In today's On the News segment: House Speaker John Boehner is standing in the way of immigration reform; four thousand organizations are fighting back against internet surveillance; West Virginia is finally sticking up for pregnant women; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. If you want to know who controls the corporate media, just pay close attention to the issues that they refuse to talk about. A new study by Media Matters shows that over the last six months, there has been almost no coverage of the Trans Pacific Partnership on the major networks. Last week, hundreds of organizations – which represent tens of millions of members - signed a letter to Congress calling on them to stop the TPP. Yet, that letter was ignored by the corporate news media. Before that, at least 50 groups took part in a massive campaign called StopFastTrack.com, but we didn't hear a word about it on the major networks. The same goes for the fight to restore Net Neutrality, and nation-wide vigils against the Keystone XL pipeline. Millions of people are already involved in these growing campaigns, but the so-called mainstream media continues to ignore any movement that could stand in the way of corporate profits. These networks aren't mainstream, they blatantly refuse to talk about the issues that millions of Americans want covered. Just like we saw with anti-Iraq War protests... this is what happens when the companies that own our news media also profit off of building bombs. They have a personal interest in downplaying the size of the opposition. We can't depend on corporations that want to profit off a pay-for-play internet to provide honest coverage about Net Neutrality. And, we won't hear about the TPP on networks owned by mufti-national corporations. Millions of people are getting involved and getting active about these issues, and they're going to keep fighting, even if they're ignored by the corporate media.
In screwed news... House Speaker John Boehner is standing in the way of immigration reform. In a press conference on Thursday, the conservative lawmaker said he will not move an immigration bill forward until House Republicans are able to trust our president. In other words, the Republicans have no intention of ever fixing our broken immigration system, but they can't come up with a single valid reason to oppose comprehensive reform. Speaker Boehner said, Obama's “feeding more distrust about whether he's committed to the rule of law,” but the fact is, Republicans have never put their trust in our President. From the very day he was inaugurated, Party leaders have been plotting to destroy Obama's presidency, and they are the ones who have destroyed the American people's trust. They're only blocking immigration to prevent President Obama from claiming a victory, and it's time that they put aside their politics and do something to help the millions of undocumented people living in our nation.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Four thousand organizations are fighting back against internet surveillance. Groups like the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and thousands of others have organized “The Day We Fight Back.” On February 11th, these groups will participate in a day of action against NSA surveillance programs, with calls to Congress, social media campaigns, and other forms of viral, online activity. David Segal, the executive director of Demand Progress, said, “We will not stand idly by while the freedom of the Internet is threatened by abusive government surveillance. We will unite as a community, and we will defend this vital resource. And we are strong.” Just like the million-plus people who have taken a stand against the recent Net Neutrality ruling, these groups represent tens of millions of people who oppose government surveillance without a warrant. These programs and rulings are violating our civil rights, but they're also waking the sleeping giant of progressive activists.
According to RadCast.org, there are high spikes of radiation in areas getting hit with snow today, but levels in other regions are closer to normal. Robbinsville, New Jersey is reporting 42 counts per minute, with spikes of 132, and Durham, North Carolina is averaging 31, with highs of 58 counts per minute. Layton, Utah is sitting at 46 counts per minute, with spikes of 94, and Colorado Springs is hovering at 63, with highs up to 104 counts per minute. Hanford, Washington is averaging 27 counts per minute, with spikes of 48, and Paso Robles, California is reporting 42, with highs of 101 counts per minute. RadCast.org's alert level is 100 counts per minute, however they remind us that there is no such thing as a safe level of radiation.
West Virginia is finally sticking up for pregnant women. Although it's surprising that such a law isn't already in place, lawmakers in that state just proposed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. That legislation would require employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant employees – but – only if it doesn't cause “undue hardship” for the employer. Although there are some existing federal protections for pregnant workers, many still suffer from lost wages or health problems when employers refuse to accommodate them. This new law would make a big difference for pregnant women in the state of West Virginia, and the measure is expected to pass in that state's legislature. These common-sense protections are long-overdue in West Virginia, but thankfully pregnant women in that state will finally get treated more fairly.
And finally... Last week there was a flood of news stories about a mother of three who died from marijuana poisoning... and, as you may have suspected, medical science says that story is highly doubtful. Dr. Allen Shackelford, who studied at Harvard, said, “There's no known dose of cannabis that could kill a human.” Dr. Yasmin Hurd of Mount Sinai said, “From half a joint? That's ridiculous.” According to the DEA, someone would have to consume 20 to 40 thousand times the amount of THC found in a joint to have any risk of dying. As Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project explained, “For an adult to die solely from marijuana itself, it would take hundred of points of it being dropped on their head from a tall building.” Until we hear that report, it's probably safe to consider the other stories bogus.
And that’s the way it is today – Friday, February 7, 2014. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.