Daily Topics - Monday, January 18th 2009

Quote: A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

martin luther king imagesHour One - It's Martin Luther King Day, what does that mean? Lamar Waldron www.legacyofsecrecy.com

Guest: "King’s trenchant economic beliefs" Rich Benjamin www.richbenjamin.com

Hour Two - What's so bad about socialism? William Baker www.readendless.com

Guest: "Labor Segment" Union Leaders Oppose Excise Tax, Met with President Monday Evening 1/11 with Lily Eskelson www.nea.org

Hour Three - Are their crazies really better than our crazies?! Matthew Vadum contributing columnist for The Daily Caller www.dailycaller.com


DRichards (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Big Brother: Obama Calls for the Integration of State and Federal Military Forces
Executive Order Seeks to "Synchronize and Integrate"

By Tom Burghardt

URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17006

Mark (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

That the Dallas Cowboys are “America’s Team”—meaning that fans with no team adopted them as “their team”—is another example of how the media directs feeble-minded people’s minds. The Cowboys were the “hottest” team in the playoffs this year, and even commentators who leaned toward the Vikings “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Dallas won. Well, the Vikings handed the Cowboys their lunch, and these commentators have egg, bacon and cheese on their faces. All they can do now is whine about how the Vikings “piled it on” at the end. Boo-hoo. A lot of people hate the Cowboys, and couldn’t be more pleased.

Mark (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Anyways, the focus here on Haiti is the political and social back story, which of course I concur is essential in understanding why Haiti is in part where it is at today. Haitians, influenced from their days as slaves, are traditionally distrustful of those in power; before and after French rule, many Haitians literally took to the hills. For decades before the U.S. occupation in 1915, Haiti experienced monthly coups and “revolutions.” But this failure to form a coherent society with an educated populace has been a drag on the country’s development. In India, where English is the language of politics and commerce while the majority speaks other dialects; similarly, but with much more drastic results, in Haiti, French is the language of rule and education, while the language of most Haitians—Creole—is not taught in schools, even in bi-lingual terms. Thus most of the population remains uneducated. The country also lacks basic infrastructure; because of massive erosion, even once paved roads are dirt and mud. Most of the populace has no access to running water, and 80 percent of all illnesses are water-born.

But Haiti is not destined to forever be a backwater because it lacks a stable government, society or infrastructure. These things can all be fixed. What was once referred to as the “Jewel of the Antilles,” was at one time covered with lush forests, and whose richness in resources historians believe accounted directly or indirectly for half of France’s GDP in the mid-18th century. But it is now is now a man-made ecological nightmare that is unlikely ever to be reversed no matter what effort is made, and because of this will never become a viable state without massive foreign aid and complete integration into the “global” economy—that is to say, to become one big sweat shop.

Today, Haiti’s landmass is essentially one big pile of mud, particularly during the rainy season. Three percent of Haiti has tree cover, and what remains is rapidly disappearing. Combined with poor farming techniques, this has caused massive loss of top soil, draining away into the Caribbean Sea. Farmers on hillsides denuded of trees failed to use the terracing technique, and those hills are now the scene of frequent mudslides, compounded by deficient irrigation and drainage everywhere. The massive loss of topsoil and otherwise poor condition of arable land has left by one estimate only 11 percent of what was once farmland that is still capable of sustained cultivation. It is for this reason more than any other that Haitians abandoned their farms for the cities.

What happened to Haiti’s trees? In the beginning, tree loss could be blamed on plantation farming, and on American sugar and other agricultural businesses clearing land during the U.S. occupation in the first-half of the 20th century. But a much bigger problem was the Haitians use of wood for virtually all their heating and cooking needs. There is no oil or natural gas resources, and disturbance of the topography and drainage because of soil erosion has caused the destruction of watersheds, and prevented the exploitation of hydroelectricity. For most Haitians, wood is virtually the only source of fuel or power. Trees were cut and turned into charcoal. When one considers that Haitians at one point were cutting down thirty million trees a year for this purpose, one can understand both how lush the country once was, and how it was possible to turn it into barren waste in short order. Today, there is an on-going conflict between Haiti and its neighbor, the Dominican Republic, over “pirates” who cross the border to illegally cut trees. There are various reasons why Haitians have not properly husbanded their forests; lack of education as to the dangers of massive deforestation, and the lack of incentive because of a question of ownership of either the land or the problem.

In contrast, the Dominican Republic, while poor, is nevertheless much more stable as a society and environmentally. Like Haiti, it had its share of foreign interventions and brutal dictators, but unlike Haiti’s dictators—who were only interested in their own enrichment and colluded with foreign interests to do so—the Dominican Republic’s dictators at least could be said to have some micron of vision. Rafael Trujillo sought to introduce industrialization and economic diversification, and Joaquin Balaguer—an apparent “environmentalist” at heart—banned the cutting of trees for charcoal or other non-essential purposes; people were prompted to use propane for their heating and cooking needs. About thirty percent of the country’s land area is forested (similar to the U.S.), and there has been no significant degradation over the past few decades.

Most Haitians, for many reasons, never see beyond their daily needs. No effort had been made to replant or restore its forests, and conditions may no longer exist to even begin the process. They never learned the lesson of cause and effect, and it seems that it is too late to repair the ecological and environmental damage, which only made the effects of the recent earthquake worse. This should be a lesson to us all. But the international community can be blamed for its assistance of the “band-aid” variety—never of the truly useful kind that would help a small, poor country achieve a semblance of economic stability. Perhaps this is by design, as if western nations wish to keep such countries dependent and not “competitors.”

DRichards (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Tea Party, Meet the Religious Right
January 13, 2010 | web only
The upcoming Tea Party convention has attracted a large number of the high-profile conservative Christians. Could an alliance be next?

Ryan A (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Martin Luther King said that a nation that spends more on their military than on social programs is approaching spiritual death, and I remember a story of Thom's where a Native American chief told him that our society is made up of "spiritual ghosts." I'm beginning to sense a theme here...If we are going to forge a new culture among our people I want it to be one of compassion and peace, not of inequality and conflict.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

I'm not sure there's a nice way to make the point that I feel needs to be made at this juncture, so I'm just gonna go ahead & make it poorly, and risk ticking off a whole lotta people. It just seems to me that this massive outpouring of sympathy and compassion for the victims of the Haitian Earthquake is the perfect metaphor for the hypocracy of the so-called "civilized" world.

Permit me to state the glaringly obvious - Haiti has been a disaster area for my entire life, and I'm getting perilously close to finding out just how solvent the Social Security Administration really is. I'm sure that there is no single entity that we can point to as the cause of that simple fact, but there it sits, like a festering boil. Haiti has been the poorest nation in this quadri-sphere for as long as I can remember. They've had a series of disasters, some natural, some inflicted upon them by foreign interests, and some even self inflicted. The average citizen of Haiti has lived on next-to-nothing for his entire life.

So now, all of a sudden, there's an event that the media can make some hay on, and suddenly this poor, mostly-forgotten nation's well-being seems to mean something to everyone.

Some, however, are not even taking the trouble to put too concealing a mask on their true intentions. Didja catch GWBush on Face the Nation yesterday? "Some folks wanna send blankets or food or lumber down there - but the best ya can do for these folks now is just to send some cash." To my way of thinking, the great unsaid which follows that statemant is something like this "You just send money - we'll worry about making sure that the bulk of it finds it's way into the coffers of the Multi-National Corporations."

brian a.hayes (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

to me martin luther king was an enlighten person for he understood the interconnection of all life.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

I recognize that as long as the recessivist sponsored DLC (Democrats Loving Corporations) has control of the world's oldest political party, America's citizenry will always be in the minority . . . Why can't my farging Party?

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

I want folks in MA to know that Scott Brown, as a state senator in 2005, filed an amendment to allow workers at 'religious' hospitals or with firmly held 'religious' beliefs to avoid giving emergency contraception to rape victims . . . AND you have a chance in one day and change to let him know how you feel about that.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Money is INFINITE. It is only hoarders that desire scarcity of dollars and then convert dollars into power over the masses that argue differently. This is about OPRESSION of the citizenry!!!!

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

@DRichards: The Rapturian-Teabagger alliance with rip the base away from the moneyed Republicans. Something ugly is going to happen if that happens.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

THOMAS PAINE ARGUED FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE!!!! That is 140 years longer than the Teddy Roosevelt conversation.

I hate the TEACHER TAX.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

They are the DEMONcrats. It is okay to demonize them.

Mark (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

In regard to NAFTA, Thom is rather like the neighborhood bully who is really kind of a coward. Mexico is easy to pick-on, with Thom employing his verbal bludgeoning; but all he can do is wave a little stick at China, India and Europe, and then run away. It is interesting to note that while American companies are packing up their facotries and shipping them to China, NAFTA allows the U.S. to get cheap oil from Canada and Mexico, and lucrative markets for American farmers at the expense of poor Mexican farmers (how come Thom never shows any concern for them?). And what has China given us? Lots of cheap imported goods and no market for our own exports. Well, they do hold a lot of our debt.

DDay (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Putting things in perspective:

During the same week that President Obama announced 100 million dollars in aid for Haiti, and various talking heads trumpeted the largess of Americans who have contributed 1 million here and 10 million there, we learned that Wall Street contributed 145 BILLION to themselves!

Another observation:

Thank God that the people of Haiti don't follow any rigorous religious tenets with strict rules like Muslims and Jews. That way they can be scooped up in end-loaders and dumped into dump trucks before being dumped in mass graves without worrying about collecting names, identification, or accurate numbers much less observing any time consuming rituals of respect or religious laws. Makes things a lot easier to clean things up. We all knew life was cheap for poor people. So apparently is death. I am almost numb.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

How can someone hijack something you created, bought and paid for?

Hands Off! The Political Insiders Accused Of Hijacking The Tea Party Movement


Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

RE November 2009 Governor elections:

Both New Jersey and Virginia are contrarian . . . for the majority of the last forty years, the Governor elected has been to the Party outta Washington’s power.

While the DNC running DLCers always partly to blame in all elections . . . It is more about the mindset of folk in those states throwing a tiff.

brian a.hayes (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

economic justice

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

The majority of financial advisors have ‘Chicago School’ style mindsets.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

The Filibuster was supposed to be the ‘last sane man’s refuge’ in the process. The problem is there are no more sane folk in Federal politics.

DDay (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Obama was on the faculty at the "Chicago School".

KMH (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

My Massachusetts friends, we are not customers in fancy restaurants demanding not to pay for our meals because we were unhappy with it, we are embroiled in a muddy pit tug of war, we must pull to the left - vote LEFT!

KMH (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

@DDay - Hoodwinked! http://www.johnperkins.org

Nels (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Why not just call the "Free Market" the "Anarchy Market" instead. Whenever someone talks about the "Free Market" correct them with "You mean the Anarchy Market?"

DDay (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago


Thanks for the heads-up. You'll always be a fascist to me. :-)

Nels (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Glenn Beck, Rush, Hannity, etc... are Sociopathetics.

Mark (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

It always fascinates me how the right chooses to define MLK Jr.'s words on their own terms. You often hear them talk about not judging people by their color by the "content of their character." What does the right mean by this? Certainly not in the literal sense that King meant, since the Republican Party is largely devoid of minorities. What they mean is being against affirmative action, against "political correctness," against equal opportunity employment practices, against school integration. In other words, anything that forces them to confront issues of racial discrimination.

Mark (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Can't seem to get through in the phone anymore. Thom, just want to say we need to keep things focused and as simple as possible. There are two things we need to do to get this country back: 1. Change the definition of a corporation to NOT have the same rights as individuals. 2. Term limits. We need to start a grass roots movement to do this.

Mark K (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Their seems to be two Marks here. I am the one who has been writing here since April. Since this other guy won't distinguish himself, I will just add a K from now on.

chuckle8 (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

@Nels kudos on the terminology. Sociopathetics, I love it.

chuckle8 (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

@Mark (without the K?). Point 1. I think you mean to support the constitutional amendment that says every reference to a person in the constitution means a natural person (you know, a living breathing homo sapien)

chuckle8 (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

@Mark (w/o K) - In California we have term limits and it is hard to tell if it changed anything. I think a far better thing to strive for is public financing of campaigns (a require $10 checkoff on the tax forms maybe).

Rose (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

The DNC dropped Howard Dean's state by-by state strategy. I wonder what, if any, effect this has on the Massachusetts special Senate election.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Obama is doing a great job of reinventing George W. as a humanitarian.

Please read article from opednews!


Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago
Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago
Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago
Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Thom has given us great information on health care. Now all his work is for nothing. A repug in MA defeats a Democrat. What a country!!!

Mark Marcario (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

When the Robert's Court calls bribery Free Speech, when our president seeks to compromise with those in favor of tyranny, when our congress is so corrupted by money that they will not even provide for our health care, it is time for the people of this country to take notice, to stand up and be heard. If revolution is what is necessary, we should embrace our fate with the hope that we leave a better world.

Scott (not verified) 12 years 23 weeks ago

Any Democrat who votes in a Republican senator for six years out of anger towards the party should just stay at home and whip themselves over their bare back with a whip. What's the difference? You think Scott Brown is going to make things better?

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 The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann channels the best of the American Founders with voice and pen. His deep attachment to a democratic civil society is just the medicine America needs."
Tom Hayden, author of The Long Sixties and director, Peace and Justice Resource Center.
From Screwed:
"I think many of us recognize that for all but the wealthiest, life in America is getting increasingly hard. Screwed explores why, showing how this is no accidental process, but rather the product of conscious political choices, choices we can change with enough courage and commitment. Like all of Thom’s great work, it helps show us the way forward."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While