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From Thom Hartmann's radio show this week, he's asked by a caller if he's read Tim Dickinson's article at Rolling Stone titled How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich and as Hartmann pointed out in his response to the caller, you've actually got to go back a whole lot further than Dickinson did in his article, like around the late 1870's and early 1880's when they were corrupted by the railroad barons as to when that shift began.
Yesterday, the U.S. marked the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. And, over the course of the past ten years, we've learned more and more about how the war with Iraq actually started.
It's incredibly easy to blame the Bush administration for its lies that led us into Iraq. But Cheney, Rumsfeld and company weren't the only ones who played an integral role in convincing this nation that Saddam Hussein was a threat, and that WMD's were a forgone conclusion.
In the days and weeks leading up to the invasion of Iraq, corporate media – and even NPR and PBS - were abuzz with the talking points of the Bush Administration, echoing claims that Iraq had its hands on "yellow cake uranium" and that it had a massive arsenal of "weapons of mass destruction."
Thanks to the media's repeated claims that Iraq and Saddam Hussein were immediate threats to our nation, in the weeks leading up to the invasion, nearly three-quarters of Americans believed the lie promoted by Donald Rumsfeld that Saddam Hussein was somehow involved in the attacks of 9/11.
One of the biggest proponents of the Iraq War was Bill O'Reilly.
Current TV's John Fugelsang and progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann discussed Rand Paul and his 13-hour-long filibuster this week, demanding an answer on whether the Obama administration believes that they can authorize drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil. As Hartmann rightfully noted, though, that filibuster probably had a whole lot more to do with Paul and his political future than any actual concern over our use of drones:
HARTMANN: It was a discussion we have been needing to have ever since the Patriot Act was pushed through in 2002... so to the extent that we have been needing to have that discussion, I'm really pleased. On the other hand, this was Rand Paul kicking off his 2016 presidential bid.
Paul received his answer on the drone strikes and as many have noted, he actually had his answer well before he started his filibuster, but as Hartmann noted here, the question that he should have been asking and to which he did not get an answer is, "What does 'engaged in combat' mean?" when we haven't had a declaration of war since 1941. With the rules in the Patriot Act set so loosely, the executive branch has the freedom to define those terms, as Hartmann put it, pretty well any damn way they want to. With the exception of the neocons, most Americans would not believe that the Constitution grants these rights to the executive branch.
Of course, speaking of neocons, as they also discussed, that's why we saw the likes of Lindsey Graham out there berating Paul and any Republicans who did not mind that the Bush administration was using drones but are now upset that the Obama administration is using those same powers that the Congress ceded to them after 9-11.
Thom Hartmann talked about the sequester with Jamie Weinstein, who's an editor at the Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson's rag. He pointed out that Republicans are now trying to lay all of the blame on President Obama's feet, even though House Speaker previously said that he got "98 percent of what I wanted" with the deal. Thom says the real reason that Republicans want to see sequestration go through is that it's going to tank the economy and they want to blame President Obama.
It's more of the same. Republicans are more than happy to inflict economic damage onto the American economy if they think they'll benefit from it politically. I'm pretty sure Weinstein and his ilk will do their best to make sure that happens and that there is no accountability if Republicans don't reach some deal next week, when Congress comes back from vacation.
Hartmann also took on Weinstein over whether it's fair to be asking those who make their living from capital gains and investments to pay the same tax rates as those of us who work for a living instead of just shuffling money around, like the Mitt Romneys of the world. He pointed out that even the Republican St. Ronnie agreed back in the day and had Republican crowds cheering for the rich to pay their fair share of taxes.
Weinstein responded with some weasel words about the average tax rate of most millionaires, which is a distraction from the point Hartmann was making about the difference in how income from work compared to income from investments is taxed, and whether we've got too many Mitt Romneys out there who are paying lower tax rates than those who work for them.
All in all, I'd say Weinstein brought a knife to a gun fight, because he didn't do a very good job of rebutting most of Hartmann's points.
I don't know how all of this is going to end up, but right now, I'm about as cynical as Hartmann when it comes to what kind of damage Republicans will inflict on this country if they think they won't pay a political cost for their actions. As long as we've got a compliant media treating their actions as normal or as something the public should consider acceptable, they don't have any reason to change their behavior.
Thom Hartmann responds to a caller's question about Supply Side Economics and why St. Ronnie's theories on what stimulates job growth are completely upside down. As Hartmann explained, the middle class spending is what drives the economy and when you lower taxes on the rich as Reagan did, all they do is gamble with it causing booms and busts, leave it to their kids or put it in offshore tax havens like Mitt Romney.
As Hartmann noted, all lowering taxes on the rich has led to is record income disparity and the richest in the country having their incomes increase 275 percent since Reagan's time, with the rest of us essentially gaining nothing or losing income.
While discussing whether Gov. Mitch Daniels is going to support Richard Mourdock, who just defeated incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar from his home state of Indiana and Mourdock's statement that his idea of compromise equals Democrats voting with Republicans if we're unfortunate enough to see them gain control of the Congress and the presidency again, Daniels was apparently suffering from a severe case of amnesia when he made this statement that was flagged from our friend Jed Lewison over at Daily KOS:
As you watch this or read the transcript, keep in mind that from 2001 to 2003—during which time the Bush administration launched two wars, one of which we are fighting to this day, and two rounds of tax cuts for the wealthy—Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was George W. Bush's budget director. Yet now he is blaming President Obama for allegedly creating a debt bomb:
Well, you know, he's been the president of this nation for the three years in which we have drifted ever closer to the biggest peacetime crisis we may have ever faced. There's no doubt it. It's a mathematical certainty. [...] To me the central question of this election is why such an administration deserves a second chance.
The fact that Mitch Daniels apparently has forgotten we are at war in Afghanistan—even though he served in the White House when we began the war more than a decade ago—is a fitting tribute to the Romnesia that has infested the Republican Party.
As he noted, Daniels and his ilk want to erase from our memory banks the fact that George W. Bush busted the budget with billions wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is someone who worked for an administration that gave us those two "wars" off the books, an unfunded prescription drug plan and the Bush tax cuts which weren't paid for. And despite that, he's treated as someone we're supposed to take seriously by the media month after month.
As Raw Story's Stephen Webster noted, on the heels of a recent study which found that "people who have negative feelings toward homosexuality often have secret attractions to the same sex — and are more likely to have grown up in households that forbid homosexual feelings," we have Thom Hartmann asking about that very topic during this interview with the leader of an anti-gay organization which the SPLC has designated as a hate group.
On Russia Today TV’s The Big Picture Thursday, progressive radio host Thom Hartmann confronted Family Research Institute chairman Dr. Paul Cameron and asked him an unusually pointed question: “Does it concern you that many of your colleagues in the anti-gay movement may actually be closeted gays?”
“Um, no,” Cameron replied. “Very few of them are homosexually interested. First of all, um… Most people are not interested in homosexuality. There’s not at all. A few homosexuals like to say — and they’ve been saying this now for at least the last seven years — almost everybody is bisexual, maybe some homosexual…”
“I’ve never heard anybody say that,” Hartmann replied.
Cameron went on to claim that biologist Alfred Kinsey, whose groundbreaking research pioneered the study of human sexuality, “was gay” and “pushed that idea,” making his scientific findings somehow less valid. “Most of the homosexual leadership… have pushed that idea,” he added. “But it’s not true!”
Cameron didn’t provide any source or research to support his claim, so interested viewers may just have to take his word for it. Read on...
Our own managing editor here at Crooks and Liars, Tina Dupuy, joined The Daily Caller's Caroline May and Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, Dan Bongino, to discuss the shooting of Trayvon Martin on Thom Hartmann's "The Big Picture on Russia Today" on Friday.
Hartmann opened up the segment noting that ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), the NRA and Walmart, who were all behind the push for the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida, haven't taken any responsibility for the content of the legislation, and talked about Geraldo Rivera's ridiculous remarks that lay blame at the feet of the victim for getting shot because of the clothes he was wearing.
May, of course, trotted out the standard line we're hearing from the right: that the "Stand Your Ground" law doesn't apply in this case because Zimmerman was pursuing Martin so discussion of that law should be "taken off the table," and that maybe everyone “just needs to take a deep breath” and wait for “justice to be served.” Hartmann responded by pointing out the obvious here, that it has not been served. The man's still walking free over a month after the shooting.
As Tina rightfully pointed out, one of the saddest things about this incident is that it's not isolated and pointed to the case of Oscar Grant, who was fatally shot by the police in Oakland back in 2009. And when you have a case like Martin's, which draws more public attention, it should open up a wider conversation about our gun laws and the reasons why Zimmerman is not off the street.