Friday December 4th 2009

dubai imagesAnything Goes on Townhall Friday!!

Hour One: "Brunch With Bernie" Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Hour Three: You'll learn what's behind the Dubai financial crisis and why we should care about it when Max Keiser joins me with all the latest on news on "Finance, Markets and Scandal!" with Max Keiser

Plus....Geeky Science - Not Smoking but still dying?


Mark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

A couple years ago I sent in a (very) modest donation to the ADL in appreciation for a report on the correlation between the rise in the number of hate groups, hate crimes and anti-Latino sentiment. Since then, I’ve been inundated with mailings requesting donations from a variety of Jewish organizations combating anti-Semitism. The latest includes a map of the globe, upon which appears few places where anti-Semitism and neo-Nazi activity have not tread. Since anti-Semitism (and the need to focus the public’s paranoia and fear on an identifiable scapegoat) was a cornerstone of Nazism, and Nazism is a form of fascism, are we to presume that anti-Semitism is something that we should refer to as “fascist?” Perhaps not, but why do many people wish to limit fascism (or Nazism) to so-called “corporatism?” The fact is that there is no written or spoken evidence that Mussolini ever likened fascism to “corporatism.” So why do people want to cherry-pick out elements of fascism that might exist, say, in this country? Obviously because they don’t wish to believe that they share anything in common with fascists (or more specifically, Nazis), although there are some fringe elements in this country who find such a likening a subject of pride. But as they say, those who forget the past are bound to repeat it, and a little national self-analysis, no matter how inconvenient, doesn’t hurt.

Mark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

To Zero G: I wouldn’t put too much stock in the Taliban’s complaints; they were surely well aware of the nature of Bin Laden’s activities all along. We certainly did a great deal of bombing in Afghanistan initially (in response to Taliban foot-dragging), but the topography was far different than Iraq, and the failure to put sufficient boots on the ground in such rugged terrain allowed, as we have seen, the Taliban to escape to fight another day. Also, a good example of a military system which gave citizens a “motive” to soldier was the Byzantine theme system, supposedly instituted by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey). Unlike serfs, who were required to fight for a lord in exchange to farm on the lord’s land for basic sustenance and a tax-in-kind, Byzantine peasant-soldiers were given their “forty acres and a mule” to keep, in exchange for fighting when called upon. Since Anatolia was a frequent stomping ground for invaders, these peasant-soldiers were in essence defending their own land from pillage, not necessarily the empire’s. Basil II was obliged to stop the later practice of Byzantine nobility buying-up peasant property and kicking them off their land (and ending their motivation for fighting), although after his death it continued. The death knell of the empire was signaled after the defeat at Manzikert at the hands of the Seljuk Turks—who overran Anatolia and destroyed the empire’s main source of native soldiers.

Mark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Meanwhile, for those who might be wondering, I take back nothing from my comments on Monday regarding the Tiger Woods saga; the topic I discussed has had too many easy “outs,” and should be examined with much more candor that has been the case. It also appears to be a bit smarmy to me when the tabloid media’s first “witness” to scandal didn’t quite pan out, they pulled out the back-up, who rather amusingly stated that she hopes Woods would forgive her, and that they will still be “friends”—after she had shopped around her story to the highest bidder. I also find interesting ESPN’s commentators’ excitable expectorations on the case, when they were so apologetic in even mentioning the accusation of rape against Ben Roethlisberger—especially given all the attention to the accusation against Kobe Bryant. The lack of media attention to Big Ben’s case guaranteed that it would die a quick death.

Whether or not race has anything to do with that is a matter of opinion, but when I read some comments recently from Mark Chmura (a white guy) in regard to his former Packer roommate Brett Favre, I wondered if the reporter knew or cared that the married Chmura’s NFL career came to an end after he was convicted of the rape of a 17-year-old girl at a party; what was “shocking” about this incident was that Chmura was active in state Republican politics, and had criticized the “morals” of some of his black Packer teammates. But at any rate, Woods ultimately has only himself to blame for his sudden fall from grace, having nurtured and benefited from an image that it in at least one respect was a fraud. And he didn’t just let down his family, as he would prefer to think. He let down everyone who believed he was a professional both on the golf course and in life. His indiscretions could make the former nanny to Jesper Parnevik’s kids independently wealthy indeed.

Keeping on the sports’ page, Peyton Manning really rubs me the wrong way. I never liked him, even when he played for my alma mater. He’s not the guy you see in those self-deprecating commercials. This guy never makes a mistake—it’s always the other guy, to hear him talk between the lines. Every time he throws an interception, it’s a “blown assignment.” It doesn’t matter if a receiver gets held-up by a DB—if Manning throws the ball where he thinks you should be, but doesn’t bother to see that you are actually going there, then it’s still all the receiver’s fault if the other team’s guy catches it. Manning is “perfect.” That’s why in six of nine play-off appearances, he’s one-and-done. And it’s all your fault. You see, I remember. I remember that Tee Martin, a black quarterback who no one ever heard of then or since, did a few things that Manning was never able to accomplish in college after succeeding him as the starting QB: beat Florida, and win a bowl game—and not just any bowl game, but the national championship game.

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Y'all might read David Brin (noted SF author, e.g. "The Postman") on the new effective structure of our Congress: " the Democratic caucus in each house is the locus of deliberation in today's United States. That is where men and women who are charged with the nation's business do the actual arguing, criticizing, tradeoff-balancing and incremental modification, by which legislation improves (we hope) enough to become law. .. the GOP senators might as well just go fishing, under the new quasi-Constitutional tenet -- "when the dems are unanimous, it passes. If not, it doesn't." ..."

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Obama in PA

Obama is, at this moment, in Pennsylvania addressing the unemployment problem. He's saying alot of the right things (for example, the American wages have not grown for decades and credit cards have filled the gap.) Maybe he has some idea of what to do to help the ecomony. Details, of course, mean everything.

DRichards (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

5 Reasons that Corporate Media Coverage is Pro-War

DRichards (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Pew poll shows Americans turning sharply toward isolationism
At the very moment when President Barack Obama is looking to thrust the U.S. ever more into global affairs, from Afghanistan to climate change, the American public is turning more isolationist and unilateralist than it has at any time in decades, according to a new poll released Thursday.

The survey by the Pew Research Center found a plurality of Americans — 49 percent — think that the U.S. should "mind its own business internationally" and leave it to other countries to fend for themselves.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago


Totally beside the point, but have you read Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" series, for which the "3 Bs" (Brin, Benford and Bear) wrote sequels? I loved the series and think it informed so much of our cultural thinking on space exploration, robotics and sci fi itself.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago


It's tragic and stupefying to me that Obama will not address the underlying causes of our economic problems. Some pundits on MSNBC last night posited that maybe the recovering world economy will pull up the U.S. economy. (!) How infuriating.

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Quark - I read and re-read the original series many times. The sequels, I felt, dragged a bit, perhaps because they were conceptualized as novels rather than being originally published as short stories or novellettes. But certainly Asimov's work shaped SF and hence contemporary views of many things.... ah, I could go on for hours, better stop now!

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago


Paul Krugman has said that the "Foundation" series is what inspired him to go into economics.

DDay (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

You speak convincingly of how difficult it is to get conservative to come on and debate you. What about liberal with whom you disagree with on specific issues? Have you ever tried to get Paul Krugman? I would love to hear you go at it with him on the issues you just mentioned. My impression is that Paul is willing to engage serious debate.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

@Thom: I was proud of you for shutting Jason down.

DRichards (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

I was talking with a friend about global warming this past weekend. Does anyone know the warming data in regards to the industrial revolution (in the absence of any environmental laws)?


Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Jeremy Skahill discussed on Rachel Maddow the revelation that Erik Prince, head of Blackwater (now known as Xe), has been living a double life. Apparently he has also been a CIA operative in charge of assassinations. (Video):

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Since Richard brought it up---

@Thom - I too was pleased that you shut Jason down. Unlike the reasonable conservatives that you have on from time to time, Jason was simply trolling. We know this because he insulted you personally several times --- for example, starting that you would not understand something, so he would explain it for the sake of your listeners.

In contrast, callers like the lady from the Independent Woman's Forum and Dan Gainor never or rarely do the insulting thing, and you're able to have real discussions and good radio.

In retrospect, it might have been helpful to ask Jason, the first time he insulted you, what he meant by that. If he's not able to keep it clean, just keep asking what he means, let him waste his time basically saying that he doesn't like you instead of moving on to his garbage points. Let him discredit himself while you keep calmly asking him simple questions; it's not like he is actually interested in a reasonable discussion.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago
Mark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Frankly, I wish Thom wouldn't imply that people like Ed Schultz are "stupid" for having a different take on the motivations of Obama's Afghan adventure; it doesn't befit him. Besides, I know how I regarded Thom's implicit support of the racist garbage he was being told at that so-called immigration forum in D.C., but one word I wouldn't have used was "stupid."

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Well, that was an extremely sobering conversation with Max Keiser. What are those of us supposed to do who are just making ends meet and can't invest in gold? 'Sounds like alot more of us will be homeless before this is over...

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Petition to Reid to Use Reconciliation

'Just received this email from

Word on the Hill is that Harry Reid is looking at trigger, which is designed to kill the public option.

We're ramping up against Reid and need you on board. More than 33,000 people have told Reid to use reconciliation for a majority vote on the public option. Can you join us?

Click here to sign our petition to Harry Reid:

brian a. hayes (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

the people speak will air on the history channel on dec13 at 8pm i feel this is a great opportunity to get together with fiends and family to celebrate the true meaning of democracy. i am considering this event as the Superbowl of democracy to celebrate with my friends and family.

Mugsy (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

From the CNN archives:

Bush rejects Taliban offer of bin Laden

Oct 7, 2001

DDay (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Thom has discussed Sen. Al Franken's bill to prevent U.S. corporations from covering up rape and other crimes while acting as contractors in Iraq & Afghanistan. There was an interesting story last evening about how the Republican Senators who voted against this bill are angry and crying foul. Sen Corncob from Texas and others are claiming that Al violated some unwritten rule in the Senate where apparently you don't propose bills which may embarrass fellow Senators if they vote stupidly. Hilarious...Perhaps Quark can include a link? I'm pretty sure it was on MSNBC. Al should apparently warn them to read those bills which may blow up in their faces. Thank the Republicans for Rape group for giving this thing legs. Smart politicos on the left should take note. This could work again...and again.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

GOP Takes on Franken


Your wish is my command :) :

DDay (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Hey Quark!
Ditto on your sobering comments. I already blew my discretionary income on a geo-thermal heating system recently. I wish Thom had asked Max to talk about Paris a little bit before ending his conversation. I could use some happy escapism on a gloomy Friday afternoon. Peace to all you smart and concerned patriots here. I miss you B Roll. Thanx Thom & Louise and crew.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Wow! I guess the testosterone level wasn't high enough for Bob the Caller!

mir (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Weird to hear that 'Taliban were FINANCING' Al-Qaeda! Taliban are tribal Afghans who hardly have any wealth. The only thing that they did was to allow Al-Qaeda fighters to stay on (and do what they pleased within Afghanistan) after the defeat of the USSR.
It was actually Al-Qaeda sympathisers from the world over (specially middle east) with the help of ISI agents who were actually supporting and financing the Taliban movement which rose from the children of the Afghan refugees living in the tribal areas in Pakistan's north-west, and who studied in the madarasas (the only school available there) which were run by foreign Afghan Mujahideen (the precursor of Al-Qaeda).

DDay (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Thank you QuarK!
Have a great weekend. You are the best.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago


You echo my feelings on this gloomy Friday afternoon. If I can find an amusing piece of escapism, I will post it!

I miss you, too, B Roll.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago


You made my day. However, I have always felt that you see in others what is contained within yourself. (Re: "You are the best.")

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Great Lakes Paper Clip Company --- Bob and Ray

(I have always thought this made a great statement regarding economic philosophy.)

DDay (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

How right you are! It is....after all....all about me. On the other hand, taking what you say to it's logical conclusion perhaps explains why I sometimes see so little good in others? Just kidding Looking in the mirror most likely makes me more forgiving of other's shortcomings. We all need compassion. Thanks for Bob & Ray I looooove them. :-)

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago


You still have hope. That is worth everything.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

I have been slowly losing the piss and vinegar that have kept me motivated to comment and post. I am emotionally drained.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago
Gerald Socha (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

A tragic end!!! I am terribly disappointed in what was to be a promising presidency.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago
Dana Hoefle (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

I got a bit annoyed with the guy calling about the new healthcare proposals saying that they are causing frequently hospitalized people to receive less coverage. Just so you know, that already happens in medicare and they do it because they don't want the hospitals kicking people out when they are still sick just to come back a week later. They don't pay for the second time around because its often clear the hospital did a crappy job. And by the way, the hospital eats the unpaid balance on that bill, not the patient.

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

The fact is that there is no written or spoken evidence that Mussolini ever likened fascism to “corporatism." -Mark -

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.
Benito Mussolini

I wouldn’t put too much stock in the Taliban’s complaints; they were surely well aware of the nature of Bin Laden’s activities all along. -Mark-

Taliban officials are furious at Osama bin Laden's attacks against the United States, because he had given a written pledge, referred to by Mullah Omar in a June 2001 interview with conservative journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave, not to attack any other country from his Afghan base. -
from Pentagon's War Pitch Belied by Taliban-Qaeda Conflict
by Gareth Porter

L Grace (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

Thom was cranky on Friday and he lost his temper a little against people who criticized him for feeling betrayed by Obama over Afghanistan.

I wonder if he was thinking of me! I criticized him this week on the live blog.

Unfortunately Thom conflate two points, confusing the issue.

I criticized Thom and many of you for acting BETRAYED by Obama, even though he clearly promised this, as a candidate.

The other is your opposition to Obama. Thom said that people like me where ordering him to salute Obama and follow.

These are two very different issues.

Here's all I'm saying: if you voted for Afghanistan, you did so knowing that Obama was going to engage there, rather than withdrawal.

Thom's argument, "Yes he said he was going to do that, but I didn't believe him since he was running for office" is really unfair to Obama. (I paraphrase, of course.)

Also, Thom accused me (or people like me) of being "big party Democrats."

Here's my story: I'm a pacifist, myself, and opposed the initial invasion of Afghanistan. I wrote a letter to a national magazine stating so just a couple days after 911. Basically, I was arguing for a law-and-order approach to bin Laden, not war.

I took A WHOLE LOT OF CRAP, including being called pro-911 for that position. Worse, I think some of those people where Dems. That was a very lonely position back then.

Today, I still don't support the war in Afghanistan. What a mess.

BUT I don't feel betrayed by Obama! He told us he was going to do this. I guess I just took him seriously, unlike Thom who thought his promise was just empty campaign rhetoric. Obama's a better man than that.

L Grace (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago


I meant to say,

"If you voted for Obama, you did so knowing he was going to engage in Afghanistan."

You know this is true. I think he even got cheers at his rallies when he said that.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

L Grace,

I agreed with Obama as a candidate when he said that (paraphrasing) the war should be in Afghanistan, not Iraq. However, I, unlike Obama, am reconsidering that position. I just don't think we, the American people, are being told all the facts. However, there was an interesting piece in today's "Week in Review" section of the Sunday NY Times:

"The War in Pashtunistan"

'Still no real discussion of the pipelines, though, which surely must be another major motivation.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 12 weeks ago

L Grace,

For the record, I agree with your assessment that this should have been handled as a police action, not an invasion.

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 11 weeks ago

L. Grace and Quark.

I would like to have started with a real forensic investigation into 9/11, before we went rushing into a conflict. Invasion plans for Afghanistan were on Bush's desk on 9/10. Carpet of gold or bombs, anyone?

That said, there is really enough outside of the Afghan escalation for many of us to feel betrayed by Obama.

Flip flop on torture photos, for instance.

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 11 weeks ago

“If you voted for Obama, you did so knowing he was going to engage in Afghanistan.” - L. Grace

True enough, but isn't that an implicit criticism of what I refer to as our faux democracy. We hear about the Iranian mullahs who approve/disapprove who can run for office in Teheran. Yet we accept from media mullahs here pronouncements that candidates like Kucinich have no chance, rather than serious policy debate.

Democracy hogwash, at least we have clean pigs.

How To Bring Back A Middle Class

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