Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Snow can’t put a stop to Occupy Wall Street – but more police raids can… at least temporarily. Police arrested dozens of demonstrators over the weekend – busting up occupations in Austin, Nashville, San Diego, and Portland. In Denver, where 78 people were arrested, video shows police heavily armed – and pointing guns at the demonstrators. But in New York – and other cities where officials have allowed the occupations to continue – demonstrators held steadfast despite plunging temperatures and snow. In New York – around one hundred demonstrators braved the elements after police officers confiscated their generators on Friday morning before the snowstorm swept through the city. And in Oakland – where police violence gave a two-time Iraq war veteran brain damage last week – demonstrators are planning something big for this week. A citywide strike is scheduled for Wednesday, November 2nd – when demonstrators plan to march to the Port of Oakland – the nation’s fifth busiest port – and shut it down. Occupy Oakland is encouraging other occupations around the country to promote similar actions in their respective cities. Even though our economy seems to only benefit the 1% - it depends on the 99% of us to run – and a nationwide strike could make that point glaringly obvious.
Even though the NYPD has decided not to raid Zuccotti Park – ground zero of the Occupy Wall Street movement – it is trying its best to frustrate the occupation. According to a report from the New York Daily News – police officers are encouraging the homeless and the drunk to take their business to Zuccotti Park. And this flood of shadier figures is starting to have an effect on the movement. With more and more freeloaders and dangerous elements floating around the occupation – tensions are growing in what has been a peaceful demonstration for nearly a month and a half. And in Occupy Denver – there was a report of a similar provocation – this one possibly coming from Fox so-called News. According to Occupy Denver’s website – two demonstrators were assaulted during a Fox News interview – by assailants who were later seen walking off with Fox News reporters. As one member of the Denver occupation put it, “We believe this was an intentional act to paint us as violent.” Increasingly it looks like the Occupy movement has the attention of the 1% - and they’ll resort to any tactics to take it down. Expect more and more provocations as the movement grows.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Herman Cain has some explaining to do. According to an explosive new report from Politico – two women have come forward alleging that Republican Presidential front-runner Herman Cain sexually harassed them back in the 90’s while he was running the National Restaurant Association. The women were allegedly paid off to keep the harassment quiet. The Cain campaign is dismissing the allegations – calling them, “a typical attack on a Conservative who is doing well in the polls.” We’ll wait and see if these allegations gain traction and endanger Cain’s run for the White House. Then again – with no real ground game, and no money, no one really thinks Cain is running for President anyway – he’s just running to get more name recognition, higher speaking fees, and to promote his books.
We can add the richest man in the world – Bill Gates – to the growing list of millionaires and billionaires who support paying higher taxes themselves. In an interview over the weekend with ABC – Gates said that he is “generally in favor with the idea that the rich should pay somewhat more” in taxes. Last week – a poll by the Spectrum Group showed that 68% of millionaires agreed with Gates that the super rich should pay more in taxes. However – a growing number of Republicans in Congress – and on the campaign trail are calling for just the opposite – they want more tax cuts for the rich paid for by tax hikes for the working class. Whether it’s Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan that would result in the largest tax increase on the working poor in this nation’s history – or proposals put forward by Republicans in Congress to “broaden” the tax base and make those in poverty pay income taxes in addition to their payroll, state, and sales taxes – Republicans seem to have no clue why it is that thousands and thousands of people are in the streets and willing to get arrested to protest income inequality in America. The voters will have a simple choice in next year’s election – vote for Democratic Robin Hoods – or Republican Sheriffs of Nottingham.
The best courts that money can buy. According to a new report released by several voting rights groups – corporate special interests organizations are spending huge amounts of money to influence state supreme court elections. Just three pro-business groups – the Ohio Chamber of Commerce – the Business Council of Alabama – and the Illinois Civil Justice League – have spent 13 times more money on judicial elections than the ENTIRE national labor movement. We’re also seeing the effects of this corporate buyout of the courts – as more and more decisions are handed down to give corporations more rights to pollute, to mettle in politics, and even engage in genocide abroad with immunity from civil suits. So much for an impartial judiciary – we now have a corporate judiciary.
Ohio is about to get more nuclear power plants. Apparently, Speaker of the House John Boehner hasn’t learned anything from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan earlier this year. He also hasn’t learned anything from his own Party’s outrage over the manufactured “Solyndra scandal,” of which Boehner said, “For the federal government to be out there picking one company over another, one type of energy source over another, I think is wrong.” Boehner is now picking one company over another, and one energy source over another – by pushing for a $2 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy for a new nuclear plant in Ohio. The company seeking the loan is USEC incorporated – which has given $10,000 in campaign contributions to Boehner since last year. So if the price is right – Speaker Boehner is more than happy to put aside political talking points – and bring the threat of nuclear meltdown to his own backyard. Maybe that’s why he always appears to be “glowing.”
And that’s the way it is today – Monday, October 31st, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.