The Importance of a Democrat in the White House...

According to the New York Times, based on an analysis of four sets of political science data, now after five terms, Chief Justice John Roberts’ Supreme Court is “the most conservative one in living memory.” During this time, the Roberts court “issued conservative decisions 58 percent of the time" and, in the last year, that rate increased to 65 percent, the highest since 1953. As Jeffrey Toobin noted last year in an article for The New Yorker, "In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party." And now with the additional appointment of Alito, Bush moved the Supreme Court so far to the right that some are wondering when they're going to repeal the minimum wage and child labor laws, as the last uber-conservative court did about 100 years ago. Given that the Supreme Court is the most powerful of the three branches of government - the result of their taking onto themselves a power not given them in the Constitution, the power to declare laws unconstitutional which they asserted in 1803 - it becomes ever more important that there be a Democrat in the White House over the next two terms when it becomes increasingly likely that one of the conservative members of the court will retire.


Lebovitz 13 years 47 weeks ago


This is just another way the wealthly avoid paying TAXES! Having known a Dentist, also head of School Board, in Redlands, CA. The company I worked for bartered over $20,000 in building materials in trade with the owner's and their family member's dental work.

This was done during the Pappy Bush Years secretly. Now the GOP boldly are spreading this form of tax evasion!

BTW: Not that this has anything to do with this tax evasion, but this Dentist's son murdered another child while in High School....This is just another example of "Family Values"!

kimk 13 years 47 weeks ago

Except that Obama hasn't really addressed the judiciary, has he? Sotomayor is OK. Kagan is a dud. And all the rest of the judicial appointments are non-existent. Sure, it's possibly better than Sarah Palin would do but far less than Obama should be doing. Not enough for me to get excited about him.

As for your clip of Rachel Maddow extolling Obama's great legislative accomplishments, hearing that show was the second to last nail in the coffin for Rachel. The last nail in the coffin was her embedded puff piece in Afghanistan. She has become a hopeless DNC spokesperson. One day she gets invited to lunch at the White House, the next day she's doing pr for the White House. How quickly they become corporatized! I can't listen to her any more. Please, Thom, don't ever go to the White House for lunch.

And btw, LBJ had quite a few REAL accomplishments and prohibition had long been repealed. Medicare? War on Poverty? Some other real ones that I forget but someone else compiled a greaat list that puts Obama to absolute shame. If he doesn't put Elizabeth Warren in that job, I don't know what he's going to run on in 2014 because it will be clear he hates the American people and I won't vote for anyone who hates me.

U.S. Citizen's picture
U.S. Citizen 13 years 47 weeks ago

I'm not sure it will make a difference if we have a Dem or a Repub; I'm not too impressed with Sotomayor or Kagan. Obama should have appointed justices as progressive as Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas are conservative. I think we need a Supreme Court strategy.

First of all the progressive groups like PDA, Public Citizen, ACLU, PFAW, etc. should be doing what the right did and searching for justices to recommend when the next vacancy occurs. Bader-Ginsburg may be the next to retire and Scalia and Kennedy are in their seventies. If Obama is re-elected and he can be influenced to appoint progressive justices based on the recommendations of the above organizations, there is a possibility of taking back the Court.

The first test case should be on corporate personhood and, perhaps, it can be reversed.

As it stands, the Supreme Court is the greatest threat to our democracy. The corporatization of America and The Second Gilded Age are bipartisan efforts. This court is perpetuating our government of business, by business and for business. We need democracy, not corporatocracy.

Michael.'s picture
Michael. 13 years 47 weeks ago

I think at this point it really doesn't matter what party is in the white house. They are all really corrupt when you think about it. They all only think of themselves without thinking of the general public.

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LeMoyne 13 years 47 weeks ago

Although I get the point that Obama's appointees (Sotomayor and Kagan) are far, far better than the Bush appointees (Roberts, Alito) I also understand there are many open seats on the Federa bench without appointments and Obama did not call for the resignation of the US Attorneys that passed Bush's political prosecution litmus tests (e.g Siegelman prosecutor). Obama re-appointed Bernanke to the Fed even though he failed to see the recession as late as March 2008. Obama left a Republican in charge of Defense and put more-of-the-same Geithner in charge of Treasury. Obama has defended the Bush rendition/torture/habeas corpus policies in court and was unable to utter the words 'public option' after becoming President. All that said, the Republicant minority has successfully stonewalled and slandered much of the little. marginal changes that were proposed or passed by Obama.

Outside the SCOTUS appointments, the real action is in Congress. The House has consistently passed more legislation than the Senate and it was more progressive in content too. The right wing noise machine will unload thousands of slick ads against House Democrats this fall. If your US Rep is to the left of Eisenhower (which Obama is not) then please consider supporting them and talking them up to friends and family. It is the only way we can beat the power of big money in our elections. And please remember your Democratic rep probably needs an extra 5 to 10% to beat the Republican and the proprietary voting machines.

William Klein 13 years 47 weeks ago

Thom Hartman Show,

"Corrupted by wealth and power, your government is like a restaurant with only one dish. They've got a set of Republican waiters on one side and a set of Democratic waiters on the other side. But no matter which set of waiters brings you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street kitchen." - Huey Long

Dear Thom,

I hate to say it, but just like Ed Shultz and Raechel Maddow, you are sounding more and more like a Democratic version of FOX News and just a puppet mouthpiece and apologist. For example, today you said Republicans are corporatist and implied that the Obama Administration isn't. That is pure BS and you know it! Here are some facts that you and people like Ed Shultz and Raechel Maddow selectively do not report on:

Obama has gone after more whistle blowers than all previous President's combined. So much for his "transparent government." He is worse than "W" on this!

He also held sixty-five private meetings with insurance execs and made a back-room deal to kill the public option and competition between providers. He then guaranteed the largest public subsidy in that industry's history. Transparent government? Sure.... Dick Cheny's Energy Taskforce anyone?

He broke the law along with Ken Salazar in permitting the Mocondo oil rig. And, that's why there will never be a criminal investigation of BP because if there is, it won't just be BP personnel who will be charged. I helped write sections of NEPA regarding environmental, social, and economic impact requirements and I know what I'm talking about. Ken Salazar actually ramped up the granting of "categorical exclusions" at a faster clip than even "W's" Administration. In the case of deep water drilling in a sensitive ecology, the granting of a categorical exclusion is quite illegal! He is worse than Bush on this as well.

It just came out that he and his generals have been lying to the public about the conduct of the Afghanistan War. I applaud WIKI leaks. They are heros and Obama is a war monger!

He said he would stop medicinal marijuana raids in places like California where medicinal pot is legal. The latest raid conducted by the DEA in Northern Cal. occurred just three and a half weeks ago. The grower was a medicinal supplier with all the required permits and papers. State regulators were even on site when the Feds showed up and they could do nothing to stop this insult.

While Wachovia laundered $380B in Mexican Cocaine Cartel money through Wells Fargo and Wall Street. Obama has renominated "W's" DEA chief under who's watch the pot raids and the money laundering occurred. Are you familiar with Michael Rupert? It turns out he was right the whole time. And, the money laundering occurred under Obama as well. You can't tell me that's another "oops!"
$380B is half the GDP of Mexico and they were only fined $160M by the Obama Administration - WTF?

The so called, "Financial Reform Bill" was stripped of the Glass Stegall protections by Tim Geithner and Rham Emmanuel. And what the hell is a person like Rham Emannuel, with dual loyalties, doing in such a powerful position. Is Obama running his government or is AIPAC?

To wit:


ACLU - The Washington Post has issued a major new investigative report on what it calls “Top Secret America” — a geographically sprawling network of secret government agencies with a budget of $75 billion. Based on the Post’s reporting, it is no exaggeration to say that our secret intelligence establishment has spun out of control.
The report — the first in a series of three to be published this week — contains amazing new hard reporting that confirms what has long been known to those who pay attention.
The fact is, bureaucracies almost always seek to expand their own power and budgets. Add secrecy powers that protect them from independent public oversight, ineffective oversight by Congress and even from within the executive branch, and mix in ever-expanding budgets, and you’ve got a recipe for an out-of-control security establishment:
• The Post reports that 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence at 10,000 locations across the United States.

• Two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside in the Department of Defense — a worrisome militarization of our intelligence capabilities, especially at a time when those capabilities are increasingly being turned inward upon the American people.

• The $75 billion intelligence budget is 2 ½ times its size before 9/11. The budget of the NSA doubled between 2002 and today.

• There is no person or agency with the “authority, responsibility or a process in place to coordinate all these activities,” in the words of one official. “There's only one entity in the entire universe that has visibility on all” secret programs, the Obama administration's nominee to be the next director of national intelligence told the Post. “That’s God.” However, since men are not angels, as James Madison wrote, checks and balances on government power are crucial, and that state of affairs is frightening and unacceptable.

• Since there is no one overseeing all this, there is also no way of knowing how effective it all is. One top general complained to the Post, for example, that the National Counterterrorism Center “never produced one shred of information that helped me prosecute three wars!”
The Post paints a stark portrait of hundreds of government agencies drowning in data, as government systems vacuum up vast quantities of information about daily activities across the planet in the unlikely hope of discovering useful information. Unsurprisingly, the government cannot possibly make sense of all that data:
- The National Security Agency is intercepting 1.7 billion emails, phone calls and other communications per day.

- Analysts publish 50,000 intelligence reports each year.

Posted by TPR at 7/20/2010
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Simple Country Physicist said...
Back when I was a fairly young employee of the Yankee government, back during Containment, I heard a suggestion made that we should add the Kremlin to the distribution list of all USG reports, memoranda, .... The idea was to inundate them with information overload. Somehow analysis and operational research have been lost.
July 20, 2010 8:02 AM
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Posted by Zach Carter at 12:36 pm
July 17, 2010
Elizabeth Warren vs. Timothy Geithner

A lot of people have rightfully scolded Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for attempting to block Elizabeth Warren’s nomination to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Here’s what I have to add: What a whiny cry-baby wimp.
Geithner only has to answer to two people, the President of the United States and the Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Only one of those people openly criticizes him in public when he commits unbelievable, disastrous errors. Guess which one?
So of course Geithner is pushing against Warren. She holds him accountable to the public, and he doesn’t want to be held accountable. Geithner is acting like a vindictive baby, trying to dish-out some payback at someone who highlighted very real failures that he himself orchestrated (stress tests, foreclosures, AIG . . . nearly everything that was screwed up under TARP). He deserves the public flogging he’s receiving, and he really ought to be stripped of his post for so transparently playing personal politics with national policy.
Incidentally, this embarassing little farce of Geithner’s should give Warren more credibility to head the new bureau. It proves that she is willing to stand up to powerful people and make them uncomfortable, which is exactly what the head of the CFPB will have to do in order to be effective.
The Warren appointment really will be a litmus test for the Obama administration. It’s not a progressive litmus test– she’s profoundly popular on the left, right and center, because she understands working people and is one of the few public figures willing to defend them against Wall Street lobbyists. But it will be a test of whether Obama can do the right thing in the face of opposition from a single, powerful corporate interest group (bankers). Business does not oppose her– small businesses, in fact, love her, because they know she’ll stand up for them against unscrupulous lenders. It’s really just the big banks that are allied against her. And Warren is so clearly the best candidate for the job– she invented the very idea of a consumer regulator for finance– that appointing anyone else will be a transparent political ploy. If Obama doesn’t have the guts to stand behind an enormously popular and effective public figure in the face of opposition from the very industry she will be charged with regulating, it will say a great deal about his capacity as a leader.

Last year Pres. Obama and AG Eric Holder promised that the feds would not go after medical marijuana providers in states with medical marijuana laws so long as
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Mexican army soldiers guard the scene after Monday's assassination of Rodolfo Torre Cantu, a candidate for governor of the state of Tamaulipas. Drug cartel gunmen are suspected of ambushing Torre Cantu's convoy outside Ciudad Victoria.
By Agencia Contraluz/AP
Wachovia regularly helped move money for Mexican drug cartels, the bank's parent, Wells Fargo, has admitted in a deal with federal prosecutors, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August issue

The deal, struck in March, "sheds light on the largely undocumented role of U.S. banks in contributing to the violent drug trade that has convulsed Mexico for the past four years," Bloomberg writes.
Wachovia, which San Francisco-based Wells Fargo bought in 2008 amid the financial crisis, admitted it "didn't do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That's the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history -- a sum equal to one-third of Mexico's current gross domestic product," according to Bloomberg.
"Wachovia's blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations," Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor who handled the case, told Bloomberg.
Bloomberg tells how Mexican soldiers seized a DC-9 jet after it landed in April 2006 at the international airport in Ciudad del Carmen, 500 miles east of Mexico City: "They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found."
They also found that the smugglers had bought the jet with laundered funds they transferred through Wachovia and Bank of America, both headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. The plane was one of four that narcotraffickers bought and used to ship a total of 22 tons of cocaine.
People working for Mexican cartels deposited illegal funds in Bank of America accounts in Atlanta, Chicago and Brownsville, Texas, from 2002 to 2009, and Mexican drug dealers used shell companies to open accounts at HSBC Holdings, Europe's biggest bank by assets, U.S. and Mexican prosecutors found. But neither bank was accused of wrongdoing. Spokespeople for the banks said laws prevent them from discussing the cases.

Miles Mogulescu
Entertainment attorney, writer, and political activist

For months I've been reporting in The Huffington Post that President Obama made a backroom deal last summer with the for-profit hospital lobby that he would make sure there would be no national public option in the final health reform legislation. (See here, here and here). I've been increasingly frustrated that except for an initial story last August in the New York Times, no major media outlet has picked up this important story and investigated further.
Hopefully, that's changing. On Monday, Ed Shultz interviewed New York Times Washington reporter David Kirkpatrick on his MSNBC TV show, and Kirkpatrick confirmed the existence of the deal. Shultz quoted Chip Kahn, chief lobbyist for the for-profit hospital industry on Kahn's confidence that the White House would honor the no public option deal, and Kirkpatrick responded:
"That's a lobbyist for the hospital industry and he's talking about the hospital industry's specific deal with the White House and the Senate Finance Committee and, yeah, I think the hospital industry's got a deal here. There really were only two deals, meaning quid pro quo handshake deals on both sides, one with the hospitals and the other with the drug industry. And I think what you're interested in is that in the background of these deals was the presumption, shared on behalf of the lobbyists on the one side and the White House on the other, that the public option was not going to be in the final product."
Kirkpatrick also reported in his original New York Times article that White House was standing behind the deal with the for-profit hospitals: "Not to worry, Jim Messina, the deputy White House chief of staff, told the hospital lobbyists, according to White House officials and lobbyists briefed on the call. The White House was standing behind the deal".
This should be big news. Even while President Obama was saying that he thought a public option was a good idea and encouraging supporters to believe his healthcare plan would include one, he had promised for-profit hospital lobbyists that there would be no public option in the final bill.
The media should be digging deeper into this story. Washington reporters should be asking Robert Gibbs if President Obama is still honoring this deal. They should be calling Jim Messina and hospital lobbyist Chip Kahn to confirm the specifics of the deal. They should be asking Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leaders Dick Durbin and Harry Reid the extent of their knowledge of this deal. They should be asking Pelosi if the reason she's refusing to include a public option in the House reconciliation bill to be sent to the Senate is that there are at least 51 Senate Democrats who would vote for it and she needs to insure that a final bill with a public option does not end up on President Obama's desk where he would then have to break his deal with the hospital lobbyists and sign it, or veto it to honor his deal.
More deeply, there are serious questions about the extent to which Obama, with the help of Rahm Emanuel, used a K Street strategy to pursue health care reform. The strategy seems to have been to make backroom deals to protect the interests of the likes of the drug industry and the for-profit hospital industry in exchange for campaign cash, even if this meant reversing campaign promises to include a public option to put competitive pressure on private insurance premiums, and to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices and Americans to buy cheaper drugs from Canada. The result is a health care bill that is generally unpopular with voters. Questions need to be asked, too, about the extent to which the White House is following a similar K Street strategy with Wall Street financiers when it comes to shaping financial reform and new regulations to rein in the banks who brought the economy to its knees.
Voters viscerally sense that the White House and Congressional Democrats may be as concerned with protecting special interests -- whether it's drug companies, private hospitals, or Wall Street bank -- than they are with protecting the people, and this is feeding a populist backlash against Democrats that resulted in Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts and is making a Democratic bloodbath in the fall elections increasingly likely.
Polls indicate that about 60% of voters support a public option while only about 1/3 support the overall Democratic healthcare bill. There still time -- very little time -- for Democrats to shift course and include a public option in the final bill, even if it means going back on the White House's backroom deal with the hospital industry. If the media picks up on this story, perhaps the White House and Congressional Democrats can be embarrassed into changing course. If, on the other hand, Democrats continue to honor these special interest deals, then passing an unpopular health care bill may just be walking into a Republican trap.
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William Klein 13 years 47 weeks ago

PROTESTS FORCE OBAMITES TO BACK DOWN ON JOURNALIST BAN Xi Yu, Harvard Crimson - A Colombian journalist who was denied entrance to the United States has finally been granted his student visa to participate in a journalism fellowship at Harvard, according to an e-mail sent this morning to the organizations and individuals who rallied to his aid.

Hollman Morris Rincon, a Nieman Fellow for the 2010-2011 year, expressed "solidarity" with those who supported his career in "defending the truth and human rights" in his objective reporting of the sufferings and ravages of the war in Colombia, stated his e-mail, which was written in Spanish.

The acclaimed human rights reporter and producer of an independent television news program was denied a student visa by the Department of State on "security-related grounds."

A reporter known for his critical coverage of Colombia President Alvaro Uribe Velez’s administration, Morris developed connections with sources who did not support the outgoing president—a move that could have been interpreted as terrorist activity, according to Nieman Curator Robert H. Giles.

The decision by the federal government had prompted several journalism and human rights organizations to rally behind Morris' situation.

“The denial is alarming,” Giles wrote in a tersely-worded editorial expressing the far-reaching impacts on freedom of speech. “It would represent a major recasting of press freedom doctrine if journalists, by establishing contacts with so-called terrorist organizations in the process of gathering news, open themselves to accusations of terrorist activities and the possibility of being barred from travel to the United States.”

gerald's picture
gerald 13 years 46 weeks ago

Can we really trust a Democrat in the White House, like Obama? His DNA is similar to Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II.

William Klein 13 years 46 weeks ago

And now Obama's appointed FCC is going after the internet. His FCC is proposing to essentialy turn control of the publically developed and finaced internet over to the mega corporations. That's not socialism, it's fascism! And, more closed door meetings to boot! So much for transparent government again!

Dear FCC: It's Your Mission to Protect the Public

The FCC has been holding closed-door meetings with big phone and cable companies like Comcast and AT&T, as well as big Internet giants like Google around Net Neutrality. The "deal" that they're coming up with may be a big sellout.

Jason Rosenbaum, FireDogLake

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann channels the best of the American Founders with voice and pen. His deep attachment to a democratic civil society is just the medicine America needs."
Tom Hayden, author of The Long Sixties and director, Peace and Justice Resource Center.
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Hartmann combines a remarkable piece of historical research with a brilliant literary style to tell the grand story of corporate corruption and its consequences for society with the force and readability of a great novel."
David C. Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and Agenda for A New Economy
From Screwed:
"I think many of us recognize that for all but the wealthiest, life in America is getting increasingly hard. Screwed explores why, showing how this is no accidental process, but rather the product of conscious political choices, choices we can change with enough courage and commitment. Like all of Thom’s great work, it helps show us the way forward."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While