Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. It’s official – despite only being in control of the House of Representatives for less than a year – Republicans have already killed hundreds of thousands of jobs. According to a new report out of the Center for American Progress – the heavy-handed budget cuts that Republicans have passed – usually by way of a hostage scenario – have cost AT LEAST 370,000 jobs in America. In particular – Republicans cutting finding for local law enforcement – cutting funding for environmental cleanup – and cutting funding for renovations and repairs to government buildings – have had the most drastic effect. In addition – mostly-Republican governors around the nation have laid off more than half a million government workers with their budget cuts too – which is the primary reason unemployment is still above 9%. Calling out Republicans for wanting to crash our economy – is no longer a political talking point – it’s a scientific truth.
Millionaires get whatever they want in America…except when it comes to raising taxes. A new survey by the Spectrum group – finds that 68% of millionaires in the nation support jacking up taxes on millionaires. That’s right – millionaires want their own taxes to go up. But Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry must not have seen that survey. A new analysis of his flat-tax plan proves that billionaires like the Koch Brothers would get a mind-boggling tax CUT under the plan. And since Perry eliminates the capital gains income tax – Warren Buffet – and other billionaires who make their money off dividends like Paris Hilton – would pay as little less than one percent in taxes if Perry were elected. This may be the first and only time I say this but…let’s listen to what the millionaires want - raise their taxes – and make it happen.
In the best of the rest of the news…
The U.S. economy appears to be recovering. Not only did the economy grow at a 2.5% rate during the last quarter – but also GDP in America has finally reached the level seen before Bush’s Great Depression. But ask the average out-of-work American, or the average family that can’t afford soaring healthcare premiums – or to fill their car up with gas – and it sure doesn’t look like the economy is recovering. The truth about this so-called economic growth is that it’s being fueled by debt. The typical hourly wage for the average worker has gone up only $1.23 in the last 36 years – while the price of everything else – from healthcare to college to energy – has skyrocketed. So you do the math – how are Americans keeping up – and spending money in our new economy? By using their credit cards or spending what little they have left of their savings. So while it may seem like the nation is in recovery – it’s a recovery rooted in wiping out the last of the Middle Class – and that is not sustainable.
Occupy Oakland demonstrator – and two-time Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen – is now awake and in fair condition in an area hospital after being critically wounded when a tear gas canister was fired into his skull by Oakland police. In support of Olsen – Occupy Oakland has scheduled a general strike for next Wednesday in an attempt to shut down the city. As one demonstrator with the movement said, “The only thing they seem to care about is money and they don’t understand that it’s our money they need. We don’t need them, they need us.” It's unclear if other occupations plan to strike in their respective cities as well on Wednesday. On the other side of the country – Occupy Atlanta may have figured out a way to avoid the constant police crackdowns. Last night – demonstrators set up camp at the Martin Luther King, Jr. historic site – a piece of federally-owned land and thus out of the jurisdiction of Atlanta police. Considering that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. devoted his life to both racial AND economic equality – it seems like an appropriate setting to house the 99% movement.
There’s a legal showdown looming over medicinal marijuana. After the Department of Justice pledged to shut down all of California’s medicinal marijuana dispensaries earlier this month – Americans for Safe Access – the largest marijuana advocacy group on the nation – filed suit in a federal court yesterday to block the raids. Saying that closing down medicinal marijuana shops that are legal under state law violates the Tenth Amendment – Americans for Safe Access’s lead lawyer said, “This case is aimed at restoring California’s sovereign and constitutional right to establish its own public health laws based on this country’s federalist principles.” So now the fate of medicinal marijuana in American – and whether or not states can make their own decisions to legalize it – will be decided in the courts. Let’s hope judges consider the will of the people – as a recent Gallup poll shows that for the first time in the history of this nation – 50% of Americans support legalization of marijuana.
PETA is jumping into the debate over “personhood” in America. Since the Supreme Court has given personhood to corporations – and Republicans have tried to give personhood to developing zygotes – PETA figures whales at Sea World deserve personhood too. The animal rights organization is suing Sea World – alleging that the theme park is violating the 13th Amendment’s prohibition of slavery by keeping Shamu. And oddly – since the 13thAmendment makes no mention of a “person” – simply saying that slavery should not exist in the United States – PETA may have a point. Of course – if it is ruled that Shamu is indeed a person – then he’ll be able to spend as much money as he wants in next year’s election. Let’s hope he’s a Progressive.
Crazy Alert! Do not pass go – do not collect $200. A New Mexico woman – Laura Chavez – is in jail today after stabbing her boyfriend during a dispute over a game of Monopoly. According to Chavez’s ten-year-old grandson – who went to sleep before the stabbing – Chavez and her boyfriend had gotten in a fight during the Monopoly game because she accused her boyfriend of cheating. Either that – or she pulled the little known “Chance” card that says “stab your opponent.” He is now in stable condition with injuries to his head and hands. As for Chavez, her bail is set at $5,000. Apparently, unlike Wall Street banksters, she didn't draw the "Get Out Of Jail Free" card.
And that’s the way it is today – Friday, October 28th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.