Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Another day – another Supreme Court decision in favor of big money in our politics. Yesterday – in another 5-4 ruling – the right-wing of the Supreme Court struck down an Arizona law that provides public financing of elections. The law was intended to level the playing field between people with huge fortunes and rich friends – and just average folks running for office, by supplying matching public funds to candidates who are being outspent by private money. The law made sure that electoral politics in Arizona wasn’t a “whoever has the most money wins” sort of game. But the high court ruled that any attempt by the government to “equalize electoral opportunities” – as in make sure both candidates are on a level playing field financially – is unconstitutional. But what is constitutional to the Conservative Supreme Court nowadays? The corporate takeover of our democracy – as was decided last year in the Citizens United case. Thanks to this most recent ruling – look for even more corporate-owned candidates to spring up – as in more people who deny global warming – more war hawks – and more shills for Wall Street billionaires.
The war on women continues in Wisconsin. Because of Governor Scott Walker’s new budget bill signed into law on Sunday that cuts funding to the state’s Planned Parenthood clinics – 12,000 women will now be denied critical preventative healthcare. On top of that – another 53,000 women AND men will lose access to clinics as part of the BadgerCare family planning programs that employ the services of Planned Parenthood. Often – Planned Parenthood is a clinic of last resort to women who can’t afford to see a doctor but need cancer screenings. But what Governor Scott Walker did – and what other Republican Governors around the country and the Republicans in the House of Representatives are doing – is telling these poor women they are out of luck – simply because Conservatives have a religious problem with how Planned Parenthood uses less than 3% of its services – on legal abortion. In their bid to protect zygotes – Republicans are handing out death warrants to poor women who now have to skip cancer screenings.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Eleven US soldiers have died in Iraq this month – in the war that’s supposedly over. Last year – President Obama pulled a substantial number of troops out of Iraq and declared our combat mission in that country finished. Yet ever since then – insurgent attacks on US soldiers have continued and IED attacks are actually on the rise. With 11 soldiers dead this month – it is the bloodiest month in Iraq since back in May of 2009. It just goes to show – there is no such thing as limited war – and that includes what’s happening in Libya and Yemen as well.
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Yesterday – Senator Bernie Sander wrote a letter to President Obama telling him not to give in to Republican demands in the debt limit negotiations – and to fight for “shared sacrifice” by taxing millionaires and billionaires along with any new spending cuts. Unfortunately – the President didn’t get the message and the White House stated yesterday that the President is taking repealing the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires off the table. Which leaves mostly spending cuts targeting working families still on the table. Looks like America's oligarchs - and the Republican Party they own - win again.
The radical Georgia anti-immigrant law – that put Arizona’s racist and illegal “papers, please” law on steroids – was struck down by a federal judge yesterday. Not only did the law encourage racial profiling for police to catch suspected illegal immigrants – but it required taxi cab drivers to check the immigration status of all their passengers to avoid being thrown in jail themselves for transporting “illegals.” The judge in the case blocked the law from taking effect until, “the broader legal issues are resolved.” President Obama has done more than any President in recent memory to secure our border – including having more troops stationed along it – and more deportations. Yet – red state after red state – from Arizona to Georgia is passing radical anti-immigrant laws. It’s clear – the Conservative outrage toward illegal immigrants is about nothing more than politics.
Don’t ride the bus in Greece. A 2-day strike has shut down the nation’s public transportation system and riot police are clashing with protestors in the streets of Athens today as the Greek Parliament is set to consider a $40 billion austerity package that targets working people with spending cuts and tax hikes. Passing these austerity measures is the last hurdle for Greece before they receive a bailout from the IMF and European Union. Previous spending cuts by the Greek government have pushed unemployment in that nation to above 16% - and the public isn’t taking to kindly to even more austerity. Doctors – ambulance drivers – public transit workers – and air traffic controllers – among others – have launched a 48-hour strike in protest of the austerity package being shoved down their throats by banksters at the IMF. If you think this couldn’t happen here – think again. With America on the edge of defaulting on its debt like Greece – what are our lawmakers in Congress doing? Working on austerity measures – like $2 trillion in spending cuts on the backs of working people that will crash our economy. Just like in Greece – banksters ravaged our economy – and yet the working class has to clean up the mess.
Did you know that New York passed a historic same-sex marriage law last Friday? If you were watching Fox News you probably didn’t. ThinkProgress looked into the 3 big cable new networks and how much coverage they devoted to the new same-sex law on Friday night and found that Fox News was the only one not all that interested in the historic step forward for equality. Between the hours of 8pm and 1am – just as the law was passed – MSNBC covered the story for 32 minutes and CNN covered it for 25 minute. Fox - on the other hand – only devoted a fraction of coverage – just 5 minutes to the story, instead focusing on the Caylee Anthony murder trial. I guess same-sex marriage doesn’t meet Fox criteria for what is news – it didn’t involve “President Obama is a socialist” rumors – an impending race war in America – or liberal attempts to cancel Christmas.
And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, June 28th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.