Daily Topics - Tuesday March 23 2010

healthcare is right imagesHour One - Why should the United States be the only country in the world that allows for profit health care? Economist Dr. John Lott http://johnrlott.blogspot.com

Hour Two - Why are the Republicans calling for a return to slave breaking?

Hour Three - How can America best support both Israel and peace in the region? Hadar Susskind Director of Strategy and Policy at J Street www.jstreet.org


Mark K (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

I heard an announcement on NBC declaring it was “restarting” a series called “The Fleecing of American” by “Big Government.” Funny how the corporate-owned television never digest the fact that their masters are the de facto “government” in this country. Meanwhile, ACORN announced it was closing its Illinois and national offices, due to lack of funding since the “fraud” committed not by ACORN people but by a fanatic named James O’Keefe. In this case, the so-called mainstream media can be blamed for taking part in an aggressive assault on the Voting Rights Act, deliberating giving a malicious and possibly criminal fringe-right frat boy element the airtime, “credibility” and power to engage in deliberate voter suppression. And even after the “Louisianagate” scandal that we’ve heard nothing about since the day that story broke, the New York Times repeatedly ran stories disparaging ACORN even though an investigation showed that the video tape made by O’Keefe was plainly doctored and over-dubbed. Not that this is anything new; after all, the mainstream networks refused to investigate or acknowledge the blatant minority voter suppression in Florida and Ohio.

gene savory (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

President should have done a bait-and-switch and signed The Conyers version.

Mark K (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

The problem with trying to make a distinction between mandatory car insurance and mandatory health insurance is that it also highlights their similarities. People who drive don’t “plan” on getting into an accident. Why should they pay auto insurance? But they do have accidents, usually from their own fault or someone else's. Why do people have to pay insurance? Because if someone is injured, maybe seriously and for life, there will be acute cost to all involved. Due to “unforeseen” circumstances, a person may face tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars in compensation payments, and the victim may face months, years or a lifetime of disability. In these circumstances someone has to pay, and someone has to receive (people who don’t drive should not assume they are immune from this dynamic; after all, they have to cross the streets that cars use, and every so often a pedestrian is injured or killed by drivers making right turns while looking left).

It’s the same thing with health care. Young people may think that they will never get sick, but that is because they don’t foresee it. They make choices that effect their health, like eating fatty food, boozing or walking when they should be running (or vice-versa). And when they do get sick, and if they can’t pay for it, somebody else does. Or if nobody pays, the health care provider doesn’t get compensated, and this hurts everyone’s ability to receive affordable health care.

The left needs to forcefully point out the incongruity in the Republicans’ opposition to a plan that actually attempts to cover actual costs. The current proposal at least makes an effort to insure that what is used is paid for. The right would rather have people who either can afford health insurance but won't pay for it , or those who can't afford it, wait until they get so sick that the clog emergency rooms and pay for little or none of it (or die before they get there)—and nobody else is, either. Bill McCollum, the state attorney general for Florida, exclaimed that the provision that mandates insurance to the immortals or forces states to cover more of health care cost amounts to "a tax or a penalty on just living, and that's unconstitutional. There's no provision in the Constitution of the United States giving Congress the power to do that." That didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but no, it’s a foul if you get sick and you don’t want to pay; even Bernie Sanders supported that concept when asked on Thom’s show a couple of months ago. The health care industry—as opposed to the health insurance industry—should be doing a little more as a purely financial matter in supporting the bill, as flawed as it is.

The schizophrenia of so-called “blue” states was on display yesterday when the Washington state attorney general, who is a Republican, decided to ignore the wishes of the Democratic governor and legislature, and the state’s voters, by joining the red states in filing a lawsuit against the health care bill. Meanwhile, those on the hardcore progressive side wouldn’t mind seeing this plan fail altogether in favor of a mythical "Plan B.” We would all prefer some sort of public option. The question is does it have enough support now, even in the House, where a limited public option passed by one vote in its original bill. I have to be pragmatic as well as a bit cynical about these things. After all, racism will never die in this country, despite Thom's downgrading of it; all I have to do is walk outside to know that.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@Mark k. Yeah, poor ACORN, the embodiment of neighborhood empowerment. Many groups will continue under other names, but I'm sure their power is greatly diffused. Great examples of the bass-akwards thinking or memes the MSM (Main stream media) can engage. Another great example is the downfall of Dan Rather and the GWBush AWOL scandal. The allegations were true, and everything points to GW's motive was to avoid a drug test. The media preferred to assume it was a hoax. Im not defending Dan Rather as a journalist, but still he got screwed without justification over that.

"I'm the master of low expectations." -george w. bush

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

If I want to change my Health Insurance Company (if I have one) I need to find another job that will take me and offer me the Health Insurance Company I want.

Mr. Lott if you think that's reasonable or practical, I'm certain you need to get to a hospital right away so they can dislodge your head from your butt!

Humboldt William (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

The conservative notion of job choice and "employers competing for workers" only make sense in a climate with zero unemployment. If people don't even have one option for employment, how can that be called choice?

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

As I said yesterday and reiterate, we got an inch, lets keep working for the mile (and when we get close to that, we'll adjust to the horizon).

Mark K (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

Also, in regard to another one of those gender-bender so-called studies that Thom mentioned yesterday (this time out of that bastion of intelligentsia, New Zealand), what women say and what they do are usually two different things—or at least they better hope they do. I saw some of the altered photos used for comparison between the “masculine” and “feminine” look. The men with the “feminine” features looked more like 14-year-old boys, just like all those 14-year-olds who are the love-objects of 34-year-old blond-haired school teachers we keeping reading about. Maybe a more useful comparison is men with money, or not.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

I still want the Public Option, and I want to see Medicare age dropped, automatically every year by at least one year (essentially everyone will get two years closer every year, at that rate). I think the government could absorb those enrollment numbers easily.

I doubt any of it will happen, but I also know it never will if its never asked for.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@Nels re:As I said yesterday and reiterate, we got an inch, lets keep working for the mile (and when we get close to that, we’ll adjust to the horizon)."

When we get close to that, they'll switch to metric! - harry ashburn

Gene Savory (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

"Nearly Naked Gardener Gets Noticed! Boulder Exposure Could Lead to Tighter Rules"


I only wish I had written the headline.

Charles in OH (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

ACORN highlights the dishonesty of one plank in the Republican agenda. They maintain that government intervention in the public sector results in a decrease in voluntary public action or donations. If only the government would stay out of charity the community will rally to help those in need. ACORN was the embodiment of voluntary public action helping guide underpriviledged and uninformed citizens toward better circumstances. ACORN's mistep was to take on Republicans indirectly by registering voters that would most likely vote for Democrats.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

I think all Obama has to do to keep congress under the control of Democrats now is to start a strong debate on WallSt regulation. Even if they don't get it passed, they can still say, "Everyone said we wouldn't get health care passed, we did, and we'll get regulations passed too!"

Just start the debate, that's all that's needed. Of Course corporate America will react like a bee hive hit by a rock, money will flood the airwaves, but I'm quite certain, voters will (for the most part) see through that noise.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@harry, I think you're absolutely right, they will try to change to metric. No matter, as we close on the horizon, shoot for the moon, reach for the stars and travel to distant galaxies. ;-)

Gene Savory (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

Here's one for the burgeoning police state:
'DeKalb brothers indicted on eavesdropping charges' http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/2010/03/22/91459218/index.xml

Police can record you, but you can be arrested on Class 4 felony charges if you try to record them.

I think Rodney King was glad that someone 'eavesdropped' on his beating by four cops in LA.

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

For the honor of Washington State, let me state for the record that our Attorney General Rob McKenna's joining in the Anti-Healthcare lawsuit is his personal idea, not that of the governor or of the majority of our congressional delegation, which voted for the bill.

Whether the federal Supreme Court will find any merit in that lawsuit is the simple fact that there is precedent for just about every proposition you can imagine. This is a result of having laws written in natural language, which is intrinsically wobbly, and a 200-year-old pile of precedent which to quote-mine.

Further complications come from the fact that this is one of the most activist Courts in our nation's history, one which overturns legislation and precedent at near-unprecedented rates. It may therefore be a waste of time to consider legal issues as to whether there is precedent for the individual mandate; IMO that is the least important consideration to this Court.

I don't like the individual mandate much, although it appears necessary to making the thing work. Had Congress chosen to impose a tax with 100% credit for insurance premiums, it's difficult to see any reasonable court challenge.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

I just called all three offices of Rep. Michele Bachmann. I left a message to say that, as a Democratic activist, I urge Michele to push on with her anti-healthcare legislation as loudly and strongly as she knows how.

That will give her something to think about...

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@Quark, how very optimistic of you to believe Bachmann it capable of thinking.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago


M'I bad...LOL! :-)

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@Nels and Quark: Bachmann MAY be capable of following simple commands.

"Humans…the other white meat” – bumper sticker seen on a UFO

Mark K (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

Thom makes me think that "true progressives" like to keep things "in the family." Why would Republicans change the subject to gays (or something) when immigration reform is one of the next items on the agenda? The gay issue is just a diversion; people whether right-wing or "populist" can always find common cause when it comes to dark-skinned immigrants, regardless of status.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@Quark, bad? no not bad at all. Instead of thinking about it, Bachmann will just believe that even some Democrats support her and go even further to the wacky side (right side... whatever). If you call her again, try real hard to sound as sincere as you can be (no giggling and cackling until your off the phone).

Mena (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

We just called the Governor's office to show our displeasure with the Attorney General's frivolous lawsuit. Also asked where the money is coming from to pay for the lawsuit. She was so interested that she didn't even ask our address. We are so broke, but there is money for political lawsuits.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

and dont ask if her refrigerator is running.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@harry, do you think it would be running for her or against her?

mathboy (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

This is the last day I can listen to the show for the foreseeable future, because I finally got a job. But I will sign off with this:

I got involved. I went to my precinct caucus a week ago and ended up becoming a delegate to the county caucus, because I was one of the two people in my precinct that actually showed up. Our precinct was supposed to have 4 delegates. On top of that, the precinct caucus is your opportunity to propose items for the party platform, or sign up as an election judge or precinct committee member.

Tag, you're it.

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

From Today's Democracy Now!

MICHAEL MOORE: Well, I mean, to me, it all comes back to this issue of an economic system that is truly evil. And the healthcare bill that was passed ultimately will be seen as a victory for capitalism, because it protected the capitalist model of providing healthcare for people. In other words, we’re not to help people unless there’s money to be made from it. That is so patently disgusting and immoral, but that’s the system. That’s where we live.

And that’s why they’re not really going to do anything to the banks. Chris Dodd, the other day, saying—you know, when he proposed his bill, he says, “Well, you know, we don’t really want to punish Wall Street or these banks.” Oh, really? I want to punish them. I know a lot of people that want to punish them. In fact, I thought that was the whole idea of those of you who believe in your criminal justice system, that the way we reduce crime is to make examples out of those who commit crimes. If people know that they’re going to go to jail for a certain period of time, that may act as an incentive not to commit the crime. All we’ve—we’ve done the exact opposite: we’ve rewarded the criminals by giving them more money.

So I think that—you know, I mean, I’ve been making these movies for twenty years now, and I said this to you a few months ago, Amy, at—we were out there in Utah—that‘s right, we were in Utah—and it all comes back to this central issue, that unless we restructure our economic system, where we the people control it and it’s set up to fairly divide the pie, so that nobody goes without, we’re going to continue to see more decisions made that benefit the richest one percent that control more of our financial wealth in this country than the bottom 95 percent combined.

So, what to do? Is it reasonable to think that working within this system will ever change anything of substance? I remember Mr. Clinton building a marble monument to FDR while at the same time dismantling the safety net that was Roosevelt's true legacy.

What is it about the citizenry of the United States? Compare us to workers in France:

Train Services Disrupted In France As Rail Workers Strike Over Pension Reforms
3/23/2010 11:40 AM ET

(RTTNews) - Train services across France were disrupted Tuesday as rail workers went on a nationwide strike to protest the Nicholas Sarkozy-led government's plans to reform the pension system.

The strike supported by leading French trade unions will throw normal life out of gear in France with functioning of the public sector including schools, post offices and state media likely to be hit.

Besides, the striking workers are to stage public rallies in some 180 cities in France.

Although domestic train services were hit, international trains such as the Eurostar service between London and Paris remained unaffected.

The "job action" comes ahead of talks between Sarkozy and trade union representatives scheduled for later this month and also in April to discuss the proposed reforms to the country's pension system.

The workers are now saying that talks should also address key areas like job security, rising cost of living and working conditions.

The stir might prove to be a "rite of passage" for Labor Minister Eric Woerth who replaced incumbent Xavier Darcos following his party's humiliating defeat in Sunday's regional elections.

According to Francois Chereque, head of France's influential CFDT union, rising unemployment and stressful working conditions contributed to the prevalence of an "explosive" climate among workers.

It appears that the American workforce has been similarly broken

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@Nels, depends on the brand.:D

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@Nels: Hotpoint, probably so. Frigidaire, probably not.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@Nels, assuming, that is, that there is still a brand made in USA, therefore eligible to run.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@harry, something in my gut says 'Whirlpool' (something to match her mental landscape) :-)

Quark (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

DeMint is also 1) the one pushing the congressional Republican policy of "NO," as well as 2) leader of a congressional delegation to Honduras after the military coup there:

"DeMint Honduras Trip Planned In Defiance Of U.S. Policy"


DeMint is real piece of work.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

harry ashburn,

Re: “Humans…the other white meat” – bumper sticker seen on a UFO

Love it!

Quark (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago


Congratulations! Be well. We will miss you. Come back when you can.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@Nels, I don't want to go 'round and 'round about this.. Whirlpool is cool!"

"D'ya think Wilma Flintstone had dinosaur-powered, hand-held small appliances that didn't appear on the show?" - harry ashburn

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago


Congrats on the job!

That said, I wish you the best of luck working within the Democratic Party. It is true, no doubt that delegates can influence the platform committees. The 2008 Democratic Party Platform called for the end of the Iraq war. It goes on...

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@Nels: re:"DeMint is real piece of work."

I suppose he's already been called DeMinted?

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

Washington State Residents:
Sign the stop-the-lawsuit petition
Join our FB page vs. McKenna's lawsuit

Residents of other states:
Get Active - Tag You're It!!!!

Quark (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

harry ashburn,

Re: "I suppose he’s already been called DeMinted?"

I will try to remember to call him that from now on! LOL

Kim Kaufman (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

Thom's piece on "breaking" and the subsequent caller was absolutely chilling for me. I grew up in NYC, currently live in LA (although I went to high school at Interlochen Arts Academy, in northern Michigan, which I mention only because Thom is from MI) and I had no idea of this and what Jim de Mint was really saying. Thank you for this insight.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@harry, I know he has, I did so on this blog about a month or so ago in reaction to one of his crazy statements.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@harry, but the name should be used as much as possible ;-)

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago


The Clinton State Department did little to demand the return of the rightfully elected President Zalaya of Honduras and was quick to affirm the elections sponsored by the coup regime, in defiance of the majority of South American nations.

We care little for the notion of democracy. We affirm the right of USAid to meddle in the elections of other nations. Just wait for the coming elections in Venezuela...check out:

The Anti-Venezuela Election Campaign
By Mark Weisbrot
Global Research, March 21, 2010
Guardian - 2010-03-18

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

It is "breaking" like "breaking a horse" or a beast of burden.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

@Nels: I bet he's related to Archie DeBunker.

Ed in Redondo (aka DancingBear) (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

Warning - the so called "Lynch letter" is a fake. For one of many debunks see:

When you take a good long look at it though, you'll find that the letter is clearly a fake. Here's why:

* The language of the letter is not 18th century, but rather a poor attempt by the author to use what he thought was classical English. In fact, words like "foolproof" and "refueling" were not even in use at the time.

* There has never been any mention of this letter before about 1993-1994. Neither Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, H. Rap Brown, Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, Assata Shakur, Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Mary McCleod Bethune, nor any other known black luminary to have published anything before that time ever mentioned a "Willie Lynch" in their writings.

*Lynch refers to "our illustrious King James..." He says that in reference to the colony of Virginia still under the governance of the British crown. But the monarch on the throne at the time was Queen Anne. James died in 1625.

* Lynch is said to have come up from the West Indies, but the letter never states from which Island in the region he came from.

* His plantation is supposed to be in the West Indies, but historical records show that owners of plantations in the British colonies lived largely in England and simply had others manage them while they reaped the rewards. Live-in ownership of plantations was not prevalent until much later.

* Lynch says that his "boat sailed south on the James River." Anyone who lives in Virginia knows that the James River runs primarily east-west.

* And among many other things wrong with the letter, the most glaring is that there is no historical evidence of any plantation owner named Willie or William Lynch owning a plantation anywhere on any island in the Spanish, British, Portuguese, Dutch, French or German Caribbean.

Later on it turns out that a librarian at the University of Missouri-St. Louis posted a reference to the letter in 1993. Long story short, the people at the school discussing it with her were never able to establish any authenticity. So bottom line, the overwhelming likelihood (and by that I mean 99.9 percent) is that this is nothing but a hoax.

Ed in Redondo (aka DancingBear) (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago
TAJ (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

With respect to your question what's going on with the racism rearing its ugly head, I believe as Gene Wilder said to Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles after being subject to a racial epithet "...You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... MORONS.

The video of the tea baggers should be part of every Democrat's campaign video this fall showing the true face of conservatism.

harry ashburn (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

re: Gardner: the bad news is the woman is 55 years old. THAT is a crime!

Nels (not verified) 10 years 20 weeks ago

It seems to me that racism is far from dead in America, but its dying, and being in its death throes, its thrashing about violently.

Will it ever go away completely, probably not, but with luck eventually it will be nothing but an object of ridicule.

America's Chief Grifter Strikes Again

Thom plus logo Trump says he is going to boost unemployment payments by $400, stop evictions, cut payroll taxes, and extend student loan relief.

In fact, these are all lies. As usual, it's a new con job, a grift from our grifter-in-chief.
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom is a national treasure. Read him, embrace him, learn from him, and follow him as we all work for social change."
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From Screwed:
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From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
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