Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Another bad weekend for Rupert Murdoch. Yesterday – Rebekah Brooks - the former chief executive of News International – the parent company of Murdoch’s British media empire – was arrested on charges that she illegally intercepted phone calls and bribed UK police officers. Also taking a hit in the scandal yesterday – Britain’s top cop. Sir Paul Stephenson – the head of the Metropolitan Police Service - resigned citing, “ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the [police's] link with News International.” But that’s not all – now the UK’s Serious Fraud Office – the agency in charge of investigating large fraud cases – opened up a probe into News International yesterday to look into whether or not Murdoch’s corporation grossly misused shareholders’ money. And, as Murdoch’s media empire in the UK crumbles – there are new allegations in America that Fox News was also into illegal phone hacking. As the DailyKos is reporting – a former Fox News executive – Dan Cooper – has come forward saying that Fox News chief Roger Ailes constructed an underground bunker within the Fox News New York City headquarters to perform “counterintelligence” that may include illegally hacking phone calls. The bunker was known as the “brain room.” If what this former Fox executive is saying is true, and if the Obama administration will actually investigate and prosecute Murdoch - the game is up at Fox so-called News.
For more signs that America is in economic ruin – take a look at what happened in Dallas, Texas at the end of last week. More than 5,000 people stampeded a building that was offering 100 government housing assistance vouchers. The vouchers will help pay for portions of rent based on an individual’s income. At least 8 people were injured in the desperate dash for federal assistance – and many of those who were trampled say they feel lucky just to be alive. The crowd was mostly made up of single mothers and their children, senior citizens who rely solely on Social Security, and minimum wag earners who just can’t get by on their meager paychecks. After 30 years of Reaganomics shredding the social safety net in America – civil unrest may not be far down the road.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Just a few days after it threatened to downgrade our AAA debt rating over the ongoing debt-limit debate fiasco – Moody’s credit rating agency offered up some advice to the United States to avoid this sort of problem in the future – get rid of the debt ceiling altogether! Arguing that the United States is one of the few nations in the world that sets a limit on debt – which can cause “periodic uncertainty” when Congress drags its feet on raising that limit – Moody’s encouraged lawmakers to put an end to the uncertainty and look for other ways to reduce debt aside from a debt-ceiling. Throughout history – the debt-limit has been raised more than 100 times – meaning it is completely ineffective in actually reducing debt. And now that Republicans have found a way to exploit it to carry on their radical anti-middle class agenda – it’s time to scrap it altogether.
Time to blow a hole in the Republican argument that millionaires and billionaires are the job creators in America. Even the Wall Street Journal is questioning the logic after a survey of 53 economists – in which the majority concluded that it wasn’t “lack of certainty” in Washington that’s preventing CEOs from hiring – but instead it’s lack of demand on Main Street. Time and time again – Republicans argue that we need to give rich people money through tax cuts so that they can go out and hire more people. Yet today - with tax rates for the rich at their lowest levels in 50 years – unemployment is still tragically high. Why is that? Because rich people aren’t job creators! It’s the people who spend money – those in the working class – who are the actual job creators. As most economists point out – if people are spending money – then demand goes up – and CEOs have no other choice but to hire more people to make products to meet that demand. That’s why a debt-limit deal that’s made up of spending cuts that take money out of the pockets of working class Americans is not good for the economy – it’s harming our nation’s REAL job creators! It’s time for our lawmakers to take an Econ 101 class.
Over the weekend it was reported that Elizabeth Warren – the most outspoken and respected advocate for the middle class – is no longer being considered by President Obama to head up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – the watchdog agency in charge of making sure banksters don’t screw us over again. Republicans unified their opposition against her – holding numerous hearings to drag her name through the mud in recent months. But rather than standing up to support her – the White House caved – and is now nominating former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray for the top spot. But Cordray has also spent much of his professional life standing up for the little guy against big corporations, so it’s unlikely he’ll have any better chance of being confirmed by Republicans, who are totally opposed to protecting average Americans from bankster Republican campaign donors.
The Republican race to the bottom is heating up. In an interview with Fox News Sunday – Herman Cain ripped apart the Constitution and argued that ANY American community has the right to ban the construction of Mosques. Cain was alluding to the controversy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee – where plans to build an Islamic Center have been put on hold by vandals and right-wing lawmakers in the community. Cain defended his position with this piece of impeccable logic saying, “Islam is both a religion and a set of laws, Sharia law. That’s the difference between any one of our other traditional religions where it’s just about religious purposes.” Right…has he ever heard of the Ten Commandments? But I suppose religious bigotry is needed in any credible Republican field of Presidential contenders.
And that’s the way it is today – Monday, July 18th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.