Recent comments

  • June 15th - Monday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Jeff,

    My perception of MSNBC is that the "liberalism" (such as it is) is in the afternoon to evening talking head shows. The news department seems pretty much standard mainstream (center-right/center-center/center-left) TV news.

  • June 15th - Monday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Quark,

    Daschle was one of the earliest backers of Obama's presidential run. I remember one of the first things I learned about Obama's campaign was that a lot, maybe most, of Obama's top campaign advisers were former Daschle staffers.

    Don't forget that Daschle's wife, Linda Hall Daschle, is a big time Washington lobbyist although I don't think she has any health care industry clients.

  • June 15th - Monday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Bernie Sanders appeared on MSNBC to defend single payer / the public option before the President's speech to the AMA.

    ( A side note, notice how the public option and single payer are becoming conflated? The dreaded slippery slope to single payer! I actually think that's a good thing. It's an utterly ridiculous argument on its face: we can't even allow people the choice of single payer, because everyone will take it--because it's what everyone wants!--and that would be bad!)

    But back to Bernie's appearance. The MSNBC (yes, the so-called LIBERAL network) host was fully stocked with right-wing talking points, just as well prepared as any FOX Newser. She even threw in the "isn't it interesting..." before making a comment. I think they let Bernie Sanders on and attack him in order to discredit him. Much like they did with Dennis Kucinich. (BTW, wasn't single payer a huge part of DK's presidential run?) Fortunately, Bernie is better at defending himself than DK.

    And as soon as Bernie summed up his refutation of the Frank Luntz-scripted diatribe from the MSNBC host with the gem: "the private health insurance companies' primary goal is to make money." she quickly changed the subject and went to her next talking point. That line is a dagger.

    But make no mistake, the TV networks also make lots of money (in the form of advertising) in the Health for Profit industry, In fact, far far more than they ever have. Huge money.

  • June 15th - Monday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    THIS IS HUGE !!!!!!!

    Japanese nationals caught transporting $135 BILLION in BEARER bonds (bearer bonds have been banned since the 1980's)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=ayy1QKcwcGN0

    Has the US been printing up bogus treasury bonds ILLEGALLY?

    http://market-ticker.denninger.net/archives/1119-The-Saga-Of-The-Bearer-...

  • June 15th - Monday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    B Roll and Jeff,

    Obama will be speaking to the AMA next hour. It will be interesting to see what he says about single payer, if anything.

    BTW, fmr. Dem. senate leader Tom Daschle is in the news today for saying that this country needs to cut back on medical malpractice lawsuits. If he supported the single-payer option (which, as a health-care lobbyist, he doesn't want to do), there would be a dramatic reduction in malpractice lawsuits, since future medical needs would be automatically addressed. However, pain and suffering and loss of wages might still be issues.

  • June 15th - Monday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Jeff,

    I think you make an excellent point that Obama's comment indicates that he believes that single payer would be the best possible system to provide for health care for our country. You also make an excellent point that our focus should be on how to get to single payer.

  • June 15th - Monday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Below is one of the headline news stories from today's Democracy Now! I'll let the story stand for itself without comment from me. You can find Democracy Now at http://www.democracynow.org/ and this particular story at http://www.democracynow.org/2009/6/15/headlines#5

    Report: 30 Lawmakers Have Financial Holdings in Health Care Industry

    The Washington Post has revealed almost 30 key lawmakers helping draft landmark health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has at least $50,000 invested in a health-care index. Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, a senior member of the health committee, has up to $560,000 worth of stock holdings in major health-care companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck. The family of Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman held at least $3.2 million in more than 20 health-care companies at the end of last year. On Tuesday the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee plans to hold a key hearing to discuss health care reform. On that 22-member panel, at least eight senators have financial interests in the health-care industry. The hearings will be led by Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd whose wife serves on the boards of four health-care companies. She received more than $200,000 in salary and stock from her service last year.

  • June 15th - Monday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    I'm sure Thom has already read this since he's the one who introduced me to Truthdig, but this scares the crap out of me!

    The American Empire Is Bankrupt
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090614_the_american_empire_is_bank...
    Posted on Jun 14, 2009
    By Chris Hedges

    This week marks the end of the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency. It marks the start of a terrible period of economic and political decline in the United States. And it signals the last gasp of the American imperium. That’s over. It is not coming back. And what is to come will be very, very painful.

    Barack Obama, and the criminal class on Wall Street, aided by a corporate media that continues to peddle fatuous gossip and trash talk as news while we endure the greatest economic crisis in our history, may have fooled us, but the rest of the world knows we are bankrupt. And these nations are damned if they are going to continue to prop up an inflated dollar and sustain the massive federal budget deficits, swollen to over $2 trillion, which fund America’s imperial expansion in Eurasia and our system of casino capitalism. They have us by the throat. They are about to squeeze.

    There are meetings being held Monday and Tuesday in Yekaterinburg, Russia, (formerly Sverdlovsk) among Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other top officials of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The United States, which asked to attend, was denied admittance. Watch what happens there carefully. The gathering is, in the words of economist Michael Hudson, “the most important meeting of the 21st century so far.”

    It is the first formal step by our major trading partners to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If they succeed, the dollar will dramatically plummet in value, the cost of imports, including oil, will skyrocket, interest rates will climb and jobs will hemorrhage at a rate that will make the last few months look like boom times. State and federal services will be reduced or shut down for lack of funds. The United States will begin to resemble the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe. Obama, endowed by many with the qualities of a savior, will suddenly look pitiful, inept and weak. And the rage that has kindled a handful of shootings and hate crimes in the past few weeks will engulf vast segments of a disenfranchised and bewildered working and middle class. The people of this class will demand vengeance, radical change, order and moral renewal, which an array of proto-fascists, from the Christian right to the goons who disseminate hate talk on Fox News, will assure the country they will impose.

    I called Hudson, who has an article in Monday’s Financial Times called “The Yekaterinburg Turning Point: De-Dollarization and the Ending of America’s Financial-Military Hegemony.” “Yekaterinburg,” Hudson writes, “may become known not only as the death place of the czars but of the American empire as well.” His article is worth reading, along with John Lanchester’s disturbing exposé of the world’s banking system, titled “It’s Finished,” which appeared in the May 28 issue of the London Review of Books.

    “This means the end of the dollar,” Hudson told me. “It means China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran are forming an official financial and military area to get America out of Eurasia. The balance-of-payments deficit is mainly military in nature. Half of America’s discretionary spending is military. The deficit ends up in the hands of foreign banks, central banks. They don’t have any choice but to recycle the money to buy U.S. government debt. The Asian countries have been financing their own military encirclement. They have been forced to accept dollars that have no chance of being repaid. They are paying for America’s military aggression against them. They want to get rid of this.”

    China, as Hudson points out, has already struck bilateral trade deals with Brazil and Malaysia to denominate their trade in China’s yuan rather than the dollar, pound or euro. Russia promises to begin trading in the ruble and local currencies. The governor of China’s central bank has openly called for the abandonment of the dollar as reserve currency, suggesting in its place the use of the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights. What the new system will be remains unclear, but the flight from the dollar has clearly begun. The goal, in the words of the Russian president, is to build a “multipolar world order” which will break the economic and, by extension, military domination by the United States. China is frantically spending its dollar reserves to buy factories and property around the globe so it can unload its U.S. currency. China is frantically spending its dollar reserves to buy factories and property around the globe so it can unload its U.S. currency. This is why Aluminum Corp. of China made so many major concessions in the failed attempt to salvage its $19.5 billion alliance with the Rio Tinto mining concern in Australia. It desperately needs to shed its dollars.

    “China is trying to get rid of all the dollars they can in a trash-for-resource deal,” Hudson said. “They will give the dollars to countries willing to sell off their resources since America refuses to sell any of its high-tech industries, even Unocal, to the yellow peril. It realizes these dollars are going to be worthless pretty quickly.”

    The architects of this new global exchange realize that if they break the dollar they also break America’s military domination. Our military spending cannot be sustained without this cycle of heavy borrowing. The official U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2008 is $623 billion, before we add on things like nuclear research. The next closest national military budget is China’s, at $65 billion, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.

    There are three categories of the balance-of-payment deficits. America imports more than it exports. This is trade. Wall Street and American corporations buy up foreign companies. This is capital movement. The third and most important balance-of-payment deficit for the past 50 years has been Pentagon spending abroad. It is primarily military spending that has been responsible for the balance-of-payments deficit for the last five decades. Look at table five in the Balance of Payments Report, published in the Survey of Current Business quarterly, and check under military spending. There you can see the deficit.

    To fund our permanent war economy, we have been flooding the world with dollars. The foreign recipients turn the dollars over to their central banks for local currency. The central banks then have a problem. If a central bank does not spend the money in the United States then the exchange rate against the dollar will go up. This will penalize exporters. This has allowed America to print money without restraint to buy imports and foreign companies, fund our military expansion and ensure that foreign nations like China continue to buy our treasury bonds. This cycle appears now to be over. Once the dollar cannot flood central banks and no one buys our treasury bonds, our empire collapses. The profligate spending on the military, some $1 trillion when everything is counted, will be unsustainable.

    “We will have to finance our own military spending,” Hudson warned, “and the only way to do this will be to sharply cut back wage rates. The class war is back in business. Wall Street understands that. This is why it had Bush and Obama give it $10 trillion in a huge rip-off so it can have enough money to survive.”

    The desperate effort to borrow our way out of financial collapse has promoted a level of state intervention unseen since World War II. It has also led us into uncharted territory.

    “We have in effect had to declare war to get us out of the hole created by our economic system,” Lanchester wrote in the London Review of Books. “There is no model or precedent for this, and no way to argue that it’s all right really, because under such-and-such a model of capitalism ... there is no such model. It isn’t supposed to work like this, and there is no road-map for what’s happened.”

    The cost of daily living, from buying food to getting medical care, will become difficult for all but a few as the dollar plunges. States and cities will see their pension funds drained and finally shut down. The government will be forced to sell off infrastructure, including roads and transport, to private corporations. We will be increasingly charged by privatized utilities—think Enron—for what was once regulated and subsidized. Commercial and private real estate will be worth less than half its current value. The negative equity that already plagues 25 percent of American homes will expand to include nearly all property owners. It will be difficult to borrow and impossible to sell real estate unless we accept massive losses. There will be block after block of empty stores and boarded-up houses. Foreclosures will be epidemic. There will be long lines at soup kitchens and many, many homeless. Our corporate-controlled media, already banal and trivial, will work overtime to anesthetize us with useless gossip, spectacles, sex, gratuitous violence, fear and tawdry junk politics. America will be composed of a large dispossessed underclass and a tiny empowered oligarchy that will run a ruthless and brutal system of neo-feudalism from secure compounds. Those who resist will be silenced, many by force. We will pay a terrible price, and we will pay this price soon, for the gross malfeasance of our power elite.

  • June 15th - Monday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Here's my take on the debate over a public plan or single payer option. I am actually having a debate with my mother over this and she is a 72 year old breast cancer survivor. I love my mother, she lives in Seattle and she received healthcare through my step father's plan through Boeing and then through medicare. She says that there were many patients in the clinic she attended that were from Canada who came to America to get expedient healthcare because they had to wait in Canada. I suspect that this is heresay and not fact, but can't be sure. When I asked for names, she couldn't give name them. My mother and my step father and my father are conservative, the men worked for Boeing all their lives and for the most part, did receive fairly decent health benefits in part due to union representation.

    Honest testimonials are the best way to market any product, whether it be widgets or health care. It is important to get input from the people from other countries who have a national health care plan and televise their opinions. It's as simple as that. Michael Moore did a great job with Sicko, but my mother and father would never watch that movie. The opposition (corporate pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, etc) are spending millions on mis-information. Mainstream American... (my mom and dad) need to see commercials with Canadian cancer survivor patients say "Yes... we like this system and we are alive and healthy because of it." It is hard to refute that.

  • June 15th - Monday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    So these were George Will's refutations of what he called "the 4 main arguments for a public option (like single payer):

    1. It will keep the insurance companies honest - as if our government could be considered honest! That's right, he's saying our government is too corrupt to implement single payer--it would be even worse than the private insurance companies. Again, we're trapped.

    2. It will play by the same rules as the private ins co's - Will says, "then what's the point? they'll be the same as what we have now. Trapped.

    3. The public plan will provide a choice. Will says there are currently over 1300 private health insurers. How much more choice do you need? One more won't make a difference. I've never seen so many straw men. It won't work, it won't make a difference, we can't change anything.

    4. There's the argument that American's aren't smart enough to handle something as complicated as healthcare in the open market, Will says, "well, they've done pretty well with computers, haven't they?"

    That last construct is so ridiculous, I can't even believe George Will said it. No I guess it's all settled, we have the best healthcare system possible, already, well, except for the one we can't have, because it's not possible.

  • June 15th - Monday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    Everyone repeats the talking point: "Obama said he would be in favor of single payer (health insurance) if we were starting from scratch." But then they act like it is a dismissive statement rather than pointing to the fact that must mean Obama thinks it is the best option available. Why don't people talk about a road map TO single payer, since it has now been identified as the "best" system, since that's what we'd go with if we were starting from scratch--the best!

    It is as if we are now saying, our current system is all screwed up, but since we can't change it, we should just be happy with the status quo: after all it's not really that bad, right? Changing it would just make it WORSE, right?

    So the answer is we are trapped?

  • After 45 Years, a Civil Rights Hero Waits for Justice   10 years 21 weeks ago

    SENT AN EMAIL TO DICK KAYE ,THE DICK KAYE SHOW ON WCPT CHICAGO. ASKING IF HE CAN HAVE ABRAHAM BOLDEN ON HIS SHOW.

  • THOM ON FIXED NEWS   10 years 21 weeks ago

    I've heard several very good exchanges and apposing views on-air while listening to Thom Hartmann, which is why I listen to his show and have started watching his video taped debates and presentations. As a radio host, he could easily cut the caller off but usually doesn't unless he's up against a hard commercial break. I appreciate intelligent debates because I learn the most from them. I personally don't like to listen to talk show hosts that "preach to the quire" which is what I believe Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck and others seem to do. But these guys know who their audience is and pull in very large salaries by playing to them.

    I'd like to hear Thom debate some of these guys and more importantly, politicians who are deciding extremely important issues such as health care... if they could dispense with the shout downs and present the facts.

  • THOM ON FIXED NEWS   10 years 21 weeks ago

    I agree that I'd love to see Thom go up against a Limbaugh or Hannity. However, seeing as though he RARELY takes any challenging calls on-air, I don't think that will happen. Ever notice that he only books kooky right-winger guests that any moron could pick apart?!? Is that because it is all he can get or all that he wants?

  • June 11th 2009 Thursday   10 years 21 weeks ago

    LiftDriver, you write "taxing extreme and inherited wealth is the best way we have of limiting the highly destructive effect of its inordinate influence and control over society."

    I'm curious, LiftDriver, why you believe wealth concentrated in the hands of "public men" (i.e. elected officials) would be any less destructive than if concentrated in the hands of "private men".

    .

  • June 12th 2009 - Friday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Health benefits of congress per senior league: http://www.seniorsleague.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2...

    what’s good for the goose apparently isn’t good enough for the gander

    According to the website of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the FEHB program offers working Members of Congress, retirees, and their survivors the widest selection of health plans in the country. In addition to health insurance benefits, Members of Congress may also receive dental, vision, as well as long-term care benefits. Generally the federal government (funded by the taxpayer) pays up to 75% of the health insurance premiums, and Members of Congress cover the other 25% out of their (taxpayer-funded) salaries.

    Next year I'm running for office... Just to get the healthcare benefits.

  • June 12th 2009 - Friday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Bernie Sanders is right but needs to take it one step further for a sense of urgency for single payer health care reform. Congress, Senate, Judicial and Exec branch need to reform healthcare from within first. There is no urgency if our elected officials have the cadillac healthcare plans. I propose that our elected officials only get Medicaid or Medicare if they are 65 or older.

    Every election we hear the slogan "I won't quit until each citizen gets a healthcare plan like the one congress has." What?? That's is not feasible. What is feasible is every member of elected office give up their healthcare and beat the streets to find healthcare like the rest of us.

    Bee
    Minneapolis, MN

  • June 12th 2009 - Friday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Unions should be strongly for a solid public option

    Why?

    Answers I can think of:

    1. It gives them a better bargaining chip when they go to negotiations.

    2. It gives them insurance against layoffs and terminations.

    3. Retirees lose some, most or all of their medical insurance privileges when they retire. For instance, my medical insurance costs are now 10 times what they were before I retired. In addition partially or fully able bodied retirees are the politically most active group in any union. Unions, if they are to have any influence, cannot alienate us guys.

    4. If they stay narrowly interested in their members welfare, they lose their soul.

  • June 12th 2009 - Friday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    That still kind of sounds like someone at least knew about it before the deed was done.

  • June 12th 2009 - Friday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    in the interest of full disclosure, i've been trying to find that segment and haven't been able to. i hope i haven't given you some wrong information! darn memory... can't rely on it anymore! oh, you know what, i might be thinking of roeder, dr. george tiller's murderer. rachel's been reporting heavily on that story and i might be confusing them. so sorry if that's the case! perhaps von brunn did the same. but i felt i should correct the record.

  • June 12th 2009 - Friday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Thanks, eDebbie! Interesting...

  • June 12th 2009 - Friday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    I agree with DON'T PANIC. Campaign finance reform is the most fundamental issue that we must correct. Almost exclusively all bad pieces of legislation comes from the lack of a decent campaign finance system. Why hasn't Obama addressed this? If I were president it would certainely be the very first issue on my agenda!

  • June 12th 2009 - Friday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    hi kim, mena, and quark, rachel maddow reported on her show earlier in the week that von brunn had turned over his website to someone before heading out on his murderous spree. i'll try to find that segment, if you're interested.

  • June 12th 2009 - Friday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Can we get someone to propose a law that any corporation that has a lobbyist must make its tax returns public?

  • June 12th 2009 - Friday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Mena and Kim,

    I wondered that, too...

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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.