Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. The Republicans are getting what they want – the economy is taking a turn for the worse. New job numbers show only 18,000 jobs were added to the economy last month – well below the 200,000 jobs needed to keep pace with a growing workforce – and the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.2%. This is a result of Republicans in Congress blocking every single piece of economic stimulus legislation over the last two and a half years. But it’s also more than that. The fundamentals of our economy – in regard to our tax system and trade policy – are broken. And until we roll back the Reagan tax cuts that have starved our government – and drop Clinton's Free Trade that is killing American manufacturing – then it won’t matter how much money we throw at the economy – it will continue to deteriorate. That makes this current debt-limit debate all the more important, as a 10-year course for America is being charted in those closed-door negotiations at the White House. Unless real structural changes are made – then in ten years America will still be suffering in this second Republican Great Depression – and will have become the planet’s largest third-world nation.
If you don’t own a corporate jet – you’re screwed. Capitol Hill is now under siege by the corporate jet lobby as debt-limit negotiations focus on closing a tax loophole for corporate jet owners that could cut $3 billion off the deficit. But now the lobby is fighting back – flooding the offices of lawmakers on Capitol Hill and organizing a massive e-mail campaign against closing the loophole. Over the last ten years – the corporate jet lobby has spent $6 million on political contributions – and in Congress – money talks. So unlike the rest of us – like the 99’ers and the poor and the sick – who don’t have expensive lobbyists and will get screwed by spending cuts in a debt-limit deal – expect corporate jet manufactures and the Fortune 500 CEOs who fly in luxury to their corporate jet loophole. After all – thanks to the Supreme Court, America now officially has the best Congress money can buy.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Last night – Texas Governor Rick Perry broke international law – executing a Mexican national for crimes committed back in 1994. Humberto Leal Garcia was denied a legal right under a UN treaty to speak to the Mexican consulate about his defense against a rape-murder charge. A 2004 UN tribunal ordered a stay of execution – a number of legal and foreign policy experts advised against the execution – President Obama raised concerns over the execution – and even George W. Bush pushed for a stay of execution. But Governor Perry pushed full steam ahead in full campaign mode after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 yesterday – again on ideological lines – that only Congress – and not an international treaty – has the power to force states to review an execution. Now – thanks to Governor Perry’s obsession with lethal injection – if you are traveling abroad you may be denied the right to speak to the American consulate if you get arrested in a foreign country. Yet another consequence of that pathetic machismo that oozes out of the Governor’s mansion down in Texas.
Michele Bachmann committed herself to ruling America like a theocracy yesterday. The radical right-wing religious organization in Iowa known as FAMiLY Leader – pressed Republican Presidential candidates to sign a petition rejecting homosexuality and promoting other things important to religious fanatics. The petition declared homosexuality is a choice – is tantamount to polygamy and adultery – and is a public health risk. Not only that – the petitions stated that all forms of pornography should be banned – and Muslim Sharia law should be rejected, while it's Christian equivalent be embraced. And Michele Bachmann became the first Republican candidate to ink her name to the petition. Don’t underestimate the power of Michele Bachmann – she’s in it to win it – and has a lot of money and a lot of support. Goodbye democracy – hello theocracy? Let’s hope not.
More ethics questions are being raised about corrupt Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The group Common Cause filed a Freedom of Information Request with the U.S. Marshall Service to determine whether or not Justice Thomas improperly used private jets and a yacht belonging to wealthy political activist Harlan Crow – the same guy who gave Justice Thomas a $15,000 “gift” in exchange for favorable rulings on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately – even if unethical travel wasn't covered – the Supreme Court Justices have already exempted themselves from the judicial code of conduct that every single other judge in America has to follow. More and more – the Supreme Court is acting like 9 black-robed kings – unaccountable to the people and in power for life. Thomas Jefferson knew this back in 1804 – following the Marbury v. Madison decision – when he said that decision had turned the Supreme Court into “a despotic branch.”
Media moguls like Rupert Murdoch suffered a blow yesterday in their bid to take over the nation’s news media. The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit struck down an FCC rule that allowed companies to own both a newspaper and a broadcast station in the same market. Back in 1997 – the FCC relaxed laws regarding cross-ownership in the media. But the court said yesterday that rule change by the FCC was done improperly without giving the public enough time to weigh in on the matter. Corie Wright – policy council for the group “Free Press” - said after the ruling, “the court wisely concluded that competition in the media – not more concentration – will provide Americans with the local news and information they need and want.” Could this be the end of "Big Media"? Up next is the Supreme Court.
And that’s the way it is today – Friday, July 8th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.