Daily Topics- Friday - February 26th 2010

bernie imagesAnything Goes on Town Hall Friday!

Quote:  No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There's too much work to do.-- Dorothy Day

Hour One  "Brunch With Bernie" U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders www.sanders.senate.gov

Hour Three  - Tom Hayden Activist, former California State Senator, author/editor of seventeen books including his latest The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama tomhayden.com - Tom is in town for a talk and book signing for his newest book, The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama at 6pm Reed College (Vollum Lecture Hall) in Portland.


Rick in Canadia (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Republican health care plan creates jobs!
We can't say that all the republican ideas were useless or worse.

Listening to the idea of 'undercover patients', I started to smile.
It's not the money saved in wasteful treatment or I'm sure the Acorn pimp moments they are probably hoping for to bring down Medicare..

The Republicans missed a chance to brag about job creation. Picture the legions of previously un-employable Hypochondriacs that can be hired for what they do best. A reliable work force? What are they going to do, call in sick??

Question is, will they get health care coverage with this job?
Happily single payer-covered up here..

(I called the American Society of Hypochondriacs for comment but nobody could come to the phone.)

Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago
Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago
Gerald Socha (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

U. S. Rep Steve King from Iowa was on the Thom Hartmann Show and he said that America is a virtuous country. He must have been joking because I will share with you some information from memory. Are we a virtuous country?

I will offer some names and behaviors that can counter the idea that America is a virtuous country. I will start with Prescott Bush, George W’s grandfather. He helped to keep the German war machine alive to the end of 1942 or the beginning of 1943. He stopped helping the Germans because FDR’s administration was about to level treasonous charges against him. Prescott Bush would offer his grandchildren examples of Adolph Hitler’s leadership skills that he truly admired. George W would listen to his grandfather’s admiration for Hitler.

Ronald Reagan expanded the wide disparity in wealth between the rich and the middle class. Financial institutions were no longer closely regulated. Wages for the American worker have been flattened since Reagan was president. Theses flattened wages hurt American families. Reagan increased our monetary deficit dramatically.

Bill Clinton, a closet Republican, outsourced many American jobs through NAFTA and CAFTA. In the final days of Clinton’s presidency he did away with any financial regulations.

Since the early 1900s the Federal Reserve has only been answerable to itself. No one knows what the Federal Reserve is doing with our money.

George W started wrong and immoral wars. He expanded the concept of wars for profit. He has also increased our monetary deficit dramatically. Both Yoo and Bybee said that torture is legal while George W was president. Marianne Williamson has described George W’s behavior as soulless insensitivity. Katrina is a good example of his soulless insensitivity in helping the hurricane victims in New Orleans. Unmanned drones began killing innocent men, women, and children under George W. These drones have been directed to kill human beings from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Under Obama and with the help of Republicans Americans are witnessing a dog and pony show regarding health care. We must not forget the health care is a moral issue. Obama has continued to expand George W’s policies and programs. Obama seems to lack the leadership skills to help America.

American democracy has suffered from our presidents. Our American families have also suffered under our presidents. The U. S. Supreme Court’s Mafia Five have taken away individual rights and they have replaced these rights in favor of corporations.

Is America really a virtuous country?

What about the mercenary group named Blackwater that has been granted with Secretary of State Gates’ blessing a license to kill foreigners and Americans around the world? Would Americans agree that these killings are virtuous acts?

We must not forget Jude Winniski’s The Two Santa Claus Theory that the Republicans have adopted as common practice. When the Republicans are in office, they create huge monetary deficits and when they are out of office, they blame the Democrats for the huge monetary deficits. They look good as two Santa Clauses and the two Santa Clauses have helped Republicans win elections. Average Americans are suffering from The Two Santa Claus Theory.

I will present my case that America is not a virtuous country under the criteria of committing mortal sins that damn the human soul. Here are the three criteria that will constitute a mortal sin. The act must be a grave matter. I believe that the killing of God’s children in wrong and immoral wars is a grave matter. This act must be committed with full knowledge is another criteria for a mortal sin. The idea that it is better for us to be in Iraq rather than Iraq being here will not wash. Iraq has never been a military threat to the United States. Another idea that will not wash is America right or wrong will not wash. Claiming stupidity before God will not wash because most everyone knows of the Golden Rule. The final criteria is that a person or persons give complete consent to wrong and immoral acts. The killing of God’s children in our present and past wrong and immoral wars has been given with complete consent.

Politicians and health insurance companies are committing mortal sins by denying Americans health care. These denials of health care kill several thousand Americans yearly. America is not a virtuous country. It is a country that is laid to waste with damned human souls. America is an evil country and not a virtuous country.

Is the killing of God’s children at home and around the world virtuous acts?

Mark K (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

If anything was “accomplished” by the healthcare summit, it was that there can no longer be any doubt that the gap between Democrats and Republicans is impossible to bridge. The Democrats (or most of them) don’t trust the health insurance industry, and the Republicans don’t trust government. The Democrats have sought an “in-between” solution, but for Republicans it is all-or-nothing. After a year of battling, the Republicans want to discard the whole bill and start over. What? The Republicans had a year to offer meaningful ideas, and offered none. It is too late now for them to wax victimized. Even the few things where there was “common ground” were little more than basic “principles.” I have to disagree with Victoria that the Republicans got the better of the Democrats; all they had to offer were questionable polls and deliberate misstatements of facts and figures, which for the most part Obama was able to successfully parry. The claim that state “high-risk” pools were a “successful” tool in covering people with pre-existing conditions was easily dispatched, since besides the excessive premiums that keep the number of people “benefiting” from these programs low, there is a one-year “waiting period” during which a person may die—waiting for that insurance to kick-in.

Republicans congressman like Rep. Paul Ryan might fool CNN’s Cambell Brown about the nature of his “plan”—the “centerpiece” of which sounds suspiciously like the privatization of Medicare, to be absorbed by the insurance companies. However, on Larry King Howard Dean did note that the Democrats did have 59 votes for reducing the Medicare eligibility age, more than enough for passing it through reconciliation, and further brought forth the idea of a mechanism for charging patients for the results of medical procedures—rather than for the procedures themselves—as a way of reducing runaway health care costs. In any case, it is now out in the open that the Republicans are not and never were serious about health care reform, and it is time for Democrats to move on without them, as Rep. Anthony Weiner during a House debate yesterday rather pointedly “suggested.”

As an aside, in regard to the tragic “accident” at Sea World where a trainer drowned when a killer whale dragged her underwater by her pony tail, it never ceases to amaze me how some people seem to believe (like Timothy Treadwell and Dian Fossey) that they have this “spiritual connection” with wild animals. The fact is we don’t really know what they “think,” we can only make deductions from their activities derived from their natural instinct for survival and procreation.

Charell (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Thank you Senator Sanders for finally talking about the Community Health Care Clinics! This part of the bill is better than the Public Option! Thousands of clinics that EVERYONE can use. Drugs at V.A. prices, Cancer screening, Dental, Eye and Mental Health care. For ALL Americans, insurance or not. Helps way more people than the Public Option ever would. This is why the bill must pass, Public Option or not!

I just found out about this. Why haven't we heard our progressive talkers emphasize this part of the bill before now?

Nels (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Keep putting that Public Option back on the table every time Obama takes it off.

Glad to see some of congress is trying to do the right thing. Wish it was more :-(

Nels (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

In regards to the caller's comments on Chinese steel, and these damnable free trade agreements. The old saying proves true....

"You get what you pay for."

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

@Rick in Canada: lol! I would say more, but my carpal-tunnel syndrome is a bitch today. (PS congrats for womens hockey gold!)

Quark (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

I learned one thing from this health care summit and related conversation:

I now believe that the reason Sen. Amy Klobuchar won't support the public option is that she has given her tacit or otherwise agreement with Obama (who bargained away the public option in a prelegislation agreement with the hospitals.)

I repeatedly call and write to her to support the public option, but I know now that she will not listen.

Mark K (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

CNN seems to think that Democrats and Republicans can start the health care reform dance from scratch just because they "agree" on insurance sold across state lines. Frankly, this idea shouldn't be the "centerpiece" of any plan. They gave the example of New York's average insurance premiums compared to Iowa's, which came out to something like $6,600 in New York and $2,600 in Iowa. The difference was explained by the fact that New York requires insurers cover more procedures than they do in Iowa. But another difference might be that in New York, health care is more expensive than in Iowa. So why would New Yorkers opt for a cheap plan that not only covers fewer procedures (thus higher out-of-pocket expenses), but provides less money for the ones that they do?

ulTRAX (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Bernie Sanders was just saying he didn’t know the best strategy to start reversing some of these terrible “free trade” agreements.

How about using classic triangulation to split up the GOP and corporate Democrats?

As I recall Eisenhower got the Interstate Highway System passed over GOP opposition by arguing it was necessary for the nation’s defense.

So why not chip away at some of these free trade agreements by calling for a National Defense Reindustrialization Policy? The justification would be to make ourselves independent for everything from raw materials, heavy industry, electronics, software, uniforms, etc.

There’s really no end of the uses for this approach. If one really wanted to stretch the concept, what about dubbing universal health care as National Defense Health Infrastructure Policy? LOL

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

re: Yoo: Let's hope he isnt a professor of ethics.

Bryan in Paddock Lake (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Republican Lemmings? Would say Republican Parrots, but that would be an insult to Parrots!

Mark K (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

There are still quite a number of things waiting in line behind the economy and health care reform, like immigration reform and a new energy policy. In regards to developing green energy, turning vision into reality seems much easier said than done for most people. Real innovation seems to comes from lone individuals who spend their own time and money rather than from the corporate world that wants to stifle innovation, or offer half-arsed solutions like hybrids. The Obama administration has talked big about green and clean energy, but most of the talk is about nuclear and coal-based “solutions,” neither which is particularly “clean,” or every will be. But the public must also be indicted for expecting green energy solutions, but behaving in a NIMBY-like fashion when it comes to actually implementing them. Take for example wind-generated energy. Wind power is great—that is unless you live near a wind farm and the humming annoys you, or you are an environmentalist worried about their effect on birds; others claim they cause cancer, or interfere with the functioning of their cell phones (not such a bad thing, in my view). Or they might “spoil” the view, such as in some locales in New England; offshore fields have been opposed for this reason, although one suspects that property values are their real concern. Why I don’t know; when the oil runs out, everybody will want to live near something like a wind farm.

Everyone knows that oil will run out eventually, and sooner than people think; OPEC nations are notorious for deliberately over-estimating their “proven” oil reserves, because bloated estimates allows a country to export more oil under the OPEC quota system. The fact is we really do need to be serious about alternative and renewable energy now. “Inspiring” speeches are not enough, nor is patting yourself on the back merely because you think “green.”

I know a person who generally holds conservative opinions, but does see a business opportunity in green energy. Since 2002 he’s been developing an entirely battery run, zero-emission vehicle for commercial taxi purposes. Last year I was permitted to observe him in a low-tech garage-environment (along with one of those long-haired, high-energy techie-types), working on a rapid recharger that can fully charge an array of battery packs in an hour, and has run a van 142 miles in “real world” conditions—including at highway speeds—on one charge; the hope is that with even more efficient rapid recharge capabilities, a five-passenger vehicle can turn in 700-800 miles a day. From the business perspective, it obviously doesn't hurt that California is ground zero for acceptance for some semblance of green energy solutions. To learn more about how one man is doing his part to turn a green vision to reality, you can check out the website http://www.electricabtaxi.com.

Bryan in Paddock Lake (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Republicans: Party Unity Trumps Service aka PUTS!

harry ashburn (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Whew! I feel a lot better since they pulled-out that "cornhusker thing."

Quark (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Bryan in Paddock Lake,

Let's hope that HEALTH CARE REFORM is not a PARROT!

Monty Python - "Dead Parrot":


Mark K (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Funny how Thom almost forgot to mention "racism" as a variable in right-wing political thought. Frankly, all I see are an awful lot of white faces (many of them women, and maybe even a few who are gay) in Republican and Tea Party gatherings. It says a great deal about someone who is blind to this fact because of their allegiance to his/her preferred "victimized" groups.

Charles in OH (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Vicotria must have fallen asleep while watching the summit. I thought there was more than one moment or is she infatuated with McCain.

Harry (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Why not label these no-no publicans and misnamed dems that vote with them "Corporate Shills" because that is what they really are in a nutshell!

Tim (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

The health care summit reminded me that republicans hate the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of our teeming shore, the homeless, and anyone who is not a CEO. Oh, and the fact that they like "clean sheets of paper" and taking things "step-by-step" a year too late.

Bryan in Paddock Lake (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

@Quark: Okay, no parrots, as replacing them would put you somewhere in limbo between Ipswitch and Bolton!

Quark (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Bryan in Paddock Lake,

Though you WOULD get British universal health care! LOL!

margaret m walsh (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

FACT or FICTION -- "Corporations, partnerships, and legal associations of any kind shall not be deemed "persons" for puposes of applying or interpretating the U.S. Constitution. "Person" shall hereby be defined by law as "human being." Ralph Nader

Erlee Pennington (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

It's about time President Obama give up on the Republicans. They have their own political agenda and whatever they are is not the same as the President's. Obama needs to work on getting the support of the teabaggers and other conservative followers. Unknowingly,since they are so uninformed and blinded by hatred instilled to their brain by right wing tv and radio, they 're being used by the Republicans for their own political benefits.

If Obama can only show them how better the country has become with him, these conservative followers may wake up, hopefully, and realize, that after all, Obama is doing a good job. Not only will Obama's supporters who have already lost faith in him will come but he will even gain those who call him Hitler.

Erlee Pennington (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

It’s about time President Obama give up on the Republicans. They have their own political agenda and whatever they are is not the same as the President’s. Obama needs to work on getting the support of the teabaggers and other conservative followers. Unknowingly,since they are so uninformed and blinded by hatred instilled to their brain by right wing tv and radio, they ‘re being used by the Republicans for their own political benefits.
If Obama can only show them how better the country has become with him as president, these conservative followers may wake up, hopefully, and realize, that after all, Obama is doing a good job. Not only will Obama’s supporters who have already lost faith in him will come back, but he will even gain those who are calling him Hitler, socialist, etc.

And without or less more people's support, the Republicans will just die and be gone, forever, amen!

Quark (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Erlee Pennington,

I agree with your assessment. Obama has, in this unique place and time --- that is, RIGHT NOW --- the ability to do the right thing for the American people. I think this is a pivotal moment. He (and the Democratic Party) will rise or fall depending on what they do now.

Nels (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

So Thom, how does the four generation theory explain the mere 20 year gap (1 generation) between WWI and WWII?

S'toon (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

I've got to disagree with Thom about the 4th Generation. You see, according to Thom it was the Baby Boomers who rejected the quiet building of society, and sought spiritual enlightenment, and then the Generation Xers destroyed society. The problem is, that's not true. It was the Boomers who sought enlightenment, then proceeded to get into positions of power and destroyed the economy and got the world into a state of war. THE SAME GENERATION. The Gen Xers are only in their young 40s at the oldest, not wielding the levers of power.

Quark (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

I think Greg Mortenson's idea would work well in THIS country, too!

Nels (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

@Quark, I second your call for practicing Greg Mortensons' Three Cups of Tea polices here in the US.

Would be wonderful if the UN could take up the initiative and go for a worldwide network, but I guess I'm getting a bit Polyanna.

Penny Ryan (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

With the republicans proclaiming tort reform as a viable way to save money on health care does not address the fact that many people come out of the hospital with preventable infections at alarming rates. I have not heard a word in regard to doctors whom have done grievous harm to patients repeatedly and are yet able to continue their practice. There is no list made available of physicians whom are repeat offenders, so that we, the consumer can make an informed decision, leaving us susceptible to medical malpractice. These are issues that should be addressed for the health and welfare of all, not to mention the costs it would save.

Tort reform will preventing us the right to a jury of our peers and having our case based on the merits. This action will supersede our American Rights, and condone insurance companies abhorrent behavior.

Quark (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago


Your comment reminds me that mankind HAS answers to major problems; they just need to be implemented (the OTHER half of the battle.)

Quark (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Penny Ryan,

I have heard that such doctors represent a very small percentage of the total number of physicians, yet are responsible for a large majority of problems and malpractice lawsuits. The AMA has a stranglehold on healthcare in this country in many ways...

Kevin (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

Also, too.

Quark (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago


Nathan (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

I've heard Thom say that nearly 30 Senators have signed on to the Bennet letter in support of passing the public option through reconciliation. However, the WhipCongress website currently lists 24 as having signed on. Is there a better place to get the most up-to-date list for that or am I missing something?

Also, does anyone know... Is it frowned upon to continue to call your Senators repeatedly over the same thing? Groups like BoldProgressives.org make it really easy to call and I have done so but is it ok to keep hammering your Senators if they do not sign on? At what point does it become counter productive or frowned upon as I want to remain respectful. I'm in WI and both my Senators Feingold and Kohl have supported the public option in the past so I'm really frustrated as to why they haven't signed on to this push for it.

Any help would be appreciated.

Rick in Canadia (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

I guess one thing would be, have you received an answer to a question? (Ie why before but not now?) That would be a valid reason to keep calling, just remind them that you asked before and haven't received a satisfactory answer..
Interesting times,

Chris Conrad (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

I see a lot of crying about others with no real effort to get everyone on a solid foundation. I see a lot of good thoughts that will never be realized without a solid foundation. If people like Thom do not reach across aisles of politics and even those in the same party to work together to create a foundation of integrity....and for those who don't have the necessary criteria call them out. This namby pamby b.s. doesn't help anyone. I'm not saying it is the only answer, but look at the Politics module of http://www.goodfaithclause.com. Pretty much a blank slate designed for people to WORK TOGETHER. This party vs. that party will only ever ensure we are doomed to never coming together. The time is right. We have already lost so much. Give me a 1000 excuses, but then give me a yes for a future.

What would happen if Thom and Lars Larson worked together to build the requirements for all candidates, regardless of party. Quit laughing. I'd have to believe when it comes to integrity both would probably be on the same page. The mission is to prevent poor choices from ever reaching the primaries. Then both parties (or those others) can have good and competent leaders to work together. Hell, it is only our country.

glennfresno (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

If there are approx. 40 million uninsured, ( & how many people in the U.S., over-all? ) then how about we each pay $1.00 per month ( there's 40 million per month, times 12 months) toward individual FULL coverage health care. I wouldn't have a problem paying $12.00 per year, if not getting a health care bill has to do with " how is the gov't gonna pay for it". ( I know,.... stop paying for all the wars & we would have the money for health care & a lot more. ) I also realize that there is a lot more to figuring out how to use this money & also, of course the ins. companys don't want this to happen. But why does it have to be this hard? And also, can some one direct me to info about the health care bills being considered , what public option is, & etc, that is not a bunch of mumbo jumbo? Thanks

ulTRAX (not verified) 9 years 29 weeks ago

S'toon wrote: "I’ve got to disagree with Thom about the 4th Generation. You see, according to Thom it was the Baby Boomers who rejected the quiet building of society, and sought spiritual enlightenment, and then the Generation Xers destroyed society."

It's an intriguing theory... but while there are clear generations within families, it's not as if they exist within society as a whole. We just tend to fall into the trap that the decades we invented as part of our base 10 numerical system have some greater significance.

GM Shows Why We Need Medicare for All

Thom plus logo General Motors just pulled healthcare for 50,000 workers. There are some Democratic candidates suggesting that people love their health insurance companies, but this calculated move by a giant corporation that you and I helped bail out proves that employer sponsored healthcare is just another tool to control workers.

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