Shane Farnan here – in for Thom Hartmann – on the news...
You need to know this. An Ohio gun group, The Buckeye Firearms Foundation, says, "We're buying Zimmerman a new gun." Yes - you heard me right! This group is asking for donations to "provide [Trayvon Martin shooter George] Zimmerman with the funds he needs to "replace his firearm, holster, and other gear." They are also pushing what sounds like a conspiracy theory - that Attorney General Eric Holder will use the Zimmerman trial to somehow target other gun owners. According to them, "This move to prevent Mr. Zimmerman from claiming his property is an unacceptable abuse of power. And the threats of federal charges on civil rights grounds is little more than blatant pandering for political gain. Moreover, based on statements he and others have made recently, Holder hopes to use this as the first step toward renewing this administration's attack on gun rights. . . . George Zimmerman has every right to get his property back. And if Eric Holder chooses to deny Mr. Zimmerman that right, Buckeye Firearms Foundation will remedy the matter by purchasing a NEW FIREARM for him, including a holster, flashlight, and any other gear he wants." It appears this group would like Zimmerman armed right away, just in case he needs to "stand his ground" again.
In screwed news... First they came for Detroit...The Motor City had it's third blow of late - this one crushing worker pensions and healthcare plans. First, the Michigan legislature passed a "right to work" law in December, then Governor Snyder imposed an "Emergency Manager" on Detroit, and now the city has announced it's filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy will void union contracts, cut pensions to 30,000 workers and retirees, and gut healthcare programs. Detroit was once one of the top ten cities in America with a population of 2 million people. Now Detroit exemplifies everything that has gone wrong with urban decay. It's population is down by 60%, and a third of Detroit has been abandoned. Detroit may be the first to fall apart, but it won't be the last. It's being reported that other cities are looking at Detroit as a template to manage ailing budgets. Rhode Island has a new law that in a bankruptcy, bondholders must be paid before pensioners. Free trade agreements have eliminated manufacturing by outsourcing jobs in search of cheap labor. America must stop sending our jobs away, and end free trade, or what's happening in Detroit will be the fate of America. Let your representative know how you feel or your city could be next.
In the best of the rest of the news...
On Saturday, the National Actio Network organized rallies for Trayvon Martin in over 100 cities. Crowds demanded a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting of the unarmed 17 year-old. At the Miami rally, Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin said, "Trayvon could have been anyone's child." A 6-year-old's sign said, "I am not a suspect." Meanwhile the Florida group, Dream Defenders, is protesting the Trayvon Martin verdict at Governor Rick Scott's office. They say that won't leave until the governor calls a special session of the legislature to deal with the "stand your ground" culture that allowed the killer of Trayvon Martin to go unpunished. They want to repeal Florida's Stand Your Ground and Shoot First law, end racial profiling, and end school-to-prison education policies.
Has Tea Party Senator Mike Lee conceded defeat on Obamacare? As the GOP prepares to hold another vote to undermine ObamaCare, Sen. Lee, appearing on Fox and Friends, admitted that Republicans will face political backlash if they continue trying to undo popular Obamacare elements that have already gone into effect. Lee said, "So we're not talking about those things [that have gone into effect], we're talking about those that haven't kicked in yet." So far, close to a million younger people are now insured on their parents' plans, millions have received rebates from insurers that are required to spend 85% of premiums on services, and retirees have benefited from closing the Medicare prescription drug donut hole and no-cost preventive health benefits. Now, Senator Lee appears to be saying that these benefits should stay, and that the GOP's only chance of undoing Obamacare is to go after the parts that haven't yet gone into effect. Heathcare exchanges are set to open for enrollment on October 1st and coverage will begin in January.
Speaking of the more popular effects of ObamaCare, it appears that Republican Governor Mike Pence was wrong when we predicted that Obamacare would raise Premiums in Indiana by 72%. A closer look at the data shows that the real numbers Hoosiers will be paying a lot less than what state officials were implying. The Washington Post's Sarah Kliff looked at the actual submitted rates, including insurers' projections for what their various plans will cost — Kliff's numbers are vastly different and do not support Governor Pence's claims. Kliff discovered that Anthem Blue Cross expects a "47-year-old male who does not smoke would be charged, on average, $307 per month" for its Bronze-level plan, and that he would qualify for federal subsidies on up to 70% of that premium. These plans will work better than current ones available in Indiana, since Obamacare requires ten "essential health benefits" — including some that most plans don't offer now - maternal care, prescription drug services, and mental health care.
And finally... New York City McDonald's workers walked out on Friday, protesting being forced to work without air conditioning amid record-high temperatures. One worker collapsed from the heat and was taken to the hospital. Some workers have complained that the air conditioner in the McDonald's kitchen has been broken for at least nine years. After the workers walked out - the owners brought in scab workers. The striking workers are demanding that the owners not retaliate against them by firing them, and instead, provide them a safe working environment.
And that's the way it is today – Monday, July 22, 2013. I'm Shane Farnan – in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.