In today's On the News segment: The Koch brothers got occupied, Senate Democrats make their fourth try at passing a portion of the president's American Jobs Act, Texas may be on the verge of executing another innocent man, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. The Koch brothers got occupied over the weekend. As the Kochs hosted their annual Americans for Prosperity convention on Friday night – hundreds of Occupy D.C. demonstrators marched to the event to join in as well. While the tea Party crowd was wooed by the likes of Herman Cain, Mitt Romney and GOP TV talking heads inside the Washington, DC convention center, roughly 500 American patriots peacefully assembled outside the convention to demonstrate against the Koch brothers. Occasionally, the convention was interrupted by 99-percenters who managed to sneak in. But as is usual with the Occupy movement, it didn’t take long before there was a violent backlash against the patriotic occupiers. According to reports – a silver Lexus drove right into the crowd of demonstrators running over two people – and then running over a third as it tried to flee. D.C. police officers stopped the vehicle – but let the driver go shortly after with no criminal charges. Instead, police ended up arresting members of Occupy D.C. who took to the streets outraged that the hit and run driver was let free. All in all – the Kochs didn’t exactly get the warm welcome in Washington, DC that they’re accustomed to – a sign that Americans are waking up to the way they've been manipulating politics and the media in this country for decades.
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The next Republican hostage-scenario is coming down the pike. According to reports from The Hill – with extended unemployment benefits set to expire at the end of the year – Democrats are concerned that Republicans will hold the benefits hostage. As Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott said, “The GOP …[will] hold 6 million people hostage.” If the benefits aren’t extended by December 31st, then more than 2 million people will be cut off from their unemployment checks by February – and more than 6 million people will be cut off by year’s end. Now we have to wait and see what the Republican demands are – and what kind of goodies they want to give the top 1% at the expense of helping unemployed Americans.
In the best of the rest of the news…
With elections tomorrow in Ohio that will determine the fate of the radical anti-union law known as SB-5 – Republican Governor John Kasich and his buddies are doing anything they can to stop the labor movement backlash – and stop repeal of his coveted law. So on Friday – Ohio Republicans shut down early voting to keep people away from the polls. The Ohio Secretary of State – Jon Husted – who also has ties to ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council – ordered the polling stations to be closed despite the fact that early voting in Ohio has always been available to the public in previous elections. But this election is different, thanks to an obscure new law – passed by Republicans in the state legislature – that conveniently took effect last week – and bars early voting three days before an election. Republicans believe the only way they can win an election is to prevent working people from voting in it.
Senate Democrats are going to try – for the fourth time – to pass a portion of President Obama’s American Jobs Act. After three straight unified Republicans filibusters against bills that could create millions of jobs – Senate Democrats will introduce a bill to put military veterans back to work by offering tax credits to businesses who hire them. And this time – Democrats aren’t attaching a surtax on millionaires to pay for it – hoping that Republicans will finally jump on board job creation if the 1% doesn’t have to make any sacrifices like the rest of us. If Republicans filibuster the bill too – then there’s no long any question about it – Republicans simply want the economy to crash and burn. We’ll see what they do…
Could Texas be on the verge of executing an innocent man again? Hank Skinner is slated to die on Wednesday for the murder of three people back in 1993 – but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is refusing to look at new DNA evidence that Skinner and his lawyers claim will prove his innocence. The court argues that such evidence is not permissible now and that Skinner should have requested it during his original trial more than 15 years ago. Not only that – just like with the Troy Davis case in Georgia – a witness that helped convict Skinner has recanted his testimony and evidence suggests that another man committed the murder. But rather than looking into these new questions – the state of Texas would rather just flick the switch on Skinner and make him go away. That’s the sort of justice Governor Rick Perry has brought to his state – and the sort of justice he wants to bring to the entire country: government is a bad thing, unless it's trying to kill people.
12,000 people formed a human chain around the White House on Sunday to demonstrate against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Last week President Obama said he’d be making the final decision on whether or not to build the pipeline across the nation that many environmentalists fear could be an ecological disaster waiting to happen. We’ll see if the sight of thousands of Americans locked arm and arm outside his window – sways the President to take a stand against the oil barons down in Texas.
Crazy Alert! Bring it down! A bronze Ronald Reagan statue in Newport Beach was damaged early Sunday morning, as an unidentified driver tried to tear it down like we did the statues of Saddam Hussein. According to witnesses – at around 5:30 am – the man walked up to the statue, put a rope around Reagan’s neck that was also attached to his pick-up truck, and then tried to drive off – either to tear the statue down or to take it with him. The man may not have held a political grudge against Reagan – as police noted that there has been uptick in copper and bronze robberies as a result of the poor economy…thanks to the economic damage of 30 years of Reaganomics. Ultimately – the man was unsuccessful in his heist to “tear down this Reagan statue” – but he did manage to flee the scene before police arrived. Let me save the investigators some time here – I was nowhere near Newport Beach at the time of the crime…I swear.
And that’s the way it is today – Monday, November 7th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.