In today's On the News Segment: President Obama took the stage at the DNC on Thursday night and instead of talking about change - he talked about choice; new unemployment numbers are out today showing the economy added 96,000 new jobs – making it the 30th straight month of private sector job creation on President Obama's watch; mega bank JP Morgan Chase is facing scrutiny from the United States Senate; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. President Obama took the stage at the DNC on Thursday night and instead of talking about change – he talked about choice. The President said, "when all is said and done – when you pick up that ballot to vote – you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation." You know, it's easy to resign into cynicism and attack both parties as tools of the corporate elite. But the President's speech last night revealed that there are still enormous differences between himself and Mitt Romney – differences that will affect the lives of tens of millions of Americans. As the President outlined, it's a choice between hiring teachers or firing teachers. A choice between making the rich pay their fair share or shifting more of the tax burden onto working Americans. A choice between doing something about climate change, which the President said "is not a hoax," or continuing to do nothing as the planet gets dangerously too hot. It's a choice between relying solely on big oil to energize our nation or adopting clean energy. It's a choice between Medicare and no Medicare. It's a choice between getting the healthcare you need or being denied health insurance for pre-existing conditions. Ultimately, it's a choice between having a middle class in America – or not. And even though the president didn't mention it, this election will be a choice between having a Supreme Court for the next generation that sides with working people or having a far-right Supreme Court that sides with corporations. Many progressives are disappointed with President Obama – and many have good reason to be. But if we sit out this election, then the oligarchs will only tighten their grip on power in America. That's what's at stake.
New unemployment numbers are out today showing the economy added 96,000 new jobs – making it the 30th straight month of private sector job creation on President Obama's watch. Job creation was actually lower than what economists forecasted – anticipating more than 125,000 jobs to be created. But the unemployment rate did tick down from 8.3% to 8.1% - as more Americans dropped out of the labor force and stopped looking for work. Our economy is in desperate need of stimulus – a fact Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pointed to earlier this week when he hinted that the Federal Reserve will attempt more stimulus – but can only do so much as long as Republicans in Congress refuse to pass the President's jobs bill. Unfortunately, with Republicans hell-bent on crashing the economy during the two months before the election – there's no relief in sight for jobless Americans.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Mega bank JP Morgan Chase is facing scrutiny from the United States Senate. Senator Carl Levin's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has begun looking into exactly what went wrong with JP Morgan Chase's $9 billion trading loss debacle earlier this year. Reuters is reporting that Senator Levin wants to determine what sort of risk these massive losses posed to the taxpayers regardless of whether or not any crimes were committed at the bank. JP Morgan Chase may not have done anything illegal when it lost $9 billion, but it is guilty of doing the same thing all the other banksters on Wall Street are doing – and that is turning our financial system, which should be safe, boring, and useful, into a giant casino that could crash our entire economy. It's time to regulate the banks like Roosevelt did after the Stock Market crash of 1929 – and get them working to benefit working Americans again, rather than continuing to rip off working Americans.
Republican state lawmakers are forcing their own taxpayers to shell out big bucks to pay lawyers to defend discriminatory Voter Suppression ID Laws that will kick millions of Democratic voters off the rolls in November. The Dallas News reports that Texas taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for $2 million in legal costs as Republicans fight for their voter suppression laws in court. In the last two weeks, two court rulings have struck down Texas's Voter ID law, saying that it will discriminate against minorities. But Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot is promising to appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court – which means an even larger bill will have to be picked up by the very same taxpayers whoTexas Republicans are trying to block from voting.
Paul Ryan is now admitting that he did indeed ask for Obamacare funds for his Wisconsin Congressional district in 2010. In Congress – Paul Ryan has voted to repeal Obamacare more than thirty times – and on the campaign trail – he's promised that repealing Obamacare will be priority number one if he and Romney win. But, behind the scenes – Ryan knows Obamacare can do a lot of good for his Congressional district. A spokesman for Paul Ryan told the Huffington Post, "As a general principle [Ryan's] not going to turn away his constituents who come to him for help based on his own views of a program." However, if Paul Ryan becomes VP, he'll be more than happy to turn away seniors and the poor who desperately need healthcare by slashing Medicaid and voucherizing Medicare. As a slew of religious leaders have stepped forward to say, Paul Ryan is responsible for one of the most brutally immoral budgets ever submitted to the House of Representatives.
And finally...the police are now protesting in Greece. On Thursday morning – several dozen members of the Greek police force took to the streets to protest austerity measures that will cut their pay and pensions. The protesting cops blocked riot police from squashing another anti-austerity protest in Northern Greece. During the several-year economic crisis that's gripped Greece – police have been busy confronting routine anti-austerity protests. But with cops now joining in on the protests – it's a sign that the austerity agenda could be nearing a tipping point. And with the war on public employees here in the United States in full swing – it's time for American cops to take to the streets, too.
And that's the way it is today – Friday, September 07, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.