On the News With Thom Hartmann: Bank of America Slapped With a Subpoena, and More

In today's On the News segment: Young people hit hardest by worldwide economic crash; Senate vote scheduled for Friday on just one part of the Jobs Act that gives $35 billion in aid to states to hire teachers, firefighters and cops; Occupy Wall Street is finally getting the media's attention; Bank of America slapped with a subpoena this week; and more.


Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. We’re in the midst of a global lost generation. Young people have been hit hardest by Bush's banksters’ worldwide crash – with more than 75 million young people across the planet desperately looking for jobs. The number of unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 24 has increased by 4.6 million since the recession began in 2008. And the effects of this massive hit of joblessness among young people are on clear display in some of the most developed economies in the world in Europe and the United States. For example, in July of this year – what is normally the peak of youth summer employment – only 49% of young people were employed – the lowest rate ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These young people are the future leaders of our nation – and as we’re seeing with the riots in Greece and the U.K. – and the Occupy Wall Street movement growing here at home – young people are tired of seeing their future ruined by a continuation of 30 years of Reaganomics. After all – what choice do they have? Live on the streets – or take to the streets. A great transformation is underway around the planet.

To filibuster or not to filibuster – that’s the question Republicans will face tomorrow when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brings legislation to the Senate floor to create 400,000 jobs. One week after Republicans filibustered President Obama’s entire American Jobs Act – Reid scheduled a vote for Friday on just one part of the Jobs Act that gives $35 billion in aid to states to hire teachers, firefighters, and cops. The bill is completely paid for by a half-percent surtax on individuals who earn more than a million bucks a year. Again – that’s just a half-percent surtax on millionaires to create or save nearly a half million new jobs around the country. Poll after poll shows that two-thirds of Americans support raising taxes on millionaires – and a recent CNN poll found 75% of Americans support this particular part of the American Jobs Act. So – if Republicans decide to filibuster it tomorrow – then we’ll all see proof Republicans don't care at all what Americans want, they just want to crash the economy next year to hurt Obama's re-election chances.

In the best of the rest of the news…

Reuters is confirming that ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is dead. The National Transitional Council, which is now in control of Libya, as well as the Libya Information Minister, have also confirmed the death of Gadhafi who was reportedly wounded during a battle in his hometown of Sirte – the last remaining stronghold of pro-Gadhafi forces. Reports are that – like Saddam Hussein – Gadhafi was found hiding in a hole in the ground. The next chapter for Libya now officially begins.

After more than a month of demonstrations – Occupy Wall Street is finally getting the media’s attention – and changing the narrative around the country. According to a survey of 52 different major media outlets by the Pew Research Center – Occupy Wall Street is now the focus of 10% of the media’s coverage. That’s up from 7% the week before – and 2% the week before that. Not only that – as a new ThinkProgress report uncovered – the media has dropped it’s obsession with the so-called debt crisis – and is now focusing on the actual jobs crisis. A survey of Fox, CNN, and MSNBC in July found that there were far more mentions of the national debt than the unemployment crisis. But in October – those numbers have reversed. Changing the narrative is the first step to changing the system – and Occupy Wall Street has succeeded in that first step.

For the third straight day – there’s chaos in the streets of Greece. After violent clashes with the police yesterday – and a labor strike across the nation – tens of thousands of protestors returned to the streets today to rally against a new austerity package expected to pass parliament later in the evening. The protestors gathered in front of Parliament where lawmakers will vote on a bill that cuts public sector employee pay by 20% and raises taxes on average Greeks. The austerity move is required in order to receive further bailout funds from the European Union – which will meet Sunday to come up with a new plan to avoid a Greek default and subsequent global financial panic. In Greece – the world is seeing what a tough austerity agenda does to a nation when the government is on the verge of toppling – there’s open rebellion in the streets – and the economy collapses even faster. So why does the Republican Party want to do the same thing here??

Out of the frying pan and into the fire for Bank of America. Already dealing with huge financial losses – Bank of America was slapped with a subpoena this week by the California Attorney General as part of an investigation into whether or not the bank sold high-risk mortgage-backed securities to state investors – screwing tons of Californians out of their pensions. The subpoena comes on the heels of California Attorney General Kamala Harris stepping away from the negotiating table with other state Attorneys General who are trying to forge a generous one-time settlement for all the banks to avoid any future lawsuits. Instead – California – like New York – want to bring their own investigations to make sure the banksters don’t get off easy for the high crimes they committed against our nation a few years ago. Fortunately, there are still a few regulators who aren’t yet owned by Wall Street.

What is the shady corporate lobbyist group The American Legislative Exchange Council – or ALEC – up to now? Making sure you have to go to work even when you’re sick. As more and more cities across the nation pass legislation requiring businesses to give their employees paid sick leave – ALEC's corporate CEOs are writing legislation for Republican lawmakers to write introduce that will override or end paid sick leave. This same tactic was already used in Wisconsin – where an ALEC-written piece of legislation passed the Republican-controlled legislature to stop the city of Milwaukee from requiring businesses to give their employees paid sick leave. Heading up the effort to force people to work when sick is the CEO of Yum! Brands – which owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC. He sits on ALEC’s Labor and Business Regulation Subcommittee – which is in charge of writing that specific legislation. The United States is the only fully developed nation in the world that don’t require paid sick leave. And corporate CEOs – with the help of ALEC – are desperately trying to keep it that way. So next time you get the flu – suck it up!

And that’s the way it is today – Thursday, October 20th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.