In today's On the News segment: Paul Ryan rattled off lie after lie after lie against President Obama in his speech last night, the United States leads its European counterparts in preventable deaths, the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn the Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United decision just got endorsed by President Barack Obama, Japanese citizens continue to protest nuclear power, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. Vice Presidential candidate Paul addressed the RNC last night – and after getting his name right – pretty much everything that followed was a blatant lie or half-truth. In what could be one of the most dishonest speeches given in the history of American political conventions – Ryan rattled off lie after lie after lie against President Obama. He accused President Obama of promising to keep open a GM plant in Wisconsin that eventually closed down. Only, President Obama never made that promise, and the plant actually closed down in December of 2008 – a month before Obama was even sworn in as President. George W. Bush was in the White House when the plant closed. He accused President Obama of raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare. In reality, President Obama extended the life of Medicare eight years – and his reforms were so effective that Paul Ryan himself borrowed them for his own budget. He claimed the President was responsible for our nation's credit downgrade last year even though S&P explicitly called out House Republicans like Paul Ryan who refused to raise taxes as a primary reason for the downgrade. He promised that he would keep Medicare intact for future seniors even though his budget plan ends Medicare as we know it, forcing future seniors to pay thousands of dollars more every year for healthcare. The only way Republicans can win this year is by lying – and last night Paul Ryan proved it. But the bigger picture here is this: the economic worldview being preached by Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and the rest of the Right for the last thirty years - that we should rely on so-called corporate free markets, rely on the super-rich, and rely on privatizing everything from education to roads to prisons, is a complete and utter failure bringing the entire planet to the brink of collapse. And so today – these hucksters who want more of the same have to rely on lies to fool the American people into letting them continue down this path toward economic destruction. The sad part is – since our media is bought off by these very same corporate interests, and thus unwilling to call out the liars – then Paul Ryan's lies might actually work.
In screwed news...America is not a place to get sick. According to new research published in Health Affairs – the United States leads its European counterparts in preventable deaths. The research examined people under 75 years old who died from illnesses that could have been prevented with adequate and timely health care – and found these preventable deaths happen for more frequently in the United States than in the U.K., Germany, and France – or all those countries that have what Republicans here would call "socialized medicine." As Karen Davis, the President of the Commonwealth Fund, which sponsored the study said, "Despite spending about twice as much per person each year on healthcare as France, Germany or the U.K. ... the U.S. is increasingly falling behind these countries in terms of progress in lowering the potentially preventable death rate." Conservatives try to defend our for-profit health care system by pointing out all the wealthy foreign dignitaries who come to the United States for treatment. They say this proves America has the best health care system in the world. But the reality is – we have the best health care system in the world for the very, very rich. If you're not rich, you're screwed. We need single-payer, universal healthcare in our nation – and we need it now.
In the best of the rest of the news...
The movement to amend the Constitution and overturn the Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United decision just got its biggest endorsement yet – from President Barack Obama. During an online question and answer forum on Reddit.com – the President was asked to do something about the corrupting influence of money in politics post-Citizens United. He responded by calling for the DISCLOSE Act to be passed – and then went further saying, "Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change." Senator Bernie Sanders already has that amendment ready to go – as do many Democrats in the House. Now it's up to we the people to get out in the streets to move it forward. Go to MoveToAmend.org.
Those of us who want America free from nuclear power should pay attention to the grassroots efforts in Japan. For the last two months – hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens have taken to the streets to protest nuclear power, following the Fukushima crisis – which is still ongoing. In response, a government panel was set up to gauge the public's attitude toward nuclear power and that panel has now concluded, "We can say with certainty that a majority of citizens want to achieve a society that does not rely on nuclear power generation." Before the Fukushima disaster and grassroots activism in response, Japan had planned to expand nuclear power to generate 50% of the nation's electricity. But now, that plan has been shelved. Let's hope it doesn't take a disaster here in the United States to spark our own no-nukes movement.
And finally...if Mitt Romney wants people to forget about all the money he has stashed in tax havens around the world – then he probably shouldn't have allowed his supporters to dock a boat outside the RNC flying the Cayman Island's flag. Members of what's called the "Romney Victory Council" – all of whom raised more than a million bucks for the Romney campaign, have been partying aboard a luxury yacht in Tampa Bay since the convention started – under the flag of the Cayman Islands. Of course – this shouldn't surprise us since vulture capitalists like Mitt Romney owe their allegiance not to whichever country they were born and raised in, but instead which ever country offers them the lowest tax rates.
And that's the way it is today – Thursday, August 30, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.