On the News With Thom Hartmann: Ohio Governor Allows Fracking in State Parks, and More

In today's On the News segment: There was a massive police crackdown in New York City this morning, the recall effort against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker officially begins today, Alabama set to lose $40 million due to anti-immigration law, and more.

TRANSCRIPT

Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. There was a massive police crackdown in New York City last night. Shortly after midnight – hundreds of riot-clad NYPD officers surrounded Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan – and passed out flyers warning the occupying patriots to leave the park immediately or face arrest. Five hours later – the park was completely cleared – and as many as 200 people were arrested – and for the first time in nearly two months Zuccotti Park wasn’t home of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Everything in the park – from tents – to the makeshift kitchen – to the entire library collection of over 5,000 books was destroyed and tossed into nearby sanitation trucks. During the raid – police blocked all roads into Zuccotti Park in an effort to prevent journalists from witnessing what was happening. But according to reports from journalists who were already inside the park – police beat people with batons – sprayed tear gas – and even used sound cannons to disperse the crowd. After 5 a.m. – hundreds of people roamed the streets of New York’s financial district trying to figure out what happened and what to do next. Eventually – the Occupy Wall Street patriots sent up camp in nearby Foley Square. There, the Occupy Press Team released a statement saying, “Such a movement cannot be evicted. Some politicians may physically remove us from public spaces – our spaces – and, physically, they may succeed. But we are engaged in a battle over ideas. Our idea is that our political structures should serve us, the people – all of us, not just those who have amassed great wealth and power. You cannot evict an idea whose time has come.” Get ready for a turbulent day in the Big Apple.

According to New York mayor Michael Bloomberg – Zuccotti park needed to be cleared and cleaned because it was a sanitation and fire concern – and once the park is cleaned – demonstrators can return, but without sleeping bags and tarps – thus effectively ending any future camping out. Right now – the park is re-opened, but Mayor Bloomberg claims he has the right to search people entering the park. However – Occupy Wall Street has an ally in the courts. At 6am this morning – the National Lawyers Guild and the Liberty Park Legal Working Group obtained restraining orders in court against the city of New York and Brookfield properties – to allow patriots to move back into Zuccotti Park with their belongings including tents and tarps. So now it looks like a legal showdown is looming between the courts and Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD’s plan to end Occupy Wall Street – all because of those pesky First Amendment rights that are guaranteed to all of us – and that have been under constant assault around the nation since the movement began.

In the best of the rest of the news…

The recall effort against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker officially begins today. So support your friends in Wisconsin to get out there – collect signatures – and inform voters. If we can keep up the momentum from last week’s progressive electoral victories going – and put Walker out to pasture – it’ll be a huge victory for working people across America.

Radical anti-immigration laws are bad for businesses. Not only are thousands of schoolchildren terrified to go to school because of Alabama’s harsh anti-immigration law – but the state is set to lose 40 million dollars in economic activity. According to a new report from the Center for American Progress – there are as many as 10,000 undocumented workers fleeing the state – meaning many farms may be forced to shut down by next season. Already – the labor shortage is affecting farmers who are watching their crops rot in the field. Also – the government of Alabama could lose out on as much $130 million in tax revenue from undocumented workers leaving the state. Bad policy – bad economics – bad idea.

While the environmentalist movement scored a big victory last week when the White House pushed back a decision on the transnational Keystone XL pipeline – it suffered a setback yesterday in a likely place – Governor John Kasich’s Ohio. Kasich – who got shellacked at the polls last week and saw his signature anti-union law repealed – went ahead with another very unpopular initiative in Ohio – fracking in state parks. Despite 70% of Ohioans opposing drilling on public lands – Kasich argued that his state will not, “walk away from a potential industry.” And looking at Kasich’s campaign contributions – you can see why he’s not walking away from the oil and gas industry. He’s received well over $213,000 in contributions form the industry – the most of any Ohio politician. Time to get mobilized again in Ohio – and repeal Kasich’s order to frack in state parks – it’s the only to make him listen to his constituents.

Put aside the Republican talking points – new environmental regulations don’t kill jobs – THEY CREATE JOBS. Based on a study out of the University of Massachusetts – at least 250,000 new jobs could be created by passing new EPA regulations to force industries to clean up what they’re spewing into the air. As the CEO of American Electric Power- Mike Morris – noted, “We have to hire plumbers, electricians, painters, folks who do that kind of work when you retrofit a plant. Jobs are created in the process — no question about that.” All around the country – there are stories of factories having to employ more people to build scrubbers – and install other, cleaner energy devices to comply with EPA regulations. In fact – since the EPA was created in the 1970’s – carbon emissions in America have gone down 63% – while our GDP has tripled! Plain and simple – environmental regulations are better for our health and our economy – although they do mean less profit for corporate CEOs – which is why Republicans hate them.

Crazy Alert! Don’t forget your workout underwear. A new invention out of Japan allows people to burn calories while just wearing their underwear. The “Calorie Shaper” is a new infomercial product being sold across Japan – that is literally a pair of underpants built with a honeycomb spring that offers calorie-burning resistance while people are doing everyday tasks like walking, getting up and out of chairs, or working around the office. So the question: will Mitt Romney upgrade his magic Mormon underwear?

And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, November 15th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.