Recent comments

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Legislators on My Cell Phone

    Thom I keep my state and federal legislators' telephone numbers on my cell phone. That way when I hear something or read something calling for action I just flip open my cell phone and call to leave a comment. The other day I was stuck for a couple of hours at the Secretary of State's office, so I spent my time calling my senators and representative advocating for single-payer health insurance. This is a great way to do something in a timely way.

    By the way, I often follow up my phone calls with letters.

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    The point made by the caller about waiting for Long Term Disability being like what government health care is off the mark. Wait to be approved for SSDI lately has turned into a nightmare. I applied for SDI in 1996 and I was approved in 6 weeks. Recently A family member applied with more advanced disease, in facte several diabling diseases. It took her over 6 months, more like 1 years to be approved and she desperately deserved and needed it. Seems like things changed around 2001, hhhhmmmmmm. A coincidence? Or is it a scheme to make it possible for more lawyers to get in the picture with assitance that entitles them to get their hands in the pockets of deserving disabled people before they can get their needed benefit? SSDI approval has nothing to do with how Medicare/Medicade are run. I would much rather be on Medicare then private insurance right now. We just need to increase payouts to providers.

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Did the caller Joe say that when he calls some elected official(s) they act like he's speaking Esperanza? I think he meant Esperanto. Esperanto is language that is named after Dr. Esperanto, which is the pseudonym for its inventor a Polish doctor named Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof. (Aren't you glad it wasn't named after his real name!)

    Esperanto invented in the late 1880s with the "hope" that it could become the second language of everyone in the world. It was designed to have simple and consistent grammatical rules (as opposed to a language like English). There were several languages that were invented with that hope in mind, but Esperanto was the most popular by far.

    At the height of it's popularity, in the early 1900s, there were about 3 million Esperanto speakers worldwide. They would have large conventions and many books like the Bible and Shakespeare were translated into Esperanto. I'm not sure, but the second most popular artificial (as opposed to organic) language might be Klingon.

    Both Esperanza and Esperanto come from the same Latin root (which I don't remember) word for "hope". Esperanza is the Spanish word for "hope" and is also a female name. Esperanto means "one who hopes", though probably only in Esperanto.

    Today, English has pretty much become the de facto universal language on this planet.

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    we are living in pottersville. we need to get back to bedford falls

    (its a wonderful life reference)

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Richard Adlof,

    Try this:

    http://www.actblue.com/entity/fundraisers/12839

    Act Blue - The online clearinhouse for Democratic action: Joe Sestack, Jr.

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    did cheney have anything to do with the anthrax?

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Phone lines busy? Faxing our reps is a great option. Dianne Feinstein's office told me to fax here: 415 393-0710 and then try calling to confirm 415 393-0707.

    Boxer's fax is 202 228-3865 (there is no local fax).

    Letters have to go thu Homeland security and can be weeks late, so- fac and confirm! gets you a double hit!

    THX for your community organizing, Thom!

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Joe Sestak (D-PA 7th) is good people . . .

    I am quite happy that you gave him the opportunity to share his voice with us this morning.

    Where can we donate to his campaign??? Does anyone have the URL?

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago
  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Deanna,

    I read that article, too. I concur --- it's a "must read!"

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    A constituent of Rick Larson called in to say that Larson opposes single payer because of the cost. I'm not a constituent, but I called Larson's office to say that I heard his constituent's call on the Thom Hartmann radio show, and said that I'm sure he wouldn't want to take a position based on a lack of information. I suggested that he read an article called "The Cost Conundrum," in the current issue of The New Yorker magazine. Once he informs himself, he'll understand that we can drastically reduce the cost, and raise the quality of care. The Mayo Clinic has done it, the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin has done it, and there are many other models around the country. The aide said he is well aware of the Thom Hartmann show.

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    When someone from Talk Radio News Service comes on please ask about this Washington Times and Mark Masters venture. This is scary --> The Washington Times and Mark Masters creating a comprehensive news organization. Everyone knows that the Times is a Reverend Moon operation, but not so many people are aware that Mark Masters (son of Roy Masters) has a radical right wing quasi-spiritual background. They make Rupert Murdoch look like a democratic socialist.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Masters

    http://talkers.com/online/?p=1275

    "The Washington Times enters talk broadcasting from the newspaper side of media
    By Ellen Ratner
    TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE
    Bureau Chief
    WASHINGTON –– Many of us grew up believing that The New York Times or Washington Post would be on the cutting edge of journalism forever (or at least for the rest of our lifetimes). When many of us were first learning about news and talk radio, The Washington Times did not even exist. Now, though, with a visionary team lead by president and publisher Tom McDevitt and executive editor John Solomon, the newspaper/multimedia organization is leading the way, both in access and in ways to make the news business profitable. The Washington Times is well on its way to becoming what Michael Harrison terms a 21st century “media station.” Unlike most of the organizations covered by TALKERS magazine, it is approaching that powerful point from the print sector, not the broadcasting industry. While most newspapers are cutting staff, reducing pages and tiptoeing into the future by offering a handful of blogs and podcasts on their websites, The Washington Times has been aggressively becoming an online radio and television station backed by the resources of a full-service newspaper. It certainly renders the old 20th century issue of cross ownership (still being discussed in Washington) obsolete when you think about it....."

  • THOM ON FIXED NEWS   10 years 22 weeks ago

    TOM SHOULD NOT WASTE HIS TIME AT FIXED NEWS. THESE PEOPLE ARE SO ABYSMALLY DUMB ? NOT STRONG ENOUGH. WITH THEIR RICKTUS- LIKE SMILES AND COLD SWEAT AND TRULY DEAD MINDS - THEY MAKE ME NAUSEOUS AND ASHAMED OF BEING LIKE THEM, HUMAN.

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Making Progress,

    Oops --- I should have said that the AMERICAN PUBLIC needs more exposure to Thom and Batra, not the other way around!

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Thom,

    I'm really looking forward to hearing Joe Sestak. I sent Specter money, as I promised when I asked him (via his staffer) to change parties to become a Dem. I will send any additional money for that race to Sestak.

    I'm also eager (in a dark way, I guess) to hear what Eric Nadler has to say in Hour 3 of your program today. I spent a little time on the anthraxwar.com website + links and I'm really creeped out!

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Thom,

    Per Krugman’s recent column on the probability that the financial meltdown, if it had occured during Gore’s presidency (had he been allowed to preside over it) would be blamed on the Dems. instead of the Republics seems to be refuted by “Sea of Red Ink: How It Spread From a Puddle” by David Leonhardt on the front page of today’s NYTimes. Leonhardt contends the 2 basic truths about today’s financial deficit are that Obama’s ambitious agenda is responsible for only a sliver of the total, and the current administration doesn’t have a realistic plan to solve it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/business/economy/10leonhardt.html?_r=1&hp

    “The New York Times analyzed Congressional Budget Office reports going back almost a decade, with the aim of understanding how the federal government came to be far deeper in debt than it has been since the years just after World War II. This debt will constrain the country’s choices for years and could end up doing serious economic damage if foreign lenders become unwilling to finance it.

    Mr. Obama — responding to recent signs of skittishness among those lenders — met with 40 members of Congress at the White House on Tuesday and called for the re-enactment of pay-as-you-go rules, requiring Congress to pay for any new programs it passes.

    The story of today’s deficits starts in January 2001, as President Bill Clinton was leaving office. The Congressional Budget Office estimated then that the government would run an average annual surplus of more than $800 billion a year from 2009 to 2012. Today, the government is expected to run a $1.2 trillion annual deficit in those years.

    You can think of that roughly $2 trillion swing as coming from four broad categories: the business cycle, President George W. Bush’s policies, policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Mr. Obama has chosen to extend, and new policies proposed by Mr. Obama.

    The first category — the business cycle — accounts for 37 percent of the $2 trillion swing. It’s a reflection of the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists’ assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years.

    About 33 percent of the swing stems from new legislation signed by Mr. Bush. That legislation, like his tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, not only continue to cost the government but have also increased interest payments on the national debt.

    Mr. Obama’s main contribution to the deficit is his extension of several Bush policies, like the Iraq war and tax cuts for households making less than $250,000. Such policies — together with the Wall Street bailout, which was signed by Mr. Bush and supported by Mr. Obama — account for 20 percent of the swing.

    About 7 percent comes from the stimulus bill that Mr. Obama signed in February. And only 3 percent comes from Mr. Obama’s agenda on health care, education, energy and other areas.

    If the analysis is extended further into the future, well beyond 2012, the Obama agenda accounts for only a slightly higher share of the projected deficits.

    How can that be? Some of his proposals, like a plan to put a price on carbon emissions, don’t cost the government any money. Others would be partly offset by proposed tax increases on the affluent and spending cuts. Congressional and White House aides agree that no large new programs, like an expansion of health insurance, are likely to pass unless they are paid for.

    Alan Auerbach, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and an author of a widely cited study on the dangers of the current deficits, describes the situation like so: “Bush behaved incredibly irresponsibly for eight years. On the one hand, it might seem unfair for people to blame Obama for not fixing it. On the other hand, he’s not fixing it.”

    “And,” he added, “not fixing it is, in a sense, making it worse.”

    When challenged about the deficit, Mr. Obama and his advisers generally start talking about health care. “There is no way you can put the nation on a sound fiscal course without wringing inefficiencies out of health care,” Peter Orszag, the White House budget director, told me.

    Outside economists agree. The Medicare budget really is the linchpin of deficit reduction. But there are two problems with leaving the discussion there.

    First, even if a health overhaul does pass, it may not include the tough measures needed to bring down spending. Ultimately, the only way to do so is to take money from doctors, drug makers and insurers, and it isn’t clear whether Mr. Obama and Congress have the stomach for that fight. So far, they have focused on ideas like preventive care that would do little to cut costs.

    Second, even serious health care reform won’t be enough. Obama advisers acknowledge as much. They say that changes to the system would probably have a big effect on health spending starting in five or 10 years. The national debt, however, will grow dangerously large much sooner.

    Mr. Orszag says the president is committed to a deficit equal to no more than 3 percent of gross domestic product within five to 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office projects a deficit of at least 4 percent for most of the next decade. Even that may turn out to be optimistic, since the government usually ends up spending more than it says it will. So Mr. Obama isn’t on course to meet his target.

    But Congressional Republicans aren’t, either. Judd Gregg recently held up a chart on the Senate floor showing that Mr. Obama would increase the deficit — but failed to mention that much of the increase stemmed from extending Bush policies. In fact, unlike Mr. Obama, Republicans favor extending all the Bush tax cuts, which will send the deficit higher.

    Republican leaders in the House, meanwhile, announced a plan last week to cut spending by $75 billion a year. But they made specific suggestions adding up to meager $5 billion. The remaining $70 billion was left vague. “The G.O.P. is not serious about cutting down spending,” the conservative Cato Institute concluded.

    What, then, will happen?

    “Things will get worse gradually,” Mr. Auerbach predicts, “unless they get worse quickly.” Either a solution will be put off, or foreign lenders, spooked by the rising debt, will send interest rates higher and create a crisis.

    The solution, though, is no mystery. It will involve some combination of tax increases and spending cuts. And it won’t be limited to pay-as-you-go rules, tax increases on somebody else, or a crackdown on waste, fraud and abuse. Your taxes will probably go up, and some government programs you favor will become less generous.

    That is the legacy of our trillion-dollar deficits. Erasing them will be one of the great political issues of the coming decade.

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Thom,

    Per Krugman’s recent column on the probability that the financial meltdown, if it had occured during Gore’s presidency (had he been allowed to preside over it) would be blamed on the Dems. instead of the Republics seems to be refuted by “Sea of Red Ink: How It Spread From a Puddle” by David Leonhardt on the front page of today’s NYTimes. Leonhardt contends the 2 basic truths about today’s financial deficit are that Obama’s ambitious agenda is responsible for only a sliver of the total, and the current administration doesn’t have a realistic plan to solve it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/business/economy/10leonhardt.html?_r=1&hp

    “The New York Times analyzed Congressional Budget Office reports going back almost a decade, with the aim of understanding how the federal government came to be far deeper in debt than it has been since the years just after World War II. This debt will constrain the country’s choices for years and could end up doing serious economic damage if foreign lenders become unwilling to finance it.

    Mr. Obama — responding to recent signs of skittishness among those lenders — met with 40 members of Congress at the White House on Tuesday and called for the re-enactment of pay-as-you-go rules, requiring Congress to pay for any new programs it passes.

    The story of today’s deficits starts in January 2001, as President Bill Clinton was leaving office. The Congressional Budget Office estimated then that the government would run an average annual surplus of more than $800 billion a year from 2009 to 2012. Today, the government is expected to run a $1.2 trillion annual deficit in those years.

    You can think of that roughly $2 trillion swing as coming from four broad categories: the business cycle, President George W. Bush’s policies, policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Mr. Obama has chosen to extend, and new policies proposed by Mr. Obama.

    The first category — the business cycle — accounts for 37 percent of the $2 trillion swing. It’s a reflection of the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists’ assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years.

    About 33 percent of the swing stems from new legislation signed by Mr. Bush. That legislation, like his tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, not only continue to cost the government but have also increased interest payments on the national debt.

    Mr. Obama’s main contribution to the deficit is his extension of several Bush policies, like the Iraq war and tax cuts for households making less than $250,000. Such policies — together with the Wall Street bailout, which was signed by Mr. Bush and supported by Mr. Obama — account for 20 percent of the swing.

    About 7 percent comes from the stimulus bill that Mr. Obama signed in February. And only 3 percent comes from Mr. Obama’s agenda on health care, education, energy and other areas.

    If the analysis is extended further into the future, well beyond 2012, the Obama agenda accounts for only a slightly higher share of the projected deficits.

    How can that be? Some of his proposals, like a plan to put a price on carbon emissions, don’t cost the government any money. Others would be partly offset by proposed tax increases on the affluent and spending cuts. Congressional and White House aides agree that no large new programs, like an expansion of health insurance, are likely to pass unless they are paid for.

    Alan Auerbach, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and an author of a widely cited study on the dangers of the current deficits, describes the situation like so: “Bush behaved incredibly irresponsibly for eight years. On the one hand, it might seem unfair for people to blame Obama for not fixing it. On the other hand, he’s not fixing it.”

    “And,” he added, “not fixing it is, in a sense, making it worse.”

    When challenged about the deficit, Mr. Obama and his advisers generally start talking about health care. “There is no way you can put the nation on a sound fiscal course without wringing inefficiencies out of health care,” Peter Orszag, the White House budget director, told me.

    Outside economists agree. The Medicare budget really is the linchpin of deficit reduction. But there are two problems with leaving the discussion there.

    First, even if a health overhaul does pass, it may not include the tough measures needed to bring down spending. Ultimately, the only way to do so is to take money from doctors, drug makers and insurers, and it isn’t clear whether Mr. Obama and Congress have the stomach for that fight. So far, they have focused on ideas like preventive care that would do little to cut costs.

    Second, even serious health care reform won’t be enough. Obama advisers acknowledge as much. They say that changes to the system would probably have a big effect on health spending starting in five or 10 years. The national debt, however, will grow dangerously large much sooner.

    Mr. Orszag says the president is committed to a deficit equal to no more than 3 percent of gross domestic product within five to 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office projects a deficit of at least 4 percent for most of the next decade. Even that may turn out to be optimistic, since the government usually ends up spending more than it says it will. So Mr. Obama isn’t on course to meet his target.

    But Congressional Republicans aren’t, either. Judd Gregg recently held up a chart on the Senate floor showing that Mr. Obama would increase the deficit — but failed to mention that much of the increase stemmed from extending Bush policies. In fact, unlike Mr. Obama, Republicans favor extending all the Bush tax cuts, which will send the deficit higher.

    Republican leaders in the House, meanwhile, announced a plan last week to cut spending by $75 billion a year. But they made specific suggestions adding up to meager $5 billion. The remaining $70 billion was left vague. “The G.O.P. is not serious about cutting down spending,” the conservative Cato Institute concluded.

    What, then, will happen?

    “Things will get worse gradually,” Mr. Auerbach predicts, “unless they get worse quickly.” Either a solution will be put off, or foreign lenders, spooked by the rising debt, will send interest rates higher and create a crisis.

    The solution, though, is no mystery. It will involve some combination of tax increases and spending cuts. And it won’t be limited to pay-as-you-go rules, tax increases on somebody else, or a crackdown on waste, fraud and abuse. Your taxes will probably go up, and some government programs you favor will become less generous.

    That is the legacy of our trillion-dollar deficits. Erasing them will be one of the great political issues of the coming decade.

    (E-mail: Leonhardt@nytimes.com)

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Making Progress,

    I agree that progressive thinkers like Thom and Batra need more exposure to the American public. (I even attempted to convince the managing editor of the NYTimes to have Thom as one of its op-ed writers (especially since they were, at the time, allowing Bill Krystal to present his poorly researched, poorly argued columns on their pages.) BTW, I think it is very disturbing that Carlos Slim owns part of (and wants to own more of) the NYTImes. (http://www.slate.com/id/2211248/)

    Mark,

    It’s too bad NAFTA continues to go unchallenged…

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Making Progress,

    I agree that progressive thinkers like Thom and Batra need more exposure to the American public. (I even attempted to convince the managing editor of the NYTimes to have Thom as one of its op-ed writers (especially since they were, at the time, allowing Bill Krystal to present his poorly researched, poorly argued columns on their pages.) BTW, I think it is very disturbing that Carlos Slim owns part of (and wants to own more of) the NYTImes. (http://www.slate.com/id/2211248/)

    Mark,

    It's too bad NAFTA continues to go unchallenged...

    Thom,

    Per Krugman's recent column on the probability that the financial meltdown, if it had occured during Gore's presidency (had he been allowed to preside over it) would be blamed on the Dems. instead of the Republics seems to be refuted by "Sea of Red Ink: How It Spread From a Puddle" by David Leonhardt on the front page of today's NYTimes. Leonhardt contends the 2 basic truths about today's financial deficit are that Obama's ambitious agenda is responsible for only a sliver of the total, and the current administration doesn't have a realistic plan to solve it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/business/economy/10leonhardt.html?_r=1&hp

    "The New York Times analyzed Congressional Budget Office reports going back almost a decade, with the aim of understanding how the federal government came to be far deeper in debt than it has been since the years just after World War II. This debt will constrain the country’s choices for years and could end up doing serious economic damage if foreign lenders become unwilling to finance it.

    Mr. Obama — responding to recent signs of skittishness among those lenders — met with 40 members of Congress at the White House on Tuesday and called for the re-enactment of pay-as-you-go rules, requiring Congress to pay for any new programs it passes.

    The story of today’s deficits starts in January 2001, as President Bill Clinton was leaving office. The Congressional Budget Office estimated then that the government would run an average annual surplus of more than $800 billion a year from 2009 to 2012. Today, the government is expected to run a $1.2 trillion annual deficit in those years.

    You can think of that roughly $2 trillion swing as coming from four broad categories: the business cycle, President George W. Bush’s policies, policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Mr. Obama has chosen to extend, and new policies proposed by Mr. Obama.

    The first category — the business cycle — accounts for 37 percent of the $2 trillion swing. It’s a reflection of the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists’ assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years.

    About 33 percent of the swing stems from new legislation signed by Mr. Bush. That legislation, like his tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, not only continue to cost the government but have also increased interest payments on the national debt.

    Mr. Obama’s main contribution to the deficit is his extension of several Bush policies, like the Iraq war and tax cuts for households making less than $250,000. Such policies — together with the Wall Street bailout, which was signed by Mr. Bush and supported by Mr. Obama — account for 20 percent of the swing.

    About 7 percent comes from the stimulus bill that Mr. Obama signed in February. And only 3 percent comes from Mr. Obama’s agenda on health care, education, energy and other areas.

    If the analysis is extended further into the future, well beyond 2012, the Obama agenda accounts for only a slightly higher share of the projected deficits.

    How can that be? Some of his proposals, like a plan to put a price on carbon emissions, don’t cost the government any money. Others would be partly offset by proposed tax increases on the affluent and spending cuts. Congressional and White House aides agree that no large new programs, like an expansion of health insurance, are likely to pass unless they are paid for.

    Alan Auerbach, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and an author of a widely cited study on the dangers of the current deficits, describes the situation like so: “Bush behaved incredibly irresponsibly for eight years. On the one hand, it might seem unfair for people to blame Obama for not fixing it. On the other hand, he’s not fixing it.”

    “And,” he added, “not fixing it is, in a sense, making it worse.”

    When challenged about the deficit, Mr. Obama and his advisers generally start talking about health care. “There is no way you can put the nation on a sound fiscal course without wringing inefficiencies out of health care,” Peter Orszag, the White House budget director, told me.

    Outside economists agree. The Medicare budget really is the linchpin of deficit reduction. But there are two problems with leaving the discussion there.

    First, even if a health overhaul does pass, it may not include the tough measures needed to bring down spending. Ultimately, the only way to do so is to take money from doctors, drug makers and insurers, and it isn’t clear whether Mr. Obama and Congress have the stomach for that fight. So far, they have focused on ideas like preventive care that would do little to cut costs.

    Second, even serious health care reform won’t be enough. Obama advisers acknowledge as much. They say that changes to the system would probably have a big effect on health spending starting in five or 10 years. The national debt, however, will grow dangerously large much sooner.

    Mr. Orszag says the president is committed to a deficit equal to no more than 3 percent of gross domestic product within five to 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office projects a deficit of at least 4 percent for most of the next decade. Even that may turn out to be optimistic, since the government usually ends up spending more than it says it will. So Mr. Obama isn’t on course to meet his target.

    But Congressional Republicans aren’t, either. Judd Gregg recently held up a chart on the Senate floor showing that Mr. Obama would increase the deficit — but failed to mention that much of the increase stemmed from extending Bush policies. In fact, unlike Mr. Obama, Republicans favor extending all the Bush tax cuts, which will send the deficit higher.

    Republican leaders in the House, meanwhile, announced a plan last week to cut spending by $75 billion a year. But they made specific suggestions adding up to meager $5 billion. The remaining $70 billion was left vague. “The G.O.P. is not serious about cutting down spending,” the conservative Cato Institute concluded.

    What, then, will happen?

    “Things will get worse gradually,” Mr. Auerbach predicts, “unless they get worse quickly.” Either a solution will be put off, or foreign lenders, spooked by the rising debt, will send interest rates higher and create a crisis.

    The solution, though, is no mystery. It will involve some combination of tax increases and spending cuts. And it won’t be limited to pay-as-you-go rules, tax increases on somebody else, or a crackdown on waste, fraud and abuse. Your taxes will probably go up, and some government programs you favor will become less generous.

    That is the legacy of our trillion-dollar deficits. Erasing them will be one of the great political issues of the coming decade.

    E-mail: Leonhardt@nytimes.com

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Tuesday’s show was quite fascinating, especially the last hour’s conversation with Abraham Bolden. Nevertheless, there were several things Thom disappointed me with. "Populism" is to me little removed from mob rule; the only difference between conservative and progressive versions of populism is that conservatives are more brazen is offering-up the “other” as a scapegoat. I think it should be pointed that free trade with the U.S. has also hurt Mexican farmers; most Mexican tariffs have been removed, while the American farmers still receive government subsidies that their counterparts in Mexico do not. Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. exports more foodstuffs to Mexico than vice-versa, and competition from the U.S. has driven tens of thousands of poor farmers in Mexico from their fields to the cities, and failing to find work there, to the U.S. It is interesting to note as well that the dollar value of U.S. exports to Mexico is double that what the U.S. exports to China.

    The side-stepping of immigration reform doesn’t make sense to me either, especially given the fact that nonsensical U.S. immigration policy is part of the problem. A couple years ago a local weekly published a story concerning the Emerald Downs horse race track , which employed Mexican immigrants who obtained work visas to labor as horse grooms, before returning to Mexico for several months. But because of the rising anti-immigrant onslaught, there were unexplained visa problems when the next season was about to begin. There “magically” appeared a three-month "window of opportunity" for the "natives" to take those jobs. But despite extensive advertising for jobs in print, only two “natives” showed interest in the work, and apparently after being told that the job included cleaning stalls, they were never heard from again. "White people don't want to work; they just want to bitch and say there are no jobs” one 60-year-old trainer was quoted as saying. He and other trainers were obliged to do the groom work themselves until the work visas were finally granted and the Mexican grooms arrived. They were “soaked-up” by relieved trainers “like a wet rag.”
    There is need for seasonal workers like these for the kind of work that Americans do not want to demean themselves or find too inconvenient to do. If the U.S. had a work visa program that was less prejudicial and more flexible, it stands to reason that fewer would have reason to come into and stay in the country illegally.

  • June 10 2009 Wednesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    The Daily Show was great last night! John Hodgman makes fun of California’s Ballot initiative system and how they are privatizing everything instead of raising taxes.
    Peter Schiff was also on The Daily Show on Tuesday and Jon Stewart was fawning over him. I feel like if he can get air time why can't Ravi Batra? While Schiff correctly predicted the credit crunch, his causes and solutions are not entirely correct. He fails to discuss wages and trade policies. I realize that Ravi Batra is only an SMU professor and not running for the Senate or the economic adviser for Ron Paul's campaign. But why can’t Batra, an obvious establishment outsider, get an interview with Jon Stewart under the guise of the paperback release of The New Golden Age. For that matter, Thom should go on The Daily Show. More exposure is needed for progressive view points. My fear is that the general populous will adopt the libertarian ideology as a so-called middle ground from where we’ve been the last eight years.

  • June 9th 2009 - Tuesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Quark,

    You may be right. Eisenhower may have felt regrets later in his life. Smedley Butler felt that way after serving over 3 decades in the military. He said that most of the time he spent in the military he was "...a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism..."

    There's a good short article on him at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler It has that full quote.

  • June 9th 2009 - Tuesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    B Roll,

    It sounds a little like Eisenhower may have made his "beware the military industrial complex" remarks with hindsight regret, since he didn't seem to have a problem using the military for some of these pro-corporate, antidemocratic ventures.

  • June 9th 2009 - Tuesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    Re: What was the website for the Harvey J Kaye, Thomas Paine Promise of America?

    http://www.forgottenfoundingfather.net/

  • June 9th 2009 - Tuesday   10 years 22 weeks ago

    B Roll,

    Thanks for the history lesson. I've read a couple of the books you referenced, but have forgotten about some of these events.

    Once again, the military and corporate industrial complex shows how it runs the world.

Come Cruise with Thom Hartmann in July 2020

Join me for an exciting Bermuda getaway aboard Oceania Cruises, the world’s leading culinary and destination-focused cruise line. Set sail on the reimagined Insignia for 7 nights beginning July 25th 2020. Take advantage of Oceania Cruises’ OLife Choice promotion, where you can choose shore excursions, a beverage package, or onboard credit – Oceania Cruises also includes Wifi! You'll also receive complimentary gratuities, a $50 onboard credit and two exclusive cocktail parties. Did I mention we are planning special onboard events with yours truly? Prices start at $1199.

Reserve your stateroom today by contacting Keene Luxury Travel, and mention the Thom Hartmann Group 800.856.1155

or go to https://www.keeneluxurytravel.com/th-bermuda/default.asp

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.