On the News With Thom Hartmann: Scott Walker Turns to Millionaires to Defeat the Recall, and More

In today's On the News segment: A new SuperPAC sprung up in the Badger State this week calling itself the “Defeat the Recall” campaign; killing off the EPA means killing American jobs; Obama is taking a tougher stance against the oil barons; Wall Street's favorite, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, has opened up a sizable lead against middle-class champion Elizabeth Warren; and more.

Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is turning to millionaires and billionaires outside of Wisconsin to keep his job. A new SuperPAC sprug up in the Badger state this week calling itself the “Defeat the Recall” campaign. And looking at the donors list – the SuperPAC has very little to do with Wisconsin. Of the 336 revealed donors, only 18 are Wisconsin residents. And according to an FEC filing – of the nine donors who’ve given more than $200 – not a single one hails from Wisconsin. After more than a million people signed recall petitions to kick Walker out of office – Walker’s been seeing flying off to Wall Street and Texas to get big bucks from banksters and oil barons like the Koch brothers. Democracy is under assault in Wisconsin – let’s hope working people, united, can successfully fight back.

In screwed news…when Republicans talk about killing off the EPA – they’re also talking about killing American jobs. Despite right-wing talking points that environmental regulations are “job-killers” – a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute finds just the opposite – regulations are ACTUALLY job creators. EPI estimates that as many as 135,000 net jobs will be created by 2015 thanks to new EPA regulations. After all, when an energy plant has to follow new pollution regulations – then they have to hire people to design and build smokestack scrubbers and buy new clean technology – all of which puts people to work. In fact – a new proposed regulation to clean up the Chesapeake Bay would create 35 times more jobs than the Keystone XL Pipeline! The real story Republicans don’t want you to know is EPA regulation cut into the massive profits being pocketed by oil barons – while actually creating working-class jobs. Republicans don’t care about putting Americans back to work or having cleaner skies – they care about keeping the fat-cats who own them happy.

In the best of the rest of the news…

President Obama is taking a tougher stance against the oil barons. Calling out Republican lapdogs who argue that drilling will lower our rising gas prices, the President told a crowd in North Carolina that, “anyone who tell you [that] either doesn’t know what they are talking about or they are not telling you the truth.” The President is also personally calling Democratic Senators – urging them to reject a Republican amendment to a transportation funding bill that forces construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s time to ditch 20th and 19th century energy – and invest in 21st century renewables.

In one of the most important Senate races of the year – Wall Street’s favorite, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, has opened up a sizable lead against Middle Class champion Elizabeth Warren. Despite Warren’s campaign getting off to a red-hot start last year – catapulting her into the lead last November – Karl Rove's SuperPAC ran a bunch of slasher ads attacking Warren in Massachusetts. As a result, Brown is now holding a 9-point lead over Warren. That’s what money from Wall Street and Rove get you. This just goes to show that we can’t take anything for granted this election year. If we want progressives like Elizabeth Warren in Congress – then we have to get out there and get active to make it happen – or else, Wall Street and Rove win.

Pennsylvania is set to become the next Republican-run state to attack voting rights. The Republican-controlled state Senate passed a new voter ID law – which is expected to be signed by Republican Governor Tom Corbett. Pennsylvania would become the 16th state in the nation to require voters to buy an ID to vote – a requirement that will prevent as many as five million elderly, low-income, and college student voters from voting in November, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. The new law would also cost about $4 million to implement – all to maintain one-party Republican rule in Pennsylvania.

Congressional Republicans have a problem with behaving ethically. According to a report in the Florida Times-Union – Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns allegedly tried to convince a primary challenger to drop out of the race with a $25,000 bribe and a job offer. That primary challenger – James Jett – confirmed that he’s turned the matter over to the FBI for an investigation. Stearns isn’t the only Republicans with dirty hands though – more than 10 other Republican Members of Congress have ethics complaints and investigations against them – including the only member of congress with allegations of a criminal past – the second richest man in Congress – Darryl Issa. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor famously lied back in 2010 that his party would have a zero-tolerance policy toward ethics violations. Of course, Cantor also lied that Republicans would pass job-creating legislation. Why does the Republican party attract crooks and liars?

Hate groups are on the march in America. According to a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center – the number of hate groups operating in America increased steadily in 2011. From anti-gay to racist organizations – the Southern Poverty Law Center counted more than 1,000 groups across America – an increase from just over 600 groups back in 2000. More troubling – the number of anti-government, heavily armed militias is also on the rise – with 1,274 militias operating in America in 2011 – up from 824 in 2010. With right-wing media outlets spreading lies, saying President Obama plans to confiscate guns and has built secret FEMA detention camps, it’s no wonder gullible Americans are turning to right-wing radicalism.

And finally…the sun isn’t very happy with the Earth. The largest solar storm in 5 years is lashing the planet today – and scientists are warning that there could be technological disruptions as a result. As a massive cloud of charged particles fired from the sun collides with the planet’s magnetic field – electrical currents have been created that could wreak havoc on energy and communication grids across Earth. The effects of the solar storm will be felt the hardest in the Polar Regions – and airplanes are being advised to reroute around those areas.

And that’s the way it is today – Thursday, March 8th, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann = on the news.