In today's On the News segment: 25 Americans are dead and another 344 are sickened by a growing meningitis outbreak; Hurricane Sandy's death toll has now topped 55 Americans; the Eurozone unemployment in September hit an all-time record high of 11.6 percent; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. Across 18 states, 25 Americans are dead and another 344 sickened by a growing meningitis outbreak. And Mitt Romney might be responsible. As Craig Unger at Salon reports this week, the pharmaceutical company that's responsible for the outbreak, Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Company, was cited for numerous violations in 2004 while Mitt Romney was Governor. However, his administration did nothing to punish the company or place more regulations on it. Records show that that between 2003 and 2006 – there were six complaints against the New England Compounding Company, yet the Romney administration did not crack down on the company, and instead signed an agreement allowing the company to regulate itself in the future. It should be noted that New England Compounding Company is a big political donor to both Mitt Romney and Republican Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts. But as a result of their "self-regulation" order by Romney – 25 Americans are now dead. As an attorney representing the victims argues, "It goes all the way up to Mitt Romney...When the person who is supposed to be in charge of oversight does not believe oversight is necessary, this is what happens." This is why a Romney presidency is so dangerous to America. The safety of our air, water, food, medicine is in jeopardy thanks to government regulation that Mitt Romney wants to get rid of. We know what happens when we try to let capitalism regulate itself: economics crash and lives are ruined.
In screwed news ... the Northeast is still trying to get back on its feet again after Hurricane Sandy. The death toll has now topped 55 Americans, millions remain without power, and the entire New York City transit system remains flooded and shut down. And in some of the hardest hit cities in New Jersey – like Seaside Heights – block after block of residential neighborhood is buried under sand in the same way the lower 9th Ward was buried under water after Katrina. Also the same – is Republicans' reluctance to unleash disaster relief funds. On Tuesday night – Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King warned against giving too much federal aid to those affected by Hurricane Sandy saying, "I want to get them the resources that are necessary...But not one big shot to just open up the checkbook, because they spent it on Gucci bags and massage parlors and everything." According to King, when Americans lose their homes and everything they own, they immediately go shopping and get massages. Again, this is a fundamental difference between the Right and the Left in this country today. Should we, as an entire nation, respond to natural disasters – or should we tell local communities they are on their own as Ayn Rand might say. This election will determine that answer.
In the best of the rest of the news...
In their quest to buy this election – the oligarchs are pulling out all the dirty tricks. Over the last few weeks, several billboards have gone up in low-income minority neighborhoods in Cleveland, Ohio warning that voter fraud is a felony that carries with it prison time and a $10,000 fine. Voter fraud doesn't really exist – in fact – more Americans die every year form TVs falling on their heads than commit voter fraud. So, the purpose of these billboards was clear: to scare voters away from the polls with the myth of voter fraud. Now we know who was funding them. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports - meet uber-rich Wisconsin venture capitalist Stephen Einhorn. He and his wife admitted to funding the billboard campaign – they've also given huge political donations to Republican politicians like Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, and Mitt Romney. To wealthy people like Einhorn, it's all about political investments – not contributions. They know keeping minorities from the polls means they can keep their own taxes low.
Like it's done all year, the Romney campaign is resorting to outrageous lies with less than a week to go until the election. A new attack ad by Romney running in swing state Ohio suggests that money the President spent to save the auto industry is being used to hire workers in China – not the United States. That ad is a lie. A spokesman for General Motors released a statement in response to the ad saying, ""We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days...No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country." Romney famously penned an op-ed in 2008 calling for Detroit to go bankrupt – and saying the government should play no role in managing the bankruptcy. He was wrong then – and he's lying today.
Each month that passes, the Eurozone sinks deeper and deeper into an austerity-induced economic crisis. According to new numbers – Eurozone unemployment in September hit an all-time record high of 11.6%. That's more than a full percentage point higher than where it was in 2011 – clearly indicating that austerity is making economics worse. More than 18 million Europeans are out of work according to these new jobs numbers. And it's no coincidence that the highest unemployment numbers are in the nations that have taken the full brunt of austerity. Spain's rate is 25.8% - Greece is at 25.1% - and Portugal is at 15.7%. The nations that haven't been forced into austerity – like Germany and the Netherlands – have low unemployment at 5.4%. Yet more proof that austerity – which is what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to bring to the United States – kills economies.
And finally ... beware of the Zombie Apocalypse today in California. Several zombies will be on hand at the Paradise Point Resort Island in San Diego – not for Halloween – but for a counter-terrorism summit and military drill on how to deal with a zombie attack. Hundreds of law enforcement, military, and medical personnel will be on hand to participate – and former CIA Director Michael Hayden is hosting the event. Look for this to be used as another excuse to increase the Defense Department's budget.
And that's the way it is today – Wednesday, October 31st, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.