In today's On the News segment: Ron Paul's campaign has struck a deal with Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, promising to not disrupt the convention next week, and in return, many of Paul's delegates will be seated and his policy positions will be rolled up into the official party platform; well over 500 days and counting since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan, and even more consequences of it are now coming to the surface; Missouri Republican Congressman Todd Akin refuses to drop out of the state's Senate race; and more.
Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. The Republican National Convention is less than a week away, but the Party has been hard at work drafting its official 20-12 platform – and no surprise here, it's the most radically right-wing platform in modern history. Today, news broke that the Ron Paul campaign has struck a deal with Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, promising to not disrupt the convention next week and in return – many of Ron Paul's delegates will be seated and his policy positions will be rolled up into the official Party platform. Oh, and Ron Paul's son, Rand, will get a prominent speaking role at the Convention. So what exactly will be in this new Republican Party platform? A complete constitutional ban that forces women to complete pregnancies – with no exceptions for rape and incest. An urging for states to adopt intrusive ultra sound laws that force women to have their bodies probed before they can have an abortion. An embrace of hateful anti-gay laws that give no legal recognition to same-sex couples. A call for more radical "papers, please" anti-immigration laws like the one that the Supreme Court struck down in Arizona. The reinstatement of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" forbidding gays from openly serving in the military. And – in a slap in the face to Washington, DC – a rejection of statehood for the nation's capital. Those are just some of the highlights. Plus, the official theme of the Republican National Convention is, "We Did Build This!" – in response to President Obama's out of context remarks about how roads, bridges, and government investments allow for business owners to be successful. Someone should notify the Republican Party that the venue hosting their convention was funded mostly by taxpayer dollars.
Want to see just how America's economic dominance in the world is slipping? Just take a look at how many people we're graduating from college. A new study by the Center for American Progress reveals that the number of Americans graduating from college in America is declining – while China and India are producing more and more college graduates. Between 2000 and 20-10, our nation's share of college graduates in the world dropped from 24% to 21%, while China's share increased from 9% to 11%. And by 20-20, if the trend continues, then there will be little daylight between the United States and China when it comes to each of their shares of college graduates in the world. One explanation is that the price of college has increased dramatically in America. Plus, there's the proliferation of for-profit colleges that care more about taking government money that graduating students. And of course, there's the unsettling student loan debt problem – which is a trillion dollar weight on young people trying to go to college. All of these factors are crippling our nation's most important infrastructure – our intellectual infrastructure. Time to start investing in education by sending Americans to college for free to ensure the United States is still competitive in the global economy in the next century.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Following the shooting of a security guard at the Family Research Council last week by an L-G-B-T activist, the Human Rights Campaign announced it will continue labeling the Family Research Council as a hate group. Both the Human Rights Campaign and the Southern Poverty Law Center came under fire for labeling the Family Research Council a hate group, with right-wing organizations like the National Organization for Marriage accusing the organizations of stoking violence. Human Rights Campaign President, Chad Griffin, released a statement saying, "The logic that the Southern Poverty Law Center or L-G-B-T organizations are to blame is preposterous, outrageous and irresponsible...No matter one's political views, we can all agree that acts of violence are never justified and should always be condemned." He's right – calling out hate doesn't breed violence – hate breeds violence.
Well over 500 days and counting since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan, and even more consequences of it are now coming to the surface. Fish caught 12 miles off shore of the crippled nuclear plant earlier this month were found to contain off the charts levels of radiation. According to TEPCO the fish registered nearly 26,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium – which is 258,000 percent higher than the safe consumption level approved by the government. Over the next few weeks, the Japanese government and TEPCO will take more measurements of fish and seabed soil – and it's likely they'll see the same extremely high levels of radiation. Might be time to buy a Geiger counter.
While Republicans fiddle like Nero and deny global climate change, the United States is burning. An unprecedented heat wave and dry season has produced record breaking wildfires scorching nearly 7 million acres of land around the nation – with more than one million still burning. The economic toll of these fires is massive. Hundreds of homes have been lost, tourism industries which generate $35 billion in economic activity have been crippled, and bankrupt states are being pushed close to the fiscal brink having to devote resources to fighting the fires. These are the real-life, in your face consequences of unmitigated, man-made global climate change. And if the United States doesn't take the lead in doing something about it – then it's only going to get worse.
And finally...Todd Akin isn't going anywhere. Yesterday's deadline for the Missouri Republican Congressman to drop out of the state's Senate race came and went last night – with Akin refusing to drop out of the race. In a statement, Akin asked supporters to stand by him while the liberal media tries to force him out of the race. Of course, the reality is the so-called liberal media desperately wants Akin to stay in the race. It's the Republican establishment that wants him out since he was irresponsible enough to articulate in words what the entire Republican Party is actually thinking when it comes to women, rape, and abortion. So well done Congressman Akin for making sure this issue doesn't go away anytime soon.
And that's the way it is today – Wednesday, August 22, 2012. I'm Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.