Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Filibustered. Last night – Republicans proved they’d rather protect billionaires from a one-half of one percent tax increase rather than keep 400,000 teachers, firefighters, and cops on the job. Despite once again acquiring enough votes to pass a portion of President Obama’s American Jobs Act under normal procedure – the legislation fell short of receiving the 60 votes needed to overcome a unified Republican filibuster. A handful of “Conserva-Dems” – including Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman - also sided with Millionaires in the vote, but the Democrats still had a majority. After his bill was blocked – President Obama slammed Republicans, saying, “For the second time in two weeks, every single Republican in the United States Senate has chosen to obstruct a bill that would create jobs and get our economy going again…Every American deserves an explanation as to why Republicans refuse…to do what's necessary to create jobs.” The explanation is fairly clear though – they’re trying to crash the economy. Yesterday – it was discovered that a Tea Party Nation activist wrote to members begging them NOT to hire anybody until President Obama is out of office. And then there’s what Moody’s said about the Congressional Republicans own job creation plan – that it will “likely push the economy back into recession.” The writing is all over the wall – Republicans are playing politics with the economic well being of all of us – hoping that if we all lose our jobs, our homes, our pensions, our healthcare, our livelihoods – then they might win the White House in 2012. It’s a dangerous, and heartless political game.
Speaking of those millionaires the Republicans are hell-bent on protecting – they got richer last year thanks to generous tax cuts. However the rest of us saw our paychecks shrink. According to data from the Social Security Administration – the average paycheck for working Americans fell again – down over 1% to $26,364 a year. That’s the lowest level it’s been in 11 years. Not only that – there are far fewer jobs available for most Americans now – and the jobs that are available are low-paying jobs – like the ones Rick Perry created in Texas. Meanwhile – with taxes at historic lows for people making more than $380,000 – the number of millionaires in America grew by 20%. And – the number of people making more than $50 million bucks a year also grew. The rich are getting richer – the poor are getting poorer – and American is looking more and more like Mexico everyday. We HAVE to roll-back the Reagan tax cuts before it’s too late and we are permanently stuck in a Banana Republic.
In the best of the rest of the news…
The Chamber of Commerce is shelling out big bucks to make sure corporations don’t have to obey the law like the rest of us do. The Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform – it’s legal wing in charge of giving corporations from having to be accountable – has spent over 4 million bucks lobbying in just the last three months. That’s to make sure that oil barons who pollute rivers and poison entire cities – and banksters who prey on the middle class with fine print – and drug companies who sell medication with deadly side-effects – are protected – when we the victim filed suit. Welcome to our for the rich, by the rich legal system. If corporations want to be people – then they should be thrown in jail like people too.
The New York Civil Liberties Union is calling on the NYPD to stop its unlawful surveillance of Occupy Wall Street. With street cameras aimed at Zuccotti Park 24/7 and camera-wielding cops constantly recording everything that’s going on at the occupation – the NYCLU claims the police have gone “far beyond” what is considered lawful activity. As a statement from the NYCLU to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly reads: “This type of surveillance substantially chills protest activity and is unlawful.” I guess the old saying, “The revolution will not be televised,” no longer rings true.
As Republicans in Congress try to eliminate the EPA – the state of California is moving forward with its own strategy to clean up the air. Yesterday – California regulators approved a cap-and-trade system for the state – that caps the amount of greenhouse gas emissions factories are allowed to pump into the air – and creates market incentives for industries that work below that cap. It’s the same strategy that US Senate Republicans filibustered back in 2009. The new cap-and-trade plan will take effect in California in 2013. We’re reaching a threshold when it comes to addressing climate change – so let’s hope what California is doing is just the beginning of a worldwide effort to heal the planet.
It could be the end of the line for the Murdochs at NewsCorp. Still reeling from a phone-hacking scandal – big changes could be in store for the board of directors at Fox so-called News’s parent company. According to reports from Reuters – a growing number of shareholders are planning to vote James and Lachlan Murdoch – the sons of CEO Rupert Murdoch - off the Board at the company’s next general meeting. TwO outside consulting firms have recommended that shareholders oust 13 of the 15 CURRENT board members. It looks like Murdoch’s empire could be crumbling.
Crazy Alert! Chris Christie needs to chill out. Meet Edward Forchion – the man who has been mailing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie a gram of marijuana for more than a year now. Forchion says it’s “enough for a fattie.” According to aides of the Governor – Christie – unfortunately – has yet to receive the package. But despite being snubbed by the Governor who he claims needs to, “get high, loosen up a little bit, and relax,” Forchion is trying to get into politics himself – running as an Independent for the State Assembly in New Jersey’s 8th district. Forchion has already gained notoriety for being the state’s preeminent marijuana legalization activist – and for failing in a bid to have his name changed to “NJWeedMan.com.” He’s also on trial for driving with a pound of marijuana – and will be representing himself in the case. He claims his strategy to win is to pick a jury of “potheads” using his “pot-dar.” So when times get tough – and it feels like our lawmakers aren’t listening to us and common sense has been put on the shelf – just remember “NJWeedMan” is out there looking out for all of us.
And that’s the way it is today – Friday, October 21st, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.