In today's On the News segment: More than 250 Walmart workers and sympathizers from Southern California walked out on the job Thursday - and held a rally to draw attention to poor working conditions at the retail giant and unfair retaliation by Walmart management; the opponents of California's food labeling initiative, Proposition 37, have outraised supporters by nearly $30 million; Romney may have cheated during the debate; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. So much for Mitt Romney's debate bump. New jobs numbers released today show the economy added 114,000 jobs in September. The Department of Labor also said the economy added 86,000 more jobs than previously estimated in July and August. Most promising for President Obama's re-election hopes, the unemployment rate dropped from 8.1% down to 7.8% - the lowest it's been since President Obama took office in January of 2009. The number of unemployed Americans – now at 12.1 million – is also at its lowest level since January of 2009. The optics of this new report look good for President Obama – but thirty years of Reaganomics are still presenting deep structural problems for our economy. For example, the U-6 unemployment rate – which includes those who are no longer looking for work or are underemployed – is at 14.7%. And it's true that many of the new jobs being created each month are low-wage service sector jobs – instead of good paying manufacturing jobs. If we're ever going to see a robust economic recovery – we need to begin rolling back the Reagan Rich-Guys Revolution by making the wealthy pay their fair share, regulating Wall Street and corporate America, strengthening the Social Safety net, ditching so-called Free Trade, and investing in American infrastructure once again.
In screwed news ... the planet is heating up – the weather is getting weirder – and Americans are getting fed disinformation. A new report – published in the Environmental Research Letters journal – looked at more than 2,000 newspaper articles from the US, the UK, France, China, Brazil, and India – to determine just how much coverage the opinions of climate skeptics are getting in major newspapers. The study found that in the US and the UK – climate skeptics were getting a lot more column space than actual credible climate scientists. The lead author of the study – James Painter – said, "These results are significant because they do seem to support those who argue that climate scepticism is much stronger in 'Anglo-Saxon' countries, such as the US, UK, Canada and Australia, as measured by its presence in the media." Several studies have shown there are much higher percentages of climate skeptics in the US and UK than in other developed nations. It's time to call out the oil industry and their bought off "scientists" who are destroying the planet to make short-term profits.
In the best of the rest of the news...
The Romney campaigning is embracing the Etch-a-Sketch, just as they said they would. This morning – Romney campaign surrogate – Congressman Phil Gingrey – admitted that his guy, Mitt Romney, is changing positions in order to pick up votes in the middle. Speaking on CNN, Gingrey said, "[T]he Republican, the conservative candidate in the primary, is always going to lean right and come back to the center for the general...We strong conservatives understand that. There are a lot of undecideds in this country...we want those votes too. So, this is campaign strategy." In Wednesday's debate – Romney ran away from his radical $5 trillion tax cut for the rich – he ran away from his promises to repeal Obamacare in its entirety – and he even ran away from supporting oil subsidies. Anyone who was watching the Republican Primary knows that we're not seeing the same Mitt Romney anymore. Simply put – the guy has no core beliefs and is willing to take whatever position he needs to take to win. Is that really the quality Americans want in a President?
Workers are rising up against Wal Mart. More than 250 Wal Mart workers and sympathizers from Southern California walked out on the job Thursday – and held a rally to draw attention to poor working conditions at the retail giant and unfair retaliation by Wal Mart management. Some workers participating in the action called it a one-day strike – the first ever strike against Wal Mart in the United States. The walkout was led by the Organization United for Respect at Wal Mart – or OUR Wal Mart – which is made up of several thousand Wal Mart workers from around the nation. Three weeks ago – employees at several different Wal Mart supply warehouses walked off the job to protest poor labor conditions. The Wal Mart-ization of America has wreaked havoc on our economy – eating communities by closing down small businesses and funneling workers into low-wage jobs. It looks like the backlash may be underway. Stay tuned.
Corporations peddling genetically modified food products on the American people are now spending big bucks to make sure they aren't exposed. In the battle over California's Proposition 37 – which would require labeling of all genetically modified food – big agribusiness and pesticide corporations like Monsanto and Dupont are spending tens of millions of dollars to kill a labeling requirement. Monsanto has spent more than $7 million, Dupont nearly $5 million, and Dow chemical $2 million. The opponents of Proposition 37 have outraised supporters by nearly $30 million dollars. Despite that – residents in California support the labeling requirements by a two-to-one margin. Let's hope their voices aren't drowned out by big money interests like Monsanto.
And finally ... did Mitt Romney cheat during the debate? Video clearly shows Mitt Romney pulling something out of his pocket and setting it on his podium before the debate started – suggesting he may have had pre-written notes on him to refer back to during the debate. Then after the debate, video shows Romney rushing back to the podium to scoop up his notes before anyone else could snag them. The Commission on Presidential Debates does take precautions to make sure no candidate has an earpiece and is receiving information throughout the debate. But as for other forms of cheating – the Commission's executive director Janet Brown admitted, "You have to assume that a code of honor is being followed." Considering that Romney told 27 lies and half-truth during just his 38 minutes of speaking time – you can't assume any sort of code of honor with this guy.
And that's the way it is today – Friday, October 05, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.