Daily Topics - Monday - March 8th 2010

payday imagesQuote of the Day:  Debt is the fatal disease of republics, the first thing and the mightiest to undermine governments and corrupt the people. -- Wendell Phillips

Welcome to our newest stations, CTV North Suburbs in Roseville, MN and Salem Access Television in Salem, MA

Hour One - Financial reform...get ready for another meltdown...

Hour Two - Should the USPS be more or less socialized? Tad DeHaven www.cato.org

Hour Three - Payday lenders...necessary evil or loan sharks in sheep's clothing? Wayne Root front-runner for Libertarian presidential nominee in 2012 www.root4america.com

Upcoming Events with Thom Hartmann:

Friday, March 19th, 6-8pm AM 1600 Demos and the New York Law School Chapter of the American Constitution Society present an evening with Thom Hartmann - "When Corporations Became People."  Thom will also talk about his updated book "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights"...event is at New York Law School Auditorium, 185 W Broadway, New York, NY...free tickets at www.demos.org (and click on events)


Quark (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Up-or-Down Vote on Obama's Presidency

I don't think Obama knows how to be an effective leader; I agree with much of what Frank Rich says:



...the buck stops with the president, not his chief of staff. And if there’s one note that runs through many of the theories as to why Obama has disappointed in Year One, it cuts to the heart of what had been his major strength: his ability to communicate a compelling narrative. In the campaign, that narrative, of change and hope, was powerful — both about his own youth, biography and talent, and about a country that had gone wildly off track during the failed presidency of his predecessor. In governing, Obama has yet to find a theme that is remotely as arresting to the majority of Americans who still like him and are desperate for him to succeed.

The problem is not necessarily that Obama is trying to do too much, but that there is no consistent, clear message to unite all that he is trying to do. He has variously argued that health care reform is a moral imperative to protect the uninsured, a long-term fiscal fix for the American economy and an attempt to curb insurers’ abuses. It may be all of these, but between the multitude of motives and the blurriness (until now) of Obama’s own specific must-have provisions, the bill became a mash-up that baffled or defeated those Americans on his side and was easily caricatured as a big-government catastrophe by his adversaries.

Obama prides himself on not being ideological or partisan — of following, as he put it in his first prime-time presidential press conference, a “pragmatic agenda.” But pragmatism is about process, not principle. Pragmatism is hardly a rallying cry for a nation in this much distress, and it’s not a credible or attainable goal in a Washington as dysfunctional as the one Americans watch in real time on cable. Yes, the Bush administration was incompetent, but we need more than a brilliant mediator, manager or technocrat to move us beyond the wreckage it left behind. To galvanize the nation, Obama needs to articulate a substantive belief system that’s built from his bedrock convictions. His presidency cannot be about the cool equanimity and intellectual command of his management style.

That he hasn’t done so can be attributed to his ingrained distrust of appearing partisan or, worse, a knee-jerk “liberal.” That is admirable in intellectual theory, but without a powerful vision to knit together his vision of America’s future, he comes off as a doctrinaire Democrat anyway. His domestic policies, whether on climate change or health care or regulatory reform, are reduced to items on a standard liberal wish list. If F.D.R. or Reagan could distill, coin and convey a credo “nonideological” enough to serve as an umbrella for all their goals and to attract lasting majority coalitions of disparate American constituencies, so can this gifted president.

He cannot wait much longer. The rise in credit-card rates, as well as the drop in consumer confidence, home sales and bank lending, all foretell more suffering ahead for those who don’t work on Wall Street. But on these issues the president, too timid to confront the financial industry backers of his own campaign (or their tribunes in his own administration) and too fearful of sounding like a vulgar partisan populist, has taken to repeating his health care performance.

And so leadership on financial reform, as with health care, has been delegated to bipartisan Congressional negotiators poised to neuter it. The protracted debate that now seems imminent — over whether a consumer protection agency will be in the Fed or outside it — is again about the arcana of process and bureaucratic machinery, not substance. Since Obama offers no overarching narrative of what financial reform might really mean to Americans in their daily lives, Americans understandably assume the reforms will be too compromised or marginal to alter a system that leaves their incomes stagnant (at best) while bailed-out bankers return to partying like it’s 2007. Even an unimpeachable capitalist titan like Warren Buffett, venting in his annual letter to investors last month, sounds more fired up about unregulated derivatives and more outraged about unpunished finance-industry executives than the president does.

This time Obama doesn’t have a year to arrive at his finest hour. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the clock runs out on Nov. 2.

Quark (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Paul Krugman's Take on the Financial Meltdown



What really mattered was free-market fundamentalism. This is what led Ronald Reagan to declare that deregulation would solve the problems of thrift institutions — the actual result was huge losses, followed by a gigantic taxpayer bailout — and Alan Greenspan to insist that the proliferation of derivatives had actually strengthened the financial system. It was largely thanks to this ideology that regulators ignored the mounting risks.

So what can we learn from the way Ireland had a U.S.-type financial crisis with very different institutions? Mainly, that we have to focus as much on the regulators as on the regulations. By all means, let’s limit both leverage and the use of securitization — which were part of what Canada did right. But such measures won’t matter unless they’re enforced by people who see it as their duty to say no to powerful bankers.

That’s why we need an independent agency protecting financial consumers — again, something Canada did right — rather than leaving the job to agencies that have other priorities. And beyond that, we need a sea change in attitudes, a recognition that letting bankers do what they want is a recipe for disaster. If that doesn’t happen, we will have failed to learn from recent history — and we’ll be doomed to repeat it.

Mark K (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

I was pleased to see Jeff Bridges finally win an Oscar after paying his dues in socially and politically-charged movies like Cutter’s Way, Winter Kills and Arlington Road. The Hurt Locker won a lot of Oscars, surprising because it’s total box office was a little over $12 million, which suggests hardly anybody saw it. It was a political act on the part of the academy, although it does show you how easy it is to get accolades when you have an excellent script, actors and crew to work with. The one great flaw in the movie is that it portrayed the soldiers as being “addicted” to war, without exposing the dealers in this “drug.”

Mark K (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Last week I happened to come across a discarded copy of the Financial Times, folded over to the op-ed page. An opinionator named Gideon Rachman had produced a piece on Ronald Reagan bemoaning how he “ruined conservatism.” Rachman decried the fact that the natural “heir” to Reaganism is Sarah Palin, a Reaganesque “wise idiot”— whose “ignorance and stupidity are good signs. They show that a politician is in tune with the deeper wisdom of the people.” Apparently, this means someone who is “smug, lightweight, nationalistic, entirely free of original ideas” resonates with the mass of simple people (interestingly, it was Dinesh D’Souza of “rational discrimination” fame who concocted this bizarre idea; apparently his racism allows for idiots if they are right-wing whites).

According to Rachman, “true conservatism” is free from ideology, but the Republicans’ tiresome mantra of tax cuts, and more tax cuts to solve every problem (when studies have found that they have little positive impact on the economy) has become an dogmatic crutch which they believe holds the party upright. A “true” conservative would at least attempt to balance this off with fiscal responsibility, but since Reagan “proved” that deficits “don’t matter”—according to Dick Cheney—Reagan tweaked the parameters in which one could define “conservativism,” and together with a unhealthy dose of jingoism fed by an unshakeable resolve to delineate between and good (right-wing whites) and evil (dark-skinned “foreigners,” liberals) turned a Republican Party that once included many who imagined themselves to be moderates, to one that is completely tunnel-visioned, groping its way in the dark places of the national psyche.

Rachman also decries the Republican preference for partisan politics over “good governance.” This, it seems to me, can also be traced directly to Reagan and his “most terrifying words in the English language” approach. When it came to domestic policy, Reagan was certainly craven, but he did like to flex his wrinkles on military matters, but more for show: he pulled-out of Beirut after the Marine barracks bombing, invaded the tiny island of Granada, and “won” the Cold War by out-spending the Soviet Union. But George Bush, Dick Cheney and the current breed of Republicans were so blinded by the Reagan “mystique” that they only saw the surface gloss of tough guy pretensions.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Why are Obama's financial policies so tepid? I think Ms. Huffington summed up the answer very well last week, on Bill Maher's show, when she reminded us all that this administration's financial advisors run the gamut from Goldman to Sachs.

Wendy (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

I LOVE me some Bernie Sanders!! =)

You can FEEL his passion for US - average American families!

From the bottom of my heart, Sen. Sanders - thank you for all you do!!!

mstaggerlee (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Did anyone catch Face The Nation on CBS yesterday? Bob Sheiffer hosted a discussion between departing Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, and the illustrious Lindsay Graham. Somehow, Sheiffer managed to phrase his questions so that Graham came out sounding like the thoughtful, caring centrist!

What aggravated me most, however, was Sheiffer's description of Reconciliation as "a little-used legislative rule that allows for a simple minority to pass a law, instead of the usual 60-vote Supermajority.

HELLO? What nation do YOU come from, Bob, and when didja get HERE??!! Reconciliation was used about 14 times during the Bush years, to pass all kinds of things. The founding fathers were quite specific about when a Supermajority would be required, and those situations were few and far between. Until very recently, the simple majority had ALWAYS been the rule in BOTH houses!

But those are the facts as they ARE, not as our corporate masters would like them to be, and so our "news reporters" must revise history, to please the owners of the world.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

I had an opportunity to view a documentary on food. Our supermarkets have no seasonal fruits and vegetables. We can receive what we want the entire year. Farms are really factories. Animals and workers are being abused by multinational corporations. McDonalds is the largest purchaser of beef, pork, chicken, and potatoes. Three or four companies control the production of our meat products.

Tyson does not want the farmers to show their chicken farms. Chicken farmers are treated like slaves to multinational corporations. Corn is the main ingredient in many of our food products. Plus, corn feed the animals. E-coli poisoning is the norm in our food. Our regulatory institutions have no power in dealing with multinational corporations. Grass fed cattle can shed most of their E-coli poison. Deadly food products that contain high amount of calories are heavily subsidized by our government in cooperation with multinational corporations. Type 2 diabetes is now in children from our poisonous foods. Industrial food sources do not want the public to see how our foods are processed.

Smithfield Hog Farms treat their workers like they treat their hogs with disdain. The Smithfield workers are treated like slaves. The meat-packaging industry is very dangerous for workers and their health. Our government will crackdown on illegal workers but it will not crackdown on corporations and their executives. Businesses are destroying our world.

We do not have any public seed. Most seeds are GMO modified from Monsanto. Will GMO modified seeds kill off the American population? American corporations do not want to label their foods with what it uses to produce the food and be ready for market. The consumer must know what is in their food. Foods must be labeled with the ingredients in our food products. Corporations want to enslave our people. We are not a democracy. We are controlled by corrupt corporations and corrupt government officials. Our people must demand good, wholesome food.

We cannot criticize multinational corporations without the possibility of going to jail. Farmers cannot clean their seeds from tainted Monsanto products. We are not a democracy.

The treatment of our cattle and chickens is truly appalling. We are destroying God’s beautiful creation of our environment from animal life, plant life, water, air to human life. God will not look favorably on America’s treatment of His planet.

The documentary was very critical of Monsanto, Tyson, and Smithfield products.

Learn more!


mstaggerlee (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Hmmm - I guess it pays to READ what one writes before hitting the "POST" button. In the second paragraph of my post above, I obviously meant a simple MAJORITY, not a simple MINORITY. I also had intended to close the quote.

Oops. My bad. :)

Gene Savory (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

A corporation is a person in the same sense that a flamethrower is a firefly.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

I will be discussing the demise of my country. There are probably hundreds of reasons for our death but I will give some of my reasons.

Through the centuries civilizations and empires have risen and fallen. I will be discussing the death of America. History does repeat itself. Historians often look to the Roman Empire and I will be no different.

The Roman Empire fell for a variety reasons, such as lead poisoning through their use of lead pots and pans, the possible rise of Christianity, the hiring of mercenaries to fight their endless wars, and the slaves to do the domestic work.

Let us look closely at the demise of the United States of America. Our death is similar and yet very complex because our death occurs in the twenty-first century. The twenty-first century was supposedly more advanced and yet it was probably less advanced in terms of humanitarian reasons.

We can look at our deregulations of the environment that is killing off life from animal to
human life. We can also look to the high interest rates that are impoverishing Americans. It was America’s fall from true Christianity principles that also aided in our demise. The rise of the radical religious right in America has signaled a death notice for our country.

The Republicans keep talking about family values and the abortion issue. Yet, the rich and American corporations outsource American jobs, refuse to give average Americans a decent salary and wage increases while families struggle more and more each day. The Republicans and the radical religious right diatribe the abortion issue but they will not push through bills that will help the mother take care of her baby or have the baby come to full term. There is not help with health care for mother and child, no expanded baby care centers, no expanded adoption services, and no expanded social services. Pregnant mothers must make serious decisions about the birth of their children. The deeds of the rich and of American corporations reveal to me that we are not a Christian nation. We are a nation that clings to hatred, fear, corruption, and lies. We are an evil nation.

We have turned our backs on Jesus Christ and we have accepted bushianity. Bushianity is a religion that has eight pillars for its strength. These eight pillars are hatred, murders, torture, war crimes, corruption, decadence, greed, and lies. These eight pillars are gradually destroying the mind, body, and souls of our citizens and our nation as a whole.

We also hired mercenaries to fight our endless wars because these wars have systematically killed off our children. We have also destroyed our middle class and hired people at slave wages. American corporations have also been instrumentally involved with our corrupt government by destroying the middle class with outsourcing and the hiring foreigners for less money. Corrupt banks and financial institutions have also destroyed our country. American lives have diminished steadily for decades. Most Americans are treated like cannon fodder.

Americans have developed a sense of hopelessness from our children to our adults. Our citizens and politicians have preferred screwing around and not parenting. We have chosen to kill off Americans by refusing to offer affordable health care plans and we have chosen to fight endless wars that are killing off the American population. We have not invested in giving Americans affordable and a quality education at all levels. Americans are treated like mushrooms. They are kept in the dark and fed crap. American heroes are purveyors of hate messages. Garbage in, garbage out!

Our teenagers are a great resource for us because they are into fairness and idealism. Fairness is not just for themselves but also for their friends and other people. They are also idealistic because they believe in a better world.

Our country cannot be a role model for foreign countries because we have demoralized our people to the point that hopelessness and fear are rampant in our nation and among our people. We are already at the bottom of the abyss into hell.

Americans have a unique way of behavior toward people whom we consider different. We are great at stigmatizing people by bias, distrust, stereotyping, fear, embarrassment, anger, and/or avoidance.

Our evil and immoral ways have brought to us what we deserve our demise as a nation. People usually get what they deserve and America deserves death.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Three Cups of Tea

With the first cup of tea you are an invited stranger. With the second cup, you are a friend. And with the third cup of tea, you are family. Such is the custom for welcoming guests in Central Asia and most symbolic for Greg Mortenson the co-author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Three Cups of Tea.
Mortenson began his journey on one road, trying to climb K2, the world’s second highest mountain in Pakistan’s Karakoram. As far as that goal was concerned he failed, became disoriented and took a wrong turn, literally, and ended up in one of the remotest towns at the foothills of the Karakoram: Korphe. This was the beginning of new meaning and focus for him and the opening of doors for many people he had never met yet. Mr. Greg, as many call him, recovered his health in Korphe and while doing so, learned much about this harsh environment, supportive village and the children living there.
During his respite he learned about the village’s school and how Korphe and the nearest village shared a teacher so that the students only had a teacher for half the days of the week. And on the other days?
After the last note of the anthem had faded, the children sat in a neat circle and began copying their multiplication tables. Most scratched in the dirt with sticks they’d brought for that purpose. The more fortunate, like Jahan, had slate boards they wrote on with sticks dipped in a mixture of mud and water…. Can you imagine a fourth-grade class in America, alone, without a teacher, sitting there quietly and working on their lessons? I felt like my heart was being torn out…. After the last note of the anthem had faded, the children sat in a neat circle and began copying their multiplication tables. There was fierceness in their desire to learn, despite how mightily everything was stacked against them…(pg. 32)
It was in Korphe with his hosts, while partaking in three cups of tea, that human connections steeped, and bonds strengthened, and when Mr. Greg made a promise. In September of 1993, he decided to build a school for this town, a place on the road where a wrong turn had been made.
On April 3rd, Greg Mortenson will be coming to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago for a CAI Gala Dinner and fundraiser to present his new book, Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Stones into Schools continues his story into the roiling present, providing historical, political, cultural and religious context for CAI’s work. Work that seeks, through education, particularly for girls and women, to be the solution for the fanaticism brought to these areas by ignorance: “If you fight terrorism, that is based in fear. But if you promote peace, that is based in hope. And the real enemy I think is ignorance. It’s ignorance that breeds hatred,” says Greg. He adds that “…if a woman has an education she is much less likely to condone her son getting [sic] into violence or to terrorism.” And it is with his mother’s blessing that a young man goes on jihad. Without this blessing, hate, and the violence that follows, dissipate.
What Greg understood and acted upon intuitively from the day he got lost in the Karakoram is the custom of the three cups of tea–reaching and seeking out others and taking time to learn. In Stones into Schools, Greg collaborates with Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff so that a much needed school in a remote area is finally built. Of their work, Admiral Mullen says “…Only through a share appreciation of the people’s culture, needs and hopes for the future can we hope ourselves to supplant the extremist narrative. We cannot capture hearts and minds. We must engage them; we must listen to them, one heart and one mind at a time” (pg. 313). This is the worthy diamond amidst the dangerous, gritty, and risky work of bringing light into the remotest and most forgotten parts and peoples of these countries.
This article was originally published in the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue.
"Changing Central Asia on Three Cups of Tea," By Jena Doolas and Sayira Khokhar5.051 (The above paragraphs are from Jena Doolas and Sayira Khokhar’s article)

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Today, March 8, 2010, opednews has many great articles. I will give the writers' names and you may want to read their articles. Here are the names - thepen, Ray McGovern, Frank Rich, David Michael Green, Allen L. Roland (2 articles), William A. Collins, Thomas Farrell, Margaret Bassett, Michael Payne, and Mary MacElveen.

Quark (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

OK Thom,

So there's no hope for people like me and my family. We don't have the resources to put into "coins" for our postapocalyptic world. Do we just lay down and die?! I can barely sleep at night as it is.

I feel more and more desperate...

BTW, I already KNEW that this administration isn't PROTECTIONIST. They've said so time and time again.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Why are Americans treated like mushrooms? Why are they kept in the dark and fed crap?

American urban and rural areas are functioning more like Sodom and Gomorrah!!!

One of our sons has a background in Environmental Science, Health, and Safety. He shared some information with me. He said that each time we take a crap. Our crap can weigh from five to twenty-five pounds. There are people who will defy me and say that America is not a shit hole. If we reflect on the fact the weight of our crap ranging from five to twenty-five pounds and if everyone took a crap at the same time and flush the toilet at the same time, we would be drowning in shit.

America is currently a police state. Many Americans do not believe me. As the noose around our necks tightens ever so slowly and ever so steadily, more and more Americans will wake up to the fact that we are a police state whose citizens are slaves to the rich and to American corporations. Please never doubt that the goal of our government and the transnational corporations are to enslave Americans.

My cousin said to me one time. “Jerry, you and I came at the right time and we will be leaving at the right time.” We have three sons who will have to face their enslavement more and more each day.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

It often seems to me that the basic assumption of America's financial system is this -

Those who possess great wealth are entitled to it, and are also entitled to do whatever they may feel is necessary to obtain even greater wealth. This is true regardless of the source of their wealth, and without regard to whether or not the current holders of said wealth had anything to do with obtaining it themselves.

So, if your Grandfather made a fortune, and your Father simply failed to LOSE it, it is absolutely appropriate for you to maintain your extravagant lifestyle via the sweat and toil of others, whom you keep impoverished.

Can anyone possibly align the above with our nation's stated precept of LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL?

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Rush Limbaugh is promoting what? Rush say it ain't so!


Kim Kaufman (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

re Chris Dodd: I have been asking for a couple of week now: Are the bookmakers in Washington D.C. taking bets on which bank Chris Dodd is going to wind up at??

Gerald Socha (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

I like our U.S Postal Service. I do not want a private company looking at my mail. I am for the postal service to cease working on Saturday. The consumers have a choice. Has anyone heard of FedEx??? Our U.S. Postal Service does great work for you and me.

Charles in OH (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

The USPS is one of the best services. For $0.44, I can put a letter on my mailbox in Dayton, Ohio today to be picked up by the postal worker. I can go back to bed, leave my home or whatever because the postal worker does not have to enteract with me. The letter will be taken to the post office where it will be dumped into a hopper that will be taken to a regional sorting center. The letter will then be transported (trucked or flown) to another regional sorting center where it will be directed to the local post office of the letters destination. The local postal worker will deliver the letter to my former neighbor in Michigan on Wednesday.

Now, lets look at FedEx. I call FedEx to schedule a pickup of the letter (credit card required). I must wait at my home for a disignated time range for the FedEx worker to arrive. The FedEx worker arrives, scans the envelope, has me sign his handheld device and hands me a receipt before taking the envelope to a regional sorting center. The letter will then be transported (trucked or flown) to another regional sorting center where it will be loaded onto a truck for delivery to my former neighbor in Michigan. Now get this. The cheapest service FedEx offers will deliver my letter on Thursday for, are you ready, $17.58!

Honestly, is $.44 a letter too low for the service? Clearly. Do we really need Saturday service? No. I do know I would hate to see the USPS privatized and subject to the rates of FedEx.

Gene Savory (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

I taught for five years in public schools. I eventually realized that public school was more about crowd control than education.

Tim (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Nancy Pelosi is 3rd in line to the President. The only aircraft in the inventory that can fly her home is too large for her and her staff. If she was a regular congress person, I would agree, that she need to fly commercial, but she is 3rd in line. You would not ask the President or Vice President to fly commerical, you can't ask her. The last speaker lived closer to DC and could take a smaller jet.

Rick in Canadia (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

The Name Game / Code

Thom, you obviously cover much of this in your book Deciphering the Code, but on some current usage; here are a few examples.
It's good to see you call people to task on the use of 'the Democrat' party. It may be as you say, they enjoy the word 'rat' at the end, but I think it may be a fear of the term 'Democratic' being too positive sounding, maybe inferring that the Republicans are the 'non-democratic' or Anti-democratic party..
I'm surprised they haven't worked the word Patriot into it somewhere; I imagine that may fall to whatever actual party comes out of the Tea-baggers.

Yes, I intentionally used that term as a sign of my low respect for what I have seen of them. Mea Culpa.

Other disrespect is a bit more subtle. For that unfortunate 8 years, the term was 'President Bush'. Now I think too many of the right and supposedly middle wing pundits and news people have gotten comfortable with 'Mr. Obama'. From the first time I heard that I took it as a sign of doubt in his legitimacy.

Whole countries are also targets. This may be concious or un-concious, as with many of the voters, but the established US pronunciation of Iraq and Iran rapidly became 'Eye-rack' and 'Eye-ran'. This follows 'Eye-talian' as a disparaging usage, the way I hear it.
It's not that the American tongue is incapable of pronouncing it correctly. It's not that foreign; Eye-sreal? Eye-llinois, Eye-ndiana??

Nucular was just unfortunate and I don't think it was badly intended.

In Canada it isn't legislated or anything, but we have the CBC and they have an arbiter of pronunciation who pronounces on whatever disputed words arise.
It is fun at times. There will be calls to radio shows, references to the OED listings, sometimes spirited discussion, but the goal especially in foreign terms is to meet or approach the local usage.

I travel to Italy and I am promptly and happily corrected for place names etc.

What you have going on with 'Mr. Obama' etc. is more purposeful and disturbing.
(Keep putting it to the 'Republic Party' and hey, if you have someone on from the Cato Institute, there should be equal time for the Green Hornet Foundation.)

Progressive Mews (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

The Tea Party guy who called in about fraud and abuse of government spending is a prime example of just how WHACKY our priorities are in the US! And this problem is apparent throughout our entire system when you compare private wages to any government job too.

Yesterday I sat next to a veteran at a Coffee Party meeting, and he shared his own experience with wages with me. He said that when he was nearly 20 years into his military career he was making approximately $2500 per month, while his girlfriend at the time was not even a year into her job with a private company, and she was making about $3500 per month. And as he also pointed out, she had no loyalty whatsoever (would jump to a higher paying job in a heartbeat), whereas his job clearly requires loyalty and was contracted. Obviously, being overseas on a battlefield), what he was doing was far more dangerous as well.

OUTRAGEOUS! Like Thom said, nobody questions this type of immorality. I believe this is a national crisis of priorities.

Charles in OH (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

The concept of payday lending is justifiable. What is not is the interest rates the lenders charge.

Charles in OH (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

So, Wayne Root is the typical capitalist; he never met a rule he likes.

D.Silva (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

I called one of these companies because they would loan money secured with your car. I figured you could get a good rate since it is secured. The rate I was quoted was 7.5%. Not bad until they said that it was a monthly rate!? So I asked does that mean the APR is 90%? They said "YES". 90% APR for a loan secured with your transportation! That is criminal.

Rick in Canadia (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

On the payday loan sharks;
There is a difference between the 'Free Market' deciding what someone can charge, and a system gouging to the tune of 'What the market will bear'.
There is no competition. As your guest said; nobody else will lend to these people. Knowing that, the sharks will ramp up interest rates and charges as high as they can.

It is the same thing with insurance. There are no competitors.
If you make shoes and sell them for $500., most people will go look for the $100. ones from a competitor. If nobody else would sell you shoes, you would be stuck with the top price pair.

Finally, I don't think the exploded costs are balanced off by actual defaults, at least not except those brought on by the usurious rates and fees meant to expand the debts beyond all reason.

Shyla (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

I've used payday loans before, and always paid them after the 2 week loan period. I hate that they exist and I hate that for some unfortunate people they are necessary.

Wendy (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

I've been on both sides of the payday loan issue - I was a customer and an employee of a payday loan lender.

As a customer, I have to say that their services were very helpful when we needed it. Having said that, it's a vicious cycle that's very difficult to escape. You borrow $300 and must pay it back with your next paycheck, but that makes you short on cash again. So you take out another loan to get through that pay period. And on and on...

As a manager of a payday loan lender, I hated my job. There was a "sales quota" to be met and if I didn't hit that, I was harassed by upper mgt. I was also forced to just about misrepresent certain products to customers in order to sell them. Part of my job was also collections and I was trained to strong arm people to repay the loan. I lasted less than 6 months before I decided I couldn't take it anymore.

As for the interest rate, I never saw anyone pay that much - even when they defaulted on the loan. A customer could come in 6 months later and pay the loan amount without extra penalty.

warren (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

regarding the statement that Nancy Pelosi uses a private plane to travel home,that procedure was mandated by the republican congress after 9/11 for use by the speaker of the house

Mark K (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

It was great to see Thom take on one of these callers identifying himself as a teabagger and expose him as the hypocrite he was. It is also a frightful thing if we allow the privatization of much of government, particularly by putting our “defense” of paid mercenaries like Black Water who essentially have no accountability, and most of whom are in the “business” for the killing. In regard to the private/public education issue, when I was living in Sacramento there was a school district that largely divided along racial and economic lines. The wealthy white half with most of the resources tried to force a referendum on separating itself from the poor, largely minority half. I left town before there was a resolution to the matter.

In regard to payday loans, it hardly seems likely that these predatory lenders have the interests of the impoverished in mind, particularly since most payday loans have to be paid in full with the next paycheck, and not over an extended period like other loans. People can easily fall prey to a cycle where each successive pay check pays is worth less than the one before.

moonbat666 (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Thom, If you remember the 60's, you did not experience the 60's. I was 18 in `964. Oh shit, now you all know.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

@moonbat - would that be 964 BC or AD?

Geez, and I thought _I_ was gittin' old! :D

moonbat666 (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

@Mark, Your comment was right on. Thanks

moonbat666 (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

@ Mstaggerlee, i never check the crap that i write. 1964 You got me again.

moonbat666 (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

I've been tempted to go to the chat room, but you guys all seem to be so lonely.Tom was playing Willy Nelson today and my favorite comment from Willy was in a recent issue of RS. He said that he had out lived his dick. Damn it all to hell.

Jim Jay (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Hi Tom;

Regarding the payday loans - It's really not a bad thing if you use it as intended. I know sometimes I get invited to a veterans activity with the Vietnam Vets. If an activity is out of town and it falls on a weekend where I have not recieved a check. I'll just give them a posted dated check for a couple hundred and I do tell them to run it through on my payday. That because I want the check to clear my account before I make any other diposition of it.

But you don't want to borrow that stuff to pay other bills with.

Take care - I enjoy listening to you,


shane (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

Nafta, 3.5 millon more jobs outsorced to mexico..why because mexico has put a illegal tarriff on american goods.. and we back down and let drivers without drug testing,and without a database of their drivers to come drive 80,000 lbs trucks on our roads around our towns..the last decent paying american jobs outsource,and dont think about what happens when a accident in our country happens with a mexican carrier?equal protection under whos laws..questions see "ooida"website (owner operator independant drivers association)

pahrumplife (not verified) 12 years 11 weeks ago

www.pahrumplife.org writes: Why privatization? In a nutshell: because mega corporations want it and those legally bribed (lobbied) in government, law makers and Judiciary, want it too, for profit, a government of the corporations by the corporations and for the corporations (remember they are “persons” in the law) working toward liberty for some and Medicare for nobody. Corporations have the gold and make the rules and are having their way with the people. It’s not too late yet to do something to stop them.

textynn (not verified) 12 years 10 weeks ago

We're not giving up on REAL health care reform. Now is the time to demand Democracy or force the Administration to admit they do not represent the people.

Have you heard this. It's great. Now's the Time!!!

This is about Single Payer but it should be out there. WE are not giving up.

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.

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