little of what you mean: "I guess it is harder to suspend disbelief when you are analyzing lighting and camera moves."

I am always analyzing technical aspects of films (aspects that I understand, anyway.) It makes them more interesting, I think.

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


Before I forget, thanks so much for the funny Christmas songs! They're great. (The traditional music gets SO tiresome!)


My son did the tongue-on-the-pole thing when he was 3! I had to dash inside for a pitcher of cold water.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Here is an interesting article. Kathy Kelly wrote the article, "Open Letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee," December 10, 2009.

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Zero G.,

'Got to go (I wish I could talk more with you.) I am taking my dear mother-in-law to her hair-styling appt. (The recent cold, snowy weather here makes getting around hard.)

Zero G. (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


Happy trails to you - let me assure you that film work is not at all glamorous for those not ensconced in trailers waiting for their moments.

And I'm not working now anyway. And I'm snaking my landladies plumbing - hardly cause for envy at the moment.

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Zero G.,

I used to work behind the scenes, designing costumes and sets, for plays in high school. I loved it. (I was too shy to be on stage.)

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Zero G.,

Your description of your work in the film industry matches everything I've heard about it. 'Must talk with you sometime about the true cost to the film industry of boot-legged CDs.

Quark (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


Joan (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

In Yaron Brook's world, people have to die in order for dangerous products to be removed from the market. He also says it's "personal responsibility" for each of us to research everything we purchase. So does that mean I have to have my computer with me every time I go shopping so that I don't buy anything that might do harm to me or others? Shouldn't the responsibility lie with the producer to produce safe and effective products? And what constitutes proof that something is dangerous in his world? Does he not consider the cumulative effect that toxins can have on the population? Does he not consider that a product might not appear dangerous at first - such as a crib -- but no one knows it's dangerous until more than one baby dies? Self interest is destroying this country, healthcare as a prime example. Insurance companies are out to make more money for themselves, and making more money happens when they decrease services and reduce risks. We are not going to move forward until we start thinking about others instead of idolizing the super-rich and super-greedy.

Frank Feuerbacher (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago


I think Yaron thinks that you should have enough money to hire a personal tester, perhaps like a poison tester for a King. If the tester doesn't keel over, then it is okay for you to eat.

Frank Feuerbacher (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Re: Medicare. After getting Medicare for those 55+, wouldn't the next logical step be to allow parents to buy Medicare for their children, if they can not otherwise purchase insurance?

Zero G. (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Not specific to Afghanistan but:

Narco Dollars for Beginners C. A. Fitts 10/24/01

Scott (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Unfortunately, this is but one example of why Thom's idea of getting together with the Tea Party folks isn't going to work. If you don't understand who the Tea Party people really are then you might believe that you can work with them or get them to go along with all our common economic interests. The majority are not people you can talk with or reason with about economic issues, they are completely believe all the problems are liberals fault which is what their leaders feed them. They don't believe Obama is legitimately President, they think global warming is a liberal hoax and is propaganda. They are fed this stuff constantly.

"The initiative would require schools to provide children the opportunity to listen to or perform Christmas carols, and would subject the schools to litigation if the rule isn't followed.

Schools currently are allowed to offer Christmas music as long as it is used for academic purposes rather than devotional purposes and isn't used to promote a particular religious belief, according to an analysis by the California Legislative Analyst's Office.

"Bottom line is Christmas is about Christmas," said Erin Ryan, president of the Redding Tea Party Patriots. "That's why we have it. It's not about winter solstice or Kwanzaa. It's like, 'wow you guys, it's called Christmas for a reason.' "

Ryan said Hyatt's initiative falls under the umbrella of causes the group supports, which concern limited government, following the constitution and fiscal responsibility.

But some groups say the initiative represents quite the opposite.

"I have two words to say about Ms. Hyatt's proposal: blatantly unconstitutional," said Rob Boston, senior policy analyst for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which is based in Washington, D.C., and has a local chapter in Sacramento."


loretta (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Hi Mark,

Your posts are so full of well-written stories. Do you have your own blog yet ? It seems that you should start a blog and repost all of your wonderful posts there, too, so that we could read them one by one again. You are such a good writer. I would very much like you to have your own blog, too, that I could read every day.

Do you know how to make one? They are very easy. You can create one through blogspot. com. Please don't stop posting here though, if you create one.

Samfam (not verified) 11 years 51 weeks ago

Everytime Thom debates someone and it finally comes around to the industrial trade policy, they try to just laugh it away like its a little issue, like its just this pesky loveable little irritant that we all have to live with. I don't remember Thom talking the trade policy with Michael Medved. Thom is our Luftwaffe, he practically mows down betrayers. He seems to have something timeless and spirit-like working through him, whatever it is it works. It seems rare to see a person who is as developed emotionally as he is intellectually, Thom has not subjugated his emotional life in the service of his worldly pursuits. He is a proven Hero, ("a hero is so hard to find") he's a smasher of illusions and a nurturer of creativity. He is a builder of bridges between people over the torpid chasms of moral and intellectual complacency. He is easily recognized as the mana spirit, the atman, the world soul, the first Adam. In him the 'smallest of the small" reflects the world in the "biggest of the big." In him we sense the actual experience of a spirit not subjected to time and space, we don't need to insist uselessly on faith in mana, we have the experience and we know. He is an immediate psychic reality, a spontaneous manifestation of the spiritual and intellectual instincts in man, outside of which our search for God need not venture. He is another achievement of the Paraclete, the holy spirit, which Jesus said would teach us humans every secret. As the controversial C. Jung puts it, "At first, God incarnated his good side (Jesus) in order, as we may suppose, to create the most durable basis for a later assimilation of the other side. From the promise of the Paraclete we may conclude that God wants to become wholly man; in other words, to reproduce himself in his own dark creature." (book: Answer to Job) This it seems is what Thom more or less is, and then some.

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:
"Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions."
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Beneath the success and rise of American enterprise is an untold history that is antithetical to every value Americans hold dear. This is a seminal work, a godsend really, a clear message to every citizen about the need to reform our country, laws, and companies."
Paul Hawken, coauthor of Natural Capitalism and author of The Ecology of Commerce
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann seeks out interesting subjects from such disparate outposts of curiosity that you have to wonder whether or not he uncovered them or they selected him."
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, producer, and environmental activist