On the News With Thom Hartmann: Judgment Day in Wisconsin, and More

In today's On the News segment: Investors brace themselves for another turbulent day on Wall Street, violent riots continued for the third straight day across London and a number of other British cities, today is judgment day in Wisconsin with six Republican state senators who supported Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union efforts now fighting for their political lives in the biggest recall election ever held in this country, Japanese government willingly let thousands of its own citizens be exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, the question of personhood is going to be debated in Montana, James McMillan – the figurehead of New York’s “The Rent Is Too Damn High” political party is being evicted from his Manhattan apartment because his rent is too damn low.


Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. All eyes are on the stock market again today – as investors brace themselves for another turbulent day on Wall Street after stocks plummeted 634 points yesterday on news of the US credit rating downgrade. Overnight – Asian markets were awash in a sea of red ink early on in trading – with the South Korean market down as much as 10% – but most markets then made modest comebacks before the closing bells. While the credit downgrade played a huge part in yesterday’s market chaos – it’s becoming increasingly clear that the real reason the markets are shedding wealth is because the American economy is deteriorating. Today – the Federal Reserve is meeting to discuss ways to stabilize the stagnating economy – and there is talk of another round of quantitative easing – even though the first two rounds have done little to improve the situation for most Americans on Main Street. And when it comes down to it – there’s not much the Fed can do any more – especially now that Republicans in Congress succeeded in sabotaging any hopes of an economic recovery by shoving austerity measures down our throats and stopping any stimulus whatsoever. No nation in the history of this world has ever cut its way to prosperity – not one! John Boehner bragged he got 98% of what he wanted in last week’s debt-limit deal – so Republicans get 98% of the blame for the coming economic crisis. The other 2% goes to President Obama for failing to fight them hard enough – and thus empowering Tea Party radicals and the billionaires who fund them to highjack America.

First the Arab Spring – now the European Summer? Violent riots continued for the third straight day across London and a number of other British cities – leaving buildings ablaze – cars torched and turned over – and storefronts vandalized and looted. The riots began in Tottenham after police shot a man to death – but it quickly became clear that the unrest was less about police brutality – and more about Conservative austerity. Some of the cities hit hardest by Conservative government's deep spending cuts – are now fueling the worst riots the UK has seen since the 1980’s – prompting the man responsible for those cuts – Prime Minister David Cameron to rush back from a trip to Italy for a meeting with his national crisis committee. He’s also recalled Parliament from its summer recess – and tripled the number of police on the streets. First Greece – now the UK – what we’re seeing unfold in Europe today is the harsh backlash of poor and working people against governments that bailed out banksters, cut taxes for billionaires, and are now cutting services to average working people and the poor. And like Hosni Mubarak – these bankster governments are now losing their consent to govern. Is Washington paying attention?

In the best of the rest of the news….

Judgment day in Wisconsin. Today – 6 Republican state senators who supported Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union efforts are now fighting for their political lives in the biggest recall election ever held in this country. With control of the state senate at stake if Democrats pick up 3 wins today – these recall elections are a referendum on the union busting that’s been sweeping the nation – not just in Wisconsin – but also in Indiana – New Jersey – Michigan – and wherever else Republicans have declared war on working class Americans. And no one knows this better than the corporate millionaires and billionaires who’ve been funding the union-busting – and are now throwing enormous amounts of cash into defending their Republican lapdogs in these recall elections. What looked like Democratic shoo-in victories earlier this year – have now tightened up – as $28 million dollars in mostly corporate cash form the likes of the Koch brothers – have been spent so far on these recall elections. We’ll see if democracy can still thrive – or if another major election in America will be subverted by corporate interests using last year’s Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

The Japanese government willingly let thousands of its own citizens be exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. Not only were Japanese officials withholding information early-on in the Fukushima nuclear crisis regarding meltdowns – they were also withholding information about spreading radiation to its citizens. Days after the quake and tsunami – thousands of residents of Fukushima fled to the city of Namie – where they were told they were safe from leaking radiation. It’s now been learned that government models showed clouds of radiation moving directly over the city of Namie – yet not a word of warning was given to the people. That’s because officials were not only trying to avoid responsibility and downplay the incident – but also did not want to trigger another costly evacuation. The mayor of Namie – Tamotsu Baba – says the government’s decision to not release this information is “murder.” Of the nearly 1,100 children living around the Fukushima plant – nearly half tested positive for thyroid exposure to radiation. This is a nuclear power tragedy – and a crime – on an epic scale.

A question of personhood will be debated in Montana. The Secretary of state there – Linda McCulloch – approved a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution’s definition of a person to include, “all human beings at every stage of development, including the stage of fertilization or conception.” If this far right-wing measure collects the 48,000 signatures it needs to be put on the ballot and then is passed – then it will mean birth control is a form of murder in Montana. The war on women continues – without a single word about the real “personhood” debate America should focus on – whether or not a corporation like Exxon Mobile is person. We need to end both the war on women and end CORPORATE personhood NOW!

Crazy Alert! The rent is too damn low! James McMillan – the figurehead of New York’s “The Rent is Too Damn High” political party is being evicted from his Manhattan Apartment because his rent is too damn low. McMillan claims has been paying 872 bucks a month for the rent-controlled apartment since the 1970’s – but now the landlord of the apartment wants to kick him out so he can start charging more for the place. McMillian is taking the case to court. Win or lose – now that we know McMillian has been paying less rent that most other New Yorkers – it may be time for a new platform. With the pains at the pump – maybe a “Gas is too damn high” Party? Or with global warming clobbering us – how about a “The Temperature is too damn high” Party?

And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, August 9th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.