Daily Topics - February 8th 2010
Quote: "Social Security...is not a dole or a device for giving everybody something for nothing. True Social Security must consist of rights which are earned rights -- guaranteed by the law of the land." -- Harry S. Truman, August 13, 1945
Welcome to our newest stations carrying the Thom Hartmann Program, WWRL in New York, NY and Green 1640 in Atlanta, GA!
Hour One - With a soldier dad waterboarding his 4 year old daughter, has America become a nation of brown shirts...or has the war come home?
Plus...Should Democrats force the GOP to vote on the privatization of Social Security? Dan Gainor www.businessandmedia.org
Hour Two - Is the tea party movement the new brown shirts? Dale Robertson www.teaparty.org
Hour Three - Is globalization killing the globe?
I have to admit that I was ambivalent about who won or lost the Super Bowl, but all the Monday morning quarterbacking that absolved Peyton Manning of any blame for his Interception Moment, made me glad that the Saints won the game. It was Reggie Wayne who was to blame; he “quit” on the play, or ran five steps instead of three. Manning just threw the ball where he was “supposed” to be. The “genius” Manning Never makes a mistake. Well, a computer is “smart” too, but it only knows what is inputted into, and doesn’t take into account outside variables, like power surges or coffee spilled on the keyboard, and it can’t adjust appropriately, except to break down. Just because Wayne didn’t run the perfect route doesn’t mean that Manning didn’t have to adjust his throw; not doing so was just plain dumb. And Manning didn’t take into account that maybe somebody might be just a little smarter than him for at least one play; Tracy Porter read his mind every step of the way, and the pick was an unbelievably simple project to accomplish. The “experts” call Manning the “greatest” ever because he’s “perfect”— that is if you think a mindless automaton is perfect.
CNN and Fox News might call the tea party “movement” a “phenomenon,” and a “challenge” to the status quo, but the reality is that we have heard the tea party shtick before, only now the “movement’s” Republican handlers have given it a cute and cuddly name to conceal its source in the usual right-wing obsessions: race, “big” government, taxes, “alien” invasions, and “enslaving” white people—often making wild and insensible accusations that only a person suffering from acute schizophrenia could appreciate. Why do some people on the left wish to believe that the current tea party “movement” is somehow different in its essence than other far-right “movements” in American history? These “movements” always come out of the woodwork when the “natives” feel threatened, employing the same right-wing talking points that accused FDR, Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, MLK Jr. and even Eisenhower of anti-Americanisms and coddling communists and pushing a socialist agenda; they were the ones who “hunted” Bill Clinton, and are now “hunting” Obama.
Some observers now suspect that the “real” teabaggers and their handlers are cynically trying out tactics of destruction on the health care reform as a test run on their real object: immigration reform. Tom Tancredo’s speech (unremarked upon by CNN) at the Nashville “convention” received its most favorable reception when he made his usual anti-immigration harangues; Tancredo doesn’t just hate illegal immigrants, he hates Latinos in general, people he told the mesmerized teabaggers “cannot even spell the word vote, or say it in English.” Immigration has always carried the taint of racism, whether it be “inferior” European “races,” the Chinese, Jews and now Latinos. We should never allow ourselves to be deceived that it is just a couple of “crazies” who carry placards with shockingly racist slogans and depictions (usually of Obama) at these parties; they always seem to be welcomed as an “approved” mode of discourse. The tea party movement is, after all, a wholly white program; the rare black like Alan Keyes who try to ingratiate themselves with racists and xenophobes can be as easily dismissed by the left as they are cynically manipulated by the right.
The tea party movement, rather than be coddled, needs to be exposed for the dangerous pressure group it is in reality, and the menace it poses, before it is too late. Too many so-called “independents,” the confused and ill-informed voters are already being sucked into this maelstrom of paranoia. This country faces too many pressing problems, like runaway health care costs that promise to cause more damage to the economy (at least in the medium term) than federal deficits, and we need an energy policy that weans us away from dependence on foreign oil. We need an economic and trade policy that creates meaningful jobs here, and not gambling casinos. But these are not “sexy” topics for TV journalists these days; there was a time when respected journalists refused to give far-right extremists and their views the time of day, let alone airtime. But today, corporate-controlled CNN has abdicated any journalistic integrity it may have once had by refusing to expose the tea partiers and the agenda of their Republican handlers, giving them a dangerous “legitimacy.” Of course, Fox News never had any journalistic integrity.
Instead of “joining” the tea party “movement, as a few progressives might suggest, the movement must be fought (and fought hard) with cold, reasoned logic by Democrats and the left in general, because teabaggers in general are merely loud and intolerant, not reasonable and logical. People have to be forced to ask themselves where close-minded bigotry will take the country. There has to be an alternative view clearly enunciated. As much as we disapprove of Obama and the Democrats lack of backbone, the alternative that the teabaggers offer is much worse. Obama and the Democrats, could, of course, make the job much easier by showing some of that backbone.
The following link is to a blog from an Engineering Magazine's website, regarding the recent problems discovered in Toyota's vehicles. It doesn't get too mired in techno-fact, but does present what amounts to an endemic problem in the way things get done in this world. It's maybe a 2 minute read, and well worth it.
TIME IS SHORT
Bob Herbert and Paul Krugman both emphasized the need for (and dismaying lack of) the nation's leaders to put together a plan to revitalize the U.S.'s economic future.
Part 1: Bob Herbert (Saturday)
Rescuing the U.S. economy will require a commitment, and undoubtedly sacrifices, that need to start now. And it will require leadership that pulls together the best talents from all sectors of the society — not just business, not just government, but from everywhere.
Bruce Katz, the director of Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program, discussed some of the steps that need to be taken to remake an economy that has been thrown completely out of whack by frantic, debt-driven consumption, speculative bubbles, exotic financial instruments, and so on.
A new, saner, more sustainable economy will have to be more export-oriented, powered by cleaner fuels, bolstered by innovation that comes from a renewed focus on research and development, and committed to delivering a better-educated, more highly skilled work force.
Mr. Katz believes this is doable, but by no means easy. The nation’s infrastructure, he said, will have to “shift from 20th-century models of transport and energy transmission to rapid bus, ubiquitous broadband, congestion pricing, smart grid, high-speed rail and intelligent transport.”
New ways of financing such transformative changes will have to be developed, linking public and private capital, preferably through the creation of a national infrastructure bank, among other things. The nation’s political leaders and the public at large will have to grasp the difference between wasteful spending and crucial investments in the future.
It’s time for serious people to step forward and help lead on these critically important issues. Time is short.
AMERICAN IS NOT YET LOST
Part 2: Paul Krugman (Today)
A brief history lesson: In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Polish legislature, the Sejm, operated on the unanimity principle: any member could nullify legislation by shouting “I do not allow!” This made the nation largely ungovernable, and neighboring regimes began hacking off pieces of its territory. By 1795 Poland had disappeared, not to re-emerge for more than a century.
Republican leaders refuse to offer any specific proposals. They inveigh against the deficit — and last month their senators voted in lockstep against any increase in the federal debt limit, a move that would have precipitated another government shutdown if Democrats hadn’t had 60 votes. But they also denounce anything that might actually reduce the deficit, including, ironically, any effort to spend Medicare funds more wisely.
And with the national G.O.P. having abdicated any responsibility for making things work, it’s only natural that individual senators should feel free to take the nation hostage until they get their pet projects funded.
The truth is that given the state of American politics, the way the Senate works is no longer consistent with a functioning government. Senators themselves should recognize this fact and push through changes in those rules, including eliminating or at least limiting the filibuster. This is something they could and should do, by majority vote, on the first day of the next Senate session.
Don’t hold your breath. As it is, Democrats don’t even seem able to score political points by highlighting their opponents’ obstructionism.
It should be a simple message (and it should have been the central message in Massachusetts): a vote for a Republican, no matter what you think of him as a person, is a vote for paralysis. But by now, we know how the Obama administration deals with those who would destroy it: it goes straight for the capillaries. Sure enough, Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, accused Mr. Shelby of “silliness.” Yep, that will really resonate with voters.
After the dissolution of Poland, a Polish officer serving under Napoleon penned a song that eventually — after the country’s post-World War I resurrection — became the country’s national anthem. It begins, “Poland is not yet lost.”
Well, America is not yet lost. But the Senate is working on it.
ALLLLLL Social Security disbursements to payees go DIRECTLY back into the economy. So what is this anti-Social Security guest worried about???
It's not like privatized military, privatized utilities, and tax-free transnational corporations taking our wealth out of the country in offshore-protection scams!
His screwy priorities exemplified by his zero-ing in on the insurance/pensions of retired, elderly, sick and disabled, orphaned and widowed is just plain REACTIONARY. He wants things the way things USED TO BE -- the Poor destitute and the Rich holding perfumed handkerchiefs over their noses to keep out the stench of The Masses. Disgusting!
Nice to hear Thom is having second thoughts about the Tea Party movement. I am curious to hear what he has to say when he goes into more detail about it.
the hillbilly teleprompter is proof that Sarah Palin is not advocating what is best for everyone because if it was what is best she wouldn't need to remind herself what it was
Thanks Thom for the appearance in L.A. for the screening of "Rethinking Afghanistan," and for the signature on my copy of "Ultimate Sacrifice."
Special thanks, also to Emily Taylor of Brave New Films for handling an overflow crowd with graciousness.
When are we going to admit and DISCUSS that Privatization (of Utilities, Para-Military and Police, Mercenary Soldiers and Contractors), Legislative Control by Lobbyists, and Corporations being treated like individual people -- ALL these are a BLATANT form of COUNTER-REVOLUTION.
All this is in-our-face COUNTER-REVOLUTION against all our American Revolution has come to represent--
o Preservation of the Commons
o Recognition of Human Rights
o Guarantee of Equality of Opportunity and Justice
The COUNTER-REVOLUTION is happening under our very noses -- in PLANNED WAYS -- with most of us looking on with eyes wide shut just because the counter-revolutionary accomplice -- The Corporate Media -- censors the discussion of what is occurring.
The METHODICAL deconstruction of all that the American Revolution and Constitution created MUST be acknowledged as the COUNTER-REVOLUTION that it is -- a COUNTER-REVOLUTION by the RIGHT and it MUST be halted, must be stopped in its tracks before it tears away from us anymore of what has been good about our system.
Good News for GMO watchers: Arkansas Organic Farmers Woop Bayer's Behind!
Exactly why we need to be able to sue corporations. !
Fair Food Fight Reports from El Dragon!
The little guys win some gold from Goliath. From AP News:
A federal court jury has ordered the German conglomerate Bayer CropScience to pay $1.5 million to farmers in Arkansas and Mississippi whose rice seed was contaminated with a genetically altered strain.
Damage awarded apparently, their crops became contaminated and when this occurs, the European Union shuts its doors on those crops. So this settlement was about the loss of buisness.
See the rest of the article here at Fair Food Fight http://ow.ly/156qX
The national security state does is not compatible with democracy. The Congress of the United States has not declared war since WWII. Since then we have fought in:
just off the top of my head.
What chance do you give the jury award actually being dispursed after appeal?
@ Zero G.
You forgot Grenada. (Reagan's triumph) :-)
Me thinks Rambo Sarah is engaging in a little hand to hand bombast.
ANOTHER VICTORY! U.S.D.A.
Plans to Drop Program to Trace Livestock VICTORY! U.S.D.A. Plans to Drop Program to Trace Livestock• By William Neuman The New York Times, Feb 5, 2010 Straight to the Source Faced with stiff resistance from ranchers and farmers, the Obama administration has decided to scrap a national program intended to help authorities quickly identify and track livestock.
This is that law that was freaking out the smaller farmers back in the Bush Administration. This article was posted on the Organic Consumers Assoc .org site.
Thanks for the reminder - I knew I left a couple out. Pakistan as well.
Privatizing Social Security is a Wall Street scam to bring about the largest transfer of funds from the poor to the rich. It will create a bubble like never seen.
Think about it this way. There are a limited number of stocks currently traded by a small number of investors and investment groups. If you add in the Social Security funds into the mix, the price of the stocks held by the current investors will explode as an artificial demand is created. Those holding the stock will cash out with huge profits. The cost-to-earnings ratio of the highly inflated stocks will not be justifiable causing the bottom to fall out of the market and a panic to ensue as the new investors dump their stocks before they lose all value.
Who do think will be there to scoop up all those devalued stock? And, who will be there to scoop up all the indigents left in the wake?
@Zero G: Don't forget Pakistan and (probably) Yemen.
A GENUINE Populist Movement cannot gain speed today because there is no media that will allow its views to spread. For some reason, the Internet is too cerebral and still not available to The Poor and utterly exploited because of cost.
The Teabag Party will only gain speed via the Media if it serves a purpose in the Right's Counter-Revolution.
@ Zero G.
I forgot to say that your point is well made. Not requiring a war declaration makes things easier for those who seek to promote conflicts.
@ harry ashburn,
Definately Yemen in terms of drone attacks, not sure about boots on the ground.
@Foodfacist, your comment on the USDA is interesting. I admit, I'm ignorant about this issue... could you elaborate on it a bit?
Also left out the affair in the Balkans. Must be my faulty memory.
Geez Thom, I doubt if Palin knows what Tort reform is... I doubt she know much of anything she is prompted to speak about. All she knows is she likes the spotlight and will do anything to step into it.
"Terrorism, however, is a very good business. The number of extremists who are planning to carry out terrorist attacks is minuscule, but there are vast departments and legions of ambitious intelligence and military officers who desperately need to strike a tangible blow against terrorism, real or imagined, to promote their careers as well as justify obscene expenditures and a flagrant abuse of power. All this will not make us safer. It will not protect us from terrorist strikes. The more we dispatch brutal forms of power to the Islamic world the more enraged Muslims and terrorists we propel into the ranks of those who oppose us. The same perverted logic saw the Argentine military, when I lived in Buenos Aires, “disappear” 30,000 of the nation’s citizens, the vast majority of whom were innocent. Such logic also fed the drive to root out terrorists in El Salvador, where, when I arrived in 1983, the death squads were killing between 800 and 1,000 people a month. Once you build secret archipelagos of prisons, once you commit huge sums of money and invest your political capital in a ruthless war against subversion, once you empower a network of clandestine killers, operatives and torturers, you fuel the very insecurity and violence you seek to contain." - Chris Hedges from
The Terror-Industrial Complex
re: Tort reform: One time a woman called me up wanting an interview on my radio show representing a tort reform group. I replied that my experience is that these groups are actually working to absolve corporations of product liability. Well, she got all indignant and asserted "I'm not going to tell you who our funders are!"
I just laughed and told her to call back when she's ready to do so.
@Zero G: Don't forget, the military is also rapidly occupying the United States.
Madeleine Albright once said, "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?"
Other than the obvious answer, deterence from attack, the frame of the question underscores the notion of American exceptionalism, which seems to be accepted by both major parties, and why I don't believe that either party will ever confront the national security state.
So, have the tea-baggers ever been subjugated to free speech zones?
From what you talked about today.
What am I talking about?
This program takes money from a large pool of people, and distributes some of it back to a smaller number of people. Some people will get more back then what they put in, the rest will never see a penny. The people running it take a % off the top as administration fees.
Is that insurance or a Ponzi Scheme?
thom whats happening for don siegelman and abraham bolden in their quest to find justice
re: Dale Robertson, tea party and health care
we could win the health care debate with a 7 word slogan:
"Medicare for all, or Medicare for none."
If Medicare is so broken, or so inefficient, or so corrupt, or tainted by fraud, as claimed by the tea party, then shut Medicare down.
No Republican or Independent or Tea Party member would survive if they had to argue to shut down Medicare.
I wish there were a way for a simple 7 word bill to be introduced.
"Medicare for all, or Medicare for none."
It seems like even the bumbling disorganized Democrats could get that one passed.
@Zero G. prior to WWII we didn't have a large standing military. But we did have a superb manufacturing base.
Now our superb military relies on Chinese chips for the majority of its weapons. It could be argued that we really don't even have the superb military we think we have. Any one who has ever studied warfare knows that logistical support is everything, cut the support lines, and the army in the field is lost.
What we have is the equivalent of a used lemon with a brand new paint job, it looks great, but you're not going to get much mileage before it completely breaks down.
I think what's missing in Globalization, is enforced fair regulations.
Great article on Globalism
HEre is another I read last evening Articles on Globalization
The fellow show cases Toyota in Texas Case Study.
He concludes there are winners and losers in globalism.
It was referred to as "The Arsenal of Democracy." Now, with the U.S. wishing to sell weapons to Taiwan, the People's Republic is threatening to impose sanctions on Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, etc.
Your point on logistics is spot on. As one who has personally bribed a Russian border guard on the Tajik-Afghan border in order to get a truck full of humanitarian supplies across, I full well echo your point. We are now bribing the Pashtun Taliban in order to insure the supply lines from Pakistan into the Afghan theatre of operations. Wonder what will happen to that supply line when the latest operation in Helmand provence gets underway.
Taliban defiant as Afghans flee ahead of assault
By Nasrat Shoib (AFP) – 10 hours ago
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA
Interventions Since World War II.
by William Blum
It seems I forgot a couple.
Regarding Bachman's plan...
Let’s first wean the war profiteers of their high overhead, which sucks more $ from the government than any other area. Then we will wean the corporations off their 30 years of tax breaks. Then we will wean the top 2% of earners of their tax breaks. then we will wean those who sit by the pool collecting there capitol gains off their low taxes.
Then we can reassess our financial situation as see who we next have to wean off the government…
On Frank Luntz (his latest) and Lee Atwater,
Frank Luntz, has completed another assignment for:
1) The dead head Republicans in Congress, who have yet to come up with an original thought of their own. Remember, the (R's), are lower level authoritarians, who do what they are told by their masters, NO THINKING ALLOWED!
2)The Fascist Multinational Corporations and Banksters, aka "the masters"!
3)The "Devil", you know, the one the Haitians sold their souls too, according to Pat Robertson!
Frank Luntz has completed talking points, buzz words, and strategies to fight re-regulating the banking and financial services "industries". Note: Real "industries" actually produce something of tangible value, a more apt term would be "rackets"!
More messaging benefiting the "haves" at the expense of the "have nots", who are the targets of the messaging. l can hardly wait for Fox to start the spewing the rhetoric, and the Sunday morning talk shows enabling the message, as the "hosts" sit there like bumps on a log, watching the parade go by.
I just had a thought. Maybe we could fit these "hosts" with a backpack and ear piece, kind of like the one Bush used in the '04 debate with John Kerry, and we could feed them questions to ask. Oh, that's right, they already have such a hookup with their producers. The producer is just saying, "straighten your tie, keep your mouth shut, sit up straight, and you will be back in your chair with a fat paycheck, next week, OK!". I guess you can't blame the "hosts", for they are just "tools", for the consolidated media who owns them! Thanks again, Pres. Bill Clinton, for that one, among many others!
Franks' plan is designed to defeat needed change. I wonder, does Frank Luntz have a moral, ethical bone in his body? Has all the money flying around Mr. Luntz's head blinded him to all of the damage that has occurred in this country and around the world?
If the effort to rein in these "racketeers" fails, where will the NEXT bottom be, and will there be anyone be around to see it? I wonder!
Frank Luntz, I have a challenge for you: Write a book on ethics and morality, it must explain how they are intertwined and go hand in hand! You are a very smart and talented individual, are you up to the challenge? Is it within you, could you possibly find the words?
I mentioned Lee Atwater, in the title. I did so, wondering if Frank Luntz will wait until he is on his death bed, to have a Lee Atwater "moment", or if he even has it in him! Time will tell......
Actually, I would hope that Mr. Luntz would would have his "Atwater moment", soon, before America is on her "economic death bed"!
Here's wishing you, Mr Luntz, a long, healthy, and ethically driven life!
Meanwhile..............on the other side of the galaxy.......
Big Six banks urge Ottawa to tighten mortgage rules
Top bankers IN CANADA pushing government to clamp down on market to avoid any chance of U.S.-style collapse
@Zero G. war is "merely the continuation of politics by other means." -Clauswitz
I thought you might find this quote interesting.
Actually, Robert M. ("Fighting Bob") La Follette, Sr. was from Wisconsin (along with Sen. Wm. Proxmire, with his "Golden Turkey Awards"):
Minnesota has its heros with Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Paul Wellstone, to name a few.
I always think it's great when my AP iPhone app sends me an alert because I know ten seconds later I will hear Thom's phone get the same alert.
How clever-- have the teabaggers kill Medicare and Soc. Sec., then they all die off without it.
Corporatists' problems solved!
I once recieved an email from one of my senators with the phrase, "Americans are tired of partisan politics" in the body of the email.
I called the senator's office and told the staff member that answered the phone that partisan politics is the only method that civilized society has devised to settle differences without violence. Did the senator prefer a resort to violence?
Much sputtering ensued.
Hmmm..I tried to watch Thom on C-SPAN, but kept getting a "file not found" message.
"Time's fun when you're having flies!" - anon
Thanks for the book Thom. That's one I don't have.
For anyone listening in LA, I just moved my money (well, all the money an 18 year old can have) to a great community bank that has a good amount of locations in the Southland: Pacific Western Bank, I highly recommend it!
By the way thanks for making me the member of the day last week Thom, looking forward to reading your book when I get it!