On the News with Thom Hartmann: Public Sector Layoffs Nibbling Away at Employment Recovery, and More

Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. For the 22nd month in a row – the private sector added jobs. According to new jobs numbers out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – the economy added 212,000 jobs in December. But the austerity agenda being pushed by Republican governors in their respective states around the nation led to 12,000 government jobs being lost last month. Altogether last year – while President Obama’s economy was creating private sector jobs each month – Republicans laid off more than 183,000 public workers in their quest to dismantle governments – that’s a record high. And they’ve laid off more than a half-million public workers altogether since President Obama took office. Not to mention – the United States Postal Service is now proposing to lay off another 120,000 government workers thanks to a Republican poison pill passed back in 2006. Bu despite Republican efforts to sabotage the economic recovery – the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.5% last month – and the U-6, which measures underemployed as well as unemployed Americans dropped to 15.2%. We still have a long way to go – especially if Republicans care more about making Obama a one-term President – as Mitch McConnell outlined – than actually fixing the dang economy.

Women are screwed. Republicans swept into office around the nation last year on a pledge to get our economy back on track. But really all they were interested in was declaring a war on women. According to a new study out of the Guttmacher Institute – right-wing legislators in all 50 states introduced more than 1,100 pieces of legislation last year to restrict women’s reproductive health rights. A record-high of 135 restrictive pieces of legislation went on to become law in 36 states. Specifically – 92 new laws restrict abortion rights, which shatters the previous record of new abortion laws passed in a single year of 34 back in 2005. So in the future, when Republicans campaign on fixing the economy – we know what they really intend to do – take away women’s rights.

In the best of the rest of the news…

Something isn’t jiving with corporate America’s economic recovery. After taking a hit during the Bush Great Recession from 2007 to 2009 – corporate profits have rebounded to their pre-crash levels. The Bureau of Economic Analysis found that corporate profits last year were on track to hit a record-high of nearly $2 trillion. But what’s not back on track is how much corporations are paying in taxes. Despite being more profitable post-crash – corporations are paying considerably fewer taxes thanks to loopholes, and deductions they bought from Congress by “lobbying.” In fact – 30 difference major transnational corporations paid absolutely no corporate income taxes over the last three years – despite raking in $160 billion in profits. We don’t need more tax cuts for corporations as every single Republicans argues for – we need corporations to pay their fair share like the other 99 percent of us.

Iowa Republicans are trying to dismiss claims that the vote count in Tuesday’s Iowa Caucus was wrong. An Iowa voter told a local TV station yesterday that he noticed a 20-vote discrepancy in the count – and that Rick Santorum was the real winner of the Caucuses. Republican Party officials, though, are sticking to their first count – showing Mitt Romney as the winner by 8-votes – and there will be no recount. The Republican Party has launched a war on voters around the nation this year with strict new laws that will disenfranchise over 5 million Americans. They claim these laws are necessary to combat so-called voter fraud. Yet in Iowa – where there are no such laws – and where a very, very close and questionable election was just held – Republicans don’t seem to care at all about getting it right. Clearly – the war on voters isn’t about making sure the people’s voices are represented accurately – it’s about making sure poor people, young people, and minorities who tend to vote for Democrats – can’t vote at all.

Could smoking marijuana actually boost brain function in old age? According to a new British study out in the American Journal of Epidemiology – people age 50 who have a history of smoking pot scored on par or even much better on mental function and memory tests than their pot-free peers. Over 9,000 Britons were tested in the study – and as Reuters reports, “the study found, there was no evidence that current or past drug users had poorer mental performance. In fact, when current and past users were lumped together, their test scores tended to be higher.”

Scientists at Cornell University believe they have found a way to make time disappear. That’s right – as a new study appearing in the science journal Nature describes – scientists are using light to manipulate time to make it appear as though events that just took place never actually happened. Is this starting to make sense to you? Basically – since everything we see is thanks to beams of light, by slowing down and tinkering with those beams – scientists – for the first time ever – can now completely erase a split-second of history. So far – they can only erase 40 trillionths of a second – and say they'd need a machine 18,600 miles long to erase a full second of time. So how big of a machine do we need to erase 8 years under George W. Bush? Let’s start building.

Crazy Alert! Move over Flying Spaghetti Monster – there’s a new “church” in town. The Swedish Government has officially recognized the Church of Kopimism – which holds as its central tenet the right to file-share over the Internet. The new “religion” was invented by a 19-year-old philosophy student – and it only took three applications to the government before the Kopimism was officially recognized. Sacred symbols of the church include “Control-C” and “Control-V” – shortcuts for copying and pasting on the computer. The church does not promote illegal file-sharing – they just preach for completely open-distribution of information. Rumor has it though – that if you DO sin against the Church of Kopimism – you’re required to do 20 Hail Mary’s – or in Kopimism tradtion – 20 control, alt, deletes.

And that’s the way it is today – Friday, January 6th 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.