In today's On the News segment: The Congressional Budget Office warned Gang of 12 Super Committee yesterday that the nation is on the verge of another recession - and the Gang of 12's actions could make it worse, Senate Democrats overcame a Republican filibuster and passed a $7 billion disaster relief package for victims of hurricane Irene, Georgia is on the verge of executing a potentially innocent man, American Family Voices filed a formal ethics complaint against Congressman Darryl Issa on Tuesday - accusing him of numerous conflicts of interest, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. The Congressional Budget Office issued a warning to the Gang of 12 Super Committee yesterday – arguing that the nation is on the verge of another recession – and the Gang of 12’s actions could make it worse. “If policymakers wanted to achieve both a short-term economic boost and medium- and long-term fiscal sustainability,” CBO chief Doug Elmendorf told the committee, then they would have to put in place, “changes in taxes and spending that would widen the deficit now but narrow it later in the decade.” Elmendorf’s message is back-dropped by troubling Census data reports showing the income of a typical American family has dropped for the third year in a row – and inflation-adjusted earnings for men who work full-time jobs have dropped down to levels not seen since 1978. Not to mention that yesterday brought us news that the United States – the wealthiest nation on the planet – just got a heck of a lot poorer – with more than 15% of our people living in poverty. That’s 46.2 million people in poverty – the most ever recorded in the history of this nation. So the point is – Bush and Reagan’s economics of tax cuts for the rich and screwing over working people got us into this mess – and it’s up the Gang of 12 to NOT use the same misguided policies to get us out of it. That means they need to tax the oligarchs – just like FDR did – just like Truman did – just like Eisenhower did – just like Kennedy and Johnson did – just like Nixon and Ford and Carter did – and just like Bill Clinton did. Let’s hope they get the message.
Senate Democrats finally overcame a Republican filibuster and passed a $7 billion disaster relief package for victims of hurricane Irene as well as tornado and flood victims in other parts of the nation. On Monday – the package was filibustered – but Senate Majority Harry Reid was able to pull just enough Republicans to pass it last night – and send it to the Republican-controlled House for consideration. That means the pressure is on Eric Cantor who’s previously demanded that any disaster relief gets offset by spending cuts elsewhere. So – now’s the time to call your Congressman – and Eric Cantor – and demand that they help working and middle class families who’ve lost everything – instead of just looking out for the millionaires and billionaires who’ve never had it better.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Is the state of Georgia on the verge of executing an innocent man? On September 21st – Troy Anthony Davis will be put to death by lethal injection for shooting and killing a police officer back in 1989. At the time – there was no hard evidence tying Davis to the murder – no forensic evidence – no videotape – no murder weapon – nothing. But there were nine eyewitnesses who testified in the trial implicating Davis. However today – seven of those nine witnesses have recanted their testimony – and ten new witnesses have since come forward pointing the finger at another man for the murder. Yet Davis is still on death row – has already been denied parole – and is set to die in a week. Members of Congress John Lewis and Hank Johnson wrote a letter to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles – asking for Davis’s sentence to be reduced to life in prison. So too have numerous other public figures including former President Jimmy Carter – Pope Benedict – and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. So now it’s up to the state paroles board – and Republican Governor Nathan Deal – to determine whether or not they will put a man to death with serious questions surrounding his guilt. Let’s hope they make the right choice – and that Rick Perry’s Texas justice - as we know, Perry executed an innocent man - doesn’t come to Georgia.
Republicans scored a big victory in New York last night. In a special election to fill former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s vacant 9th district seat in Brooklyn – Republican Bob Turner beat Democrat David Weprin – to become the first Republican to hold the seat in nearly a century. Turner used 9/11 as a political tool in the race – tying his opponent to the so-called Ground Zero Mosque – although he and other Republicans claim the victory was a referendum on President Obama’s job performance. Democrats blame the election loss on low voter turnout. Moving forward we’ve learned two things – one, that fear sells, and Republicans will be lobbing a lot of fear-driven messages at voters next year – and two, that voter turnout is crucial for Democrats to win. So let’s get to work.
The tables have turned on former small-time criminal Congressman Darryl Issa. The Republican Chairman of the House Oversight Committee needs some oversight himself – as the group American Family Voices filed a formal ethics complaint against Issa on Tuesday – accusing him of numerous conflicts of interest. From investing in Goldman Sachs mutual funds while using his position to block lawsuits against Goldman Sachs – to hiring former banksters to fight against new regulations against banks – to even procuring earmarks that would have made Issa – who happens to be the wealthiest man in Congress – even wealthier. As the ethics complaint reads: “Representative Issa has repeatedly – and impermissibly – used his public position to promote his private financial interests. The symbiotic relationship he has established between his business interests and public responsibilities presents…the starkest example of conflict of interest.” We need to take the gavel away from one Congress’ most crooked Members.
Elizabeth Warren is in the race. According to a Senior Democratic Party official – the consumer rights advocate and stalwart defender of the middle class in America has jumped into the Massachusetts Senate race to unseat Republican Scott Brown. She’s expected to meet with voters around the state beginning today – releasing a statement saying, “The pressures on middle class families are worse than ever, but it is the big corporations that get their way in Washington…I want to change that. I will work my heart out to earn the trust of the people of Massachusetts.” I say we give her all the help she needs.
And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, September 14th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.