In today’s On the News segment: “Obamacare” goes before the Supreme Court, Wall Street doubles down on GOP donations, “Shoot First Law” in Florida under scrutiny, climate change is accelerating, and more.
Happy Monday… Here’s Jacob Dean in for Thom on the news…
You need to know this. A 32-year-old Iraqi mother of five children living in California died over the weekend after she was brutally beaten, in what authorities are investigating as a hate crime. Fatima Al-Hamidi was found unconscious, lying in a puddle of blood last Wednesday, with a note near her reading, “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” Authorities believe Fatima was beaten with a tire iron. On Saturday, she was taken off life-support. This should be a wake up call to us all. More than a decade of never-ending war, combined with an ongoing fear campaign started by Bush and Cheney, has caused our nation to go unhinged. Meanwhile, Fox-so-called-News pumps up every little thing they can to make people afraid of Muslims, afraid of African Americans, and afraid of President Obama – who is African American and who way too many Fox News viewers think may be a Muslim. Hate crimes like this and Trayvon Martin are the tragic consequences of a drumbeat of fear.
In Screwed News… today kicks off three straight days of oral arguments before the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of Obamacare. If the court ends up siding with the right-wing state Attorneys General who are in the pocket of the for-profit health insurance industry, then 50 million Americans will lose access to healthcare. Not to mention – 17 million children will be denied insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions – and more than 100 million Americans will have to live in fear that their insurance company will cap them just when they need a life-saving procedure. While Obamacare wasn’t perfect – and our nation should eventually adopt a single-payer system that makes health care a basic human right like in the rest of the developed world – the law was at least a start. So now all eyes are on the Supreme Court and whether 5 unelected right-wing judges will put politics and corporate profits above the health of the nation.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Wall Street has picked their political party. According to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, Wall Street has spent $33 million so far in the 2012 Presidential contest, and the banksters have given 92% of all that cash to Republicans – more than 30 million bucks. Democrats on the other hand have only received two-and-a-half million. And within the Republican Party, Wall Street has picked their guy too – Mitt Romney. In fact, multi-millionaire Mitt Romney has gotten 72% of all the money Wall Streets dropped so far into the election. With a campaign treasure chest like that , funded by America’s banksters, Romney doesn’t feel too bad about a weekend loss to Rick Santorum in the Louisiana Primary. Romney is winning what really counts – not delegates – but the number of millionaires and billionaires in his corner.
Congress wants to take a closer look at Florida’s “Shoot First Law,” now that that law is preventing George Zimmerman from being arrested for murder. In a letter to the Justice Department, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York called on the DOJ to investigate the Florida law – to find out if it’s leading to more deaths and preventing law enforcement from carrying out proper investigations. Since the so-called “Stand Your Ground” law went into effect in Florida back in 2005 – the number of so-called “justifiable homicides” in that state increased by almost 300 percent. But if Congress wants to do something about these laws, they’ll have to take on the very powerful NRA and Wal Mart lobbies that wrote the law in the first place through ALEC – the American Legislative Exchange Council – to sell more guns and protect themselves from future lawsuits when their guns are used to kill people like Trayvon Martin.
The head of finance in the United Kingdom doesn’t want to be outdone by Congressman Paul Ryan here in the United States. Chancellor of the Exchequer Greg Osborne unveiled a new budget for the UK that cuts the top income tax rate for Britain’s 300,000 wealthiest citizens – and pays for it by reducing their equivalent of Social Security payments for more than 4.4 million senior citizens in the UK. Osborne plans to also help pay for the massive tax cut for the rich with a 10 billion pound cut to welfare programs. From Paul Ryan – who wants to cut seniors off Social Security and corporatize Medicare to pay for a $3 trillion tax cut for the top 1% of Americans – to Paul Osborne in the UK, who wants to do something similar there – one thing is clear. After more than thirty years – the zombie policies of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan are still choking the middle class and helping the very rich on both side of the Atlantic.
Climate change is accelerating. A new report released by the World Meteorological Organization found that the planet is rapidly getting warmer – with the last decade ranking as the hottest ever recorded in all the continents on the globe. In the United States alone – more than 7,000 high temperature records were set by this unprecedented heat wave. Meanwhile – climate change deniers in the Tennessee state legislature are passing laws to force public school teachers to say that there’s a “controversy” surround global warming. As in, pay no attention to the radically warming planet, the mile-long tornados, and freak flooding – because a handful of oil-industry-funded front men who call themselves experts say everything is just fine. The science is settled on this, every nation in the developed world knows man-made climate change is happening. It’s time for America to leave the “Flat Earth Society.”
And finally…Republican claim they are best friends forever to big business – so why are they ignoring business economists? According to a new survey by the National Association of Business Economists – the vast majority of economists say we must raise taxes on the wealthy. In fact – 87% of economists said that raising taxes has to be part of any plan to reduce the deficit – and about half of the respondents support the “Buffet Rule,” requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay at least the same tax rate as middle class families. On top of that, 2/3 of the business economists supported more regulations on Wall Street like the Volker Rule – barring banks from gambling with their customer’s money. So who exactly is the Republican Party looking out for?? Oh, yeah. The billionaire Koch Brothers. Sorry, I forgot for a moment.
And that’s the way it is today – Monday, March 26th, 2012.