In today's On the News segment: New bill would require deporting domestic violence victims if they are also undocumented immigrants, the government wants to know if Anonymous could hack the next election, nearly three-quarters of Americans want to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…Will 35 million write-in votes suddenly appear on Diebold machines for Lady GaGa, the next President of the United States?
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You need to know this. Nearly three quarters of the American people want to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires. According to a new poll by Public Policy Polling – 73% of American support President Obama’s “Buffet Rule” – that makes millionaires and billionaires pay the same tax rate as average hardworking Americans instead of the much lower rate so many of them currently pay. The Buffet Rule is a centerpiece of President Obama’s deficit reduction plan that received high praises this week from Moody’s credit rating service– which said the plan would be positive for the nation’s credit rating. That assessment stands in stark contrast to the Republican deficit reduction compromise bill in which John Boehner bragged he got 98% of what he wanted in it – that included no tax hikes on the rich – and was immediately followed by a credit downgrade last month. It’s about time we start listening to the American people, who overwhelmingly want the rich to pay their fair share – rather than a handful of bought-off Tea Party Congressman who want to turn America into a rule-by-the-rich banana republic.
The Listeria-contaminated food outbreak in a number of states is the deadliest in decades in America. According to the CDC – cantaloupes tainted with listeria have sickened 72 people and killed 13 others in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas. And more deaths are being investigated in New Mexico and Wyoming. Earlier this year – Republicans voted to cut funding for food safety programs arguing that the private sector will police itself. You may want to call your Republican member of Congress for clarification, but apparently Republicans expect us all to stop eating cantaloupe until the “free market” sorts this one out.
In the best of the rest of the news…
As Hactivists out a cop in New York for brutally macing peaceful protestors on Wall Street, many people are wondering if they could also hack our next election? And now the government wants to know if it's possible. A team of computer science and security experts working within the Department of Energy say they’ve hacked into a Diebold electronic voting machine and were able to change voting results without leaving a trace behind. And they were able to do it using only $26 of equipment and what they claim is just an 8th grade understanding of science. The Vulnerable Assessment Team – as they are called – that performed the hack said, “this is a national security issue.” And according to investigative reporter Brad Friedman – this is, “one of the most disturbing e-voting machine hacks to date.” Nearly every other country in the world has ditched electronic voting – arguing that it’s not secure. Yet here in the United States – for some reason we keep it in place. In fact – in next year’s election – about 30% of voters will use these very same Diebold e-voting machines. So it’s no longer about who gets the most votes in our democracy – but which side can hack the vote. I can see it now – 35 million write-in votes suddenly appear on Diebold machines for Lady GaGa, the next President of the United States!
The so-called “job creators” are hard at work killing jobs. Thousands of lay-offs are planned on Wall Street – just as Republicans argue we can’t raise their taxes or else they’ll stop creating jobs. Goldman Sachs announced it plans to cut $1.2 billion in costs by laying off 1,000 American workers. But at the same time – the banksters can still find more than enough money to give themselves outrageous bonuses. According to the New York Times – the nation’s biggest banks from Goldman to JP Morgan to Citigroup have already set aside more than $65 billion to pay out lavish bonuses at the end of the year. That’s an 8% increase over last year, which was the highest in hisory. So I guess when so-called “job creators” have a choice between creating jobs and paying themselves massive, almost tax-free, bonuses – they go with the bonuses. It’s about time for Frank Luntz to go back to the drawing board for a new buzzword so Republicans can protect their rich corporate donors – because “job creators” just ain’t cuttin' it.
The next target for Republicans? Undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic abuse. Republican Congressman Lamar Smith is pushing legislation through Congress that would force immigration authorities to immediately deport undocumented women who go to the police for help in domestic abuse cases. The legislation known as the HALT Act – already has three Republican cosponsors signed on to it – despite the fact that this legislation will lead to more domestic violence because women will now be afraid to report their abusive husbands to authorities for fear they, themselves will be arrested. There are roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants living in America – and if Republicans had their way – they’d all be deported – ripped away from their families. But for now – Republicans are satisfied with just denying abused women access to police protection, and denying their children healthcare and education. Yet even more proof that so-called compassionate conservatism – if it ever did exist – is dead now.
Postal workers across the nation gathered to save the United States Postal Service on Tuesday with over 492 different rallies taking place. Postal workers are urging lawmakers to reconsider plans to lay off 120,000 employees – and break union contracts as Republican have proposed. The USPS is on the verge of bankruptcy after George W. Bush and a Republican Congress forced it to swallow poison pill legislation back in 2006 that requires the Post Office to pre-fund an employee health benefits program to the tune of $5 billion a year for future employees who aren’t even born yet – an obligation that no other business or government agency has ever had to do – all because the Post Office is the nation's largest unionized employer. The Republican war on labor takes many different forms – and it’s crucial we protect this staple institution of America – the United States Postal Service, created by Benjamin Franklin, written into the Constitution itself.
And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, September 28th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.