Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. The right-wingers are gloating. After the Republican-written debt-limit deal passed the House of Representatives yesterday with half of the Democratic caucus giving in – Republicans are soaking in their victory. The deal still has one final hurdle in the Senate with a vote set for noon today – but in an interview with CBS News – Speaker of the House John Boehner bragged that he got 98% of what he wanted in the debt-limit deal. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox so-called News that since the hostage taking worked – they’d be trying it again soon. McConnell said about the debate, “It set the template for the future… we’ll be doing it all over [again].” So here we had a clean debt-limit hike offered by Republicans a few weeks back and shot down by the President – and then a debt-limit hike that included 15% revenue raisers shot down by the President – so one has to wonder if this REALLY was the best deal Democrats could have gotten? Not only that – Vice President Joe Biden admitted yesterday that the President was willing to use the 14th Amendment to raise the debt-limit himself if all else failed. If that’s true – then why did Democrats have to eat the “Satan sandwich” and pass this deal that will kneecap our crippled economy, thus giving Republicans a huge election issue heading into 2012?
FAA workers are screwed. With the debt-limit deal out of the way – it’s time for Congress to resolve the FAA funding impasse right? No. Instead of figuring out a way to restore full funding to the agency in charge of making sure our airplanes don’t fall out of the sky – and also figuring out a way to get 4,000 furloughed FAA employees and 100,000 mostly-unionized construction workers back to work – Republicans are going on vacation. That’s right – they’re taking 5 weeks off – meaning the FAA will be sputtering along through Labor Day while Republicans yuck it up in their home districts. With the FAA shutdown – airline safety inspectors are working extended hours without pay. Not only that – as Republicans scream about deficits – our government is losing out on $200 million a week in uncollected airline ticket taxes. Let’s hope it never happens – but if a plane goes down this month – call Speaker Boehner.
In the best of the rest of the news…
The billionaire Koch brothers are taking down democracy in Wisconsin. With recall elections just around the corner – the Koch-funded Astroturf group Americans for Prosperity is reaching into their bag of dirty tricks to keep Republicans in power at any cost. The group is sending absentee ballots with late return dates written on them to trick Democratic voters in two districts where Republicans are facing recall. The fliers urge Democrats to turn in their ballots by August 11th – even though the election is August 9th. But besides blatant – and possibly illegal – voter suppression – Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity is also spending the big bucks in slanted TV ads – purchasing $150,000 in television ad time in Milwaukee. Wisconsin Democrats have filed a complaint against American For Prosperity demanding they stop the voter suppression tactics. Of course – election fraud like this is the only way Republicans and their bad ideas can win elections in the first place.
All those billion dollar corporations that escaped without having to make any sacrifices in the debt-limit deal are now reporting massive profits. Caterpillar – Goodyear – and Apple reported all-time high revenues in the second quarter of 2011. They join 72% of the corporations on the S&P 500 that beat analysts’ profit forecasts. Meanwhile – unemployment is still above 9% and GDP growth was far below expectations. Our “for the rich, by the rich” economy is booming – while the economy for the rest of us sinks deeper and deeper into depression.
Nearly five months after the earthquake and tsunami – Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant is still spewing radiation. Yesterday – Tokyo Electric Power Company said it detected the highest radiation levels to date at the crippled nuclear facility – recording ten thousand milliSieverts an hour – the maximum level the devices can even measure. The measures were taken just outside ventilation stacks in reactors one and two. The nuclear catastrophe now entering its fifth month is still as deadly as ever – and should be taken as a warning to the rest of the nations – like us – that are still hooked on the most dangerous and expensive energy resource on the planet – nuclear energy.
Now can we say “The Undefeated” is defeated? The right-wing funded – and oddly named – movie about gubernatorial quitter and Vice President loser Sarah Palin is on the skids at the box office. In it’s third week in theatres – ticket sales plummeted – and the film brought in just $5,200 across the entire nation last week – about the price of gas for one of Palin’s celebrity bus tours. So let’s add the Undefeated to the list of right-wing box office flops this year – alongside Atlas Shrugged.
Crazy Alert! Friends like these. Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich whined yesterday that he should be the mainstream media’s front-runner and not Mitt Romney or Michele Bachmann. Why? Because he has the most followers on Twitter! Gingrich claimed he has six-times more followers than all the other candidates combined. In reality – Newt is right – he has 1.3 million followers – way more than anyone else. But how do you think he got them? He paid for them. That’s right – former Gingrich staffers have come forward saying that Newt shelled out big bucks to firms that create Twitter sock-puppet accounts just to follow people who want to boost their Twitter profile. 80% of Newt’s followers are dummy accounts – created only to follow Newt. Of course – considering just how bad Newt’s campaign is doing – it’s only a matter of time before even the dummy accounts get a mind of their own and drop their support for Newt.
And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.