Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Meet the new plan – same as the old plan. The manufactured crisis continues. After the Congressional Budget Office - a world-class independent credit rating agency – and even members of his own Party, dissed Speaker John Boehner’s first debt-limit plan earlier in the week – Boehner revealed his new plan last night…and it’s pretty much exactly the same. The new plan cuts $915 billion from programs for working Americans – about $65 billion more than the first one – and it’s still only a short-term deal that doesn’t balance the budget and forces Congress to hit the debt ceiling again next year – in the middle of an election. The House will likely vote on this new so-called plan today – assuming Boehner can get enough Republicans to support it. That's a task that’s proven difficult over the last few weeks as because a Tea Party insurgency has split Congressional Republicans into two camps – one that wants to prevent a default – and one that actually wants to force a default. But what both camps have in common is they want this phony debt-limit debate to pop up again during the 2012 election – and hang it around President Obama’s neck – no matter the risk to the economy. Once upon a time – if a political party tried this same tactic – crashing the economy and hurting millions of Americans just to score political points – it’d be called treason. But today – it’s called the Republican Party platform.
There was a terrorist attack in America this week. A Molotov cocktail was thrown into a Dallas area Planned Parenthood clinic late Tuesday night. Luckily – staff and patients weren’t inside at the time – and no one was injured. This is yet another case of the domestic terrorism that occurs on a disturbingly regular basis here in America, but is ignored by the mainstream media and our lawmakers – simply because it has nothing to do with Muslims. You can only imagine the frenzy if a Molotov cocktail was tossed into a church – Fox so-called News would go bonkers and we’d probably be installing Chertoff porno scanners in churches across the country. But since this is just anti-women's-health terrorism – sweep it under the rug. And don’t expect the Department of Homeland Security to follow up on the issue. Why? Because they only have one guy in the ENTIRE department of DHS in charge of domestic terrorism – just one guy! After right-wingers blasted a 2009 DHS report that warned of the threat of domestic terror – DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano caved – and downsized the entire domestic terrorism unit until there was just one guy left. So after the dangers of domestic terror were on full display in Norway last week – when a guy primarily motivated by right-wing Islamophobes HERE IN AMERICA went on a killing spree – what is the United States doing to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen here? One guy. Better hope he's not big on taking vacations.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Want to reboot the economy? Build some new roads! The American Society of Civil Engineers released a new report yesterday showing our economy will lose $3 trillion over the next decade thanks to the poor condition of our national infrastructure. As the report says, “If the nation’s infrastructure were free of deficient conditions in pavement, bridges, transit vehicles, and track and transit facilities, Americans would earn more personal income and industry would be more productive.” That means more revenue into the government – which means lower deficits. So not only would we be stimulating the economy with a new national infrastructure project – but we’d also be addressing our debt. And this isn’t a new idea – it’s exactly what Democratic and Republican presidents did after World War 2 when our national debt was even higher – Eisenhower built the interstate highway system and expanded what is now Amtrak. It’s a no-brainer solution – unfortunately Eisenhower Republicans don’t exist anymore.
Hear the giant sucking sound? General Electric announced yesterday it is moving its x-ray business headquarters OUT of the US and INTO China. Since three years ago when China instituted a national single-payer healthcare system that covers all billion-plus Chinese citizens, that nation is now home to a rapidly expanding healthcare market – and GE wants to get in the game. I guess in the United States where basic healthcare is becoming less and less available – the x-ray business isn’t very profitable anymore. Unclear how many jobs will be lost as GE ditches its previous x-ray headquarters in Waukesha, Wisconsin for the new Chinese digs. Meanwhile – GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt serves as the head of President Obama’s job creation council. Brilliant, eh?
Republican’s turned their meat cleavers on the nation’s foreign relation’s budget this week. House Republicans injected ideology into yet another funding bill – cutting $5 billion in foreign assistance out of fear that it may go toward birth control in other countries. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton railed against the Republican’s funding bill saying, “The bill would be debilitating to my efforts to carry out a considered foreign policy and diplomacy, and to use foreign assistance strategically to that end." In other words – Republicans are trying to sabotage the President’s foreign policy agenda too. Clinton is urging the White House veto the bill.
An official inquiry into the Rupert Murdoch Newscorp phone hacking scandal begins in Britain today. The 7-person panel to investigate the matter was created by British Prime Minister David Cameron a few weeks ago when the scandal blew up – tainting the British media and government. Over the next year – the panel will hear from a number of different witnesses and probe several pieces of evidence to determine just how widespread phone hacking was – and who was involved in it. So as much as Rupert Murdoch and the talking heads at Fox News and the propagandists at the Wall Street Journal would love to see this scandal put to bed – it looks like we’ll have a full year of drip, drip, drip that could further harm the reputation of the world’s most dangerous media mogul. It’s time for an inquiry here in the United States too.
And that’s the way it is today – Thursday, July 28th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartman – on the news.