On the News With Thom Hartmann: The Days of Insider Trading Among Members of Congress Could Be Numbered, and More

In today's On the News segment: The 99 percent movement took to the streets – and bridges – around the country yesterday to commemorate the two-month anniversary of the movement, hundreds of thousands of jobs are being lost because corporations aren't paying their fair share in taxes, five days to go until the Gang of 12 reaches their deadline to find $1.2 trillion in savings in the federal budget, the days of insider trading among members of Congress could be numbered, and more.

Karl Frisch in for Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. Occupy America, Occupy Everywhere. The 99% movement took to the streets – and bridges – around the country yesterday to commemorate the two-month anniversary of the movement. And judging from the size of the crowds – estimated in New York City anywhere between 35,000 and 50,000 people – it’s clear the movement has just grown stronger and stronger over the last two month. The day of action included marches on Wall Street in New York City – followed by a march across the Brooklyn Bridge – the same place where a month ago 700 patriots were arrested for engaging in civil disobedience. But last night – it was a different story as thousands – alongside families and children and senior citizens – peacefully crossed the bridge into Brooklyn and in some cases were even welcomed by police officers. Unfortunately – the same can’t be said about the earlier demonstrations in the day – when there were several reports of police brutality – and upwards of 300 people were arrested. One of those people arrested was the President of the SEIU – Mary Kay Henry – who touts a membership of 1.8 million unionized workers. Meanwhile – in Los Angeles there were mass arrests as thousands marched through downtown and shut down traffic. And in Washington, DC – hundreds marched through the city and across the Key Bridge into nearby Virginia. Bridges were a theme of the demonstrations around the country yesterday to raise awareness of America’s crumbling infrastructure and the need to put people back to work rebuilding the nation. So now that the movement has survived two months – and appears stronger than ever – it’s anyone’s guess just how far it can go from here.

Our economy is screwed. Despite the fact that a study out of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the Republican Balanced Budget Amendment will kill 15 million jobs next year – double the unemployment rate – and shrink our economy by 17% – Republicans are pushing full steam ahead today in the House in an effort to pass it. Does anyone still question whether or not Republicans are purposefully trying to crash the economy? Time to call your Republican Member of Congress and ask them why it is they are voting yes today to killing 15 million jobs.

In the best of the rest of the news…

According to a new report by the National Education Association – hundreds of thousands of jobs are being lost because corporations aren’t paying their fair share in taxes. Thanks to several tax loopholes and tax subsidies – corporations have held on to over $220 billion in what is supposed to be federal revenue since 2008. And according to the NEA – nearly $10 billion of that lost revenue would have gone straight to education – putting over 100,000 teachers to work and helping nearly a half-million students who are in poverty – by providing them with early education programs – preparing them for better jobs in the future. But instead – all that money is stashed in off shore bank accounts. This debate isn’t about taxing corporations – it’s about determining what’s more important for the nation – lifting a half million kids out of poverty and improving our education system – or ensuring that millionaires and billionaire CEOs can buy that extra house on the Cayman Islands.

There are 5 days to go until the Gang of 12 reaches their deadline to find $1.2 trillion in savings in the federal budget – and they’re still at a stalemate. The point of contention today is what to do with the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires set to expire at the end of 2012. Democrats want to let them expire – Republicans want them extended indefinitely. So does anyone else smell another Republican hostage situation brewing??

The days of insider trading among Members of Congress could be numbered. Shortly after 60 Minutes aired a piece accusing Member of Congress of profiting off insider information regarding stocks – two Senators have introduced legislation to put an end to it. First – Republican Senator Scott Brown introduced the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act – requiring lawmakers to report any stock trades over $1,000 within 90 days. Then, Senator Kristin Gillibrand took it a step further – introducing legislation that not only makes insider trading against House and Senate rules – but also gives the Securities and Exchange Commission the power to investigate and prosecute lawmakers for insider trading. Considering that over half of all Members of Congress are millionaires – and nearly all leave Washington, DC wealthier than when they arrives – there’s likely to be a few lawmakers a little upset with the new rules.

In a prelude to the battle for the White House – there’s a battle for FOIA requests. First, Mitt Romney submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain any communications between the Obama administration and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. In response – the Democratic National Committee submitted their own FOIA request to get to the bottom of shady behavior exhibited by Mitt Romney when he left office as Governor of Massachusetts back in 2007. The Boston Globe reported that before Romney left office – he and his staff purchased all the computers in his office – wiped clean the hard drives and deleted all the emails from the server. It’s been long speculated that Romney was using his resources as Governor to plot a run for the White House in 2008 – something that is illegal. And with this latest FOIA request by the DNC – we might finally get to the bottom of exactly what Romney was up to.

And finally…according to a study set to appear in the journal “Nature” scientists believe they have found proof of water just below the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. While it’s been longed believed that an entire ocean of water – bigger than all the oceans on Earth exists tens of miles below the surface – this latest research suggests that there could be several lakes even closer to the moon’s surface – leading to the possibility of humans one day being able to inhabit the frosty moon. So now, we can add Europa to the list of places – already including the moon and Mars – that Libertarians can go inhabit and set up their completely free market paradise as far away from the rest of us as possible.

And that’s the way it is today – Friday, November 18th, 2011. I’m Karl Frisch in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.