In today's On the News Segment: Today is the day for a planned general strike in Oakland – the first of its kind since 1946, it's up to the Greek people to determine the fate of the global banking system, Democrats Tom Udall and Michael Bennett introduced a controversial amendment that would overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, Republicans on the Gang of 12 Supercommittee are pushing for the same policies that created our deficit – enormous tax cuts, and more
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Today is the day for a planned general strike in Oakland – the first of its kind since 1946. Occupy Oakland is calling on workers in the city to stay home today – and join in on a march to shut down the Port of Oakland – the nation’s fifth busiest port. The Oakland Longshoreman agreed to participate in the strike – as well as several labor unions – and a number of schools across the city are also planning to shut down. City officials wrote a letter to Oakland business owners encouraging them to deadbolt their doors to prepare for the general strike. And Oakland mayor Jean Quan gave the go-ahead for public employees to stay home from work and participate in the strike too. But Mayor Quan also has a mutiny on her hands, as Oakland police released an open letter to the mayor yesterday criticizing her actions in the crackdown against Occupy Oakland that left an Iraq War veteran in the hospital with brain damage. In the letter – the police say they are “confused” by the mixed signals she is sending both to the police and the demonstrators. Things are getting very interesting in Oakland.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world…it’s up to the Greek people to determine the fate of the global banking system. The Greek cabinet confirmed Prime Minister Papandreou’s plans to hold a national vote on whether or not Greece should accept an EU bailout that will come with higher taxes on working people, deep government spending cuts, and tens of thousands of layoffs. While European leaders and financial giants have solely dictated the terms of bailing out Greece – which has led to violent unrest in the streets of Athens – this will be the first time the Greek people have a say in the matter. And European leaders and the banksters aren’t too pleased with this idea of democracy. Today – Prime Minister Papandreou will defend his decision to hold a national referendum when he attends an emergency meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy – who worry that if Greece rejects the bailout and defaults on its debt – it could send a shockwave across the global banking system, plunging the entire continent into a financial panic. The people no longer trust the global financial system – and if Greece votes no – it could be the first crack in the international wall of bankster rule of the planet.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Democratic Senators are listening to the demands of Occupy Wall Street. Yesterday – Democrats Tom Udall and Michael Bennett introduced a controversial amendment that would overturn the Supreme Court’sCitizens United decision. The amendment would give Congress and the states power to regulate how much corporate money can be spent in elections. Five other Democratic Senators have already signed on as cosponsors to the amendment. One of those cosponsors Jeff Merkely defended the new amendment saying, “If we are going to preserve a government responsive to its citizens, we need commonsense reforms that give the American people a full voice. This Constitutional Amendment is essential for the people to be heard.” This is the beginning of a long and hard fight to kick corporations out of our elections. Luckily – thanks to Occupy Wall Street – people are tuned in and organized, and politicians are paying attention, so the most difficult part is over.
To lower our deficit – Republicans on the Gang of 12 Super Committee are pushing for the same policies that created our deficit – enormous tax cuts. The 6 Republican members put forward their deficit-reduction proposal – which includes over $800 billion in new tax cuts for mostly rich people. That’s despite the fact that it was the Reagan's tax cuts in the 1980’s that triples our national debt – and it was the Bush tax cuts ten years ago that added another $6 trillion to the national debt. So either Republicans are delusional and ACTUALLY think another round of tax cuts will miraculously lower the deficit – or they really don’t care about deficits at all – and are in Congress to serve one purpose – to give massive handouts to their wealthy corporate donors. Frighteningly, I think Republicans know exactly what they’re doing.
The Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan continues. There was a setback yesterday in plans to stabilize the crippled nuclear power plant – when workers discovered clouds of radioactive gas spewing from reactor 2 – a bad sign that nuclear fission is occurring within the reactor. So nearly 8-months after the quake and tsunami triggered this nuclear crisis – it’s still a long way from being resolved. Still more proof that there’s no such thing as safe nuclear power.
More bad news for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. A British court ruled today that Assange should be extradited to Sweden to be questioned over sex crimes allegations. For the last several months Assange has been living in the U.K. – free from prison but under strict bail conditions – while he fights extradition to Sweden – where he claims he is facing trumped up charges. Assange also claims the United States is putting pressure on Sweden to extradite him here to face consequences over leaking hundreds of thousands of secret State Department memos last year. We’ll see if the world’s most famous whistleblower is finally silenced by the governments and corporations whose crimes he’s exposed.
Finally…When it comes to the highly controversial Keystone oil sands pipeline project – President Obama will take full responsibility. In an interview yesterday – President Obama said he would be making the final decision on the transnational oil pipeline project that has mobilized environmentalists around the country who claim that the new pipeline is extremely dangerous. More than a thousand people were arrested in front of the White House a few months ago as they protested the project. Let’s hope that the President sides with the millions of environmentalist who got him elected – and not the oil barons in Texas who are trying their best to kick him out of office.
And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.