On the News With Thom Hartmann: Union Goes to Court to Prevent NY Bus Drivers From Transporting Arrested Wall Street Protesters, and More

In today's On the News segment: The White House was asked to respond to Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, New York Transport Workers Union went to court to block New York City and the New York Police Department from forcing bus drivers to transport arrested Wall Street protesters, senators passed legislation last night to impose trade tariffs on China in response to that nation’s manipulation of its currency, and more.

Jacob Dean fills in for Thom on the News today…


I'm Producer Jacob Dean in for Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. For the first time yesterday – the White House was asked to weigh in on the Occupy Wall Street movement that’s sweeping the nation with demonstrations underway now in Boston, Chicago, Memphis, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC – as well as solidarity demonstrations in other parts of the world like Canada, Europe, and Japan. When asked by reporters at yesterday’s White House Press briefing if the President sympathizes with demonstrators – Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “I haven’t discussed it with him. I’m sure he’s aware of it because he follows the news. I would simply say that, to the extent that people are frustrated with the economic situation, we understand.” The fact that the Occupy Wall Street movement is now gaining attention in the White House is a sign that this movement is strengthening each and every day. And just in case there are still doubts as to why the 99% is rising up against the 1% on Wall Street – consider these numbers: The top 1% in America owns 40% of the nation’s wealth. The top 1% in American earns 24% of national income. The top 1% owns more than half of the nation’s stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. And the top 1% is taking in more money today than at any other time in this nation since the 1920’s. And we all know what followed the 1920’s – a Great Depression. The 99% is fed up – and now the time has come to do something about it.

Yesterday – the New York Transport Workers Union went to court to block New York City and the NYPD from forcing bus drivers to transport arrested Wall Street protestors. After police rounded up and arrested 700 peaceful demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge over the weekend – the NYPD commandeered 3 city buses to haul off the demonstrators. Now – the Transport Workers Union is going to court to make sure that doesn’t happen again. TWU President John Samuelson said, “TWU Local 100 supports the protesters on Wall Street and takes great offense that the mayor and NYPD have ordered operators to transport citizens who were exercising their constitutional right to protest — and shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place.” This week – other unions are expected to join the Occupy Wall Street movement – swelling the number of demonstrators in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to its highest numbers yet. Now with the support of major labor unions – the Occupy Wall Street movement has some teeth.

In the best of the rest of the news…

A bipartisan group of Senators passed legislation last night to impose trade tariffs on China in response to that nation’s manipulation of its currency. By keeping the Chinese currency artificially low – China is eating our lunch when it comes to manufacturing and selling cheap goods – causing more and more factories and jobs to leave America bound for China. The Senate’s legislation puts in place a trade tariff – or tax – to level the playing field. But Republicans in the House have already come out against the legislation – as their corporate donors fear it could hinder their ability to offshore more American jobs – and there’s also a worry it could trigger a trade war with China. Well – here’s a news flash – we're ALREADY in a trade war with China – and the dragon economy is creaming us. Time to ditch so-called Free Trade and get back to protecting AMERICAN industries – and AMERICAN workers.

Speaking of Republicans not caring about American workers – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stuck the shiv in the hopes that President Obama’s American Jobs Act would pass Congress. Cantor announced yesterday that House Republicans wouldn’t even bring the bill to the floor for a vote – let alone pass it- as the American people want. Economists estimate the American Jobs Act could create up to 3 million jobs in the U.S. – but Cantor called the legislation, “unreasonable.” Instead – House Republicans will vote on more tax cuts for corporations – and on legislation repealing a slew of government regulations that make sure the air we breathe, food we eat, and water we drink is safe. I guess their idea of job creation is hiring more nurses and doctors to take care of all the people who’ll get asthma when transnational corporations are allowed to pollute more.

A new report by investigative reporter Lee Fang with the Center for American Progress uncovered massive hypocrisy among Republicans when it comes to clean energy. What’s new, right? As Republicans gear up their attack on green energy loans in the wake of the manufactured Solyndra “scandal” – Fang discovered that at least 62 Republicans who are on the attack against clean energy loans today – have requested or accepted – and then taken credit for – clean energy loans in their home states. As in – they support clean energy when it’s useful for their constituents but rail against it when it’s useful for their political attacks against President Obama. But clean energy shouldn’t be a political football – it’s the future of the world – and if our lawmakers don’t accept that – then American will be left behind other nations that do.

And finally…researchers at the University of London have broken the code to what makes a song so catchy. According to their research – the key elements that keep people singing a song – often without wanting to – are long and detailed musical phrases, multi-pitch changes in the hook, and male vocalists accompanied by higher male vocalists. Based on that criteria – researchers concluded that the top 2 catchiest songs ever made were Queen’s “We are the Champions”, and the Village People’s “YMCA.” Other songs that made the top-10 list include Europe’s “Final Countdown” and – oddly – the theme song to the TV Show “Baywatch.” Who would have thought – the real reason why people tuned in to Baywatch…was because of the music!

And that’s the way it is today – Tuesday, October 4th, 2011. I’m Jacob Dean in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.