Recent comments

  • June 17th Wednesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    On "Morning Joe" this morning, Dem. Sen. Mark Warner comments on Obama's plan to put the Fed. in charge of banking rules oversight and transparency:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/#31404906

  • June 17th Wednesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Tom:

    You mentioned the BRIC conference. Did you see this March 14th Asian Times article about the perilous dollar.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/KC14Dj04.html

    Scary times, indeed!

  • June 17th Wednesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Barack Obama, it must be admitted, did not campaign for a single payer—or even a public option—healthcare plan. Perhaps he was waiting until after election to propose a bold plan. But if this was the case, he should have gone for the whole pie—meaning a single payer system—right from the start, and persuaded the Democratic leadership to support it, even if they were afeared of antagonizing the mob-right. Obama should have had a coherent plan ready to present to the public, even if he had to borrow one. The single payer system should have been the frontline position to be beaten and battered. The public option should have been the eventual fall-back position. Instead, what we have is single payer system offered-up as a straw man that was quickly blown away, and never seriously considered. The public option is the frontline position, to be beaten and battered into oblivion, no thanks to the cowardly Democrats.

    Obama and the Democrats should be aware of the fact that most people want to be lead, and by bold leadership; wishy-washy leadership breeds contempt and apathy—as may well happen in Iran, because if the progressive or moderate Iranian voter feels his or her vote is meaningless, then they will simply drop-out of the process. Democrats have learned nothing from the Republicans during their 12-year control of Congress: they were able to pass laws harmful to the stability of the country even though they never possessed a filibuster-proof majority. They simply had an agenda and never wavered from it. Rather than have a bold plan for the future, Obama has selected economic advisers who are not bold at all in their thinking, and who only want to return the country to the status quo—apparently as it was during the “golden years” of Bush administration. It almost seems as if Obama is doing the cowardly Democratic leadership a “favor” by not being bold.

    The refusal to allow an American observer to the conference in Russia should also be a warning that all the flowery talk about the U.S. turning a new foreign relations cheek may have the unintended effect of breeding a lack of respect for and a diminution of U.S. influence and power. If the U.S. cannot get its own house in order, it is nothing more than a paper tiger. How long will superior firepower be able to mask the rotting guts behind it?

    I’ve spent the past couple of weeks reading Eugene O’Neill’s drama “The Iceman Cometh,” where a barfull of drunken day-dreamers never act on their dreams. One of them, Larry Slade—a former anarchist and syndicalist (a labor activist supporting trade union control of manufacturing production)—explained why he gave-up his “pipe-dream”:

    “I saw men didn't want to be saved from themselves, for that would mean they'd have to give up greed, and they'll never pay that price for liberty.”

    And later:

    “I was born condemned to be one of those who has to see all sides of a question. When you're damned like that, the questions multiply for you until in the end it's all question and no answer. As history proves, to be a worldly success at anything, especially revolution, you have to wear blinders like a horse and see only straight in front of you. You have to see, too, that this is all black, and that is all white.”

    The Republicans, for better—or rather, for worse—have recognized the former and taken advantage of it in order to act in the latter manner. The problem with the Democrats is that they allow the former to be an excuse not to do the latter.

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Thom,

    I was looking for something else and came across this. 'Want another conspiracy theory?

    http://www.john-lennon.net/whoauthorizedtheassassinationofjohnlennon.htm

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    @#%$@! Please excuse the typo (I do know how to spell "know")

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    It's time that we all wake up to the fact that both parties have been bought & paid for by the corporations. There is no way that the peasants can have equal representation concerning their representatives; we don't have enough money & favors to throw at the politicians (the corporations will outspend us every time). We will not have a democracy until the rights of personhood are removed from the corporations (and we all no that is not going to happen in leu of another revolution of some sort).

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Thom,

    Bill Maher agrees with you about "pushing" the prez:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#31378220

    I do, too!

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Thom Hartmann When I listen to Air America they play a commercial with President Barak Obama saying he is happy to listen to Air America. So someway he has to listen to your show which is not on Air America. So hopefully a staffer is listening to your show. Perhaps so?

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    B Roll,

    Re:
    Has anyone else noticed that there’s been a “surge” of caller over the last few months who are raising “9/11 Truth”?

    Yes, I have noticed them, too.

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    When George Bush came into office...

    The Devil made him do it.

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Every national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses, the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints, and the Turks their Mohomet, as if the way to God was not open to every man alike. Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say their Word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face, the Christians that their Word of God came by divine inspiration, and the Turks say that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
    _Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Not sure how this fits into any broader discussion, but it must be significant.

    Last Friday, the Italians arrested a pair of men, described as Japanese, carrying $134 BILLION in U.S. Treasury bonds concealed in a false bottom of their suitcase.

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090612a2.html

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6507161.ece

    Surprisingly this has not been covered by domestic news outlets.

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    john mccain has came out and say that we must speak up for the iranian people. say the election was a sham. that we need to show that america will lead in this. i just want to tell mccain we know the election was a sham and we do support the people. to me the most inportant thing i would like to say to mccain is that everything now in the 21 century must be done with wisdom. we must think before we try to make international decision. the world does not revolve around the united states. we need to talk with our allies. need to make decisions based on the international community. i am so glad you are not presdent because you are stuck in the eary 20 century.

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Has anyone else noticed that there's been a "surge" of caller over the last few months who are raising "9/11 Truth"?

    It's not just on Thom's show. I've heard calls like this on all the "progressive" shows I listen to. It seems like more than a coincidence, and it seems like some of the calls, like the one today are aimed more at the audience than the show's host.

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Re: Credit Card Companies

    Soaring Credit Card Transaction Fees Squeeze Independent Businesses

    http://www.newrules.org/retail/news/soaring-credit-card-transaction-fees...

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Interesting article on today's NYTimes front page:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/your-money/credit-and-debit-cards/16cr...

    You probably need to be a subscriber to access that link, so I have pasted the article below. (If you can access the article without a subscription, please make a comment on the blog --- I won't take up so much space with it.)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    June 16, 2009
    Credit Bailout: Issuers Slashing Card Balances By DAVID STREITFELD
    The banks were bailed out last fall, the automobile companies last winter. For Edward McClelland, a writer in Chicago, deliverance finally arrived a few days ago.

    Mr. McClelland’s credit card company was calling yet again, wondering when it could expect the next installment on his delinquent account. He proposed paying half of his $5,486 balance and calling the matter even.

    It’s a deal, the account representative immediately said, not even bothering to check with a supervisor.

    As they confront unprecedented numbers of troubled customers, credit card companies are increasingly doing something they have historically scorned: settling delinquent accounts for substantially less than the amount owed.

    The practice started last fall as the economy worsened. But in recent months, with unemployment topping 9 percent and more people having trouble paying their bills, experts say this approach has risen drastically.

    They say many credit card issuers have revised internal guidelines to give front-line employees the power to cut deals with consumers. The workers do not even have to wait for customers to call and ask for a break.

    “Now it’s the card company calling you and saying, ‘Let’s talk turkey,’ ” said David Robertson, publisher of the credit industry journal The Nilson Report.

    Only a few creditors are willing to confirm the practice. Bank of America and American Express say they decide on a case-by-case basis whether to accept less than the full balance. Other card companies refuse to discuss the subject, but their trade group, the American Bankers Association, acknowledges that settlements are becoming more common.

    The shift comes as the financial services industry finds itself losing some of its legendary power. A credit card reform bill that makes it harder to raise rates on existing balances and prevents certain automatic fees flew through Congress and was signed by President Obama in late May.

    Borrowers still have a crushing amount of debt to deal with, however.

    Revolving credit, a close approximation of credit card debt, totaled $939.6 billion in March. The Federal Reserve reported that 6.5 percent of credit card debt was at least 30 days past due in the first quarter, the highest percentage since it began tracking the number in 1991. The amount being written off was also at peak levels.

    After a balance has been delinquent for six months, regulations require the card company to reduce the value of the debt on its books to zero. If a borrower has not paid by this point, chances are he never will.

    “The creditors would rather have a piece of something now instead of absolutely nothing down the road,” said Adam K. Levin, the founder of the consumer education Web site Credit.com.

    Banks and credit card companies are discussing new programs that would, for the first time, allow credit counselors to invoke reductions of principal as a routine part of their strategy, said Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum, a lawyer for many counseling agencies. In the past, counselors could persuade card issuers to adjust interest rates and modify late fees, but the balance was untouchable.

    An example of how quickly the card companies are shifting their approach is in the behavior of HSBC, a major issuer, toward Mr. McClelland.

    He was paying fitfully on his card, which was canceled for delinquency. In April, HSBC offered him full settlement at 20 percent off. He declined. A few weeks later, it agreed to let him pay half.

    Traditionally, the creditors could play tough with any accounts that became delinquent because the cardholders had assets. The creditors could sue or place a lien on a cardholder’s house.

    As the recession grinds on, though, many cardholders have less to lose. Mr. McClelland, 42, is a renter. Since he is self-employed, he has no wages to garnish. But he did not want to feel like a deadbeat.

    “Having this over and done with was appealing,” he said. He raised the agreed-upon $2,743 and sent it off electronically last week. He has spared himself the prospect of years of collection calls.

    HSBC said it did not comment on individual cardholders and would not discuss its policy toward settlements. “Every customer situation is unique,” said a spokeswoman, Cindy Savio.

    The card companies, perhaps understandably, do not want to promote the idea that settlements have become merely a matter of asking nicely. The creditors also point out that a delinquency, like a foreclosure, destroys a credit record.

    And there can be a Catch-22: those with the fewest assets are the likeliest to receive a settlement offer, but they are also the least able to come up with the cash for that final negotiated payment. Some creditors, though, are helpfully letting people stretch this out over months.

    Still, a line has been crossed, credit experts say.

    “Even in the early stages of delinquency, settlements can be dramatic,” said Carmine Dorio, a longtime industry executive who ran collection departments for Citibank, Bank of America and Washington Mutual.

    During the boom, nonpayers were treated more harshly because, paradoxically, their debt was more valuable. Collection agencies were eager to buy bundles of old debt from the card companies for as much as 15 cents on the dollar. In a healthy economy, even the hopelessly indebted can pay something.

    In this recession, where collection agencies have little hope of collecting from the unemployed, that business model is suffering. Experts say 5 cents on the dollar is now the most a card company can hope to get for its past-due accounts.

    Another factor undermining the card companies is the rise of debt settlement firms. These are profit-making companies that charge fees, nearly always in advance, to bargain with creditors on a consumer’s behalf.

    Settlement companies are under fire from regulators, who say they promise much and deliver little. But their ubiquitous ads, which make a settlement seem not only easy but also a moral victory over shamelessly gouging card companies, have done much to spread the idea.

    Although there are few independent statistics on the settlement industry, there is no doubt that some generous deals are being done.

    Consider Bedros Alikcioglu, a gas station owner in Newport Beach, Calif. He owed $112,000 on four cards and was paying $3,000 a month in interest and late fees. “It was so hard to earn that money, and paying it to nowhere didn’t make sense anymore,” said Mr. Alikcioglu, 75.

    He signed up with a debt settlement company named Hope Financial, which negotiated deals with his creditors to settle for about 35 percent of his balance. Hope Financial is charging Mr. Alikcioglu about 12 percent of his original debt.

    “I did not want to leave the legacy of bankruptcy,” Mr. Alikcioglu said. “I am now at peace.”

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Most doctors do not support the AMA's position.

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Neil Clark,

    Interesting insight.

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Re; Faith & Evolution -

    Perhaps Thom could ask his guest why we should settle for an incredibly lazy god-of-creation... seeing as all mammals (including humans) share nearly-identical architecture?

    Great whales have pelvises and rudimentary hind legs concealed within their bodies; bats wings are adapted from the same 5-digit hands that we humans share with many other creatures; the same bones. muscles & ligaments which make up the human foot can be seen in the hind legs of dogs, cats, rabbits, kangaroos, etc. & etc. (check Higgins' footie-paws).

    If an engineer at Northrup tried to submit the same basic plans for a submarine, an airplane and a land vehicle, they would be fired for gross incompetence...yet we're supposed to worship a deity who shows the same laziness in reusing- and adapting a basic design for creatures of the sea, air and land?

    Evolution is a much better solution - and it doesn't require us to be saddled with a stupid, lazy god.

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    s.b. "bureaucrat"

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Mark and B Roll,

    Just to show how irrational all this racism is, consider the following:

    Many "Republic" congresspeople and political figures have been members of white-supremacist-related groups like the CCC (http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=487.) Pat Buchanan fits into this mold (http://www.bloggersforchange.com/?p=16339.)

    The KKK and similar hate groupstarget their attacks against the black communities; Jews and Catholics. (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_do_the_KKK_hate_black_people)

    Pat Buchanan, however, is a Roman Catholic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Buchanan). How can Buchanan associate himself with this race/group hatred while still a practicing Catholic? (http://www.realchange.org/buchanan.htm). This last URL has fascinating insights into Buchanan's background and thinking. Apparently Buchanan comes from a sheltered upbringing in a fairly affluent family headed by a father who was a government bureacrat. Buchanan lacks the insight into others' lives that would allow him to overcome the racist "blinders."

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Re: Faith & Evolution

    Joseph Campbell said that myth was someone else's religion, and that religion was when you took the myth to be literal.

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Re: Yesterday's U.S. Chamber of Commerce comment
    Thom,
    I am a small business owner who canceled our membership with our local Chamber of Commerce because they would not support the local business (unless we could match the prices of the Mega Stores).

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    mstaggerlee,

    I hear you. Molly Ivins was informed, insightful and funny as hell.

    I don't know if that sense of humor is specifically Texan or more generally Southern, but some of funniest and most charming comments from the left have come from Texans like Molly Ivins, Ann Richards and Jim Hightower.

  • June 16th - Tuesday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Subject: Counterfeiting Update

    In May of last year the U.S. money supply stood at roughly $834 billion. Now, a year later, the Federal Reserve has created an additional $941 billion out of thin air. Pay close attention to those numbers...

    * The amount of new money the Fed has created is roughly $107 billion more than all the money that was in circulation just a year ago
    * In other words, the U.S. money supply has more than doubled

    Think about what this does to the value of your dollars, to your savings, to your paycheck, to your retirement income? A doubling of the money supply means your money is worth half what it was.

    Of course, your money's loss of value won't manifest itself overnight. It will take time for the Fed's counterfeiting to drive up prices. But those who get the new money first will be able to spend it while prices are still low, increasing their wealth at your expense.

    The Federal Reserve, as you might expect, promises that prices won't rise. They claim they'll withdraw their counterfeit money before that happens. Do you feel comforted? Should we really believe that...

    * The Fed can really undo so much counterfeiting
    * The attempt to withdraw the counterfeit dollars won't cause economic disruptions of its own

    And if they did sop up their funny money, wouldn't that mean another "contraction?" ...more unemployment? ...other sectors in trouble and screaming for a taxpayer-funded bailout?

    Our position is simple. If it's wrong for individuals to counterfeit, it's also wrong for the government to do it. What we need is money that no one can counterfeit, like gold and silver. Some people want to make this happen by abolishing the Fed. We agree. That needs to happen. But it's a big step. We think there's an easier way...

    Congress should start by ending the Fed's monopoly control of money. Congress should permit you to use whatever form of money you prefer. This would...

    * Empower the creation of an alternative money system
    * Reduce the Fed's ability to counterfeit by forcing Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs) to compete with honest money
    * Make it easier to abolish the Fed once a new money system is fully operational

    From downsizedc.org

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Trump - Dumb Luck or A Master Manipulator?

Thom plus logo Either it's an act of a master manipulator, or he has the best luck there is. Donald Trump wanted the Fed to lower interest rates, knowing that that would provide a solid and multi-year boost to the economy. But when Trump came into office, rates were already low and the Fed was not inclined to help.