Thom Hartmann here – on the news …
You need to know this. Just a few days after the Japanese Prime Minister declared the nuclear crisis at Fukushima is over – there’s shocking new evidence that the disaster may have led to the deaths of as many as 14,000 people … in the United States! According to a new peer-reviewed study published in the December edition of the International Journal of Health Services – researchers found that there were 14,000 excess deaths in America in the 14 weeks after the Fukushima meltdown – and they believe these deaths can be traced back to radioactive fallout. Most of the deaths were infants – under the age of one – and studies show that despite infant death DECREASING by more than 8% this year in the weeks leading UP to Fukushima – infant death in American INCREASED this year by nearly 2% in the weeks AFTER Fukushima. A similar phenomenon was studied at Chernobyl in 1986 – where more than 16,000 excess deaths were reported weeks after the meltdown. Numbers by the Center for Disease Control back up this study – finding that deaths in America’s biggest cities spiked 4.5 percent from last year in the weeks after Fukushima. Sadly – we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to how dangerous nuclear power is – yet we keep subsidizing reactors with our tax dollars. This is insanity.
Our kids are screwed. According to a new study by the National Center for Family Homelessness – there are currently 1.6 million children homeless in America. That’s 1 in 45 kids – or one per school classroom. That number has soared since 2007 – alongside skyrocketing CEO pay and historically low taxes on the rich. We might be the wealthiest nation on the planet – but the problem is that 40% of all our wealth belongs only to the richest 1% – creating a wealth inequality gap greater than what was seen even in Ancient Rome. The generation that grew up under Roosevelt’s era of the great middle class – will bequeath to the generation that grew up under Reaganomics – a nation that looks more like a Roman slave state. Time to roll back the Reagan tax cuts.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Late last night – House Republicans delayed a vote on the payroll tax-cut extension for 160 million middle-class Americans that’s set to expire at the end of the month. But today – Republicans will move forward – and vote to kill that tax cut for average people – just as the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party wants. According to the group Macroeconomic Advisers – if the payroll tax cut is not extended – then our economy could lose 400,000 jobs – and GDP would drop by a half-percent. The Republicans are full-tilt-boogie into their plan to crash the economy and blame it on Obama for the 2012 election. As a result – 160 million Americans are going to be hit with a $1,000 tax increase next year. I call it the “Tea Party Tax Increase.”
It’s raining cash on Wall Street. Seven of the biggest banks in America – including Bank of America, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs – are on pace to break an all-time record in CEO bonus pay. According to two new reports – bankster bonuses at the big banks will top $156 billion this year – breaking last year’s CEO bonus pay record. Of course – the only reason those banksters can give themselves such lavish bonuses is because we the taxpayers bailed them out three years ago – and then they refused to bail us out but are taking the money and buying yachts. Instead of getting record bonuses, they should be getting record jail time.
It was a big victory for consumers yesterday – as AT&T dropped its bid to buy T-Mobile and dominate the wireless market as one giant corporation. Despite spending millions and millions of dollars on advertising and lobbying to hoodwink customers and lawmakers – antitrust officials at the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission blocked AT&T's purchase – saying that it would hurt consumers and lead to less competition – because one company would own 80% of the national wireless market. Since Reagan – there’s been a mergers and acquisitions mania in America – with transnational corporations growing bigger and bigger – and only rarely being stopped by officials who are actually enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act. We need more enforcement of Antitrust laws – so that Main Streets across America can have character again – and not be dominated by the same old transnational giants that pollute, pay their workers less, and ship jobs overseas.
The controversial software firm Carrier IQ just lost a big customer. After news broke a few weeks ago that Carrier IQ developed software currently sitting on over 150 million smartphones that logs private user information and sends that information back to the company – Sprint has announced plans to disable that software on 26 million phones. The decision by Sprint comes on the heels of new pressure from the United States Senate – as Senators Al Franken and Chris Coons wrote a letter to Carrier IQ demanding more information on their product. Just in case you’re using a phone that has Carrier IQ software – like the Evo – the Vivid – or the Touch Pro 2 – you might want to think twice about what you text.
Crazy Alert! The day TV jumped the shark?! When it comes to reality TV – the Dutch have just won the race to the bottom. In the new reality show from the Netherlands known as “Guinea Pigs” – the two co-hosts agreed to dabble in cannibalism. That’s right – what better way to get to know each other – than to eat each other. The two hosts had tiny pieces of flesh surgically removed – one man had it taken from belly – the other from his backside. The flesh was then sautéed – exchanged – and served up to be eaten. As one of the co-hosts said while chowing down: “Nothing is really that special when you’re talking about the taste of meat…but it is weird to look into the eyes of a friend when you are chewing on his belly.” I can’t imagine. Let’s hope that glint in Donald Trump's eyes when he looks at Rick Perry's scalp doesn't go any further.
And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, December 20, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.