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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Reform and Labor Groups Announce Campaign Against Corporate Money in Politics, and More

In today's On the News segment: Exodus of advertising after Rush Limbaugh's misogynist remarks now affecting all of right-wing radio, a plurality of voters in Alabama and Mississippi believe Obama is Muslim, reform and labor groups announce new campaign against super-PACs, and more.

In today's On the News segment: Exodus of advertising after Rush Limbaugh's misogynist remarks now affecting all of right-wing radio, a plurality of voters in Alabama and Mississippi believe Obama is Muslim, reform and labor groups announce new campaign against super-PACs, and more.

You need to know this. The dogs of war were released in Afghanistan more than a decade ago – and are now out of our control. News broke this week of a murder spree in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province committed by at least one US soldier against Afghan civilians. Reuters reports that as many as 3 American soldiers, who appeared to be drunk, opened fire in a small village at around 2am Sunday morning – shooting dead 16 civilians – including nine children. One soldier has surrendered in connection with the attacks, which President Obama referred to as “tragic and shocking.” This latest incident is sure to spark another episode of violence in that unstable, war-torn nation – just as the Quran burning incident did a few weeks ago. The Taliban has vowed to avenge the killings, calling them a “blood-soaked and inhumane crime.” Meanwhile, 60% of Americans now believe this war is not worth fighting. Let Afghanistan serve as a lesson to all those who are calling for more war with Iran – because it’s very easy to release the dogs of war – and much, much harder to bring them back.

The Koch-brothers-funded American Legislative Exchange Council is up to it again – trying to screw over public education. Only this time – one State Representative is onto the game. Last week Wisconsin Democratic state Representative Mark Pocan took to the floor of this Wisconsin House to rail again legislation that would give special tax breaks to private, for-profit schools. As a paid member of ALEC – Pocan knows corporate-written legislation when he sees it – and he knew this particular bill had ALEC’s fingerprints all over it. Speaking on the floor of the House, he said, “This is part of dismantling public education in Wisconsin, and Florida, and Ohio, and every single state it’s introduced in. This bill doesn’t come from this body, this bill is an identical bill that’s been introduced brought by special interests by ALEC and introduced state by state by state.” ALEC has been especially busy in Wisconsin – getting legislation passed to ban collective bargaining for public unions and to require voters to buy a photo ID. We now have corporations writing our laws, folks – that’s NOT what the Founders intended, and it's NOT democracy.

In the best of the rest of the news…

The Republican presidential primary clown show continues. Over the weekend – Romney lost another state when Rick Santorum won the Kansas caucuses on Saturday by 30%. Santorum used his win to try to push Newt Gingrich out of the primary – calling the Gingrich campaign “irrelevant”- and saying it’s time for a two-man race…plus Ron Paul who still has yet to win a single contest this year. On the bright side for Mitt Romney – he did win Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands, all places where Mormon missionaries have been very, very busy.

If corporations want to play the SuperPAC game this election – they’ve been put on official notice. A coalition of reform groups and labor organizations including Common Cause and the SEIU announced today that they would begin calling out corporations that use their corporate treasure chests to buy elections. The coalition says it will use a variety of tactics – including boycotts, shareholder pressure, and calls for pension funds to divest of their stock in certain corporations. And the group Americans United for Change is pledging to give away $25,000 to the first employee of a corporation who reveals secret donations. As Ethan Rome, the executive director of Health Care for America Now, said, “We are putting corporations on notice…When you buy a bag of groceries, you have no idea if the money is going to pollute the environment, help insurance companies undermine health care, or help banks exploit unsuspecting citizens…This is a profound perversion of democracy because it disenfranchises actual voters.” Since Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court are unwilling to do anything about the corporate buy-out of our elections – then we the people will.

After more than fifty corporate sponsors dumped Rush Limbaugh following his “I want to see the sex tapes” tirade against a Georgetown law student – the voice of the Republican Party is scrambling to find new advertisers. But now, Premiere Networks – which owns Rush’s show as well as shows belonging to Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin – is circulating a list of 98 major advertisers including Ford, Allstate, and McDonalds that don’t want their ads aired during offensive or controversial programming. That means – the exodus of advertising is no longer just affecting Rush – but the entire right-wing talk radio industry. The danger here is that many of these advertisers are now also boycotting progressive talk radio as well, because they don't want to sponsor “controversial” programming. Before this boycott started, somebody should have called a progressive talk-show host. The way to get a show off the air is to call the stations, not the advertisers.

Next time you eat at Waffle House – consider that the restaurant would have thrown the Founding Fathers in prison. As Investigative journalist Zaid Jilani at the Republic Report uncovered – Waffle House’s Vice-President, Dan Balfour – who also serves as a state Senator in Georgia – is pushing an anti-picketing law that would throw union members in jail for exercising their First Amendment rights. According to the law – union picketing that is “interfering with the resident’s right to quiet enjoyment” would be illegal – and as Jilani points out – the Sons of Liberty who routinely protested outside the homes of British colonial officials before the American Revolution would have been arrested under this law. Aside from making breakfast – it appears as though Waffle House wants to reverse the American Revolution, too.

And finally…Alabama and Mississippi are scheduled to host Republicans primaries on Tuesday – and Newt Gingrich needs two wins to keep his campaign afloat. And according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling – Gingrich can appeal to voters by calling President Obama a Muslim. That’s because a plurality of Republican voters in the two states BELIEVE President Obama is a Muslim – while only 14% believe he is actually a Christian. Time for Newt to start warning about the dangers of Sharia Law.

And that’s the way it is today – Monday, March 12th, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.

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