On the News With Thom Hartmann: Worsening NATO-Afghan Security Forces Relations Threaten Withdrawal Plan, and More

In today's On the News segment: Churches continue to be some of the largest big bank defectors in the Move Your Money movement, the UK is preparing for war with Iran according to a senior British government official, Wyoming passed doomsday legislation that would allow the state to issue its own currency and form its own army, and more.

Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. Our Afghanistan troop withdrawal is in doubt. Conflicts between Afghan Security forces and US and NATO troops are on the rise in the fallout from the Koran-burning incident more than a week ago. Our withdrawal plans hinge on NATO officials working with Afghan security forces after American troops leave – but after two NATO officers were killed by an Afghan Security official – that working relationship is in doubt. A top UN Commander has recalled his forces from Afghan ministries in the wake of recent violence. This has always been a hearts and minds struggle – but with each new instance of torture, desecration of enemy bodies, and disrespect of the Muslim religion – we’re losing that struggle.

Working people in America are screwed. Just as corporate profits have reached pre-recession levels – and in fact shattered 60-year records in 2011 – working people have yet to see any of the gains. In January – average hourly wages climbed a meager 1.5% from where they were last year – but core inflation – the price of things like food and energy – increased by 2.3%, meaning working Americans aren’t collecting the paychecks they need to keep up with rising living costs. Between 2009 and 2011 – 88% of our nation’s income went to corporate profits – whereas only 1% went into working people’s wages. This is theft – and it’s the sort of theft that’s been made legal – and even been promoted – by 30-years of Reaganomics. We have to roll back the Reagan tax cuts – close tax loopholes for corporate outsourcers – and bring democracy back into the workplace through unions.

In the best of the rest of the news…

The big banks are drying up. In the last three months, over 5.6 million Americans have moved their money from large financial institutions on Wall Street to local credit unions on Main Street. The latest big bank defectors include churches in San Francisco that have pledged to move $10 million out of Wells Fargo. Religious groups are leading the charge against Wall Street – with one coalition of faith groups – The New Bottom Line – pledging to remove one billion dollars from big banks by the end of the year. Since the government won’t hold the banksters accountable – we the people must – and the best way to do that is a good ol’ fashioned boycott. Join the “move your money” movement.

The world is creeping closer to war. According to a senior official within the British Government – the United Kingdom is preparing for war with Iran. Plans have been drawn up to send hundreds of British soldiers and nuclear submarines to the Persian Gulf – just as saber rattling between Iran and Israel picks up. As British officials said, war with Iran is “a matter of when, not if … with 18 to 24 months the likely timescale.” We need the voices of peace to speak up now – before it’s too late.

Speaking of Iran – Rick Santorum wants the United States to be more like the rogue Arab nation. In an interview with ABC on Sunday – Santorum said, “I don’t believe in an America where the separation between church and state is absolute.” In other words – Santorum believes we should institute a theocracy in America – just like Iran has. Rick Santorum wants to wipe clean 230 years of American tradition – going all the way back to the founding fathers – who looked around the world at theocracies and wanted America to be different – who wanted a separation between church and state. Talk about the ultimate version of “Big Government” – Santorum believes in a government that will tell us what we can believe in – who we should pray to – and what our moral values should be.

Meanwhile in Michigan – Rick Santorum clings to a 2-point lead over Mitt Romney in the latest poll coming out of the Wolverine State. Previous polls showed Santorum’s momentum slipping – but now it looks like Santorum is winning back some more Conservatives who can’t stomach making a Romney vote. With the Michigan primary set for Tuesday night – a Santorum win could mean the unthinkable for Mitt Romney – an impossible path to win the Republican nomination. Of course – Romney is the guy who cheered for the entire state going into economic collapse when he wrote an op-ed titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” So Michigan Republican voters have a choice Tuesday night – the guy who wants you out of a job – or the guy who wants his church to run your country.

Welcome to Kansas – where Republicans are taxing the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich. The Kansas tax committee approved legislation last week that would force a half-million poor people who make $25,000 or less to pay about $72 more in taxes a year – while giving 21,000 people who make more than $250,000 a year a tax cut of $1,500. This is coming from the state that already has one of the most regressive tax systems in the nation – where the poorest 20% of Kansans pay more than 9% in taxes – while the top 1% pay just 6%. Reagan tried out this strategy of giving rich people all the money they want while hoping it would trickle down to the rest of us – and it failed miserably. Yet – that’s exactly what Republicans in Congress want to do and what Republicans in Kansas ARE doing it. The only thing trickle-down economics does is produce a nation of peons.

And finally…the state of Wyoming is preparing for doomsday. On Friday – the Wyoming state House passed legislation to create a special task force to draw up plans for Wyoming to deal with doomsday scenarios like a government collapse and food shortage. Some of the recommendations the task force may make should the collapse come include Wyoming issuing its own currency – and forming its own army. The legislation still has to jump through a few more hurdles in the state House and Senate before it becomes law – but given that Sarah Palin isn’t on the ballot to be President this year – we still have some time to prepare for doomsday.

And that’s the way it is today – Monday, February 27th, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.