In today's On the News segment: Two homeowners facing eviction in Spain have committed suicide prompting the Spanish banking association to freeze all eviction orders in cases of "extreme hardship" for the next two months, more than 2.1 million Americans could be screwed when their extended unemployment benefits expire at the end of this year, Puerto Rico voted for the first time to become one of the United States of America, and more.
You need to know this. Spain has had enough of bankster-assisted suicide. In the last month – two homeowners facing eviction in Spain have committed suicide prompting the Spanish banking association to freeze all eviction orders in cases of "extreme hardship" for the next two months. As one judge said, "This cannot be allowed to go on. It's a problem which has been talked about for some time. The time for talk is over and steps must be taken for something to happen." Protesters reacted to the suicide by taking to the streets and placing stickers on ATM machines that read "murderers." The police union has promised to stand by its members to who refuse to carry out an eviction. This same compassion is lacking in the United States where numerous Americans have turned to suicide instead of foreclosure. According to a recent study from the Center for Disease Control – there's a direct correlation between rising suicide rates and economic crises. And another study out of Princeton University found that for every increase of 100 foreclosures in states like Arizona, California, New Jersey, and Florida, attempted suicides increased 39%. This is a moral crisis, which deserves a moral response from our government. Yet the Republican Party and elements of the Democratic Party are committed to more austerity for working people rather than relief for working people. It's time to stop the insanity and violence of austerity. It's time to bailout the homeowners.
In screwed news...while going off the "fiscal cliff" might be the only way to make the rich pay their fair share in taxes again – a bunch of unemployed struggling Americans will be forced off the cliff, too. At the end of the year, more than 2.1 million Americans could be screwed when their extended unemployment benefits expire. Part of going off the "fiscal cliff" means that any American who's been unemployed for more than six months and is currently collecting extended unemployment benefits will stop receiving a check. As ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Sander Levin said, "We cannot forger the human cliff looming for more than two million Americans scheduled to lose their economic lifeline during the upcoming holidays." Expect Republicans to act like the Party of Scrooge and to hold these benefits hostage at the end of the year to make sure taxes on their billionaire overlords don't go up. Stay tuned.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Our nation took a major step forward last week electing the most diverse Congress in our nation's history. The 113th Congress set to begin in January of next year will have a different look than any other Congress before it. As the Center for American Progress details, three new African American representatives, five new Asian Americans, ten new Latinos, and 24 new women were elected last Tuesday. Plus, two Hindu Congresspeople were elected, a Buddhist, and an atheist. And finally, four new LGBT members of Congress are coming to Washington, DC, too. Despite the forces of xenophobia and bigotry speaking louder than ever in America – progress can't be stopped. And for once, Congress is starting to look like America.
Japan recently recognized the 20-month anniversary of the start of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. And today – only one nuclear power plant is in operation in the country – and geologists are warning its sitting on a fault line. Geologists at Tokyo's Toyo University are urging the Japanese government to halt operations at the Oi nuclear plant and to conduct research underground to see if it is in danger. Asked if the plant should remain open, one of the lead geologists said, "It would be a very silly option...We would have learned nothing from Fukushima. I'm afraid we would see a repeat one day." Since the Fukushima crisis began, several thousand Japanese citizens have been rallying in the streets routinely against nuclear power – demanding all plants be shut down. Let's hope the people are listened to it before another disaster strikes.
The secret's out at Fox so-called News. Appearing on HuffPost Live on Monday – the infamous "Fox News Mole" Joe Muto dished out more dirt on his former employer. Muto took on the utter shock at Fox after the election saying, "The people at Fox are not stupid...They know that this is sort of an entertainment. They know that a lot of these people are just hucksters. The reason we don't step in and give a reality check to our audience is because that's terrible for ratings." In other words, it's all infotainment. But it's infotainment with a purpose – to distract viewers from the real harm corporate oligarchs are doing all around the nation. It's time to drop the word "news" from Fox News.
And finally...Last week, Puerto Rico voted for the first time to become one of the United States of America – and we might not even have to add an extra star to the flag. That's because Republican officials in Texas are considering seceding following President Obama's re-election. The treasurer of the Hardin Country Republican Party down in Texas – Peter Morrison – floated the idea of secession in his post-election newsletter writing, "Texas was once its own country, and many Texans already think in nationalist terms about their state...Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government? Let each go her own way in peace, sign a free trade agreement among the states and we can avoid this gut-wrenching spectacle every four years." Tens of thousands of Texans have also sent a petition to the White House calling for secession. And Texas Governor Rick Perry floated the idea of secession as well after President Obama was elected to his first term. I'm just wondering if there's any way we can expedite this process...
And that's the way it is today – Tuesday, November 13, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.