In today's On the News segment: the Occupy Wall Street movement is picking up some crucial support, Bernanke issues a warning to Congress, a top Al Qaeda leader was killed, CEOs are still collecting massive severange packages, Clarence Thomas's gig may be up, a Perry presidency would mean fewer teachers, and more.
You need to know this. The Occupy Wall Street movement is picking up some crucial support. Demonstrators have been camped out for 13 straight days now in lower Manhattan – but reinforcements are on the way. Top unions and progressive organizations like the SEIU, the United Federation of Teachers, the Transport Workers Union, as well as MoveOn.org, and a slew of others have pledged to join the demonstrators next week. With their support – the number of people on the streets could swell by the thousands. Each day this goes on – it’s looking more and more like something really is happening. Corporate greed, crony capitalism, and the “for the rich, by the rich” economy may have finally reached a tipping point in America.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke issued a warning to Congress yesterday – though they probably didn’t hear it since Speaker of the House John Boehner told everyone to go on vacation this week. Speaking in Cleveland – Bernanke said, regarding the nation’s unemployment situation, “This is unheard of. This has never happened in the post-war period in the United States…The unemployment situation we have, the job situation, is really a national crisis.” He then implored Congress to get to work to do something about it. Since President Obama passed his stimulus package in 2009 – Republicans have blocked every single effort to stimulate the economy – every single one. And today – the President’s American Jobs Act that could create millions of jobs is just sitting in on Boehner's and Cantor's desks waiting for action. Republicans have put going on vacations – launching investigations into Planned Parenthood – and attacking the EPA – all above creating jobs on their priority list. They don’t care that the nation is suffering. Just like our sociopathic banksters – Republicans are dreaming of a Great Depression – just so they can beat President Obama in 2012.
In the best of the rest of the news…
A top Al-Qaeda leader – Anwar al-Awlaki – was killed in the mountains of Yemen today. Reports are that he was riding in a convoy targeted by a U.S. drone aircraft. What makes al-Awlaki’s death different than Bin Laden’s though – is that al-Awlaki was a U.S. citizen – born in New Mexico. He was put on the CIA “capture or kill” list back in April of 2010 – making him the first U.S. citizen to be targeted for death in Bush's so-called War on Terror. While we shouldn’t be grieving a terrorist – maybe we should be asking questions about our War on Terror – and whether it’s right that American citizens are being blown up without due process of the law.
Despite laws to reign in golden parachutes – The New York Times is reporting that exiting CEOs are still collecting massive severance packages. Just last week – former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Leo Apotheker, was given $13.2 million in cash for his services – even though he only worked for the company 11 months and he drove it into the ground. And last month – Carol Bartz made 10 million bucks after being fired from failing at search engine giant Yahoo. As part of the Wall Street reform law passed last year – shareholders can now have a say in how executives are paid. However – according to a report by the Institutional Shareholders Services – only 38 of the largest 3,000 public corporations have seen their shareholders vote down excessive CEO pay. No wonder people are in the streets of America today.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s jig might be up. A group of 20 House Democrats called on the Department of Justice yesterday to launch an investigation into Clarence Thomas for his failure to comply with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. The Act requires Supreme Court justices to reveal their spouse’s income – yet Thomas kept hidden the fact that his wife earned $700,000 from the right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation. Not only that – Justice Thomas has yet to announce whether or not he will recuse himself when the high court determines the constitutionality of Obamacare – even though his wife made $150,000 lobbying to repeal Obamacare. We need to do two things on the high court today – get the corrupt justices like Thomas, Scalia, and Alito off of it – and end judicial review, which gives the high court the power to act like Kings in America without any responsibility to American voters.
A Rick Perry presidency would mean fewer teachers and fewer college students. As Governor of Texas – Perry cut $4 billion from the Texas budget for the upcoming fiscal year – mostly targeting education and health programs. As a result of the cuts – Texas will be forced to fire 49,000 teachers – and 43,000 students will lose at least part or all of their financial aid – including 29,000 low-income college hopefuls who will lose their entire scholarships. Of course Texas is already at rock-bottom when it comes to educating its residents – the state ranks dead last in adults with a college degree. According to estimates by the Center on Public Policy Priorities, the education cuts will result in 100,000 fewer private sector jobs. But have no worries – Rick Perry is great at creating minimum wage jobs – so all the fired teachers and students without financial aid to go to college can just fall back on a steady job mopping burger joints.
And that’s the way it is today, Friday, September 30th, 2011. I’m