Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Speaker of the House John Boehner no longer has control over the Republican Party. Last night – after hours of arm twisting and pleading to get 216 members of his own Party to agree to his own debt-limit deal – Boehner gave up and called off the vote. According to a few different vote counts – Boehner is two votes shy – and no one is budging. More importantly – the Democrats aren’t budging either – standing completely unified against Boehner’s short-term debt-limit deal – leaving the Republican Party to implode on its own bad ideas. House Republicans regrouped this morning to see if there is any way forward at all with just over 3 days to go until a default – or if the Tea Party REALLY IS going to condemn us all to another Great Depression. So now that House Republicans have proven to the nation that they can’t lead – and that NOTHING with even the slightest chance of passing the Senate can pass the Tea Party House – what options are left to prevent an economic doomsday? It’s time to call once again for a CLEAN debt limit increase – the traditional one-sentence bill that puts this whole fiasco behind us so that we can focus on the real crisis - JOBS – and not the manufactured crisis – the debt. If Speaker Boehner REALLY does care about the nation – then he’ll sever the Tea Party wing from his Party TODAY – and reach across the aisle to make a deal with Democrats to pass a clean bill – or at least go along with the double-backflip McConnell plan that gives the President authority to just raise the debt-ceiling himself. These are the only options left on the table for Congress – and time is running out.
As debt-limit talks stall - the economy hit a wall. Economic growth in the second quarter of this year was less than expected – only 1.3%. Not only that – first quarter economic growth was revised downward showing that our economy grew by less than a half-point at the beginning of the year – just .4%. The reason why our economy stalled is consumer spending which only grew by .1% - the slowest growth rate in two years. That means are economy is tanking because people don’t have enough money in their pockets to buy stuff, and it's made even worse by a half-million government employees - workers with paychecks - being laid off in the government sector over the past year-and-a-half, mostly in those states with Republican governors. Yet – Republican in the House have not passed ONE jobs bill or stimulus measure to get money back in the hands of Americans to spend it. Instead – we’re all stuck relying on the millionaire and billionaire so-called “job creators” who, like Jeff Emmelt at GE, who just this week announced he's moving his X-ray machine division to China, are busily creating jobs in other countries. Trickle down economics isn’t working – it’s only turning us into a nation of peons.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Democrats are standing up to fight against the Republicans’ war on your right to vote. Several Republican Governors have passed strict voter-ID laws in recent months to block voting rights for millions of citizens who don’t have driver’s licenses – like the poor, the elderly, and students – people who mostly vote for Democrats. Republicans say the law is needed to curb voter fraud – even though voter fraud occurs far less often than people getting struck by lightning. Now – over 100 Members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder – encouraging the Department of Justice to strike down these laws since they violate the Voting Rights Act. Democrats argue that 20 million individuals in the nation lack the photo-IDs needed to vote under the Republican voter-ID laws – 20 million! And it’s minority communities that will be hit the hardest. The Republican strategy here is clear – come into office and break up unions, cut health services to women, and crash the economy – then pass voter ID laws to make sure those people they’re screwing over can’t vote them out of office next year. It’s time for the Attorney General to put an end to this scam – and make sure democracy works to kick the bums out office next year.
Where did Norwegian Terrorist Anders Breivik get his weapons of death? Right here in the United States. Turns out – Breivik used ten high-capacity magazines bought from a US supplier to go on his killing rampage last Friday. They were the same 30-round magazine used by Jared Lee Loughner in the Tucson massacre earlier this year that killed 6 people and critically wounded Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. After THAT shooting – Democrats called for a ban on high-capacity magazines – but NRA-owned Republicans in the House did nothing – and violence struck again. Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney - one of the proponents of the ban on high-capacity magazines said, “There should be a lot of shame…We’re sending a death warrant to other parts of the world.” She’s right – we've become the world's one-stop shop for death and destruction.
Congress wants to know EVERYTHING you’re doing on the Internet. Yesterday – the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee passed the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 – which forces Internet service providers to keep track of your names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and whatever websites you’ve visited in the last year. The legislation is supposed to help police track online pedophiles. But – as Democratic Congressman John Conyers said, “The bill is mislabeled…this is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It's creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes." He’s right – it looks like the Internet is the next victim of the growing security-state complex that is consuming America.
Just how low can Rupert Murdoch go? Yesterday – Scotland Yard added another person to the list of victims of the Murdoch-owned “News of the World” phone hacking scandal. We already know that Murdoch’s newspaper hacked the phone of a 13-year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered – but it gets worse. Back in 2000, Murdoch’s paper hacked into the phones of a mother whose 8-year-old girl was murdered by a repeat sex offender. It looks like there’s no limit to how low Murdoch will go. But those of us in the United States already know Murdoch doesn’t have any boundaries – we’ve seen the scam called Fox so-called News.
And that’s the way it is today – Friday, July 29th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.