Sunday Roast: Taino Genocide Day

This is a few years old, but still pertinent, as Thom scrapes away at the white-washing — literally and figuratively — of the life and actions of Christopher Columbus.  It’s absolutely sickening, and a horrifying indicator of the coming genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Thank goodness the holiday isn’t until Monday — you have time to get to the mall for that big sale.

This is our daily open thread — Barf.

Texan Jim Hightower on Gov. Rick Perry

From Raw Story:

On his radio show yesterday, progressive radio host Thom Hartmann spoke with populist Texas writer Jim Hightower about Gov. Rick Perry and the troubling tale of Cameron Willingham, a man who was “almost certainly” innocent, yet still was put to death.

“This guy really puts the goober in gubernatorial,” Hightower quipped.

“This man, who claims to be a man of religion and morality, seems to have no conscience at all about doing some rather ugly things,” Hightower said.

Why is the USPS on the verge of shutting down?

Thom Hartmann gives an interesting explanation.

The United States Post Office is on the verge of shutting down. According to the New York Times – the Post Office is quickly running out of cash and may be forced to shut down this winter. While the media story line is that the Post Office is dealing with the problem of trying to remain profitable in a world of decreasing paper mail – the real cause is actually something much, much different. Consider that this year – like every year since 2006 – the Post Office is legally required to make a $5 billion annual contribution to a retirement account to pay for future retirees who aren’t even born yet. For more on this Thom Hartmann is joined by Chuck Zlatkin – Legislative and Political Director of the New York Metro Area Postal Union.

This is just another rung on the ladder to gut and then ‘privatize’ everything in this country. Thom talked about this on his radio show a couple of days ago. Congress voted to do this (under GW Bush five years ago). This legislation was passed by a voice vote with no record of how anyone voted. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA11). It was H.R.6407 [109th]: Postal Accountability And Enhancement Act. When I listened to Thom Hartmann on his radio show discussing this a couple of days ago, he mentioned this piece of that legislation was slipped in during the dead of night—“the poison pill”—the piece that would kill the USPS.

There is a solution in Congress right now (HR1351), but it is likely to meet great resistance beings the Republicans want to knock out out the USPS, the unionized workers, and privatize it. Choke, destroy, dismantle, privatize. It’s once again the “Shock Doctrine“.

Thom urges everyone at the end of this video to contact their Congressman or Congresswoman and urge them to vote in favor of HR 1351: United States Postal Service Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011.

.

The Watering Hole: April 17 – Secrets The Rich Don’t Want You To Know

Beings it’s tax time once again…

From Thom Hartmann’s “TheBigPictureRT”:

“It’s a secret that every Republican President since Ronald Reagan didn’t want us to know.”

Thom Hartmann is one of the smartest people I have ever listened to. In this video he references an article written by David Cay Johnston that was published this week:

9 Things The Rich Don’t Want You To Know About Taxes

“For three decades we have conducted a massive economic experiment, testing a theory known as supply-side economics. The theory goes like this: Lower tax rates will encourage more investment, which in turn will mean more jobs and greater prosperity—so much so that tax revenues will go up, despite lower rates. The late Milton Friedman, the libertarian economist who wanted to shut down public parks because he considered them socialism, promoted this strategy. Ronald Reagan embraced Friedman’s ideas and made them into policy when he was elected president in 1980.

For the past decade, we have doubled down on this theory of supply-side economics with the tax cuts sponsored by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003, which President Obama has agreed to continue for two years.

You would think that whether this grand experiment worked would be settled after three decades. You would think the practitioners of the dismal science of economics would look at their demand curves and the data on incomes and taxes and pronounce a verdict, the way Galileo and Copernicus did when they showed that geocentrism was a fantasy because Earth revolves around the sun (known as heliocentrism). But economics is not like that. It is not like physics with its laws and arithmetic with its absolute values…” (Read on) 

It’s an excellent article with LOTS of great charts and figures. EVERY AMERICAN should be reading this. It’s brilliant. Just a few of the sub-headings:

1. Poor Americans do pay taxes.

2. The wealthiest Americans don’t carry the burden.

3. In fact, the wealthy are paying less taxes.

4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all.

5. And (surprise!) since Reagan, only the wealthy have gained significant income.

And so on.. We’ve already heard these things, but the charts in this article are simply eye-popping. And there really isn’t much room for argument. He lays it all out as clear as I’ve ever seen before.

Thom Hartmann had another great video this week that I also wanted to share. It is a lot longer, (just short of an hour), but OH so worth the viewing.

“Thom provides a detailed presentation of how the wealthy population in America pays minimal federal taxes, while the bulk of the tax percentage is paid by middle class Americans.”

This is our daily open thread; brought to you by The Zoo ™.
What’s on your mind today?

Sunday Roast: The Real Boston Tea Party

The Tea Party got its start in 2009, when the Koch brothers-funded, right-wing, big corporation loving, group “Freedom Works” picked up on the silly and selfish rant by Rick Santelli, wherein he called for a “Chicago Tea Party,” due to his opposition to President Obama’s idea to help out homeowners who were in trouble with their mortgages.

Low information voters all over the United States began turning out in droves that summer of 2009 to protest that they were “Taxed Enough Already” and reeling from the dreadful hazard of providing health care to all Americans, delivered hundreds of thousands of teabags to a park near the White House, and were seen sporting hats with teabags stapled to the brims.  They proclaimed themselves “teabaggers,” until the snickers and guffaws caused them to research the term with the Google, and then they retreated to calling themselves “tea partiers.”

They remembered to bring their signs with clever (and usually mis-spelled) tax-related sayings; they gleefully marched with their signs featuring the President as Hitler, an African witch doctor, and the Joker — although what those signs had to do with taxes or health care is still a mystery to me; and they held their Gadsden flags high in the breeze.

What they didn’t remember to do was actually read the history behind the Boston Tea Party.  To put it factually and bluntly, if this were 1770s America, the tea partiers would be loyalists to the British Crown.  What!?

Thom Hartmann explains it clearly in the video above — in case you didn’t remember your grade school history classes (I’m looking at you, teabaggers) — or if you just never knew in the first place.

The real Boston Tea Party was a protest against huge corporate tax cuts for the British East India Company, the largest trans-national corporation then in existence. This corporate tax cut threatened to decimate small Colonial businesses by helping the BEIC pull a Wal-Mart against small entrepreneurial tea shops, and individuals began a revolt that kicked-off a series of events that ended in the creation of The United States of America.

They covered their faces, massed in the streets, and destroyed the property of a giant global corporation. Declaring an end to global trade run by the East India Company that was destroying local economies, this small, masked minority started a revolution with an act of rebellion later called the Boston Tea Party.

Yep, that’s it.  A protest against the King giving a huge tax break to the biggest corporation in existence at the time, which would have the effect of crippling colonial merchants.

No, it was not a protest against excessive personal taxes or taxation of corporations — this is what Freedom Works and the Koch brothers would like us all to believe, and luckily for them, the tea partiers bought it, hook, line, and sinker; and they have happily and diligently worked against their own interests ever since.

This is our daily open thread — Do you think we can find common ground with the tea party, and find a way to work together against our common enemy?

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 12

Chapter Twelve, the final chapter of Thom Hartmann’s book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, is called “Conclusion: Tag, You’re It!”

As bad as things are in this country now, we’ve been here before — in the time of the Robber Barons in 19th century America, and during the Great Depression of the 20th century — and we

endured even tougher times before and during our quest for independence from England.

 

Our economy is in tatters, the result of more than 30 years of Reaganomics and Clintonomics. Our democracy is hanging by a thread, the result of 40 years of radical Supreme Court decisions steadily advancing the powers of corporations and suppressing the rights of individuals and their government. And our environment is trembling under the combined assault of the Industrial Revolution and nearly 7 billion bundles of human flesh.

It’s the perfect time. We are clearly at a nexus, a threshold, a tipping point. If the past is any indicator, things will get worse before they get better, but in that tragedy will be both the catalyst and the seeds for a very positive future.

If we’ve learned anything in the last ten years, it’s that we can’t keep doing the same old thing while expecting a different result.  We need to be shaken out of our complacency and learned helplessness, and I think the protests in Wisconsin just might be a starting point.  What do you think?

I know one thing for sure:  When President Obama can stand behind his podium and say to the giant corporations and the top 2%,  “I welcome their hatred,” we will be on our way to being a great nation once again, and he will be remembered as one of the greatest Presidents this country has ever had.

The big question now is, will he…?

Actually, we can’t leave it up to President Obama to act.  He is our leader, and we must DEMAND that he lead.  You can send him an email here.  In fact, bookmark the site and email him often — to give him kudos as well as asking for what we want.  It can’t hurt, and it certainly might help.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss!!

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 11

Chapter Eleven of Thom Hartmann’s book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, is called “In the Shadow of the Dragon.”

This week’s chapter let’s us know about the amazing Mondragon Corporation, which came to be in the Basque region of Spain in the 1950s.

 

The Mondragon Cooperative is neither hierarchical nor patriarchal. There’s no king or lord. The corporation is owned by its employees. The most highly paid person earns less than six times the most poorly paid person. Decisions are made by workers on the front lines and then communicated up to the “managers” for implementation.

And this is no flaky, hippy-dippy commune-like experiment. It is the world’s largest federation of cooperatives, employing more than 90,000 people in more than 250 companies that focus on four areas: retail, finance, industry, and knowledge. In 2008, Mondragon’s revenue was €16.8 billion ($24.2 billion). All—every last euro cent—of the profits are distributed in one of three ways: reinvested in the business, given to worthy local charities, or paid as dividends to Mondragon’s worker-owners.

Retail, finance, industry, and knowledge — How commonsense does this sound?  Insert a giant “DUH!” here, right?  But…

Somehow Americans have lost sight of this. We see no benefit in any investment that does not produce profit for the owners, whether the owners are the distant stockholders or the investors or the top executives. Such an attitude not only devalues workers but also fails to recognize the importance of investing in public education, which is particularly tragic given what a difference education can make in social mobility.

The economy should function to make American workers’ lives better, not to make us wage slaves to those who own the economy!

If a $24 billion cooperative venture can be successfully established in the remote Basque region of northern Spain, surely it can be done in modern-day metropolises of the wealthiest nation on earth.

I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I’m totally psyched about a Zoo Cooperative.  🙂

This is our daily open thread — Discuss!!

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 10

Chapter Ten of Thom Hartmann’s book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, is called “Wal-Mart is Not a Person.”

This week’s chapter covers the outrageous concept of corporate personhood.  Corporations can’t hack the so-called free market, so they need special consideration by the United States

Supreme Court.

The funny thing is, this country was founded on the people’s desire for freedom and liberty, and the kicker was an act of protest — later known as the Boston Tea Party — against a special tax break for the biggest corporation of its time, the East India Company.

Now, after the egregious Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court, corporations have all the rights and privileges of people (save voting, for now), without the bother of all the pesky responsibilities.

Weirdly enough, the slippery slope to Citizens United was paved by the crappy work of a clerk who wrote the headnote of an 1886 case known as Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad.

From Thom’s chapter:

In 2003, after my book Unequal Protection was first published, I gave a talk at one of the larger law schools in Vermont. Around 300 people showed up, mostly students, with a few dozen faculty and some local lawyers. I started by asking, “Please raise your hand if you know that in 1886, in the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad case, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons and therefore entitled to rights under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

Almost everyone in the room raised their hand, and the few who didn’t probably were new enough to the law that they hadn’t gotten to study that case yet. Nobody questioned the basic premise of the statement.

And all of them were wrong.

We the People are the first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution; and from its adoption until the Robber Baron Era in the late nineteenth century, people meant human beings. In the 1886 Santa Clara case, however, the court reporter of the Supreme Court proclaimed in a “headnote”—a summary or statement added at the top of the court decision, which is separate from the decision and has no legal force whatsoever—that the word person in law and, particularly, in the Constitution, meant both humans and corporations.

Thus began in a big way…the corruption of American democracy and the shift, over the 125 years since then, to our modern corporate oligarchy.

Un-frickin’-believable, huh?  Over 100 years later, the Roberts court rammed home what may turn out to be the final nail in the coffin of this country.  This topic truly pisses me off.

There’s lots more information in this chapter, and you can read the whole thing here.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss!

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 9

Chapter Nine of Thom Hartmann’s book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, is called “Put Lou Dobbs Out to Pasture.”

This week’s topic covers the outsourcing of our jobs, controlling the size of the workforce by controlling immigration, and lowering the retirement age.  Here are some excerpts…

On outsourcing:

Under the guise of satisfying a consumer demand for low prices, multinationals have accelerated outsourcing ever since the Reagan years and pushed the “free

trade” and “globalization” ideology that has given us the NAFTA and GATT/WTO processes initiated under President George H. W. Bush and finished by President Bill Clinton. As a direct result, American blue-collar workers saw their jobs vanish as factories making things from jeans to precision tools moved to Mexico and other countries. Not to worry, the Bush and Clinton administrations assured workers, just learn new skills so you can join the “service economy,” which included millions of new “Do you want fries with that?” and “Welcome to Wal-Mart” jobs…

On controlling the size of the workforce, by controlling immigration:

The history of the labor struggle in America has always been about securing wages and benefits that provide a decent living for workers and their families. And the best way to guarantee that is by making sure the labor market is not flooded. Working Americans have always known this simple equation: more workers, lower wages; fewer workers, higher wages.

On lowering the Social Security retirement age:

Here’s another way to tighten up our labor market and thus raise wages and our standard of living: lower the Social Security retirement age from the current 65–67 to 55 and increase the benefits to where they were in inflation-adjusted 1960s dollars by raising them between 10 to 20 percent (so people could actually live, albeit modestly, on Social Security).

All those Boomers retiring would make room in the labor market for all the recent high school and college graduates, who are now finding it so hard to get a job.

Thus a tightened labor market would increase wages. And as wages go up, tax revenues—which are paying for Social Security (among other things)—would increase.

The Ayn Randian policies of Ronald Reagan, Alan Greenspan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush over the last thirty years have just about killed off the middle class, and have put a huge economic hurt on the rest of us by causing wages to go stagnant, forcing millions of us out of the working world (possibly forever), and by crashing the economy with impunity.

We’re pretty much doing the same things we’ve been doing since the 80s, and I doubt we can expect much of substance to get done in the Republican-controlled House, or in a broken Senate that could only manage the smallest rules reform that didn’t come close to touching the filibuster.  We’ve put a tiny bandaid on a ruptured artery, and it’s just not going to hold.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss!!

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 8

Chapter Eight of Thom Hartmann’s book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, is called “They Will Steal It!”

This week, Thom discusses democracy, the military, and the draft/public service.  Some excerpts:

On democracy:

In the middle of our discussion about the United States and its unfortunate military adventures abroad, Dick [Gregory] dropped on me the most profound comment I’ve ever heard about foreign policy and human nature: “I don’t know why America always thinks she has to run all around the world forcing people to take our way of governance at the barrel of a gun,” he said. He paused for a sip of wine, and then added with a sly grin, “When you’ve got something really good, you don’t have to force it on people. They will steal it!

On the military:

Jefferson was […] morally offended by the idea of an army that people would join only because they were too poor to afford an education and a job. For such people he wanted universal free public education, including free college tuition, which he brought into being when he founded the University of Virginia.

In a June 1813 letter to his old friend (and future president) James Monroe, he wrote:

It is more a subject of joy that we have so few of the desperate characters which compose modern regular armies. But it proves more forcibly the necessity of obliging every citizen to be a soldier; this was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free State. Where there is no oppression there will be no pauper hirelings.

On the draft/public service:

…We should institute a universal draft, with a strong public service option—from planting trees to assisting in schools to helping in hospitals—easily and readily available for those young people who don’t want to go into the military.

The result will be a generation of citizens who feel more bonded with and committed to their nation, who have experienced the critical developmental stage of a “rite of passage” into adulthood, and who have experienced more of America and the world than just their own neighborhood.

We can’t bomb people into embracing democracy; we’re already the biggest dog on the block, so we shouldn’t have to spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined to prove it; and if we’re going to pick fights with other countries, EVERYONE should have a fair chance of losing a child to that war.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss!

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 7

Chapter Seven of Thom Hartmann’s book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, is called “Cool Our Fever.”

 

 

This week, Thom discusses two things:  Stripping oil of it’s strategic value, and ways to clean up our atmosphere before we boil.

The United States has about 3% of the world’s oil, but we consume 24% of the oil produced around the world.

[O]il accounts for roughly 95 percent of the energy used for transportation in the United States (and our military is the world’s single largest consumer of oil), and that’s what makes it strategic. If we want to strip oil of its strategic value, so it can’t

be used as a weapon against us and we can use our remaining oil supplies for rational things like producing plastics and medicines, we need to shift our transportation sector away from oil and do so quickly. 

If we change the way we power our transportation, then we won’t need such a huge, oil-guzzling military to invade countries like Iraq, who are sitting on “our oil.”  That would be one huge problem solved.

But how can we do it?

In 1999 progressives in Germany passed the 100,000 Roof Program (Stromeinspeisungsgesetz), which mandated that banks had to provide low-interest 10-year loans to homeowners sufficient for them to put solar panels on their houses. They then passed the Renewable Energies Law (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz) and in 2004 integrated the 100,000 Roofs Program into it.  The Renewable Energies Law mandated that for the next 10 years the power company had to buy back power from those homeowners at a level substantially above the going rate so the homeowners’ income from the solar panel would equal their loan payment on the panel and would also represent the actual cost to the power company to generate that amount of power had it built a new nuclear reactor.

Germany was trying to find a way to avoid building two new nuclear power plants, and they succeeded wildly.  In eight year’s time, the 100,000 Roof Program was generating 8,500 MW of power to the grid — about eight nuclear plants worth.  Enough power to make it easy to power transportation! Continue reading

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 6

Chapter Six of Thom Hartmann’s book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, is called “Make Members of Congress Wear NASCAR Patches.”

Why do we, as individuals, vote?  Seriously, why?

When I was growing up, I couldn’t wait to be old enough to vote.  In my starry-eyed youth, I truly believed that having come from a monarchy, in which the “small people” had absolutely no say about the direction of our lives, our basic rights, and the laws of the land, Americans would consider voting to be a precious and hard-won right — something no one would take lightly, especially women and people of color.

Boy was I wrong!! Just over the course of my own lifetime, our population has grown a great deal, but the percentage of voter turnout is steadily decreasing.  The 2008 election, which was so dynamic and hotly contested, only brought out about 56% of the voting age population, and that was the best turnout since the presidential election of 1968.  Mid-terms?  Forget about it…

So where am I going with this line of thought?  Isn’t Thom’s latest chapter about making politicians wear NASCAR patches?  Indeed, it is.

The [Center for Responsive Politics] report [of 2010] showed that the top federal lobbying spending was carried out in 2009 by the health-care sector ($543.9 million); followed by the finance, insurance, and real estate sector ($465 million); and energy and natural resources ($408.9 million). Among the biggest lobbying clients were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($144.5 million), ExxonMobil ($27 million), and the pharmaceutical industry group PhRMA ($26 million).

One person, one vote, right?  Assuming our elections are still on the up and up (not a safe assumption at all), and our individual votes send politicians to Congress to represent our best

interests, what is up with all the above money?  That’s where the NASCAR patches come in — because it’s not just “one person, one vote” anymore, it’s “he who takes the most money, wins.” There’s money to be made in politics, and it’s not chump change.  Our votes are becoming purely symbolic — something to keep up the illusion that we have any say in the direction this country takes, and a way for mass media to rake in the advertising dollars.  After the egregious Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court, even NASCAR patches would not be helpful.

In 2010 in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations—even foreign corporations—and wealthy individuals can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections; they just have to spend it independently of the candidate’s or party’s official campaign.

I’m not suggesting that we stay out of the voting booth — absolutely not.  I’m saying we need to turn out in even greater numbers.  Barring campaign finance reform and the repeal of Citizens United, showing up in the voting booth is our last best hope of having any sort of voice in this country.  Staying home because politics is messy/imperfect is not an option.  Approximately 50% or less of Americans are deciding the way forward in this country — along with a staggering amount of money, that helps politicians forget very quickly who sent them to Congress and why.  How’s that working for us? Continue reading

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 5

Chapter Five of Thom Hartmann’s book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, is called “Medicare ‘Part E’ – For Everybody.”

This week’s chapter is about the real need to keep up, maintain, and even expand the social safety net in this country.  Really, the social safety net is not a joke.  People are not choosing to

be homeless, or without healthcare, or sitting home waiting for that big time unemployment check — they want to work.  They want to contribute to society, and make it a better place for everyone.  That’s true of most people in the world, I think, but it’s also a big part of the American work ethic.

One great way to make this country stronger, more secure, and more productive is to make sure every single American has access to the healthcare we need, at a cost we can afford.  No one should ever have to worry about going bankrupt because of medical bills.

Medical care in the United States is about profit first, executive bonuses second, and medicine and the health of the people come in somewhere down the list.  To me, that is immoral.

We already have Medicare, which is a fairly comprehensive basic health insurance/health-care program that covers nearly all Americans over 65 years of age. It is, in essence, a single-payer health-care program. Obama and the Democrats could easily push to expand the Medicare program to allow Americans of all ages to participate in it, and all they’d need is a simple majority, not a supermajority.

And here’s the most amazing part: this would be totally consistent with what President Lyndon B. Johnson and the folks in his administration and Congress had in mind when they created Medicare in July 1965.

Yep!  President Johnson saw Medicare as a program that could be adjusted over time to lower the qualifying age incrementally, until all Americans could be covered.  Simple!!  I like simple.  I adore simple!   Continue reading

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 4

Chapter Four of Thom Hartmann’s book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, is called “An Informed and Educated Electorate.”

Are you as tired as I am of people who can tell you who are the finalists in American Idol or who won Dancing With the Stars, but can’t name their own Congressional representatives?  Good.

I’m glad I’m not the only one.  Most people in this country, and probably the world, depend on their televisions to give them news about the things they need to know about.  I know, that seems awfully passive and sheep-like, but it’s where many Americans are these days.  But why?  Why?

Ronald Reagan did away with the Fairness Doctrine and Equal Time Rule in 1987, and that same year, Rush Limbaugh bubbled to the surface like a nasty egg salad fart.  Later, Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act, deregulating the broadcast industry, which had the devastating effect of having the news division of networks folded into the entertainment division — now the news had to make a profit.  What does this mean for Americans?

[An intern for Ellen Ratner’s Talk Radio News Service,] related that a White House correspondent for one of the Big Three TV networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) had told her that the network registered a huge amount of interest in the “hot story” that week of a congressman’s sexual indiscretions. Far less popular were stories about the debates on health care, the conflicts in the Middle East, and even the Americans who had died recently in Iraq or Afghanistan.

It means that instead of engaging in the ‘stuff that matters,’ we can filter out the stressful news and focus on “news” that doesn’t require us to think too much.  Hey, why don’t we want to think too much?

Probably because our education system is so underfunded and traumatized by stupid programs like ‘No Child Left Behind,’ which actually leaves way more children behind than ever before, that our ability to think critically is seriously diminished or non-existent. Continue reading

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter One

Truthout is hosting a chapter each week of Thom Hartmann’s new book, Rebooting the American Dream.  In last week’s Sunday Roast, I summarized truthout’s overview of Thom’s book, letting you know what each of the eleven chapters contained.

This week, Chapter One:  Bring My Job Home!

John Maynard Keynes, the British economist, believed in the private sector but also in a strong government role, especially during dire economic straits. Keynes

understood that demandfrom consumers drives an economy; and when consumers don’t have a job, an economy will stagnate or worse. So during a cyclical depression, the best response of government is to use government money—even borrowed government money if need be—to put people to work so they’ll have money to buy things.

Those expenditures by working-class people—on computers, television sets, clothes, toys, furniture, power tools, and so on—would help restart the economy, which would grow gross domestic product (GDP) and tax revenues, so government would be able to pay back the borrowed money and wean people off of government jobs as private industry picked up the load.

So, why didn’t the stimulus generate as many jobs as Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal?  What happened?  According to Thom, first, the stimulus was about 1/3 the size it should have been; and second, the stimulus DID create millions of jobs — IN CHINA.

So here is the first big way we can reboot the economy: lose our recent fascination—obsession, really—with “free trade,” get back to protectionism, and impose tariffs (import taxes) on imported consumer goods as we used to do. Let’s apply the lessons that our own rich history teaches us. In other words, let’s resume the manufacture of consumer goods in the United States, protect these industries from cheap foreign labor, and bring all those jobs back home.

“Free Trade” isn’t free.  The Founding Fathers, particularly Alexander Hamilton, knew it.  Hell, he wasn’t even the first!  Hamilton got the idea from King Henry VII, who got the idea from the Dutch, who got it from the Romans, who got the idea from the Greeks!  Why did they keep using and building on the same strategy?  Because tariffs and protectionism work!! Continue reading

Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream

Truthout is publishing one chapter per week of Thom Hartmann’s new book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country.  This week’s post is an introduction, and the next twelve weeks will consist of one chapter of the book.

When Washington became president in 1789, most of America’s personal and

industrial products of any significance were manufactured in England or in its colonies. Washington asked his first Treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, what could be done about that, and Hamilton came up with an 11-point plan to foster American manufacturing, which he presented to Congress in 1791. By 1793 most of its points had either been made into law by Congress or formulated into policy by either President Washington or the various states, which put the country on a path of developing its industrial base and generating the largest source of federal revenue for more than a hundred years.

We need a modern day do-over of Hamilton’s 11-point plan that made America great, and in his book Thom Hartmann is offering up his own plan to do exactly that.

These are the chapter we can look forward to over the next weeks:

Chapter 1, “Bring My Job Home!” covers how economies work and why we need to heed Alexander Hamilton’s advice.

Chapter 2, “Roll Back the Reagan Tax Cuts,” points out how when top income-tax rates on millionaires and billionaires are above 50 percent, not only does the gap between the very rich and the working poor shrink but the nation’s economy stabilizes and grows.

Chapter 3, “Stop Them from Eating My Town,” covers the ground of monopoly- and crony-capitalism, an economic system born and bred when Reagan stopped enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.

Chapter 4, “An Informed and Educated Electorate,” begins by showing how badly our news media has deteriorated, how it only caters to what people want and not to what they need, and how important it is that we take our media back from the profit-hungry corporations that have abandoned the public-service mission of media. Continue reading

Sunday Roast: Sexual weirdness

Thom Hartmann has a discussion with Dr. Elizabeth Reisman, who is a serious nutcase with major problems around the topic of sex.  Apparently Dr. Kinsey (she refers to him as the man who “mainstreamed perversion”) unleashed a true horror when he studied how the body works during sex.  OMG, NO!!!  Sorry, I’m not linking her site; it’s toxic crap.

Seriously, listen to this woman talk.  If you listen to her, there were no sexual problems until the sexual revolution and sex education.  She claims that the sex ed aimed at kindergarteners recommends “explicit materials.”  She’s even against teaching proper names for body parts — that’s dirty stuff, man.

I do disagree with Thom on one point — that the internet is the main problem with young children seeing inappropriate sexual images.  Yes, young children may be exposed to such things on the internet, but that’s a PARENTING problem, not an INTERNET problem.

This is our daily open thread.  What’s going on in your world?

Thom Hartmann talks “taxes”

Truthout

The Great Tax Con Job by Thom Hartmann

Republicans are using the T-word – taxes – to attack the Obama healthcare program. It’s a strategy based in a lie.

A very small niche of America’s uber-wealthy have pulled off what may well be the biggest con job in the history of our republic, and they did it in a startlingly brief 30 or so years. True, they spent over three billion dollars to make it happen, but the reward to them was in the hundreds of billions – and will continue to be…

Read this entire article.

Thom Hartmann discusses ‘taxes’ better than anyone I have heard or read. He always makes perfect sense.

After you read this,  go out and buy yourself a copy of his book “Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class — And What We Can Do About It..

Thom Hartmann on Obama

The Real News Network

Hartmann: Will Obama behave like Roosevelt or will he create a moment of opportunity for the right?

Paul Jay of The Real News Network interviews Progressive radio talk show host Thom Hartmann while at the conference of America’s Future Now, getting his thoughts on what and how President Obama has been doing since he came to office, on a range of issues, and what Progressives can do now.

The interview with Hartmann is in two parts.

Hartmann is author of the excellent book “Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It“. Excellent reading.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Continue reading

Ending Welfare For The Rich

Thom Hartmann

Bush Admin. to bar autoworkers from striking against GM: As GM chief coasts, workers forced to accept cuts, strike prohibition

A little-noticed provision buried in the Bush Administration’s $13.4 billion loan package to General Motors will prohibit the United Auto Workers from launching a strike as long as the company receives funds from the federal government.

Not only that, but a strike would give the federal government the power to call in their loan — putting the loan in default and forcing GM into bankruptcy. The government now has the power to force a bankruptcy if “any labor union or collective bargaining unit shall engage in a strike or other work stoppage.”

Tax Cuts Hurt Working People

I am a huge fan of Thom Hartmann. He makes more sense than anyone I have ever listened to. I am very happy to see that he is putting up videos on his blog of his commentary. He is also an excellent writer. I just finished reading “Cracking the Code“. Excellent! I highly recommend it.

In this video, Thom explains how cutting taxes on working people actually hurts their income:

You can listen to Thom Hartmann weekly on Air America.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Thom Hartmann Discusses Nixon’s Treason

YouTube:

Thom Hartmann discusses the recently released audio tapes of President Johnson talking about Republican candidate for President Richard Nixon making secret deals with the North Vietnamese in order to help himself get elected.

This is quite fascinating. Thom Hartmann starts the discussion discussing the attacks against the Obama camp in connection with the exposed corruption of Rod Blagojevich, and how he (Obama) is already under attack by the Republicans before he is even sworn in. Thom then moves on to discuss the treason committed by Richard Nixon in order to win an election, and how it wasn’t discussed or covered by the press because of the fear it would weaken the presidency.

This segment is in two parts:

Here is the article at Consortium News by Robert Parry that Hartmann referred to: The Significance of Nixon’s ‘Treason’

Thom Hartmann on the GOP Busting Unions

Thom Hartmann of radio’s Air America was a guest on Countdown last week to discuss what is happening with the bailout (or lack of a bailout) of the auto industry. 

David Shuster talks to Thom Hartmann about the GOP’s decision to tell the industrial midwest to go to hell. Hartmann breaks down the reasons the GOP to wants to bust unions and explains how this movement started under Ronald Reagan. He also has some suggestions for Barack Obama to get the economy back on track, and one is to read Alexander Hamilton’s Report on Manufacturers from 1791.

Nobody says it any better..

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

How Wall Street Can Bail Itself Out Without Destroying The Dollar

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

This is a great article by Thom Hartmann. He is one of the most well-reasoned, logical, well-versed-in-history, deep thinkers I have listened to.

by Thom Hartmann

For Grover “Drown Government In The Bathtub” Norquist, this bailout deal will work out very well. At a proposed cost of $4,780 per taxpayer, it’ll further the David Stockman strategy of so indebting us that the next president won’t have the luxury of even thinking of new social spending (expanding health care, social security, education, infrastructure, etc.); taxes will even have to be raised just to pay for the bailout. It’ll debase our currency, driving up commodity prices and interest rates, which will benefit the Investor Class while further impoverishing the pesky Middle Class, rendering them less prone to protest (because they’re so busy working trying to pay off their debt). It’ll create stagflation for at least the next half decade, which can be blamed on Democrats who currently control Congress and, should Obama be elected, be blamed on him.

But there’s another way: Create an agency to fund the bailout, loan that agency the money from the treasury, and then have that agency tax Wall Street to pay us (the treasury) back.

It’s been done before, and has several benefits.

In the United Kingdom, for example, whenever you buy or sell a share of stock (or a credit swap or a derivative, or any other activity of that sort) you pay a small tax on the transaction. We did the same thing here in the US from 1914 to 1966 (and, before that, we did it to finance the Spanish American War and the Civil War).

For us, this Securities Turnover Excise Tax (STET) was a revenue source. For example, if we were to instate a .25 percent STET (tax) on every stock, swap, derivitive, or other trade today, it would produce – in its first year – around $150 billion in revenue. Wall Street would be generating the money to fund its own bailout. (For comparison, as best I can determine, the UK’s STET is .25 percent, and Taiwan just dropped theirs from .60 to .30 percent.)

But there are other benefits.

Read the entire article..

Hartmann ends with saying bailouts don’t work and suggests this:

Continue reading

Nazi Appeaser?

GoLeft TV

This is a broadcast of the Thom Hartmann Program of several days ago.

This man brings some history, context, intelligence, and common sense into this discussion in the wake of the speech made by George Bush before the Israeli Knesset last week, and Bush’s charge of “appeasement” made against against Barack Obama.

I love Thom Hartmann, and listen to him every chance I get. He is a great American, and one very intelligent, caring, admirable human being.

If this video doesn’t work, GO HERE.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Nazi Appeaser?“, posted with vodpod