In today's On the News segment: Arrests of several traders for their role in rigging LIBOR may be imminent, State Department official Huma Abedin given security detail to protect her after threats surfaced in response to Michele Bachmann's claim Abedin is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, poverty levels are on track to reach their highest rate since the 1960s, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. The shooter in the Aurora theater massacre, James Holmes, purchased more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition in the weeks leading up to the shooting, spending roughly $3,000 on his arsenal. He also purchased a bullet- proof vest and other tactical gear to mimic a SWAT team member, and high-capacity magazines that would have been illegal under both the Assault Weapons Ban and numerous other pieces of gun control legislation that have stalled out in Congress.
Holmes built up his unusually large collection of deadly weapons just before the shooting without once raising a red flag with authorities. Also, not once, was he required to submit a background check or register his name to the purchases. Tragically, 12 people are dead now as a result of his rampage. And despite the obvious lessons here, which are the same lessons we learned from the last year's Tucson massacre -, that the deranged among us can get a hold of extremely deadly weapons of war way too easy in this nation - don't hold your breath for sensible gun control legislation. Already, President Obama abandoned a call for gun control, arguing that we need to prevent gun crimes by relying on "existing law." And the Democratic Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, refused to endorse tougher gun control laws. Even Conservative Commentator Bill Kristol argued that it was "foolish" for Democrats to not push for gun control. As strong supporter of gun control and victim herself of a shooting spree, Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy bluntly said in an interview Sunday about her colleagues in Congress, "They don't have the spine anymore. They pander to who's giving them money." And that right there, folks, is what's wrong with our nation. With money in control, then common-sense policies – like keeping assault weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill – are off the table. And instead, the crazies – those who think the massacre was a message from God or staged by the Obama Administration to restrict gun rights – those crazies win the debate, simple because they also gladly accept money from a gun lobby that profits off death and destruction in America. The Second Amendment is not a license to let mass murders continue without action.
In screwed news...poverty rates in America are on track to reach their highest levels since the 1960's. In 2010, the official poverty rate was 15.1% - but economists and experts surveyed by the AP predict it will rise as high as 15.7% - the highest rate since 1965. Back then, President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty and cut it in half within ten years with his Great Society legislation. Unfortunately, beginning with Ronald Reagan and culminating with Bill Clinton, who "ended welfare as we know it," the Great Society is an life-support – and poverty is back where it was before it. Time for a new Great Society today.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Mitt Romney's not alone. According to a new study by the Tax Justice Network, the world's super-rich have stashed as much as $21 trillion in off-shore tax havens. And a lot of that wealth is concentrated in the hands of roughly 100,000 people who hold nearly ten trillion dollars of wealth in off-shore bank accounts. If all that money was taxed at a Conservative 30% rate - 5 points below the current top American rate – then there would be $200 billion more in the global economy, which is roughly twice the amount of money that the most developed nations in the world spend on international development assistance. So, Mitt Romney is just one of the many very, very wealthy people who've taken their money out of America – or out of their respective home countries – and hidden it in tax havens. However, Romney is the only one of them who is also running for President of the United States.
Believe it or not, banksters may be going to jail soon. Reuters is reporting that federal prosecutors have notified defense attorneys of several traders – informing them that their clients could soon be slapped with criminal charges, and arrests may be imminent in the next two weeks for their roles in the growing LIBOR rate-rigging scandal. The criminal charges and arrests would be in addition to fines that could be levied on banks for their roles in rigging rates that may have manipulated hundreds of trillions of dollars in the global economy. Keep an eye on this story.
A high ranking official within the State Department – Huma Abedin – has been given added security in the wake of threats made against her. Abedin is the deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but has also been at the center of a wild conspiracy theory pushed by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who sugg