Daily Topics - Thursday - April Fools Day
Hour One - Why are right wing conservatives and Republicans encouraging domestic terrorism?
Hour Two - How are globalization and the war on drugs destroying America and Mexico? Charles Bowden "Murder City" www.perseusacademic.com
Hour Three - Should Big Pharma be spying on government regulators? Eamon Javers www.politico.com
Changing the website on April Fools Day. Planned chaos or lucky coincidence?
The aptly-named Vanity Fair is coming out with a 14-page blockbuster spread on Tiger Woods, revealing what Fox “Sports” calls “shocking” and “explosive” details on his sexual escapades, which a former adviser blamed on his hanging out with “SOBs” like Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. You know, any minute description of a sexual act and sexual parts, no matter how “normal,” is bound to sound “shocking” and icky, especially when it is a so-called “mainstream” publication that wades into this cesspool. There comes a saturation point when the reporting starts to say more about the reporter than the reportee.
Awesome letter to the TPers..
Anyways, last Sunday evening my brother flew in from California to help me celebrate my birthday. Before he got on the Rockaraoke stage at one of the reservation (where every man sang a metal monstrosity, and every woman a country tune) to sing a Billy Idol song—which caused me to reminded him (again) that I had wanted to leave the place an hour ago—we had a discussion on the issues of the day. It wasn’t quite as contentious as a waitress thought—she hoped that we wouldn’t use the steak knives for a sword fight. My brother is a conservative on the “common sense” side (I think). As an entrepreneur, he still thought there was too much, not too little, regulation, and that selling health insurance over state lines would reduce costs. However, he surprised me by offering as his principle objection to the health care bill was that it was too convoluted and complicated. Why didn’t they just extend Medicare to the uninsured? Yeah, I said, why didn’t they just pass something that gave people that option, providing the uninsured with something like a W-4 form except as a health care form in which a person would note the number of dependents, and taking into account income level, that person would be subject to a tax deduction off each paycheck that went directly to the Medicare fund? It made perfect sense to both of us. I had to point out, however, that all the Republicans and 33 Democrats in the House voted against the current bill not because it didn’t go this far, but because it went “too far.”
My laissez-faire brother also surprised me by expressing a curiosity as to why someone might call Sarah Palin a fascist. He seemed to accept my argument that Palin’s politics bore some resemblance at least to the Nazi version of fascism with a modicum of sincerity. For example, Palin’s appeal to suggestions of racism and violence does mirror the Nazis’ efforts to use Jews and other “untermenschen” as a focal point of the “master race’s” paranoia. Palin’s “populist” appeal also bore some similarity to the Nazis’ “working man” propaganda, which might give people a notion of populist “power,” but in actuality maintained their status of powerlessness before the supremacy of the corporate world. While Hitler threw workers a self-image bone while actively reducing their rights, behind the scenes he was dealing with the major German business conglomerations and banking institutions to help him create his war machine, which he had every intention on unleashing on the world as soon as feasible. I don’t know if Palin is capable of all this, but her power-hunger, her appeal to national chauvinism, and lack of judgment or prudence can make anything possible.
Love the new features. Interesting that this section decided to use my original user name instead of the name I've been using. Even got emoticons and the ability to edit your post. Absolutly marvelous. My only issue, it took me a while to figure out that the save button replaced the submit button (I'd recommend changing it back to submit).
The Powell Manifesto:
Hey, has anyone had the issue I had getting Thom's site to come up today? I have a quad processor AMD chip in my new computer with a tetrabyte of storage and 8 gigs of ram. Yet Yahoo kept overtaking my book mark and then, Internet explorer alone kept grinding to a halt even after I cleared cookies. Finally, with Mozilla, I got in. But even that was literally grinding. Must have lost an hour trying to get in today as a distraction. Geese!
There seems to have been some changes here. My user ID is constans, but I have been identifying myself as Mark K, which is my first name and last initial. I can't seem to be able to change it back to this in the account edit.
Thom brought up how business took over the Republican party, then asked what do we do to counter their success. First thing first, take a look at that brief and strengthen and support everything they targeted to take out, from their reforming the schools to targeting trial lawyers.
If you have the enemy's war strategy, you know what things you have that is of value to your enemy and what you need to reinforce. You can even glimpse what they have that is important to them and what you need to weaken.
My morning rant . . . The OC (Orange County in CA) Register is whining that Orange County businesses have to pay for education for the rabble and they are ticked off about it. The truth is that businesses get the same benefit as the rest of society when society provides basic educational services to its peoples:
1. A common transactional language & basic understanding of the monetary system
2. A workforce oriented towards performing tasks for a delayed reward system
3. Lower crime rates
4. Innovation and efficiency
I HATE it when sociopaths get a little money in their pockets then fervently work to force others to make do with less. GRRRR . . .
"Why are right wing conservatives and Republicans encouraging domestic terrorism?"
@constans aka Mark K. I wouldn't let the name change bother you, other bloggers here will soon recognize your style and identify it with the new name soon enough.
"A rose by any other name..." etc.
'Free Trade' is a misnomer . . . It is not free as it price is our country's manufacturing capacity and it is not trade as it drains the country's coffers and natural resources.
I vote for changing "Free Trade" to "Anarchy Trade"
Love this guest Charles Bowden
Quote FoodFascist:Does someone have a link to the open letter that Thom just read?
NAFTA's food policies were used to break up the corn co-operatives in Mexico to make room for agribusiness and so these former farmers went to the big city in Mexico and to the US in droves. They were driven by this largely unknown breakdown in Mexican society.
Foodfascist - We had a few issues with the new site - but everything seems ok now....hopefully...<s> Louise
@ Louise, if you've only had a few problems with the new site, consider yourself very lucky. With the extreme makeover here I'd imagine bugs would be cropping up every where. Luv the changes, thanx
During the first hour Thom was talking about domestic terrorism. Does anyone know the exact quote from Glenn Beck regarding strangling?
Drill 'Bama Drill! (Still think its hillarious)
BTW Palin, that hopey/changey thingy is working out just fine for me
@Louise, a feature I would like to see on this page is an auto-refresh added to it (seems like I'm wearing out my refresh button on my browser ;-) )
Re: Drill Baby Drill
Did Obama really take the wind out of the Republican sails, or are the two parties' policies in action really the same. (Kind of like the Democrats passing the Republican version of Health care reform).
Wow! Finally got on. Getting familiar with the usernames will be interesting. Also notice the Mysterious Floating Head now has a shirt.
Nice job on the site.
Formerly Charles in OH
I am a little worried about Obama and the Democrats' political skill in undermining the 'rational' positions of the Republicans. Sure the Republicans look like nuts opposing their own health care plan but the plan itself doesnt really make anyone happy except the people already covered and the insurance companies. Maybe the right-wing-nuts will go to the Capitol and shout "Kill!" at it another few million times...
Opening the east coast to offshore drilling is a brilliant political move going into an energy policy debate - Obama gets behind the Republicans and there goes the wind out of their sails. Thirty years after its peak, domestic oil production is really marginal to creating sustainable energy independence for US. I am curious to see where the Republicans go now, but I am really concerned that there will be another give-away campaign by the Democrats.
Has President Obama become one of the two Santa Clauses?
MAKE BANKING BORING AGAIN!
Kewl - new website for Thom! I see that the first few words of a post are used as the topic, so I've placed the conclusion of my arguement at the top!
I often free-associate on my drive into work - put both the car and my brain on auto-pilot, and let them go where they will under minimal control. This morning, I was thinking about how pretty much ALL of the talking points that I seem to hear from the Cons these days seem to come directly out of the book I've been forcing myself to read over these past few weeks, Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged". The entire point of this book is to demonize the point of view that society has any right to re-allocate so much as a single penny earned by the labor of an individual. Several examples are provided of why this is so, all of which seem to me to carry the consequences of "liberal" policies far past the point of absurdity.
The essential arguement, however, is that the rich do the poor more good when they serve their own interests than when they are forced to serve the government's concept of the interests of the poor - that "men of intellect and ability" if allowed to persue their own agendas, without interference, will do wonderful things that will (a) create goods and services that benefit everybody, and (b) make a fortune for themselves.
Maybe, just maybe, that was true back in 1947 - I'm not sure I buy that hook, line & sinker, but let's accept it for the moment. I'm 56 years old, and I believe that I was on the trailing edge of the era in which those "men of intellect and ability" actually went into a fied where he produces things.
Back when I was young, banking and finance were very heavily regulated. There was little room, if any, for creativity - it was a painfully boring line of work, AND THAT WAS A GOOD THING!!! People who had the creative instinct, therefore, avoided the banking and finance sectors, and went into a line of work where they could create. Shortrly after, or perhaps right around the time I started my "career" (such as it is), the regulatory environment began to change, bank(st)ers and investors were granted more and more latitude, and the financial industries became more interesting and appealing to the creative person. Guys like me, who'd earned their undergrad degrees in Physics or Engineering, started to take Masters courses in Business Administration instead of the "hard" or applied sciences. These people took their creativity into the financial sector, where the relaxed regulatory structures allowed them to create these "exotic" ans "sophisticated" financial products (hell, folks, when I was a kid, anything financial was called a service, NOT a product), like derivatives and credit default swaps. As we have observed, these creations did absolutely no good for society in general - in fact, they damn near bankrupted the world.
So, obviously, there's only one solution to this situation ...
MAKE BANKING BORING AGAIN!
Have you noticed that gas prices are on the rise again? Once again, the banksters are messing with the "laws" of supply and demand, and are speculating on oil futures, just as they were doing in the summer of '08, when we started appraoching $5/gallon prices at the pump!
Taken in that light, the drilling maneuver by Obama is a countermeasure against the specs - it increases future supply, making oil futures a poor investment.
Actually (at least in my area) I was just commenting to my wife that gas prices have been abnormally stable. I was wondering if the oil companies were trying to keep a low profile with energy regulations coming up on the agenda. I'd say for almost the last month the cost of gas has been $2.899 in my LA suburb. (BP's Arco lowest Octane price that is)
I like the new site -- primarily because, unlike the old one, I can access it w/o it locking up my system and causing it to crash.
That said, I found the layout of the home page confusing -- too much going on. Also, it took multiple clicks to get to the live blog.
While I appreciate having space to type my comments, each blog entry takes up so much space that it's difficult to scroll through and follow them. It almost looks like one of those Windoze themes with monster fonts.
Ahem. On a more positive note, I was glad to hear from Charles Bowden again. The man is steeped in knowledge of the U.S. Southwest and was the major force behind the creation of the Sonoran Desert National Monument. His first book on Juarez was published in 1998 with a preface by Noam Chomsky and afterword by Eduardo Galeano -- pretty good company. He also told the truth about Charles Keating's crimes in his book Trust Me. (It'll be interesting to see if that title is underlined when I upload this comment. It is in the edit section but not in the preview.)
@Nels (yeah, I'm gonna stick with the OLD names, when I can) -
I live in NY, which has relatively high taxes on gasoline, and work in NJ, where gas taxes are considerably lower. Needless to say, I try to buy as much feul as possible in Jersey. Since the beginning of the year, prices at the pumps are up by about 10-15% hereabouts.
My Problem With Rand
The problem I have with Atlas Shrugged is the work is fiction. The wonder of fiction is you can take a premise not to its natural conclusion, but to the conclusion the author seeks. Sure her prose is partially based on factual concepts, but so are Tom Clancy novels. I have rejected reading Rand for that very reason.
I do beleive in understanding the enemy. So, I admire you in your anguish.
Re: Ayn Rand: "men of intellect and ability" if allowed to persue their own agendas, without interference, will do wonderful things that will (a) create goods and services that benefit everybody, and (b) make a fortune for themselves."
Has anyone ever challenged this myth and asked for examples of where this has worked the way it is predicted?
I am following your observations of Rand's book with interest. I tried to read Rand's books when I was in my 20s but just wasn't interested enough to delve that deeply into them, I guess.
RE: Corporate spying on Gov't Employees
Here's an issue that really frightens me about corporations being able to spy on gov't employees: Who says their going to use the information they find and make it public? What if they use it to find out which employees are the most vulnerable to being approached to do their bidding? Such as, John Doe here is close to defaulting on his home loan, and he can also get our project approved, perhaps we should approach him with a tantalizing offer?
That's the kind of thing the worries me most about corporate spying, not how are they going to expose corruption, more like how can they cause corruption for their benefit.
Wow- new site! Much friendlier to use and no doubt geared to simplicity to hopefully get some more of the tea baggers here so we can straighten them out. Randi Rhodes had to replay and replay the speech of Bush Jr talking about the Ownership Society to the teabagger argument that 'The Government' mandated the banks to loan to dumb poor people.
Does someone have a link to the open letter that Thom just read? I am on my way to our Congress persons event today to release exactly what is in the health bill - that's Doris Matsui- she's pretty good.
And why the hell should I have to pay the bank to go to college.
"Has anyone ever challenged this myth and asked for examples of where this has worked the way it is predicted?"
We are seeing the results of this myth with reduced regulation of men of intellect and ability. Forgive us all if we were to adopt the Libertarian model.
Impossible to fire Government Employees.
No its not impossible for Government employees to be fired. However, their supervisors must build the case against the employee. There is paperwork that must be filled out, one of the most important parts of this is the employee review. This gives the employee a chance to improve their work habits, as well as gives the supervisor the proof of deficiencies as they add up over the course of time.
Its a fair way of relieving someone of their job. Unlike the private sector though, an unsuspecting employee doesn't arrive in the morning at the job, to be surprised that their let go at the end of the day. If you were a government employee and been fired, either you didn't see the writing on the wall, or you broke a major rule.
@ Louis thank you! For both the open letter post and the reply- yes, part of this I imagine will just be getting used to something new. What I love is that little edit feature for when I re read my posts! Hopefully there is a spell checker here, too.
One more wish. I pride myself on promoting the Thom Hartmann Show in creative ways. Is there a link to a page on this site that lists all the different ways to listen and or watch The Thom Hartmann Show?
@LeMoyne THX for that link there- I have it is a safe place in my personal files.
Minnesota --- once thriving and progressive
I look around and see only the destruction wrought by the Rand/Reagan policies carried out by opportunist Governor Tim Pawlenty. I moved here 30 years ago because it was (to me) a progressive paradise. Under Pawlenty (taking instruction from Rove and others), we have really fallen to mediocre, at best. So I say, show me where these policies have actually made life for the majority BETTER! (No one seems to be held to account. Thom's right-wing guests never are.)
@ Maxrot (Nels?)
Government employees benifit from strong labor unions that protect their right to just cause. I have worked in both union and non-union facilities where bad employees were shown the door. The rub Repubs don't want people to know is, in my experience, the union shops were ran better and were more profitable. The non-union shops were in a constant state of training that led to poor quality and costly rework.
Breaking news.....from yesterday.....
After Patent on Genes Is Invalidated, taking stock. New York Times.
Many biotechnology stocks fell on Tuesday as investors struggled to understand the impact of a ruling that threw out parts of two gene patents and called into question thousands more.
mstaggerlee, anyname that gets my attention is fine with me (keeping my fingers crossed I don't start getting refered to as "Dolt" or "Dumb Ass" though"
One annoying issue- right after I post I am getting a blank comment on my own post. I do not need to see my post and a blank comment box. I want to see everyone else's posts, I find I am operating in a loop. - I have to get out of the board and then back in. I do stay on the site but get kicked out of this page.
Emoticons don't seem to work.
Anyone else having this problem?
You have my sympathy. You might more easily get the essence of her approach from one of the collections -- 'The Virtue of Selfishness' or 'For The New Intellectual'.
Perhaps an even better choice is Leonard Peikoff's book 'Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand' wherein he summarizes and comments on her key concerns. It's weighty but well written.
In fact, I may take that last recommendation and speed read it again just so I can better understand the mindset of the Cons . . . though I bet most of 'em even never read Rand.
@Maxrot: Emoticons don't seem to work.
Anyone else having this problem?
Is this what you mean by emoticon?
You're right --- they don't work!
Thanks for the Emoticon replies everybody, thought it might have been settings on my side... guess not.
Prop 16 in California is an example of corporate power at its worse. It says, if a community wants to create its own power generating system (municipal power services), it requires a 2/3 vote of community.
Putting the proposition on the ballot was totally funded by PG&E. The funding, among other things, involves hiring people from all over the nation (not necessarily California residents) to collect signatures.
I saw the PG&E's first advertisement in support of Prop 16 on the TV today, which inspired me to call and write this message.
You forgot to mention the main culprit, Greenspan. Of course, he was a disciple of Ayn. I am beginning to believe that Reagan was a moron and was not very aware of what was happening.
Federal Judge Finds N.S.A. Wiretapping Program Illegal
By CHARLIE SAVAGE and JAMES RISEN
A judge ruled that the government had violated a 1978 statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance when it intercepted phone calls of a now-defunct charity.
Yeah. So What... Do you think anyone (important) is going to do time for breaking the law?
If there are no consequences for breaking the law, then why not break the law, after all, the end justifies the means. Besides, only the lower classes commit real crimes.