In today's On the News segment: Police crack down on Occupy Boston, Senate to vote on Obama's job plan, more than six million unemployed Americans could lose their benefits by the end of this year, President Obama looks poised to sign off on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens discusses Florida recount in his new book, Wisconsin State's Democratic Party will begin sending out recall petitions against Governor Walker on November 15, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
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You need to know this. There was a violent police crackdown against the 99% movement in the middle of the night in Boston. As the occupy Boston movement – now in its second week – grew beyond its original campsite in Dewey Square – demonstrators moved into a new space a block away yesterday – prompting police to shut it down. Among the first line of people to be arrested were those with the group Veterans for Peace – war veterans who had their American flags yanked from their hands and thrown on to the ground – before being tackled themselves and arrested. Then police moved on to the rest of the demonstrators who were seated peacefully – arresting them – then dismantling and trashing their campsite into nearby garbage trucks. Upwards of 100 people were arrested last night in the one of the largest mass arrests in the history of Boston. But as we’ve seen following crackdowns in New York City – this sort of police action has only strengthened the movement. More than 900 cities across the nation have hosted some sort of meet-up in support of the 99% movement and until there's some real change we can believe in, it's not going away.
A vote is expected tonight in the Senate on President Obama’s American Jobs Act. However – with only 53 Democrats in the Senate – it’s highly unlikely the legislation – that could create over 3 million jobs and is completely paid for – will overcome a Republicans filibuster. In an effort to get oil industry Democrats on board – like Mary Landrieu from Louisiana – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tweaked President Obama’s original proposal by replacing language that cuts out off oil subsidies with languages that imposes a 5.6% surtax on millionaires. As the Washington Post writes, “With the revision, Senate leaders think the bill presents a sharper choice: Support spending on education, transportation and veterans, or protect the interests of the very wealthy.” I think we all know which side Republicans will fall on.
In the best of the rest of the news…
For millions of unemployed Americans – things are about to get a lot worse. Unless Congressional Republicans sign on to an extension of unemployment insurance by the end of this year – more than 6 million unemployed Americans could lose their benefits. In January of 2012 alone – more than 1.8 million people will be cut off from unemployment benefits. To avoid this – President Obama proposed extending unemployment benefits for another year – tracking the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires which have already been extended through 2012. But Republicans refuse to even bring the legislation to the floor for an up or down vote. After all – as Republican Presidential front-runner Herman Cain said, “if you don’t have a job – blame yourself.”
It looks all but certain now that President Obama will sign off on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that will funnel highly toxic tar sands oil from Canada down to Texas. The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness – chaired by notorious job outsourcer and tax dodger – GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt – endorsed the pipeline today, claiming it will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. However – a new report out of Cornell disagrees – and argues that the pipeline will actually result in a net LOSS of jobs. As one of the authors of the report said, “Keystone XL could kill more jobs than it creates. There are alternatives to this kind of dirty energy that, if supported, could create large numbers of jobs in the emerging green economy.” The President faces a decision – will he side with the environmentalists who worked hard for his election – and who he promised he would heal the planet? Or will he side with the oil oligarchs in Texas?
According to a new book by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens – the lawsuit brought to the high court in 2000 by George W. Bush regarding the recount in Florida was “frivolous” and should never have been heard. In his book “Five Chiefs” – Stevens recalls talking to fellow Justice Stephen Breyer about Bush’s suit – and them both agreeing that, “the application was frivolous… To secure a stay, a litigant must show that one is necessary to prevent an … irreparable injury. Bush's attorneys had failed to make any such showing.” Yet – the High Court took up the case anyway – and as well all know, stopped a recount in Florida that would have proven Al Gore was the actual winner of the 2000 Presidential Election. Not to mention that Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife was working on the Bush transition team at the time – and Justice Scalia’s son was working for a law firm representing Bush at the time. Not only was the Bush presidency defined by corruption – it was birthed by corruption as well.
Democrats in Wisconsin haven’t forgotten about Governor Scott Walker. The state’s Democratic Party announced yesterday that it will begin sending out recall petitions against Governor Walker on November 15th. That gives Democrats two months to collect the 540,000 signatures necessary to launch a recall election against Walker as soon as he’s eligible for recall at the beginning of next year. As Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said, “It has become clearer than ever that the people of Wisconsin — the traditions and institutions of our great state — cannot endure any more of Scott Walker's abuses.” It looks like it could be one and done for Walker in Wisconsin.
Crazy Alert! Joe the…Congressman?! Just when you thought his 15 minutes were up – Joe the Plumber filed papers in Ohio yesterday to run for Congress in the state’s 9th district. Joe the Plumber – whose only political qualification for office seems to be that he had a 15 second conversation with President Obama on wealth inequality three years ago – will face off against either Congressman Dennis Kucinich or Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur for the seat – both were redistricted into the same district as a result of the 2010 census. That is of course if Joe can even make it out of a Republican primary. But if Joe loses – he can always fall back on his day job – no, not as a plumber – but as a guy who's been used by the Republican Party for 3 years.
And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, October 11th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.