In today's On the News segment: European market predicted to melt down within next 12 months, Occupy Wall Street spurs protests in at least ten other cities, Corrections Corporation of America has boosted its lobbying spending by 165 percent in the past decade, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…”The governments don’t rule the world -Goldman Sachs rules the world”
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You need to know this. Congress did what it does best these days – set up another crisis for six weeks from now. Last night – Senate Republicans – working in lock-step with their buddies in the House who are on vacation – filibustered the Democrat's spending bill that included over $3 billion in much-needed disaster relief aid. So instead – to get enough Republicans on board – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had to strip out the funding for disaster relief – and focus strictly on funding the government to prevent a shutdown at the end of the week – which he did. So it looks like Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown again – yet FEMA funding is still in danger should Republicans choose to hold it hostage again demanding deep, job-killing spending cuts like firing cops and teachers in six weeks when this short-term funding bill runs out. The heck with helping people rebuild their homes – Speaker John Boehner and the rest of his clan need their sun-soaked vacations to figure out who to use this as an excuse to lay off. Gotta drive up that unemployment rate for the 2012 presidential election, after all.
Are the banksters fueling a global market meltdown? Heads turned yesterday – when stock trader Alessio Rastani went on the BBC and predicted that the Eurozone is going to crash within the next twelve months – and that a lot of banksters will make a fortune off it. “This problem cannot be solved,” Rastani said. “I’m fairly confident that the Euro is going to crash, and it’s going to fall pretty hard.” Rastani then admitted that he – as well as traders in giant banks on Wall Street – have actually placed bets that global markets will crash, and are poised to make huge profits if their bets come in. Rastani said, “The depression in the 30′s wasn’t just about a market crash. There were some people who were prepared to make money from that crash. I think anybody can do that. The governments don’t rule the world,” Rastani added, “Goldman Sachs rules the world. Goldman Sachs does not care about this rescue package.” From manipulating food prices that spark a hunger crisis around the world – to distorting oil prices that trigger recessions here in the United States – to bringing down an entire global economy – it’s all part of a day’s work for traders like Rastani and Goldman Sachs. How much longer are we going to let speculators and banksters run the show – and screw us all over?
In the best of the rest of the news…
The occupiers are spreading. Bolstered by a brutal police crackdown over the weekend – “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators in lower Manhattan are standing strong – and are actually spreading their message throughout the nation. Over the weekend – demonstrators in Los Angeles launched their own “Occupy Los Angeles” movement and plan to take their camp to City Hall this weekend. Similar demonstrations are planned for Washington, DC – Chicago – Denver – Detroit – Cleveland – Boston – Philadelphia – Seattle – Kansas City – Phoenix – and our nation’s capital – Washington, DC. A statement from the Occupy Wall Street website reads, “The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99 Percent who will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the one percent.” This could be the start of something huge in America – this could be the American Spring.
Speaking of corporate greed – it’s been one heck of a decade for the Corrections Corporation of America – the largest private prison corporation in the nation. According to a report by the Michigan Messenger – the corporate prison population in America grew from about 87,000 inmates in 2000 to nearly 130,000 by 2009 – a 37% increase. What’s the reason behind the private prison population surge? I’ll give you a hint – it’s not an increase in crime – but instead an increase in lobbying dollars. According to the Justice Policy Institute – over the last decade – the Corrections Corporation of America has increased their lobbying from over $840,000 to more than $2.2 million dollars. – a 165% increase. That’s more money spent on lobbying lawmakers to pass stricter drug and immigration laws that lead to more and more people being thrown into prison. The Corrections Corporation of America turns a profit off each new inmate they lock-up, and every day they can keep them longer than they would have under older laws. No wonder the United States has gained the notorious distinction of imprisoning more people than any other nation in the entire world. We have 5 percent of the world's people, but 25 percent of the world's prisoners. So much for being the “Land of the Free.”
Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan announced plans next fall to unveil new reforms on how Congress passes a budget. Ryan authored the Republican budget this year that privatizes Medicare and gives trillions of dollars in tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires, and transnational corporations, while jacking up tax rates on the poor and middle class. His proposal gained near unanimous support by Republican colleagues in the House a few months ago – but died in the Senate. So now – Ryan wants to change the rules to make it easier to pass his radical budgets. As he said, “If we don’t tackle a new fiscal process in this country, it will tackle us.” No details yet on what new “process” Ryan will push for – but it will likely be a more streamlined – and less democratic – approval process to throw grandma off a cliff. Keep an eye on this one – it could be the most radical governmental reform in decades.
The Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision last year poses a grave threat to our democracy. But don’t take my word for it – take the word of the Committee for Economic Development – an organization comprised of American business leaders and professors that just released a new report yesterday warning about the dangers of undisclosed election spending. Examining the $500 million in undisclosed spending that plagued out elections last year – the Committee – with members from major bank Citigroup and Insurance giant Prudential, warned, “The lack of transparency poses a grave threat to our democracy.” The Committee is calling on Congress to pass stricter disclosure requirements for future elections. But it’s going to take more than that to fix this problem. We need a constitutional amendment saying once and for all that corporations are not people – and money is not speech. Go to movetoamend.org to get the ball rolling.
And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, September 27th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.