Daily Topics - Wednesday December 22nd, 2010

Truthout is proud to bring you an exclusive series from America's No. 1 progressive radio host, Thom Hartmann. We'll be publishing weekly installments of Hartmann's acclaimed new book, "Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country." We invite Truthout readers to join us as, chapter by chapter, we explore these groundbreaking ideas for national transformation.

Quote of the Day: The bigger the information media, the less courage and freedom they allow. Bigness means weakness. ~Eric Sevareid, "The Press and the People," television program, 1959

Hour One: "Brunch With Bernie" - holiday edition - Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spends the hour with Thom talking about the day's important issues and taking your calls - www.sanders.senate.gov

Hour Two: Does watching Fox News make you stupid? Thom has a rumble with Dan Gainor of the Business and Media Institute www.businessandmedia.org; Plus, think you know the real story of Santa and his reindeer? Think again!

Hour Three: Are the wealthy really that different from you and me? New study says yes... Thom challenges Dr. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute - www.aynrand.org


Maxrot's picture
Maxrot 6 years 43 weeks ago

Thom how dare you have an opinion and bias... why why they'd never do anything like that on Faux News. This caller has got you pegged... or he's a moron.


gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 43 weeks ago


Thom, I will share some information on charities. Some information is personal and some information is probably familiar to many of the people who read your blog. During Bush II’s reign as king and dictator, the Republican congress passed into law a change in charity giving. The new law stated that a gross income would be able to declare a charitable amount after five or seven percent of our income.

For example, if a husband and wife had a gross income of $40,000, they could start declaring the charitable deduction after a $2,000 (5%) donation. Each dollar above $2,000 would receive 20 cents on a dollar in credit. If a person gave $3,000 in a charitable donation, they would receive $200 credit for their income taxes. Our son does our taxes and so I do not pay close attention to the details. After three years I asked our son why am I unable to deduct the full charitable amount? He mentioned to me that Bush II and congress changed the charitable tax code. Personally, I would prefer giving my money to charities than to the government who piss away the money on wars.

If I donated $3,000 on a $40,000 gross income, I would be giving away $2,800 without any credit for my donation.

When I had my heart attack, I was able to receive 30% of a full pension. Our social security has been frozen for three years without any COLA. My wife and I live month to month on what we receive. We have not saved any money in nine years since my wife retired. Each month has us running a deficit of $8,000 and so we have to go into our savings. The banksters and the crooks and thieves on Wall Street ripped off my wife and me of sixty percent of our retirement plans. We are not in a position to donate money to any organization other than our church.

Each September parishioners receive a detailed letter of where their donations have been spent. Our church does a great job in serving the community of Catholics and non-Catholics. We make an effort to donate our money to our church and their many projects. At least I have some idea of where the money is being spent.

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 43 weeks ago

Modern SlaveryHere is Tom Delay, the victim!!! Is Tom Delay advocating human trafficking that is taking place in the Mariana Islands?

If Delay was to die let us say tomorrow, what should we say about him?

One of my favorite programs was NOW on PBS with David Branccacio before it joined the fascist-Nazi media. Since America suffers from a truth deficit, NOW offered viewers truth and information. On Fridays NOW had some interesting programs. On one particular Friday NOW discussed the Mariana (spell) Islands. Tom Delay, the born again kkkhristian, called the Mariana Islands a model for America. The islands are in the Pacific Ocean and these islands are a Commonwealth of America but they are not subject to the same labor laws as in the U.S. The islands import women to work 15-16 hours per day and 7 days per week. The women do not punch a clock and the yearly salary is $350. Delay calls the Mariana Islands the model for America. He should know because he is having America headed toward 15-16 hours per day and 7 days a week for a yearly salary of $350.

We all know Delay as a born again kkkhristian. He and Bush are poster children for the born again kkkhristians. Born again kkkhristians carry the Bible in one hand and an uzie in the other hand. Most born again kkkhristians read the Bible but the words are meaningless to them.

I love America because America is a nation filled with hypocrites and her politicians are scum and slime. NY Times’ Joel Brinkley had an article “US faults 4 allies over forced labor.” These four allies are in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The US says that they practice modern slavery. Hypocrites are calling other hypocrites names and saying that they practice modern slavery. Yet, Delay calls the Mariana Islands a model for America.

When I see born again kkkhristians like Delay and Bush, I am beyond puking and into dry heaves. The dry heaves never end. Yes, Delay and Bush are perfect examples of born again kkkhristians. I love America because we are so predictable. We’ve gone from the home of the brave and land of the free to fear, greed, hatred, killing, and torture and born again kkkhristians.

As a side note to our killing mentality the war drums are becoming louder and louder. Rumsfeld issues a sharp rebuke of China on arms. America, a nation, with a nuclear holocaust as a game plan chastises China. Don’t you just love America’s hypocrisy?

In case you are interested our intelligence sources are saying that our terrorists are inside Iran. The war drums never stop and are getting louder. Soccer moms should be prepared for the renewal of the military draft and their sons and daughters singing out hut fours as they march off to war, Bush’s endless wars, to be killed and maimed.


gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 43 weeks ago

God Is Involved

I have tried to delay this comment. This comment brought me an internal conflict that is similar to an old fashion alley mugging. The words in my comment have preyed on my body, mind, and soul. I am revealing these words because I believe passionately in what I will say to you. I have tried to share information that would call Americans to move in the direction of God and for our repentance. We, as Americans, have chosen not to repent and so here is my comment, a dire and sad comment.

We will need to know how God deals with the world. He is intimately involved with every single activity in the world. God knows every reality that exists within His mysterious reality that every being is sustained by Him. Whether we like it or not, God is involved in every famine and harvest. Whether we think about it or not, God is part of every virtuous act and dastardly deed. Whether we like it or not, the history of the world, the story of our life, and the activity of God are intertwined together, world without end. God is involved in every peaceful mission and in every war.

We must never forget that the pain and suffering upon our nation will be endless because Americans refuse to repent. Yes, it is God’s will because He knows best. God is involved in every activity and aspect of our life from our joys and to our miseries. The slaughter of the Democrats by the fascist-Nazi Party, aka the GOP, was God’s will and He knows best. The domination of the United States Supreme Court over ninety percent of Americans is God’s will and He knows best. The enslavement of ninety percent of the people by ten percent of the American rich and American corporations is God’s will and He knows best. You must never forget that GOD IS INVOLVED.




It is getting worse.


Thug for hire!

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 43 weeks ago

Let us take a look at how the poor and the working Americans are screwed. I remember when we could write off our sales taxes, medicines, and charitable donations. Now we have a percentage that has to be met from our gross income before we can write off our medicines (3 or 5%) and charitable donations (5 or 7%). The rich with their investments are taxed at 15% and so they are not hurting with their payment for medicine or donations. The rich have all kinds of loopholes and safety nets for the protection of their monies. The poor and the working Americans are screwed over and over. We are experiencing more shattering of our rectums.

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 43 weeks ago

We are a country that is up to her neck in crap for our endless corruption, hatred, and lies. This is what happens when a supposedly Christian nation turns her back on God. We are a nation overrun by mortal sin and damnation.

rladlof's picture
rladlof 6 years 43 weeks ago

Let us all hope that the incoming Rethuglicans hand the Obama Administration the largest EVER tax increase on the wealthy . . . Just to make him unpopular with their base.

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 43 weeks ago
gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 43 weeks ago

Spoiling for a Fight? - by Stephen Lendman

Washington is a world class menace, waging imperial wars for global dominance called peace, stability and democracy.

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 43 weeks ago

I would like to confess. I am no longer big on the Christmas hype. Maybe it is because we do not have any grandchildren to spoil. I view Christmas time as phony time.


Christmas in America!


How can we ask them?

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 42 weeks ago

IRS says that tax refunds will be late. Actually, this is a prelude to never again send us any tax refunds. We know now that social security is being defunded in order to privatize it. I have received information from my health care plan that I no longer can use my red, white, and blue Medicare card. These are early signs that our government and politicians want us to die.

rladlof's picture
rladlof 6 years 42 weeks ago

Just posted answer on YAHOO Answers:

Simply, the answer requires action. Hillel’s eternal question frames the situation: “If not now, when?” We must act now. We must act personally. We must act together.

The process requires that “We the People” infect and reclaim our governmental institutions. The process needs to flow from the grassroots. The process requires the progressive among us to infiltrate our political parties and influence policy from the ground up.

We need to counter the astroturfed outrage by moneyed interests. Money is a social contract based solely agreement. Flesh and blood humans can just say “No.” It is a simple fact that there are ninety-eight and a half of us for every two of them. Yes, they buy the twenty-eight percent of folk that are wired to follow mindlessly when fomented by fear, anger and hate.

Yes, President Reagan suspended enforcement of the Sherman Anti-trust Acts by Executive Order. Yes, Presidents Reagan and GW Bush dismantled and subverted education by squelching humanities and imposing purely remedial education. Yes, Presidents Reagan, Clinton and GW Bush attacked the press and largely disrupted and sold off the “Fourth Estate.” The “Citizen’s United” decision by the recessivist “fascist five” sitting on SCotUS hamstrung democracy and flipped our electoral process on its head BUT seven out of every ten Americans are for a democratic republic, named America. America is of, for and by Americans.

I wholeheartedly recommend Thom Hartmann’s book:

Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, ISBN-10: 1605097063 or ISBN-13: 978-1605097060

If you can’t afford the $17 price tag got to Truth-out. They are posting it chapter by chapter each week for FREE. Click on http://www.truth-out.org/thom-hartmann-rebooting-american-dream65183

rladlof's picture
rladlof 6 years 42 weeks ago

Unfortunately I am fairly certain that no matter how good folk like us are at the framing of facts and logic, we will never sway the opinions of our more recessivist authoritarian-minded brethren. Their brains are literately wired differently; they ‘feel’ arguments in their lizard-brains. Rational Logic and historical facts will never overcome knee-jerk faith and blind adherence to the frameworks they have designed for themselves. They respond to fear-mongering, hate-filled jingoistic pithisms and facts just do not matter.

Speaking to/convincing “conservatives” requires a different sort of finesse. They only relate to win-lose situations and only relent once shouted down like the schoolyard bullies they are. One must limit the discourse to slightly-angry sound-bites. You have to subvert their conceptual pseudo-patriotism one little twist at a time. It is a really slow, back and forth process.

As I have done before, I am recommending that folk read the books Don't Think of an Elephant! and Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think by George Lakoff AND Geoffrey Nunberg’s Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show?

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 42 weeks ago

Unbind Persons

Our pastor had the 6 PM Christmas Vigil Mass. His homily was on Jesus Christ’s followers. He said to be a follower of Jesus Christ we must unbind persons and set them free.

As I observe the conservative crazies in our country, I see these crazies binding the citizens so they can enslave our people. The conservative crazies are not Jesus Christ’s followers.

There is a wide divide between the followers of Jesus Christ and the non-followers of Jesus Christ in terms of love and mercy.

Two Thousand years ago in the midst of the Conservative, Militantly, Bellicose, Roman Empire and the parallel Rule of the Ultraconservative Conservative Herodian Kings and Priests, where the death penalty was a broadly used as it has been in Texas and Florida since the Bush advent therein, there came a man who opposed all of that for which they stood. He opposed the death penalty and much forgiving of sexual sins. (The woman caught in adultery John 8:1-11)
He despised greed/avarice which the Bushites Gekko say is Good!. Luke 16:19-31 The avaricious rich man
He opposed violence of any sort; he was by his own admission, "meek and mild." He advocated tolerance and acceptance of others. He offered free health care to any who approached him.
He also refused to condemn or judge others except for the rich who were avaricious and the hypocrites. He opposed judging others, a prime factor in the Bush administration IS judging others Luke 7: 37-42- judging others
He was dismissive of sexuality as a major judgmental concern. Luke 4:4-42 Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well
Jesus was, by the definitions, condemnation and attacks on Liberals by the Bushites and the "Christian" Right, a "bleeding Heart Liberal." They are indeed correct, because in his opposition to everything for which The Conservative Roman Empire and the Ultraconservative Conservative Herodian Kings and Priests, stood Jesus was and remains a Liberal. There is no way the Church can, without being hypocritical wriggle its way around the reality that one cannot be a Christian and a Conservative, any more than one can be a Christian and support the slaughter in Iraq (A nation 12 times smaller than the USA, and lacking air force and navy at the time of the invasion), and the planned slaughters in Iran, and Venezuela.

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 42 weeks ago

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day, 2010The Work of Christmas
by Howard Thurman

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers [and sisters],
To make music in the heart.
For the peace we bring and the music we make together,
all of us at Pax Christi USA wish you a very Merry Christmas!

May the peace of Christ be with you and yours
throughout this season and the new year!

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 42 weeks ago

From the article, "Was Jesus a Socialist?"

Like Scrooge, those who control the world's largest private banks may not be capable of following Jesus' advice to "sell everything you have and give to the poor," but they are made out of light, so we must encourage them to find some measure of illumination within and to build upon that until it extends beyond the illusion of a self disconnected from the omnipresence and reaches out to all of creation.

For all those who claim to be Christians, we say it is time to let go of your ad hominem political nay-saying and practice what you preach.

Was Jesus a socialist? Most definitely! But he was more than that; he was a sharer.

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 42 weeks ago

Portland, Oregon

Portland is the former home of Thom and Louise Hartmann. Let us briefly reminisce! Here is some information on the city.

1. Portland was named the greenest city in 2008.

2. The city prides itself on the parks and gardens, such as the International Rose Test Gardens and the exquisite Chinese and Japanese gardens. The city also has 10,000 acres of parks and natural areas.

3. There are multiple crafts districts, hot restaurants, food carts, Powell’s Book Store, and a crafts market on Saturdays.

4. Portland has more breweries than anywhere else in the country. There are 32 breweries within the city limits and the annual Oregon Brewers Festival.

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 42 weeks ago

Jesus of Nazareth was a liberal, a pacifist, a progressive, and a socialist!!!


Our road to recovery from our daily nightmares is noted in the above article.

gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 42 weeks ago

Here is something made in the U.S.A.


gerald's picture
gerald 6 years 42 weeks ago

Faisal Shahzad, who tried to ignite a car bomb in Times Square, said in court,

I want to plead guilty, and I’m going to plead guilty 100 times over because, until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan, and stops the occupation of Muslim lands, and stops killing the Muslims, and stops reporting the Muslims to its government, we will be attacking U.S., and I plead guilty to that.


GOP Tax Myth & Junk Economics

If there's one thing all Republican politicians are really good at, it's straight-up lying through their teeth about how their tax cuts for the rich are actually tax cuts for the middle-class.

Reagan did it, George W. Bush did it, and now that he's officially unveiled his own so-called tax reform plan, Donald Trump is doing it, too.

Latest Headlines

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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
From Screwed:
"The powers that be are running roughshod over the powers that OUGHT to be. Hartmann tells us what went wrong — and what you and I can do to help set American right again."
Jim Hightower, National Radio Commentator, Writer, Public Speaker, and author of the bestselling Thieves in High Places
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann is a creative thinker and committed small-d democrat. He has dealt with a wide range of topics throughout his life, and this book provides an excellent cross section. The Thom Hartmann Reader will make people both angry and motivated to act."
Dean Baker, economist and author of Plunder and Blunder, False Profits, and Taking Economics Seriously