In today's On the News segment: House Republicans to vote today on their plan to raise the debt limit, robo-signers return, Rupert Murdoch appeared before the UK Parliament today, President Obama nixes the idea of Elizabeth Warren heading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and more. Scroll down to watch the newscast.
You need to know this. If you thought the Paul Ryan plan to privatize Medicare was bad – wait until you see what Republicans have up their sleeve today. Republicans in the House today will vote on THEIR plan to raise the debt-limit – which includes a balanced budget amendment that makes sure the government can’t close loopholes on rich people in the future – and can’t spend any money beyond a certain threshold – even if emergency spending is needed to fight off a recession or some other crisis. The balanced budget amendment will require a 25% spending cut in every single government program – from Social Security – to Medicare – to Veteran’s benefits – and will return government spending to it’s lowest levels since 1966 – when the United States population stood at 100 million people fewer than it is today. No President has ever supported a spending cut and structural changes this massive – yet Republicans feel that with our nation in a Great Depression and real unemployment above 16% - that now is the perfect time to blockade government spending – just like Herbert Hoover did. What we’re seeing unfold in the House today is the final step in Ronald Reagan’s "starve the beast" economics – and if Republicans are successful – we’re all screwed.
Return of the robo-signers. Eight months after banks promised to stop using fake signatures on foreclosure documents to kick as many Americans out of their home as possible – they’re right back at it again. So far this year – at least 3 states have discovered fraudulent foreclosure documents. For example in Massachusetts – over 1,300 documents have been obtained that were signed by the same person named, “Linda Green” – but they were all signed in different handwriting styles and under new titles. The banks acted so irresponsibly during the housing boom that they can’t even track down peoples’ real mortgages today. That’s why they have to create fake ones – with fake signatures – now that the housing market has gone bust - just to cover their own butts. And each fake signature means another American family is getting kicked out of their homes and put out on to the streets. Wall Street’s crime of the century continues.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Rupert Murdoch appeared before the UK Parliament today to get a tongue lashing from lawmakers. Both he and his son – as well as recently arrested News International executive Rebekah Brooks – were questioned about their roles in and what they knew about the phone hacking scandal that’s gripped British media over the last few weeks. And now it’s looking more and more likely that Rupert Murdoch himself will bite the bullet. According to a CNBC report – facing a wave of new investigations here in the United States – Rupert Murdoch is considering stepping down as CEO of his media empire NewsCorp. Even if Murdoch leaves though – don’t expect things to change much at Fox so-called News. The network has become so entrenched with the Republican Party and corporate interests that it really is GOP TV, as envisioned by Roger Ailes when he worked for Nixon in 1971 – and with or without Murdoch at the helm – it’s agenda will remain the same. So meet the new boss – same as the old boss.
So much for meeting Republicans half-way. One day after President Obama gave in to Republicans and nixed the idea of Elizabeth Warren heading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – and instead nominated Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray for the top job – Republicans in the Senate are still promising to block confirmation. Forty-four Senate Republicans have vowed to filibuster the confirmation of Cordray until major changes are made to the new watchdog agency in charge of making sure working people aren’t screwed over by banksters again. By major changes – Republicans want to completely dismantle the new agency and let the banksters run wild again – let the foxes guard the hen house. It’s yet another anti-middle class stance taken by the Republican Party – wholly owned by millionaires and billionaires.
President Obama has been warned. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee – or PCCC – delivered a petition with the signatures of 200,000 donors to President Obama’ re-election headquarters last week – warning the President that if he gives in to Republicans and cuts entitlement programs – then he can kiss their money and help goodbye. In 2008 – the PCCC raised $17 million for President Obama’s campaign – but that same sort of help might not be around in 2012. As a PCCC spokesman said, “It's not a question of who they're going to support for president, they're going to vote for Barack Obama…It’s a question of where their time and money is going to go." Next year – the President will face a mountain of corporate cash standing between him and the White House – and he will need all the help he can get to climb it. Let’s hope the President doesn’t forget the people who put him in office 3 years ago.
Let the recall season begin in Wisconsin. Today – voters will weigh in on the first of a series of recall general elections that will see 6 Republicans and 3 Democrats fighting to keep their seats. In today’s contest – Democrat Dave Hansen is up for recall in Green Bay – though he shouldn’t be too worried. A Public Policy Polling survey shows him with a 28-point lead over Republican challenger Dave VanderLeest – a guy who’s charged with bankruptcy and domestic abuse allegations. In Wisconsin’s history – only two lawmakers have ever been recalled – and it’s highly unlikely we’ll see a recall today. But when the Republicans face voters in their recall contests over the next few months in Wisconsin – then we’re likely to see some history made – and a new Democratically-controlled State Senate installed to put the brakes on radical Governor Scott Walker’s anti-middle-class agenda.
Crazy Alert! Mickey Mouse has a chance. Residents of the town of Tar Heel, North Carolina are hitting the polls today to elect a new mayor and three city commissioners. The only problem is – the ballots are blank. That’s because no one bothered to register to have his or her names put on the ballot. So voters will simply be writing in the names of their preferred candidate in blank spaces. Considering that Tar Heel, North Carolina only has a population of 117 people – it won’t take much for someone to win. And given voters propensity for writing in absurd choices for elected office – Mickey Mouse could be the front-runner. But beware of the dark horse candidate – Alfred E. Newman.
And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, July 19th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.