Daily Topics "Anything Goes Friday" Feb 5 2010

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So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy. -- Roger Nash Baldwin (1884-1981 -founder, ACLU)

"Anything Goes Friday"

"Brunch With Bernie" US Senator Bernie Sanders www.sanders.senate.gov


Mark K (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Frankly, I find it tiresome listening to what teabaggers are against; now, let’s hear about what they are for. Nothing positive will come out of this “tea party” in Nashville if it is just one big whine fest; if that is all it is, then its effect can only be seen as negative for getting anything accomplished in Washington. Up to this point, if you press an “independent” teabagger, you might get an unenlightening criticism of bank bailouts, the budget deficit and the policy stalemate in Washington (who doesn’t?); but when you ask them what they want done alternatively, they can’t get any more specific than maybe tax cuts—revealing themselves to be nothing more than the indolent followers of right-wing propaganda, or the unwitting pawns of corporations and Wall Street they claim to be independent of. Or maybe they are just purposefully uninformed and confused.

Instead of gathering together in Nashville to engage in self-indulgence, they should come out and say what they want lawmakers to do, and I don’t mean tedious generalities. Do they want health care reform, and what kind? Do they want a jobs bill? Do they support a green energy policy? Are they prepared to accept the steps necessary to bring such policies to fruition? Republicans don’t want any of these things and (most) Democrats claim to, so it ought to be obvious who needs to be moved. But if they just want to blame everyone equally, and in fact leave this convention without any firm and clear statements of action they want Washington to take to tackle present and future challenges, then where does that leave the country? To have right-wing politicians to give these people a level of power and influence that is more media creation than real, and claiming that this is a “mandate” for tax cuts and nothing else—and leave left-wing politicians hand-cuffed, groveling to please a constituency that can’t be pleased, and doesn’t even know what it wants?

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Congress has refused to give an up-or-down vote on numerous executive branch officers, most notably the head of the Transportation Safety Administration.

In his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, Obama should find this failure to be a grave dereliction of Congress's Constitutional duty; whether Congress votes up or down is not an issue, but refusing to vote at all is hampering our national security.

Fortunately, our Constitution provides a remedy. Obama should put Congress on notice that the next time they recess, he will give a recess appointment to certain candidate for which Congress has refused to vote. His predecessor did recess appointments for Bolton, so I don't want to hear any partisan wailing; if Congress won't act, Obama must.

And then Reid should recess Congress for a weekend.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

The "con" in "neo-con" does not stand for "constitution". I E-mailed Susan Collins yesterday excoriating her for her paranoid rant against "enemy combatants". She sez the Dems can't see terrorism when its right in front of them. I told her she can't see the Bill of Rights when they're right in front of her.

"No, I'm NOT illiterate!...my parents were married when I was born!."
- harry ashburn

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

I mean when "it's" right in front of her. I told you I'm not illiterate.

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Coming to the screening tomorrow of Rethink Afghanistan! Thanks Thom and Robert Greenwald. Let's rethink the entire military budget in light of budgetary constraints. Fund human needs, cut the military!

Nels (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Just like the republicans I'm in favor of going back to the way things were too...

Lets go back to the rules and regulations put in place by FDR's admin.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@Zero G: and today at 4pm PST is thom's appearance on Discovery Channel. Does anybody know if you can only watch it on TV or will it be eventually on Discovery web-site?

"Sarah Palin?...well...she's no Dan Quayle!" -harry ashburn

Quark (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago



"While 60 Minutes included extensive biographical information on JUSTICE (ANTONIN) SCALIA and his family, they identify his father as “a professor of romance languages at Brooklyn College” and failed to disclose that he was a member of the American-Italian Fascist Party during Mussolini’s regime in the 1930s.

This backdrop may reveal something about Justice Scalia’s apparent comfort with enlarging corporate and government power, including the use of torture – so long as it’s not punishment.

According to Alan Dershowitz who knew Scalia’s father at Brooklyn College, Scalia got his doctorate at Casa Italiano at Columbia at a time when in order to get your doctorate you had to swear an oath to Mussolini."

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@Harry Ashburn-

My TV committed suicide since I refused to get a converter box or pay for cable...

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Quark: Dershowitz on Torture: http://edition.cnn.com/2003/LAW/03/03/cnna.Dershowitz/

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Following the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the question has become whether the senior al Qaeda leader will reveal key information about the terrorist network. If he doesn't, should he be tortured to make him tell what he knows?

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer posed this question to noted author and Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz and Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch.

BLITZER: Alan Dershowitz, a lot of our viewers will be surprised to hear that you think there are right times for torture. Is this one of those moments?

DERSHOWITZ: I don't think so. This is not the ticking-bomb terrorist case, at least so far as we know. Of course, the difficult question is the chicken-egg question: We won't know if he is a ticking-bomb terrorist unless he provides us information, and he's not likely to provide information unless we use certain extreme measures.

My basic point, though, is we should never under any circumstances allow low-level people to administer torture. If torture is going to be administered as a last resort in the ticking-bomb case, to save enormous numbers of lives, it ought to be done openly, with accountability, with approval by the president of the United States or by a Supreme Court justice. I don't think we're in that situation in this case.

BLITZER: Well, how do you know ...

DERSHOWITZ: So we might be close.

BLITZER: Alan, how do you know he doesn't have that kind of ticking-bomb information right now, that there's some plot against New York or Washington that he was involved in and there's a time sensitivity? If you knew that, if you suspected that, you would say [to] get the president to authorize torture.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, we don't know, and that's why [we could use] a torture warrant, which puts a heavy burden on the government to demonstrate by factual evidence the necessity to administer this horrible, horrible technique of torture. I would talk about nonlethal torture, say, a sterilized needle underneath the nail, which would violate the Geneva Accords, but you know, countries all over the world violate the Geneva Accords. They do it secretly and hypothetically, the way the French did it in Algeria. If we ever came close to doing it, and we don't know whether this is such a case, I think we would want to do it with accountability and openly and not adopt the way of the hypocrite.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@Zero G: I dig. When they went digital, I bought the converter but was still unable to get the one weak signal I had been receiving. So I no longer have TV at all. It seems my IQ has increased several points since then.

"Be Alert! the world needs more lerts!" -my favorite graffitum (anon)

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

A six foot rabbit? A pooka?

Tom Palmer (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Politicians that take "contributions" from corporations, should not get a salary and health care that is provided by the tax payers.

mathboy (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

I've been thinking that the Senate should change their rules to simply require one more vote for cloture than it takes to pass the measure. So it would normally take 52 votes with a full Senate.

Charles (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@rewinn - Until yesterday, Dems sort of had 60 votes. I do not lay the blame of holding up Obama's nominees on the Repubs. They have proven since the Gingrich revolution they will stand together regardless of the outcome. The TSA vote was held up because the Dems could not come together as an unified body. One Dem or psuedo-Dem stepping out of line causes gridlock.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Re: replacing Justices: It's not just the Supreme Court, its the whole Judiciary. Few cases actually make it to the Supreme Court. So, having a Democratic President is even more vital.

Brad Johnson (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Perhaps a bit stale of a subject, but I've been ruminating on Senator Jim DeMint's prediction about Healthcare Reform being Obama's Waterloo. I hope that's true, but truly hope that Obama comes out of the process as Arthur Wellesley, the First Duke of Wellington, who, with Prussian commander Gebhard von Blücher, kicked Boney's derriere, just like I want Obama to kick the Republicans' bloated bottoms.

Dave in CA (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

I have a couple of questions about what is being discussed. Number 1, why doesn't Thom and Bernie, along ihe progressive Democrats proclaim what a boost to jobs it would be to have universal single payer health care or at least a system where everyone is covered. 50 million new patients equals more jobs.

Second, why do Bernie Sanders and other progressive just come out and state what a blatantly corrupt political system we have? It is just like the Mafia with huge financial payoffs, inside operatives and fear of significant damage to politicians, if not physical then political and financial. Why don't we all just admit it? Loudly and constantly.

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

John Yoo Renews Claim That President's Authority to Torture Depends on What Is "Necessary"
Friday 05 February 2010


If this president does not prosecute torturers, I would be a "f'n retard" to vote to re-elect him, Supreme Court not withstanding. I would remind Thom and others that 22 Democratic senators voted to confirm John Roberts. Voting democratic does not lead to ending war, or ending torture, or a decent court.

And Raw Story reports that the drug war budget is expanding under Obama's new budget. Change? Whisky Tango Foxtrot.

RustyCannon (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

In his opening speech to the Tea Party convention today, Tom Tancredo said "...that Obama was elected because “we do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country.”

First of all, the words "civics literacy" are over the heads of most Tea Partiers. Secondly, Mr Tancredo should understand that such a test would exclude the votes of the civics illiterates which happen to be over-represented in the Tea Party movement which is the Know-Nothing branch of the No-To-Everything party.

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Keeping to one footnote per post, here is the link to the drug war story:

Obama grows the drug war, with enforcement a clear priority
By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 -- 9:10 pm

Charles (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Changing the filibuster rule is not the answer. Harry Reid needs to enforce the rules of the filibuster. Reid's claim that he cannot get enough votes to overturn the filibuster is defeatist. He pulls legislation on the grounds that there is important work that needs to be done. Because of this, he gives Repubs all the amunition they need to portray Dems as ineffective. They don't even have to prepare for one.

Reid must to take away their toys. If healthcare, banking reform and fair trade policy are what is needed to turn the economy around, as I suspect most people agree, then Reid must make them stand before the people.

There is power in the filibuster for both sides of the aisle.

chuckle8 (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

What I would like as an addition to filibuster rule is cloture based on population represented by the senators. That is, if senators whose state populations represent 67% of the want cloture it should happen. That is, it would take 33% of the population to block voting (currently, the level is 10.6% with a certain set of states).

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

More problems with voting for the democrats and expecting change:

Power Over the People
Intrusion Alert—It's the Government
By James Ridgeway Tuesday, Jul 29 2003
Political observers often have wondered why Democrats, especially liberals, didn't put up more of a fight against the Patriot Act, which passed the Senate with only one dissenting vote. Many thought it was because Dems didn't have the guts to stand up, and were afraid both to look unpatriotic and to risk defeat at the hands of the mighty Bush. But there may be another reason: The Patriot Act enhances major incursions into civil liberties that were sponsored by Bill Clinton in 1994 and 1996, including the setting up of secret courts and the launch of mass deportations.

The 1996 Antiterrorism Act gave the secretary of state the authority to decide which organizations are terrorist. Anyone supporting such an organization for humanitarian reasons is liable to criminal prosecution. And, of course, under Clinton the FBI was allowed to continue building files on people and organizations based not on the likelihood of their committing a crime, but on grounds that an FBI agent thought they should be investigated. This act, directed at international terrorism, was pushed through Congress in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, which the government had no reason to believe was caused by foreign terrorists. These measures were opposed not by rank-and-file Democrats, but by the ACLU, per usual, and conservatives who feared they might be the targets of the next investigation.
more: http://www.villagevoice.com/2003-07-29/news/power-over-the-people/1


Hey, I voted for Obama, and I won't be fooled again.

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@Charles - so you're saying the 40 Republicans who are sticking together to block any action are less to blame than the 1 or 3 Democrats who are all mavericky?

I'm sorry but your position is incoherent.

topcat (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

It's time for up-or-down vote
By Bill Frist
All 100 members of the U.S. Senate will soon decide a basic question of fairness. Will we permit a fair, up-or-down vote on every judicial nominee? Or, will we create an unprecedented 60-vote requirement for the confirmation of President Bush's judges? I sincerely hope that it is the former.
Our Constitution grants the Senate the power to confirm or reject the president's judicial nominees. In exercising this duty, the Senate has always followed a careful and deliberate process of examining the nominees through hearings, discussing their merits in committee, debating them in the full Senate and then coming to an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. We investigate, we debate, and then we decide.......

It's time for Harry Reid to send a letter to the editor; it's time for an "up or down" vote!

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

No other major nation has an working 2-house legislature. The Senate serves no purpose and in the long run needs to just go away. Every other major nation does just fine with a parliament that functions basically like our House.

loretta (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Thom, you are more of an export on corporate personhood than so very many people in Washington. Couldn't you go and speak to congress? Often citizens do. Could you request to give a speech to congress?

chuckle8 (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@Zero G.
You do realize you are reacting just as the republicans are trying to make you react.

As an antidote you should visit, politifact.com that points out 111 accomplishments of the Obama administration.

Democracy and liberty are hard work. Please do as Thom suggests and infiltrate the democratic party and change it.

Charles (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@rewinn - "mavericky"?. Yes, I do blame the mavericky Dems. We are talking about a cloture vote that will allow for an up or down vote. These mavericky Dems are just as much obstructionist as the 40 Repubs.

Foodfascist (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

RE Frank Luntz and Willy Brown debate as fund raiser for Mayor Kevin Johnson-

I will keep what ever information I can find about this including links to the The Daily Beast and SAC BEE and fund raiser information on my blog. (Click Foodfascist hyperlink).

Luntz did mumble something about having spent time in Sausalito, CA and some more reading...on global warming.

I had a copy of his own quotes from the Daily Beast in my hand, which suggests that as 64% of Americans believe its 'definitely' or 'probably' caused at least in part by humans.

I was sitting close enough to the stage and so he saw that I had something prepared. I was generous and simply asked, The Daily Beast had reported he had changed his position on global warming. There were a lot of Republicans in the room and there were some silence and a groan or two.

Former SF Mayor Brown warned Luntz that this would be up on You Tube- but who knows. I cannot find it. However, It has not been even 24 hours.

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago


Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. My first summer job was with the NY State Democratic Party. I heard Gene McCarthy speak live in '67. I'm now in my fifties. And unemployed.

Also, been to Afghanistan with an NGO, for a month.

111 accomplishments? I'd trade all of them for one torture prosecution, they are so miniscule. Ledbetter act? If 22 Democrats hadn't voted to support Bush Justices we wouldn't have needed it.

Check out Jeremy Scahill today: The Expanding US War in Pakistan
by Jeremy Scahill

Do you call keeping Robert Gates change? Spare me.

DDay (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago


Amen! The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Join the party, (Dems) and get in and clean out the barn. There are no shortcuts. Raise hell!

Rick in Canadia (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@ Rewinn,
In Canada we do have the House of Commons and the Senate.
Not that it is working well; the Senators are appointed and that has just been abused by our own little Neo-Con, Steven Harper, who campaigned on the idea of an elected Senate then when he was in danger of being turfed out, and again during 'prorogue' of Parliament, he stuffed the Senate with conservatives to avoid what we call the 'Sober Second Thought..

Unfortunately we both seem to be governed by Conservative Minority Governments.

Tom Palmer (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

passed 25 tax cuts last year aimed at the middle class and small business...with no votes from the party of no.

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago


And maybe you forget how quickly the Dems folded on stolen elections. Or how about impeachment being off the table, in spite cleair violations of International Law. Or single payer activists being arrested for trying to get a seat at the table.

Change Iraqis can believe in?

Iraq Policy: D
by Bonnie Bricker and Adil E. Shamoo

Recent suicide bombings in the heart of Baghdad have sent a message to Washington: Maintaining the Iraq policy of the past administration does not inspire hope.

Iraqi insurgents linked to al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombing, which hit hotels frequented by Western journalists. The attacks followed the government’s banning of 511 parliamentary candidates for the upcoming election this March. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government banned a large number of independents, nationalists, secularists and current opponents of the government, including Sunni and Baathist politicians.

Obama campaigned for the presidency as if he understood the damage done to Iraq by the U.S. invasion. Both the progressives who supported Obama, as well as the Iraqis who embraced the promise of a free and fair Iraq, sought a foreign policy grounded in moral values of fairness and respect for other nations. To Iraqis, current American policy is a mere variant of Bush’s policies. Bush was planning to pull all U.S. troops from Iraq as long as a compliant government in Baghdad met our needs (not Iraq’s). Under the Obama administration, current Iraqi Vice President Abdul Mehdi was compelled to come to Washington recently to urge the president and policymakers to give Iraq more respect as a sovereign nation. Whether our current policy is perceived as Bush or merely Bush-Lite, Iraqis cannot yet see fair governance in their future.
more: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/02/05-7

DDay (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

I am watching a Tea Party press conference. I don't see a single person of color or any other ethnicity but that of Northern European heredity.

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@Charles - you go ahead and tell us the GOP is blameless. Who cares?

Sure, the Dems have faults, starting with Joe Liebermann who, you will notice, is NOT A DEMOCRAT ANYMORE!

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@DDay: Check the kitchen.

"When you come to a fork in the road...take it!" -yogi berra

Dave in CA (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

I just sent this to Jenny Beth Martin on Facebook who is one of the organizers of the Tea Party Patriots.

I joined the Patriots because I agree that we need to return to the Constitution and I think that in the current class war the 99% of us need to unite against the top 1%.

What I don't understand is the insistence of "free" trade and limited government when the rubble of that failure is all around us. "Free" trade is free for the big corporations while We the People (from the Constitution) pay the bills for their welfare entitlements.

The big corporations have taken over the "representative" government and run it for their own profit, at our expense. So the big corporations and government are the same thing.

DDay (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Oh Harry, Harry, Harry...I;m not clear about the kitchen comment. Must be slow on the up-take again.

Deja vu' all over again. -yogi berra

Charles (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@rewinn - I did not say the GOP is blameless. I implied we should expect nothing different from them. The mavericky Dems have given them strength they should not have. A vote of 60 Dems would have overturned the efforts of Jim DeMint to hold up the TSA nominee.

My comments are in reference to nominees not policy. The argument has been posed that one GOP Senator held up the confirmation process. I argue that one Dem Senator prevented an up or down vote.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@DDay: It's just that persons of color are often found in the kitchens of white people, cooking and cleaning-up.

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago


How about change that the South Americans can believe in?

Why Washington Cares About Countries Like Haiti and Honduras
US interference in the politics of Haiti and Honduras is only the latest example of its long-term manipulations in Latin America
by Mark Weisbrot

I'm all ears, now.

DDay (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@ Harry

Duh....got it. We use Mong around these parts. Love that satay. :-)

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@Chuckle8: It's been so ever since the "Monroe Doctrine", which said that the whole hemisphere belongs to us.

"Caveat empty" - our consumer protection motto ever since Ronald Reagan

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@DDay: "mong?" What's that?

dustynator (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

Going back to our weekly brunch,
Voting for a Republican to work in the government is like sending an undertaker to work in the hospital. The undertaker has a vested interest in making sure the best efforts of the hospital doesn't save that many sick people.
It's hard to take in. Most of us want the common person in this country to do well, and for the country as a whole to thrive.

Charles (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@dustynator - well said

Voting for a Republican to work in the government is like sending an undertaker to work in the hospital. The undertaker has a vested interest in making sure the best efforts of the hospital doesn’t save that many sick people.

Can I make this my Facebook status?

DDay (not verified) 10 years 27 weeks ago

@ Harry

It's how Norwegians spell Hmong.

If Biden Wins, Get Ready for Trump to Punish America

Thom plus logo What could happen to America if Trump were to further, severely crash the U.S. economy the day after Joe Biden is announced as the winner of the 2020 presidential race?

As Trump tweeted on June 15, 2019, "if anyone but me takes over... there will be a Market Crash the likes of which has not been seen before!"
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:
"With the ever-growing influence of corporate CEOs and their right-wing allies in all aspects of American life, Hartmann’s work is more relevant than ever. Throughout his career, Hartmann has spoken compellingly about the value of people-centered democracy and the challenges that millions of ordinary Americans face today as a result of a dogma dedicated to putting profit above all else. This collection is a rousing call for Americans to work together and put people first again."
Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO
From Screwed:
"Hartmann speaks with the straight talking clarity and brilliance of a modern day Tom Paine as he exposes the intentional and systematic destruction of America’s middle class by an alliance of political con artists and outlines a program to restore it. This is Hartmann at his best. Essential reading for those interested in restoring the institution that made America the envy of the world."
David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning and When Corporations Rule the World