Daily Topics - Tuesday - April 13th 2010

Thom's back!!

Hour One - Do CEOs work for shareholders, employees, customers or society as a whole?

Plus...Ellen Smith www.minesafety.com Massey mine safety violations

Hour Two - In France, workers are committing suicide and blowing up factories...what is going on in America?


Hour Three - Grover Norquist
www.atr.org When will Americans finally figure out that they've been had by shills for the rich

Plus...Chuck Collins
www.accuracy.org New Report: "Shifting Responsibility: How 50 Years of Tax Cuts Have Benefited America's Wealthiest Taxpayers"

Comments

constans's picture
constans 12 years 34 weeks ago
#1

Mark K: Stupidity and arrogance as a combo are typically more fit for satire and black comedy than serious dialogue, but apparently someone forgot to tell that to Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, their carnival barker Sean Hannity, and their foolish fans. I can imagine them as some kind of creepy cross-pollination between Hans and Franz and the Vancome Lady (VL: “I’ve lost every job I’ve ever had.” TV producer: “Then you’ll be perfect at Fox.”). Palin’s ridiculously inane comment that Obama’s nuclear weapons reduction pact is like a kid on the playground saying “'punch me in the face, I'm not going to retaliate” demonstrates her utter deficiency in reflection and reason; we need a president with a cool head in a crisis, not a power-mad moron with an itchy finger. We need a president who understands the dangers inherent in the use of nuclear weapons, one who understands that ultimately the safety of the world rests on the eventual destruction of all nuclear stockpiles—not a president who moves without thinking, like a “barracuda.”

After Obama derided Palin’s statement after George Stephanopoulos forced him to address her comments, Obama was again criticized on Fox as having the illusion of intelligence because he had a lot of “smart” people to tell him about nuclear weapons and arms control. What is particularly frustrating about these accusations is that Obama does, in fact, have some competence in these matters, and this was never pointed out by the media. Ever heard of the Lugar-Obama Initiative? Since 2005, Obama worked with Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican, on weapons non-proliferation and interdiction, as well as funding U.S. assistance to help safeguard or destroy Russian stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, particularly those in former Soviet states. Palin’s personal knowledge of the nuclear issue, of course, is derived from the “fact” that she can see all those nukes from her back porch somewhere in Alaska.

Speaking of Hannity, Mike Malloy yesterday pointed out in his inimitable way that the talentless blowhard and good friend Oliver North are using dead and wounded soldiers to promote their political agenda through their so-called “Freedom Alliance” college tuition charity. Very little of the millions of dollars that have been raised has actually gone to soldiers’ children, and usually in the $1-2,000 range, which these days is practically nothing. Most of the money, it has been reported, has gone to “expense,” meaning that while he claims he hasn’t been paid “one dime,” it seems that a lot of the money has been used for Hannity and company's billionaire-style travel and accommodations expenses. The man is utterly without shame or integrity.

constans's picture
constans 12 years 34 weeks ago
#2

Also over the weekend, CNN aired a segment on the Massey mine tragedy. A federal mine inspector told a CNN reporter point-blank that closing the mine despite all its safety deficiencies would have been worse than enforcing safety regulations. When given an opportunity to modify his statement, in which the CNN reporter led him with the observation that he detected “frustration,” the inspector denied this, saying he thought everything had been done to insure safety (despite the thousands of violations over the recent past), and he was merely sorry that such accidents happen, and that they will continue to occur even if safety enforcement was a priority. No doubt he got his job from a Bush appointee….

…..and a federal appeals court ruled that the FCC has no power to enforce net-neutrality against powerful communications companies who would block or slowing content that it might regard as politically harmful; China already does this. It isn’t hard to see communications companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, in league with other business behemoths and right-wing politicians, controlling what information that is available on the internet, even by subtle means such as feeding “undesirable” outlets through slow lines that make it difficult or impossible to access that information.

Zero G's picture
Zero G 12 years 34 weeks ago
#3

War Crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan

by Robert Dreyfuss

War crimes, massacres, and, as Al Jazeera properly calls it, "collateral murder," are all part of the US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

The release last week of the Wikileaks video, thirty-eight grisly minutes long, of US airmen casually slaughtering a dozen Iraqis in 2007 -- including two Reuters newsmen -- puts it into focus not because it shows us something we didn't know, but because we can watch it unfold in real time. Real people, flesh and blood, gunned down from above in a hellish rain of fire.

The events in Iraq, nearly three years old, were repeated this week in Afghanistan, when trigger-happy US soldiers slaughtered five Afghans cruising along on a huge, comfortable civilian bus near Kandahar.

As the New York Times reports:

"American troops raked a large passenger bus with gunfire near Kandahar on Monday morning, killing and wounding civilians, and igniting angry anti-American demonstrations in a city where winning over Afghan support is pivotal to the war effort."

The Kandahar incident is only one of many, of course. Over the past year, dozens of Afghans have similarly died in checkpoint and roadside killings. Not one, not a single one, of these murders involved hostile forces. In other words, when the smoke and dust cleared, in all of the cases over the past year the bodies recovered were those of innocents.

The war crimes continue. For all the hoopla about change, the carnage goes on.

Quark's picture
Quark 12 years 34 weeks ago
#5

Tax the Richest

An ad for this website ran on a local MN channel this week:

http://www.taxtherichest.com/

MugsysRapSheet's picture
MugsysRapSheet 12 years 34 weeks ago
#6

Thom,

I'm hoping that, since President Obama considered the "Citizens United" ruling significant enough to criticize during the SotU, he recognizes the Rightward tilt of the Court and recognizes the need to shift the balance.

Let's hope.

Zero G's picture
Zero G 12 years 34 weeks ago
#7

OK Thom,

You've been advocating that it is imperative to keep the presidency in Democratic hands precisely because of the coming Supreme Court vacancies. If you are now saying that Obama will probably show the same spinelessness that was evidenced in the health care debate in his choice for the court, what is the point of trying to provide cover for him?

The deaths go on overseas, and the American workforce is under continuing assault. We've been given the continued reign of Bernanke and Gates. Change? Where?

Thomas Jode's picture
Thomas Jode 12 years 34 weeks ago
#8

Hey Thom,
Last weekend a Coffee Party Meeting finally came to my hometown. I joined and I liked what was said there. The main message at the meeting was about Civil Discourse. If we are to make the change we all really can believe in then a consolidation of We The People, the "Radical Middle", is imperative.

Quark's picture
Quark 12 years 34 weeks ago
#9

"Watchdog Groups Call for Criminal Charges Against U.S. Chamber of Commerce Director Don Blankenship for Homicide"

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/watchdog-groups-call-for-criminal-charges-against-us-chamber-of-commerce-director-don-blankenship-for-homicide-90602334.html

harry ashburn 12 years 34 weeks ago
#10

I still remember Jack Welch in his retirement inteview w/ Babba WaWa bragging that now GE only dumps "a few teaspoons" of BCB's into the Hudson as opposed to "tons".

"Juvenile Court To Try Shooting Defendant" - headline from leftwingwacko.com

harry ashburn 12 years 34 weeks ago
#11

errata: PCB'S not BCB;s

Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 12 years 34 weeks ago
#12

Molly Ivins commented on the people who were "too rich to go to jail." She's reaching from beyond the grave to point a finger at Blankenship.

Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 12 years 34 weeks ago
#13

Whatever happened to banishment? It might be useful. If no country would take our refuse, there's always Antarctica - by agreement no country can claim the land.

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 34 weeks ago
#14

White Americans will never permit a minority person to be elected president. Here are the reasons.

Virginia’s law on subjective literacy tests for minority voters will eliminate about twenty million minorities from voting across the United States of Hell. Our electronic voting machines with no paper trail are rigged. The United States Supreme Court under the control of the Catholic Mafia will always favor rich whites and American corporations. For the poor and middle class the Supreme Court will say, “Let them eat cake.”

Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 12 years 34 weeks ago
#15

The lesson of the fable, "The Grasshopper and The Ant" is missed by most. The Ant is a member of a socialized community. The Grasshopper is on his own, regardless of his attitude. Society is proved to be superior. The Ant, having only a limited specialty, is nothing without her community.

Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 12 years 34 weeks ago
#16

In five years of teaching in public schools, I observed that a big part of our educational system is about crowd control. As justice is only a side effect of the justice system, learning is becoming a side effect of educational systems.

harry ashburn 12 years 34 weeks ago
#17

tonite on pbs: Nova on the edge of space, and Frontline on Obama's political deals. Check local listings.

9KLRUNOVA Hunting the Edge of Space: The Ever Expanding Universe NEWFrontline Obama's Deal NEW

9KLRUNOVA Hunting the Edge of Space: The Ever Expanding Universe NEWFrontline Obama's Deal NEW

renouveler's picture
renouveler 12 years 34 weeks ago
#18

SNCF: Societe National de Chemin de Fer or in English, National Society (or ministry, department) of railways.

Zero G's picture
Zero G 12 years 34 weeks ago
#20

Laid-off workers threaten to blow up French plant

Zero G's picture
Zero G 12 years 34 weeks ago
#21

Gerald,

Good article by Robert Reich, but America was never "the same."

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 34 weeks ago
#23

Ninety percent of Americans are either cannon fodder or mushrooms. Mushrooms are kept in the dark and fed crap.

harry ashburn 12 years 34 weeks ago
#24

@Gerald, yeah, but its human nature to tune-out too much bad news. Denial is a useful defense mechanism, but it has become the national ethos.

Zero G's picture
Zero G 12 years 34 weeks ago
#25

Blankenship, a local boy who made good and became the first non-Massey family member to head the giant mining firm, has been aggressively anti-union, as has the entire company. A bitter strike by the United Mineworkers in 1984-85, in which the company, backed by the Reagan administration, brought in scab workers and hired private armed guards backed by West Virginia State Troopers to harass and intimidate unionized workers, lead to a breaking of the union at the company, which is now largely non-union, and across the country.

Massey Energy Bought Workers' Comp Insurance Shortly Before Mine Blast

Quark's picture
Quark 12 years 34 weeks ago
#26

Thom,

Thanks for the interview with Kevin Zeese at StoptheChamber.com. I will sign up!

Zero G's picture
Zero G 12 years 34 weeks ago
#27

Tim Leary: Turn on, tune in, drop out.

Fox News: Turn on, tune off, drop dead.

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 34 weeks ago
#28

Robert S., I cannot speak for other people but my wife and I have reevaluated our needs and wants. Everyone has certain needs but our wants can be dropped from our vocabulary. Here are six words to help people to be happier. HAVE LESS, DO LESS, SAY NO!!!

harry ashburn 12 years 34 weeks ago
#29

@Robert S. amen! The most pertinent slogan of the '60's and '70's for me was:

"Party 'til ya puke!!" :D

Actually, it was "Live simply so that others may simply live."

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 34 weeks ago
#30

harry ashburn, let us not forget that blaming is also part of the American ethos.

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 34 weeks ago
#31

harry ashburn,

"Live simply so that others may simply live." - Mahatma Gandhi

harry ashburn 12 years 34 weeks ago
#32

@Gerald ?? why are we either cannon fodder or mushrooms? by nature?

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 12 years 34 weeks ago
#33

If the penalties for regulations fall short of changing unsafe practices, obviously the penalties must be increased (as well as enforced). Change the critical varible in their calculations and the bottom line will keep the companies in line.

harry ashburn 12 years 34 weeks ago
#34

@Gerald thanx for the source of the quote.

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 34 weeks ago
#35

Thom, thank you for making my day with Rush Limbaugh's comment on unions. That comment proves Limbaugh is a total idiot.

harry ashburn 12 years 34 weeks ago
#36

@Maxrot, we've had the foxes guarding the henhouse for 30 years. At the head of most regulatory agencies, in Washington and here in Austin, are former CEO's and others who have a financial interest in the industries they regulate.

Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 12 years 34 weeks ago
#37

@harry, your right (though I think 30 years is an underestimate).

harry ashburn 12 years 34 weeks ago
#38

@Maxrot: that's 30 ELEPHANT years.

"Kids Make Nutritious Snacks" - headline from leftwingwacko.com

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 34 weeks ago
#39

harry ashburn, by nature we are not either cannon fodder or a mushroom. We are control by the powerbrokers and they place us in the category of cannon fodder or mushroom. Since I am seventy years old, I cannot be cannon fodder to fight in American wars. I am placed in the mushroom category. By either category we are shit on by the powerbrokers.

harry ashburn 12 years 34 weeks ago
#41

@Gerald, so you do agree there is someone to blame? thats my point. Peas!

harry ashburn 12 years 34 weeks ago
#42

@Gerald, at least we're not toadstools!

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 34 weeks ago
#43

Charging CEOs and Boards for murders, I believe that our murder rates will go down significantly.

rladlof's picture
rladlof 12 years 34 weeks ago
#44

President Obama would NEVER choose a Liberal or a Lion to serve on SCOTUS. Being the wishy-washy, mediocre, just right of the center of the road pro-corporate plutocrat that he is, he will chose THE wishy-washiest , most mediocre, just right of the center of the road pro-corporate plutocrat with a law degree he can find . . . Maybe his wife.

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 34 weeks ago
#45

Yes, harry ashburn, but the powerbrokers are above the law and they cannot be blamed for any murders.

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 34 weeks ago
#46

harry ashburn, our call in life are to be shit kickers.

Zero G's picture
Zero G 12 years 34 weeks ago
#47

The Case Against Elena Kagan

by Glenn Greenwald

It is far from clear who Obama will chose to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, but Elena Kagan, his current Solicitor General and former Dean of Harvard Law School, is on every list of the most likely replacements. Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog has declared her "the prohibitive front-runner" and predicts: "On October 4, 2010, Elena Kagan Will Ask Her First Question As A Supreme Court Justice." The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin made the same prediction.

The prospect that Stevens will be replaced by Elena Kagan has led to the growing perception that Barack Obama will actually take a Supreme Court dominated by Justices Scalia (Reagan), Thomas (Bush 41), Roberts (Bush 43), Alito (Bush 43) and Kennedy (Reagan) and move it further to the Right. Joe Lieberman went on Fox News this weekend to celebrate the prospect that "President Obama may nominate someone in fact who makes the Court slightly less liberal," while The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus predicted: "The court that convenes on the first Monday in October is apt to be more conservative than the one we have now." Last Friday, I made the same argument: that replacing Stevens with Kagan risks moving the Court to the Right, perhaps substantially to the Right (by "the Right," I mean: closer to the Bush/Cheney vision of Government and the Thomas/Scalia approach to executive power and law).

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 34 weeks ago
#48

Thom, I know that you wanted Obama to pick the Supreme Court Justices. But, there is no guarantee that his appointments will have progressives on the court.

rladlof's picture
rladlof 12 years 34 weeks ago
#49

‘Clean Coal’ burns blood red as well as blacker than smoke . . .

rladlof's picture
rladlof 12 years 34 weeks ago
#50

This is largely a redux of the 1930s and 1870s and 1760s . . .

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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