Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. On Sunday, major world powers reached an agreement to scale back the Iranian nuclear program. In exchange, our nation and others will slightly lift some of the sanctions against Iran, but embargoes against Iranian banks and oil will remain in place. The interim deal was reached in Geneva, where the US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia crafted the diplomatic agreement. The deal calls for halting the installation of any additional centrifuges in Iran, and diluting that nation's stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium. Shortly after it was announced, President Obama addressed the nation, saying "Ultimately, only diplomacy can bring about a durable solution to the challenges posed by Iran's nuclear program." He added, "Today, we have a real opportunity to achieve a comprehensive, peaceful settlement, and I believe we must test it." However, almost immediately, members of both parties in Congress expressed skepticism about the deal. Republican Senator John Cornyn tweeted, "It's amazing what [the White House] will do to distract attention to Obamacare." Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said that a "fairer agreement would have coupled a reduction in sanctions with a proportionate reduction in Iranian nuclear capability." Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu weighed in on the deal, calling it a "historic mistake." However, it should be noted that many of the people criticizing this deal also said that diplomatic efforts in Syria would have no effect. However, those efforts have led to the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons machinery, and the ongoing destruction of their chemical weapons stockpile. Despite what some believe, bombs and drones are not the only way to resolve international conflict, and this deal with Iran could keep our service men and women out of another senseless war. Negotiation doesn't make world leaders weak, it proves once and again that diplomacy is one of the best ways to resolve international conflicts.
In screwed news... Two weeks before the 2010 Gulf oil disaster, BP was responsible for another toxic leak that lasted for forty days. Now, the oil giant is try to weasel out of liability for that event. According to a 2012 lawsuit filed by 48,000 Texas residents, a BP oil refinery in that state released more than 538,000 pounds of toxic chemicals into the air. And, the oil giant didn't tell residents who lived near that plant about the "toxic soup" of chemicals, including benzene and carbon monoxide, that they were exposed to. After finding out about the leak, and the health risks, the group of Texas residents sued BP, asking for $10 billion dollars in damages. Rather than pay for the harm that they caused, or even try to settle the lawsuits, BP is trying to expedite the claims, saying they're simply "clogging up the court." If BP cared about freeing up our court system, they certainly wouldn't be delaying claims related to the Gulf oil disaster, or asking courts to free them from a $9.2 billion dollar settlement in that case. The fact is, the oil giant shouldn't be excused from paying for any of the damages they cause. They have already privatized the gains, and we can't let them socialize the losses.
In the best of the rest of the news...
The state of Vermont has approved single payer healthcare. Under Obamacare, states were given the funds to expand Medicaid to low-income residents, but Vermont wanted to take it a step further. So, they pooled funding from Medicare, Medicaid, and a small tax increase to set up their own plan, which will have no premiums, copay's, hospital bills, or deductibles. And, it requires all hospitals and healthcare providers who operate in Vermont to be nonprofit. The program will be fully implemented by 2017, and it will provide an immediate economic boost to that state. Dr. William Hsaio, a Harvard health care economist who helped design the system, also said that it will save Vermont 25 percent of health care costs per resident. Because workers no longer have to worry about health care costs, their money is freed up to spend on other things, and employers won't have the financial burden of paying for employee health care. Best of all, residents of Vermont will no longer have to worry about getting medical care, regardless of their ability to pay.
According to RadCast.org, radiation levels around our nation are erratic today because the jet stream. Near the East coast, Robbinsvile, New Jersey is at 45 counts per minute, and spiking up to 71. Chicopee, Massachusetts is reporting 44 counts per minute, with spikes at 66. In the Midwest, Colorado Springs is hovering at 46, with spikes of 64 counts per minute. Frederic, Wisconsin is at 50, and spiking up to 68 counts per minute. In the Southeast, levels in Tuscon, Arizona are 60 counts per minute, with spikes up to 67, and Taos, New Mexico is reporting levels of 80 counts per minute. RadCast collects this important information daily, using consumer-grade Geiger counters throughout our nation, and they compile this data into one report to share with the public. They remind us that their alert level is 100 counts per minute, and they'll keep monitoring to keep us informed.
And finally... If you're tired of the typical Thanksgiving dinner spread, cookbook author Patricia Wells has a few suggestions. But, don't tell Fox so-called News. Rather than cooking another turkey, the author of the French Kitchen Cookbook suggests seared duck breast with fresh figs and black currant sauce. And, in place of that boring pumpkin pie, how about some spicy pumpkin soup with crab and cilantro. The French cuisine expert sat down with NPR's Rachel Martin to offer a few different ideas for your holiday, but don't let the Right-wing media find out. Fox so-called News is already worried about the war on Christmas, so they would be horrified to hear that another holiday is at risk. Soon, they'll be railing against the "war on Thanksgiving" - and warning that Turkey Day is under attack by the French.
And that's the way it is today – Monday, November 25, 2013. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news