In today's On the News segment: a man who's been lying to the American people for over a year is neck and neck in the polls to be President; courts are helping disenfranchise voters in Ohio; more than 74 Americans were killed in Hurricane Sandy; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. Do you wonder how a man who's been lying to the American people for over a year – has offshore bank accounts – and pays a lower tax rate on his hundreds of millions of dollars than most working Americans – is somehow neck and neck in the polls to be President of the United States? The answer...a lot of corporate money. If Mitt Romney wins the presidency next week – he'll have a lot of investors to thank for it. New data from the Federal Elections Commission shows that massive amounts of SuperPAC money, made possible by the Supreme Court'sCitizens United decision, is flowing into the Romney campaign. More than $840 million has been spent so far on this election by SuperPACs and other political creatures – and the vast majority of that spending has benefited Republicans. About $577 million has been spent by Conservatives – which is 69% of the total outside money spent. With spending expected to accelerate in this final week – total outside spending will top a billion dollars for the first time in our nation's history. What's worse is that we have no idea who these secret oligarchs are who are investing huge amounts of money in helping Mitt Romney and other Republicans get elected. While SuperPACs do have to disclose their donors, many non-profit groups, like Karl Rove's, don't. And non-profits that favor Republicans have outspent Democratic nonprofits 8-to-1 this election. If it all pays off for the oligarchs, then they'll have one of their own in the White House – a pirate equity guy who's made his living devouring the American economy for his own personal gain. This is a freak show election – and should wake us all up to the dangers of too much money in politics. Go to MoveToAmend.org.
In Screwed News...the election shenanigans continue in Ohio – and this time the courts are getting involved to help disenfranchise voters. On Wednesday, a panel of three Conservative Justices ruled in favor of Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted - paving the way for massive voter disenfranchisement in the key swing state. According to the ruling, voters who are instructed by poll workers to vote at the wrong precinct have no right to have their votes counted. A previous court ruling ordered that voters who are misled by poll workers still have a right to have their vote counted, but that's now been overturned. We already know that the Romney campaign has sent out flyers to prospective ballot watchers in Wisconsin giving them misleading information to tell voters. Now, thanks to this court ruling, the Romney campaign can legally have its poll watchers in Ohio send voters to the wrong polling place to make sure their votes aren't counted. According to pollster Nate Silver – Ohio has a 50/50 chance of determining who the next President will be. Thanks to the Electoral College – Republicans don't have to launch a nationwide conspiracy to rig the election – they just have to lie to voters in a few key Ohio precincts. Stay tuned.
In the best of the rest of the news...
The death toll from SuperStorm Sandy has now topped 74 Americans. Millions still remain without power. FEMA is popular now, so, of course, it's time for Mitt Romney to reverse his position. Romney – who previously called for FEMA to be privatized – released a statement on Wednesday giving full support for FEMA saying, "I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters...As president I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission." And there you have it – another flip-flop from Mitt Romney. If this race goes on any longer – Romney may end up to the Left of Bernie Sanders.
Neither presidential candidate will talk about the ongoing drug war along our Southern border – but voters in three states will have a chance to put an end to it in a few days. A new report by the Mexican Institute on Competitiveness finds that if any of the three states scheduled to vote on legalizing marijuana on Election Day – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – approve the measure – then the Mexican drug cartels will take a big financial hit. The report shows that legalizing and regulating marijuana in those three states alone could cost Mexican drug cartels nearly $5 billion. Currently – $6 billion worth of illegal marijuana is imported from Mexico annually – creating a dangerous underground war that has claimed the lives of more than 50,000 Mexicans since 2006. According to polling in all three states – there's a decent chance that the marijuana legalization ballot measures will indeed pass. Keep an eye on this.
When it comes to crippling sanctions on Iran – it's the nation's most vulnerable who are being hurt the most. According to a leading medical charity in Iran – sanctions are making it much more difficult to import medicine and crucial medical equipment into the nation, which is affecting the health of as many as 6 million Iranian patients. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney support these sanctions as the only way to deter Iran's nuclear program. Unfortunately, as in all wars, even financial ones like this, it's the weak and vulnerable who are hurt first and hurt the most.
And finally...third party presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested on Wednesday when she joined demonstrators trying to block the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. Stein was attempting to bring supplies to activists when she was detained. The Green Party's candidate for President released a statement after the arrest saying, "I'm here to connect the dots between super storm Sandy and the record heat, drought, and fire we've seen this year – with this Tar Sands pipeline, which will make all of these problems much worse." Stein was arrested last month when she tried to attend the Presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Tragically, in America today – both trying to break the two-party duopoly, and trying to stop foreign corporations from building a toxic pipeline across the nation can land you in jail.
And that's the way it is today – Thursday, November 01, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.