Category Archives: Thom Hartmann

It started with William Howard Taft

By Joseph Ballin 1/3/2018 8:16 am EST

People always wonder how we got to Trump. How did the GOP lose it’s mind? Where did everything go so wrong? This all didn’t start with Trump, go back to Mitt Romney, well actually go back to McCain, well actually go back to George W. Bush Jr., well actually go back to Bob Dole, well actually go back to George H. W. Bush, well actually go back to Ronald Reagan, well actually go back to Gerald Ford, well actually go back to Richard Nixon, well actually go back to Barry Goldwater, well actually go back to Dwight D. Eisenhower, well actually go back to Thomas E. Dewey, well actually go back to Wendell Willkie, well actually go back to Alf Landon, well actually go back to Herbert Hoover, well actually go back to Calvin Coolidge, well actually go back to Warren G. Harding, well actually go back to Charles Evans Hughes, and finally we get to William Howard Taft.

I did that to show you that this cancer that that has infected the Republican Party and later the Democratic party has been around for a long time, and has historically go by different names over the years. Regan ran on “trickle down economics”, also called “voodoo economics” by his very own vice president George W. H. Bush. Coolidge ran on “Less government in business and more business in government.” One of the earliest critics of trickle down economics was Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, a political hero of mine, who would say the following about that issue, “There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.” Bryan not only was the Democratic presidential candidate several times, he also changed the party platform of the Democratic party to move away from the Bourbon Democrats like Cleveland who governed as fiscal conservatives. Imagine if Sanders won the Democratic nominee and somehow managed to change the entire platform and party structure of the Democratic Party.

The Republican Party also saw an insurgency of it’s own on the progressive and nationalist side. Theodore Roosevelt was the vice president of William McKinley, until McKinley’s assassination by an anarchist. Roosevelt was trusteed into the presidency. During the time just before the United States entered World War 1, America was at it’s height in terms of the power of unions and radical movements in the US. We had anarchists, Wobblies, Socialist Party candidates receiving a million voters in a presidential election, etc. It was an era of American history called the “Pogressive Era”. Roosevelt came into the presidency dealing with a Republican Party that since at least the 1880s had sold out to big business and the intrests of the robber barons.

Roosevelt went to war with big industry, enacting break up of big corporations, who would later go on to merge together due to neglect, protecting our national parks, his “Square Deal” social welfare program, brought about the birth of our national parks, and brought an end to the Russo-Japanese war without involving US troops. It would be later he would be held up by Congress who refused to enact his progressive agenda. Roosevelt did not run again in 1908 and William Howard Taft. However, Taft was a conservative and refused to continue Roosevelt’s progressive. Roosevelt felt betrayed by Taft and the Republican establishment. After losing the nomination to Taft and created his own third party, the Pogressive Party. The Pogressive Party platform called for the following:

* Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions
* Registration of lobbyists
* Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings
* A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies.
* Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
* Limited the ability of judges to order injunctions to limit labor strikes.
* A minimum wage law for women
* An eight-hour workday
* A federal securities commission
* Farm relief
* Workers’ compensation for work-related injuries
* An inheritance tax
* Women’s suffrage
* Direct election of Senators
* Primary elections for state and federal nominations
* The recall election (citizens may remove an elected official before the end of his term)
* The referendum (citizens may decide on a law by popular vote)
* The initiative (citizens may propose a law by petition and enact it by popular vote)
* Judicial recall (when a court declares a law unconstitutional, the citizens may override that ruling by popular vote).

Kept in mind this was in 1912 his platform was purposed, not 2016. What America would look like today if Roosevelt didn’t lose control of the Republican Party to the right wing of the party, which caused the Republican Party to turn far right and the Democratic Party to move to the right wing, is up for debate. However, Taft refusing to continue Rooesevlt’s progressive policies would inevitably lead to the rise of Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, who would massively slash US taxes (The top marginal rate was reduced annually in four stages from 73% in 1921 to 25% in 1925.), lead to a massive economic bubble in the US, with massive inequality and most of the US being ruled as a police state by the KKK, and finally the collapse of 1929. Trump’s 2017 tax cut will go down in history in the same way the Harding tax cuts went, a complete economic collapse of the global economy. My only hope is this time we learn our lesson.

ATH 2-13-17 Esha from Twitter

ATH 2-13-17 Esha from Twitter

J30 and I were delighted to have Esha on the show!! Her wit and knowledge about politics and hypocrisy are always welcome, we talk Cory Booker, Majority Report, Jimmy Dore and more!! Majority Report’s Matthew Film Guy talked some smack about another Reefercake democratic party slam / reefer rock song….in short action packed!

WTF is up with Progressive Talk Radio?!?

I work at home full time, and in order to pass the time, I listen to progressive talk radio for at least half of the day. I have been dong this for around 5 years now, with Air America being the major provider. For a time, I was even a paying subscriber, until I saw the best and funniest hosts weeded out, Sam Seder, Mike Malloy, Marc Maron, Randi Rhodes, Chuck D, all kinds of original and funny voices have been muffled, either fired or given very limited air time, in favor of a new crew, mostly made up of former lawyers, i.e. Lionel and Ron Kuby, who seem to dull out the real message in favor of getting gooped up in legalities. Sure Lionel favors the legalization of pot and other good causes, but he does not have the punch and humor of all my past favorites. And he is the only Air America host I listen to. Basically it has turned into old former lawyer radio.

Stepping back a moment, when Randi Rhodes got in trouble for a stand up comic routine where she called Hillary Clinton a “big f’in whore” during the heat of the race with Obama, I simply stopped listening to Air America at all. Watch her stand up, and notice how the crowd loves it and eggs her on.

She really is pretty funny, and does not hold back. So I started listening to Nova M, who picked up Randi immediately when she left Air America. They also had Thom Hartmann, and some other decent stuff. And what do you know, less than a year later the stream no longer works, and I hear that they have filed for bankruptcy…and, worse yet, few days prior to the filing, Sheldon Drobny, founder of Nova M, and a co-founder of Air America Radio, attempted suicide and is hospitalized in Chicago.

At this moment it seems that the two big networks that I enjoy, Air America and Nova M are both no longer available to me. While Nova M has filed for bankruptcy, and Air America seems to have screwed up their live stream, as they have continually screwed up their network. (UPDATE- the air america stream is now working – I’ll have to wait a couple months for their next update to screw things up again.)

By the way, Thom Hartmann, who was actually carried by both Nova M and Air America, parted ways with both of these networks and signed with a more traditional radio syndicate. From 12-3pm every weekday he streams live from his own website. Sure Thomm is a bit of a nerd, but he truly is one of the smartest guys you will ever hear.

Why the gradual demise of free progressive talk radio on the internet? The problem all comes down to advertising and the big money that corporate giants need to provide radio in order to make it profitable. A progressive show may start to catch on and get great ratings, but when the host starts to talk about shipping jobs overseas, corporate corruption, and mass media critique, this doesn’t jive with the corporations messaging, and they punish the stations by pulling their advertising.

I think the real future of progressive radio and media, requires walking the walk not just talking the talk. In other words, only take on sponsors that share the progressive values, and therefore there will be no conflict. The money will be minimal, but the hosts could also be guys like Jimmy Reefercake, who will work for peanuts and just need a soapbox and a microphone. Perhaps there is a future for allthehypocrisy.com in this arena…we shall see…

One other thing is that progressive radio doesn’t seem to get, is guys like Mike Malloy, who are abrasive and mocking towards conservatives, these are the ones who are really entertaining, like the Rush Limbaughs, it is much easier to entertain when you have a scapegoat to pick on and make fun of…the only difference is that Mike Malloy actually tells the truth….