In today's On the News segment: The Republican National Convention kicks off this week in Tampa, Florida, and Republicans are desperately trying to downplay fears of a civil war brewing within their party; Republicans are desperately trying to rig the election in November by kicking millions of Democratic voters off the rolls with voter suppression ID laws; the Empire State Building shooting last Friday dominated the news, but it wasn't the only mass shooting in America; and more.
Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. The Republican National Convention kicks off this week in Tampa, Florida – and Republicans are desperately trying to downplay fears of a civil war brewing within their party. On Sunday, the New York Times published an interview with Ron Paul – whose frenzied supporters could embarrass Romney on the convention floor. In the interview, Ron Paul refused to fully endorse Mitt Romney for president and also relayed a story about how he was offered a speaking role at the convention, but only if he gave Romney a full endorsement and if Romney could vet his speech first. Paul declined both conditions. The Republican Party is throwing Paul a bone by including a "Audit the Fed" plank in the party's official platform this year, but over the long run – Republicans will clearly have a problem with the Libertarian wing of their party that foams at the mouth in support of Ron Paul. And since the millionaires and billionaires are funding the far-right Libertarian faction, where rich people rule societies instead of democratic governments, then this movement will only get stronger and stronger. Let's hope progressive are paying attention.
In screwed news...Republicans are desperately trying to rig the election in November by kicking millions of Democratic voters off the rolls with Voter Suppression ID Laws. And now, they're not even hiding their racist intentions to block minority voters. Attorneys General in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas – all Republicans – have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court calling for certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act to be struck down. The Voting Rights Act upended decades of Jim Crow laws in the South that put barriers in front of blacks voting. And today, with Voter ID laws intended to disproportionately affect black and minority voters, Republicans want free rein to do the same thing that racists in the South did post-Civil War. The only difference between now and then is Republicans are using the excuse of voter fraud to jus tify thes e laws . But cons idering that actual voter fraud occurs les s often than people dying from TVs falling on their heads – then the real motivation behind these Voter Suppression ID laws is fairly obvious.
In the best of the rest of the news...
The Empire State building shooting last Friday dominated the news, but it wasn't the only mass shooting in America. The night before in Chicago, 19 people were s hot in a s eries of mas s s hootings acros s the city. With the Aurora theatre s hooting and the recent Sikh temple shooting still fresh in our minds, mass shootings have reached epidemic levels in America. Gun activists will argue this is proof that the nation should have even more guns so people can protect themselves and spring into action by returning fire when someone starts shooting, but what happened in New York City at the Empire State building proves that point wrong. Ballis tic tes ts s how that all nine bys tanders who were injured during the s hoot-out in the s treet, were shot by police – not the gunman. In other words, even highly trained officers were unable to take down the shooter without als o firing errant bullets into innocent bys tanders . One can only imagine the tragedy if thos e bys tanders were als o armed and decided to join the shoot-out. Plain and simple, more guns make our nation more dangerous – and anyone who says otherwise is just looking to make a profit off more gun sales.
Here's a warning to all meat-eaters out there – you may be forced to completely change your diet in the near future – and you can thank global climate change and overpopulation for it. Citing population trends that show there will be 2 billion more people on the planet by 2050, and dwindling water resources, a team of scientists with the Stockholm International Water Institute warned that in the next forty years – the world's population will be forced to radically change their diet – going almost completely vegetarian. Currently, humans get 20% of their protein intake from eating animals, but scientists warn there will s imply not be enough water res ources to s upply extra animal-bas ed products for two billion more people. Ins tead, humans will have to cut back on their animal protein consumption to 5% by 2050. If left unchecked, run away global climate change is going to make life very different for all of us in the near future – and not in a good way.
The British government has now backed off its threat to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to arrest Julian Assange. That threat, made the night before Ecuador granted Assange diplomatic asylum, was seen as an unprecedented diplomatic maneuver that weakened ties between the two nations. In a press conference on Sunday, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa noted that his government had received a message from the British Foreign Office saying there was no longer any threat to enter the embas s y prompting him to s ay, "we cons ider this unfortunate incident over." For Julian As s ange, however, it's far from over. Secret police documents uncovered last week reveal that British police are under orders to arres t As s ange as s oon as he s teps out of the embas s y, regardles s of whether or not he is in a diplomatic car. There's no end in sight for the world's most notorious journalist.
And finally...it could be a rough few weeks for men in Togo. Female activists in the African nation of 6 million people are calling for a s ex s trike to force their hus bands and partners to join the movement agains t Togo's Pres ident. The s ex s trike was announced during a rally on Saturday against new election reforms that make it easier for Togo's current President to remain in power. Rumor has it Newt Gingrich is very concerned..
And that's the way it is today – Monday, August 27th, 2012. I'm Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.