Monday 29 March '10 show notes

  • Guests:
    • Jason Mattera, of the Young America's Foundation about the next generation of conservatives, author of "Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation".
    • Scott Paul, Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM).
  • Topics:
    • Should all tea partiers be required to sign an "I won't take social security and medicare" pledge?
    • Thom defends Obama Zombies
    • How do we get our jobs back to America?
  • Bumper Music:
  • Today's newsletter has details of today's guests and links to the major stories and alerts that Thom covered in the show, plus lots more. If you haven't signed up for the free newsletter yet, please do. If you missed today's newsletter, it is in the archive.
  • Quote: "It [racism] is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head-on and stamped out." -- Pierre Berton.
  • Thom:

    This is to my point, really what I was doing was kind of changeling Franklin Roosevelt, particularly with his "The Four Freedoms" speech. Roosevelt, though, in 1936, June 27 1936, his speech in Philadelphia, accepting his nomination for the second term as president, he quoted an old English judge, literally; he said, "as an old English judge once said, a necessitous man is not a free man". Now, back in 1936 people actually understood what necessitous means. It meant, and it means, a person who is homeless is not free. A person who doesn't have a job is not free. A person who doesn't have health care is not free. A person who has no social safety net to fall into if they fall is not free.

    Now, the millionaire and billionaire conservatives would have you believe, and definitely want everybody to believe, that freedom has to do with being on your own. But being on your own is different from being free.

    Being free means having the freedom to step out and start your own business. But you can't do that if you can't buy health care, or unless you can;t get health insurance unless you're employed by a big company. The big companies are arguably anti-freedom, or at least this system. You can't do that if you don't have food. You can't do that if you don't have... You can't do that if the bankruptcy laws have been rewritten as they were so you can do what Henry Ford did and declare bankruptcy if the first business doesn't work and start over again. A strong social safety net, "democratic socialism", actually provides for greater freedom. It's just that simple. It really and truly is. Just that simple.

  • Thom:

    The World Trade Organization is, was created in part by Bill Clinton, or was facilitated by Bill Clinton's having the U.S. sign the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). And that brought into being the World Trade Organization. The World Trade Organization is an international body that basically has taken sovereignty away from the United States and all of its other member nations and given it to a panel which is made up of both countries and companies. Corporations sit on the World Trade Organization as well as do countries.

    Same thing with NAFTA and this is like the worst of the U.N. The old conservatives fear that because our constitution says that when two thirds of the Senate signs, ratifies a treaty, that treaty becomes the law of the land. So if we ratified a treaty that said that every time we drink Coca Cola we have to say, "I love coke" and salute, or something like that, that would actually become the law of the, actually, that would be a lousy example because coke's made in the United States. Every time we use Saudi oil we have to stand and say, "hail the king of Saudi Arabia", if we signed a treaty that said that, that would literally become the law of the land. So when we signed the GATT treaties that created the WTO, we surrendered to this international body our ability to control our own trade policy.

    And the result of that, and with the G20, that's more of a kind of club, you know, it's a group of the wealthiest nations and they get together and decide monetary policy and things. But to the best of my knowledge the G20 doesn't have treaty authority in the United States. WTO does, as does NAFTA.

    And so the result is that because we no longer have control over our trade policy, frankly I think the easy solution is just pull out of NAFTA, the same way that George Bush pulled out of the ballistic, what was it, the ballistic missile treaty as I recall, or the ABM treaty, whatever the name of it was. We can basically simply unsign a treaty, and Bush unsigned a treaty that Clinton had signed. And Obama could do the same thing, saying, "we don't need no stinking WTO, we'll go into bilateral trade agreements, in other words, one country to one country, if we're going to have trade agreements with other countries, but by and large we're going to go back to a national trade policy that protects American jobs". Bottom line.

  • Thom:

    If you want the most technical term, our country is a constitutionally limited representative democratic republic. Our form of government, the constitution limits the power of government. We elect representatives, so it's not a pure democracy. But we do elect them by majority rule so it is democratic. And the form of, the infrastructure, the total form of government, is republican, it is a republic.

    In the early days of this country, James Madison basically created a distinction that didn't exist before this, and this was in 1787. The, it used to be, if you look at dictionaries pre 1787, the words democracy and republic were interchangeable. The Roman republic was referred to as a democracy, the Greek democracy was refereed to as a republic. The words were interchanged. And in one of the Federalist papers, and I forget which one it was, I think 14 maybe, but it's been a long time since I read them, in one of the Federalist papers in an effort to, which were put into the newspapers by Hamilton and Madison, and John Jay wrote a couple of them, to sell the constitution to people, because we were operating under the articles of Confederacy in 1787.

    To sell the constitution, Madison created this artificial distinction. And what he said, basically, was that democracy, that we weren't creating a democracy in the United States, and in a technical sense it is not a pure democracy, because like Greece, you had to have at least 6,001 people show up for a decision to be made. It had to be real majority rule. And so Hamilton, excuse me, Madison made the point that democracy could arguably be considered a form of mob rule, whereas a republic imposed, you know, an infrastructure of laws and prevented mob rule.

    Now, what he omitted, intentionally, because he was trying to sell the constitution, he was trying to basically reinvent language, what he omitted was that we democratically elect our representatives. And later in his life, in the 1830s, after his presidency was over, keep in mind this was in the 1770s or 1780s, in the 1830s when he was an old man, when he was writing his memoirs, he came out and said, and there's a whole, if you go to and look at my book reviews, the very first book review that I ever did for BuzzFlash, which was like five years ago, it's the oldest one on the list, is all about this topic, or it has several chapters on this topic. And I forget the title of it now, but it's a great book and it's written by a guy who's a constitutional scholar ["How Democratic Is the American Constitution?" by Robert A. Dahl.] And Madison in 1834 said, you know, after all these years, we can, you can use the words interchangeably. And that was about the time that the Democratic Republican party that Jefferson created dropped the word "republican" from its name. And that was about the time that Madison, who was one of the early founders of the Democratic Republican party started again using the word democracy.

    So from the 1830s, so from the founding or in the mid 1780s until the mid 1830s we referred to America as a Republic. From the 1830s until the modern era we referred to it as a democracy, but then when Joe McArthur came along he started, he and some of his advisors, and Karl Rove really got on this big time, said, "wait a minute, calling this a democracy sounds too much like the Democratic Party. We should call it a Republic because that sounds more like the Republican Party." And so the talking point on right wing radio has been, and Limbaugh's been pushing this for 20 years now, has been that we don't live in a democracy, we live in a republic, and that you shouldn;t call it a democracy, it's a republic. And the reason why is because they like the word republic because it sounds like republican and they hate the word democracy because it sounds like democratic. And ... that's the bottom line, we live in a democratic republic.

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