In today's On the News segment: Two-thirds of Americans believe there are "strong" conflicts between the rich and the poor in America, president announced a new plan to give tax breaks to businesses that bring jobs back to the United States, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed suit against the Transportation Department for failing to hand over records regarding domestic drone flights, and more.
Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. More Americans think the nation is in the grips of class warfare than ever before. According to a new Pew Research Center survey – two-thirds of the nation believes there are “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor in America – that’s an increase of 19-points since 2009. Across all demographics – white, black, Hispanic – and across all political affiliations – Republican, Democrat, and Independents – as well as across all classes – poor, middle class, and rich – majorities of Americans believe there’s a strong conflict between classes. That might have something to do with wealth inequality in America – which now rivals a lot of third-world nations – and the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has brought many of these inequalities to the forefront. Even billionaire Warren Buffet admitted there’s class warfare in America – and he said that it’s his class – the rich class – that’s winning.
President Obama is trying to put an end to the giant sucking sound. Yesterday – the President announced a new plan to give tax breaks to businesses that bring jobs back to the United States – while cutting off tax breaks for businesses that ship jobs overseas. “I don’t want America to be a nation that’s primarily known for financial speculation, and racking up debt and buying stuff from other nations,” The President told reporters. Any change in the tax code – especially one that penalizes giant transnational corporations that our outsourcing American jobs by the hundreds of thousands – is subject to the approval of Congress. So we’ll have to wait and see if Republicans can get on board with the idea of saving American manufacturing jobs.
In the best of the rest of the news…
What’s the Department of Transportation hiding? That’s a question the Electronic Frontier Foundation – or EFF – is asking after it field suit against the department for failing to handover records regarding domestic drone flights. EFF filed a Freedom if Information Act request with the DOT back in April of last year to find out who exactly has been authorized to fly unmanned surveillance drones in U.S. airspace and for what reasons. As an attorney with EFF said, “The public needs to know more about how and why these drones are being used to surveil United States citizens.” But the Department of Transportation – despite acknowledging receipt of the FPOIA request – has yet to turn over any records. Various police agencies have admitted to using unmanned surveillance drones to aid in investigations – including one most recently in Montana that led to the arrest of individuals suspected in stealing cattle. I guess now we know what it’s like living in Pakistan or Afghanistan – where drones are constantly patrolling the skies.
More bad news for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In a few days – progressive groups in the Badger are expected to turn in more than enough signatures to trigger a recall election against him. But now – there’s allegations the he broke the law to get into office in the first place. The group One Wisconsin Now released a new report showing Governor Walker violated campaign finance law over 1,000 times while he was running for Governor in 2010 – by failing to report contributions of more than 100 bucks. In total – Walker took $500,000 in contributions from inside and outside of Wisconsin illegally. As a result – Walker could be facing a half-million fine. Not exactly the news you want to hear when you’re gearing up for a second campaign to keep your job. Maybe that whole war on public workers thing last year wasn’t such a good idea after all.
As SuperPACs gear up for a spending blitz of negative ads in the upcoming South Carolina primary – there’s at least on Republican who doesn’t like what he’s seeing. Yesterday – Senator John McCain blasted the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which has given rise to these SuperPACs and allows corporations to funnel as much money as they’d like into our elections. McCain called the ruling, “one of the worst decisions I have ever seen” and predicted that a slew of scandals would come to light thanks to all this new corporate spending. Several Members of Congress have introduced amendments to the Constitution to overturn Citizens United – and 92% of all Americans believe corporations have too much power in our political system.
And finally…Rick Santorum, meet Vermin Supreme. Video surface online yesterday of a confrontation between the Rick Santorum presidential campaign and the presidential campaign of counter-culture President candidate Vermin Supreme. Supreme – who has identified himself as a “tyrant you can trust” and often wears a boot on his head – showed up outside a campaign event in New Hampshire on Monday to meet Rick Santorum and wish him well – that’s when he and two of his staffers were violently shoved aside by Santorum supporters and Manchester police. Vermin took the high road in the altercation saying, “it’s politics…violence occurs in the real world and sadly it occurs in retail politics.” Vermin Supreme has been criticized as a fictional candidate for running on a platform of zombie preparedness and giving a pony to every American. Meanwhile – Rick Santorum is running on a platform of banning contraceptive use and bombing Iran back to the Stone Age. So which candidate is REALLY out of touch?
And that’s the way it is today – Thursday, January 12th, 2012. I’m Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.