On the News With Thom Hartmann: Congress Passed Three So-Called Free Trade Agreements Last Night, and More

In today's On the News segment: Congress passed three so-called free trade agreements last night, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told demonstrators they needed to clear the park by Friday so that it could be cleaned, House continues to go another day without addressing the jobs crisis in America, Wisconsin is trying to rig next year's presidential election, and more.

TRANSCRIPT

I'm Jacob Dean in for Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. Free Trade, Free Trade, Free Trade. Congress passed three so-called Free Trade agreements last night – meaning transnational corporations now have new pools of cheap labor in Colombia, South Korea, and Panama. All three trade deals were passed with bipartisan support in both Chambers of Congress despite the face that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was against them – and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi expressed skepticism about the Colombia deal. Over the last two decades – we’ve seen the effects of these so-called Free Trade deals on our economy. We’ve seen trade surpluses turn into massive trade deficits. We’ve seen millions of factories and manufacturing jobs shipped overseas. And we’ve seen the wealth and power of transnational corporations explode while small businesses collapse. Yet – our lawmakers – continue to buy into this gimmick year after year. It’s time to put down the Free Trade Kool-Aid.

Could a showdown be brewing with the Occupy Wall Street movement and New York City? Yesterday – New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg went to Zucotti Park – the site of the four week long occupation – to tell demonstrators they needed to clear the park by Friday so that it could be cleaned. He assured them they could return right after the cleanup. However – the property managers of the public park want to begin enforcing new rules after the cleaning – including a ban on sleeping bags and camping gear – vital components of the occupation. But demonstrators aren’t budging – vowing to clean the park themselves and form a human chain around the park in case the NYPD tries to force them to leave. They’ve also said that once they clean the park – they plan to take their brooms and mops to Wall Street “where the real mess is.” Looks like another interesting weekend is shaping up in the Big Apple.

In the best of the rest of the news…

Another day in the House of Representatives – and another day without addressing the jobs crisis in America. Today – House Republicans will vote on legislation to limit abortion in the country. H.R. 358 will severely restrict women’s access to abortion and also allow health care providers to refuse to administer abortions if it goes against their consciences – no matter how medically necessary the procedure may be. As in – if a woman’s life is at risk during a pregnancy – a doctor now has the right to let her die rather than perform an abortion. The White House has already pledged to veto the legislation – meaning this is nothing but politics being played out by Republicans in the House. Americans gave Speaker John Boehner a majority in 2010 to do something to fix the economy – not divide the nation with controversial abortion legislation. So – the question still remains: “Speaker Boehner – where are the jobs?!”

First it was Pennsylvania – now Wisconsin is trying to rig next year’s Presidential election. Wisconsin State Representative Dan LeMathieu introduced legislation that would change how the state counts electoral votes – dividing them up based on which candidate wins each Congressional district rather than the winner-take-all format that Wisconsin has always used – and that 48 other states in the nation use. Wisconsin has 10 electoral votes – and has voted for a Democrat in every Presidential election since 1988. But if Republicans get their way – then those 10 votes that have normally gone to Democrats would be split up – with half going to Republicans. As the old saying goes, “It’s not the people who vote that counts. It’s the people who count the votes.”

The Banksters are getting richer. According to a new report by Mother Jones – over the last 30 years – average salaries on Wall Street have exploded by more than 330%. That’s compared to other workers in New York City whose pay has seen only a modest 65% increase in 3 decades. In 1981 – banksters made about twice as much as anyone else in New York City. Today – they make 5 times more than anyone else. For some reason our nation has given more priority to people who don’t create any actual wealth – rather than our manufacturers and teachers who we depend most on. We need to reverse that – and there are people on the streets today pledging to do just that.

Former President George W. Bush will be attending an economic summit in Canada next week – and Amnesty International is hoping this is finally their chance to hold Bush accountable for war crimes. Amnesty International is calling on the Canadian Government to arrest Bush while he’s in the country for the violating international laws against torture. A statement released from the organization reads: “Canada is required by its international obligations to arrest and prosecute former President Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture.” However – Canada rejected the calls for arrest. The real question is when will the Department of Justice do IT’S job in holding the Bush administration responsible for war crimes.

Coming out of Tuesday night’s debate – Republicans officially have a new leader…Herman Cain. Even though his 9-9-9 plan – which – according to Cain – was created by some guy in Cleveland – was widely criticized in the debate as being unrealistic and flat-out bad for the country – Republican voters seem to think he could be the guy. According to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll – Cain is the new top choice with 27% – Romney’s in second with 23% – and Governor “Good Hair” Rick Perry is at 16%. Herman Cain’s plan for the country would result in the biggest tax increase on poor Americans in the history of this nation – and it would result in the largest post-World War 2 deficits ever created. So I guess it makes sense after all that he’s the number one guy in the race to the bottom.

And that’s the way it is today – Thursday, October 13th, 2011. I’m Jacob Dean in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.