In today's On the News segment: Average, hardworking residents of Montana are about to be silenced in state elections, Florida Department of Law Enforcement has launched an official criminal probe into the political firm Strategic Allied Consulting, The European Union could be the site of the next Fukushima-like nuclear disaster, the world should look at the nation of Bhutan, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. What's the point of presidential debates, if one candidate can lie for a half-hour and then be declared the winner? That's the question we should all ask ourselves one day after the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado. The consensus among pundits is that Mitt Romney won the debate – and strictly in terms of style, he did win – pressing the fight all night against a lethargic President Obama. But as the Center for American Progress points out this morning – Romney told 27 lies or half-truths in a matter of just 38 minutes on stage last night. Romney lied about his own tax plan – saying that it's not a $5 trillion tax cut, despite independent analysis of his plan saying it is. He lied about Obamacare – repeating the same debunked myth that the President cut over $700 billion from Medicare. He lied about the President's Wall Street reform law – saying it designates five banks as too big to fail and deserving of blank check bailouts. There is no such provision in the law. And he even flirted with the idea of death panels in Obamacare! Rather than acting like sportscasters this morning and declaring Mitt Romney the winner – the media needs to be doing its job and fact-checking. But ultimately – President Obama did fail last night. He failed at calling out Mitt Romney as an agent of the oligarchs. The President didn't mention Romney's "47%" comments – he didn't mention Romney's tax dodging and offshore tax havens – he didn't mention Romney's career harvesting businesses at Bain. If the President can't make the argument that Romney is only looking out for the 1% - then he's going to lose.
In screwed news...average, hardworking residents of Montana are about to be silenced in state elections. On Wednesday – a federal judge in that state struck down a law limiting political contributions to state candidates. Previously, individuals and political action committees could only donate at most $630 for gubernatorial candidates and $310 for statewide office candidates. But U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell ruled that those limits are too low – and he trashed them – meaning individuals and PACs can now use unlimited amounts of money to buy the politicians of their choice. Combine this ruling with the Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that struck down a 100-year-old Montana state law banning corporate contributions to candidates – and it all adds up to the people in that state having lost their voice in their own elections. So, too, have Americans all across the nation, whose voices will be drowned out by millionaire, billionaire, and corporate cash. We must amend the constitution to bring back democracy by "we the people" – go to MoveToAmend.org.
In the best of the rest of the news...
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has launched an official criminal probe into the political firm Strategic Allied Consulting, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in swing states across the nation. In a story first reported at the BradBlog.com – the firm is headed up by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant, Nathan Sproul, and is accused of filling out fraudulent voter registration forms – including sabotaging Democratic voter registration forms by changing the addresses on them. These fraudulent forms have been found in at least 11 counties in Florida – and law enforcement officials say they've "found enough evidence to warrant a full-blown investigation." This is widespread and blatant election fraud committed by the Republican National Committee – and some people need to be thrown in jail over it.
The European Union could be the site of the next Fukushima-like nuclear disaster. A leaked report by a European Commission revealed that virtually all of the 134 nuclear power plants in Europe are in need of repairs. In France – where 80% of that nation's electricity is generated by nuclear power – not a single power plant in the entire country meets the security standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The report calls for as much as 25 billion euros in repairs on Europe's nuclear power plants. Rather than repairing nukes – the world should be investing in clean energy and decommissioning nuclear power plants – the world's most expensive and dangerous form of energy. No nukes!
Last Friday – Louisiana death row inmate Damon Thibodeaux was exonerated after DNA evidence proved he did not murder his step cousin nearly two decades ago. Thibodeaux spent 16 years in prison, and was nearly executed for a crime he didn't commit. Shockingly, Damon is the 300thinmate to be exonerated by DNA evidence – and the 18th death row inmate let free, thanks to DNA evidence. This proves there have been major mistakes made in our criminal justice system. It's time we give all inmates a chance to prove their innocence through new DNA evidence. And it's time we put an end to the death penalty before another innocent American is executed.
And finally...all the world should look at the nation of Bhutan. Thaat nation's Prime Minister announced plants to make his nation 100% organic – phasing out all artificial chemicals in farming over the next ten years. As Bhutan's Agricultural Minister said, "Bhutan has decided to go for a green economy in light of the tremendous pressure we are exerting on the planet." Bhutan has already proved how progressive a nation it is when it scrapped economic indicators as a measure of national success – replacing them with something it invented called "Gross National Happiness." In Bhutan – the top priority is happiness and not wealth. This approach has been endorsed by the United Nations and several other countries around the world. We here in the United States could learn a lot from Bhutan.
And that's the way it is today – Thursday, October 04, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.