In today's On the News segment: President Obama will likely become the first-ever incumbent president to be outraised by his opponent in his re-election bid; on Monday, the Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee officially added marriage equality to the Democratic platform; report shows businesses with women on their boards outperform businesses with only men on their boards; anti-nuclear protests in Japan are growing; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. You need to know this. President Obama will likely become the first ever incumbent President to be outraised by his opponent in his re-election bid. And in a desperate attempt to even the playing field just slightly before November – the President has been forced to hold endless fundraisers. As the Center for American Progress reveals, President Obama has already held nearly 200 fundraisers during his first term in office. To put that in perspective, George. W Bush held slightly more than 80, and President Clinton held roughly 70. But in the post-Citizens United era when billionaires can dump their fortunes into our elections, then politicians are forced to endlessly raise money. And it's not just President Obama, Members of Congress are stuck in this trap, too. If the average House Member spent 40 hours a week fundraising, he or she would need to raise, on average, $367 an hour. For a Senator, $819 an hour. This is one of the biggest problems facing our democracy. We elect our representatives to go to Washington and represent our interests. But in reality what they do is fundraise, fundraise, fundraise – giving those with deep pockets more influence than average voters like you and me. To fix this – we need to get money out of politics. Go to MoveToAmend.org.
In screwed news...the Republican Party has moved to the "extremes" and is "incapable of governing." Those aren't my words – those are the words of Republican Congressman Richard Hanna who blasted his party during an interview with the Syracuse Post-Standard. Hanna told the paper, "I have to say that I'm frustrated by how...the Republican Party — are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in history...We render ourselves incapable of governing when all we do is take severe sides." In the last few years, Ayn Rand believers and oligarchs have seized control of the Republicans Party and dragged it to the extremes of the political spectrum. There's a big difference between Republicans of the 1950's when Eisenhower argued that anyone who wants to get rid social safety net programs like Social Security and Unemployment are literally "stupid" – and Republicans today led by Paul Ryan who are openly talking about repealing the entirety of the New Deal. Let's hope more Congressman like Richard Hanna wake up to the hijacking of their party.
In the best of the rest of the news...
The Democratic Party is officially the party of equality. On Monday, the Democratic Party platform drafting committee officially added marriage equality to the Democratic platform. In addition to supporting same-sex marriage, Democrats are also officially supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which forbids employers from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner using taxpayer dollars to continue defending the discriminatory Defense Against Marriage Act. So while Democrats are moving into the 21st century and supporting civil rights for all. Republicans are content being the Party of dinosaurs.
It pays to have women on your corporate boards. That's the conclusion drawn from a new Credit Suisse Research Institute report that shows businesses with women on their boards outperform businesses with only men on their boards. Looking at similar sized businesses – companies that had at least one woman on their board did better than companies with no females by 26% in terms of share prices. Currently, more than a third of all U.S. companies don't have a single woman on the board. Not only that, female CEOs make only 69-cents to every dollar that a male CEO makes. We need to fight more equality in the workplace. Not only is it the moral thing, but it's good for business, too.
Anti-nuclear protests in Japan are growing. On Sunday – tens of thousands of people formed a human chain around Japan's parliament in Tokyo demanding the government abolish nuclear power. Two nuclear reactors have recently been restarted in Japan for the first time since the Fukushima crisis began more than 500 days ago. Sunday's protests mark the latest in a long series of demonstrations against nuclear power that have rocked Tokyo – with reports saying that this sort of mass movement hasn't been seen in Japan in decades. What the Japanese people know is what Americans need to quickly become aware of – nuclear power is the most expensive and dangerous form of energy on the planet. And Fukushima, which is still crippled and at risk of triggering an even larger nuclear disaster, is the perfect example of why the world needs to go nuke-free.
The nation of India is dealing with an energy crisis, which has led to the largest blackout in the history of the world. Half the country went dark on Tuesday, as India's power grids collapsed – leaving 620 million people without electricity. The blackout raises questions about India's infrastructure and its capability to sustain an emerging superpower economy. The problem was made worse by a monsoon season with unseasonably warm temperatures, suggesting that as the climate crisis picks up, developing nations could be hardest hit by freak weather.
And finally...cops and firefights in Scranton, Pennsylvania will again receive the paychecks they're entitled to. After Scranton Mayor Chis Doherty reduced the pay of his city's public workers – including cops and firefighters – down to minimum wage, arguing his city can't afford it – three public sector unions in the city took the mayor to court challenging the pay cuts. Now, a deal has been worked out- and Mayor Doherty has promised to restore his public workers' pay with interest on the backlogged salaries. During a time when public works are assault all around the country, it's nice to hear some good news.
And that's the way it is today, Tuesday, July 31, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news...