Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. The debt-limit debate just got serious. In an upcoming interview with CBS – President Obama admitted that if Republicans don’t come to the table for a debt-limit deal – then he cannot guarantee seniors will receive their Social Security checks after August 2nd. Another round of negotiations is set for today at the White House – with the Republican caucus split on a deal. Speaker John Boehner’s deal was sabotaged by his number two man – Eric Cantor – who wants to kill off Medicare and Social Security – and the entire Republican-controlled House was backstabbed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who offered yesterday to essentially give the President a clean way to raise the debt ceiling. Meanwhile – on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – Moody’s credit rating agency downgraded Ireland’s credit to junk status after the nation was left devastated and in debt by banksters. Moody’s warned that the United States could face the same fate if a deal is not reached on the debt ceiling by August 2nd. We are literally less than three weeks from a global economic calamity – and House Republicans are willing to sit back and let it happen just to avoid a tax increase on billionaire corporate jet owners.
Homeowners are screwed again. Banksters are laying the groundwork for a second financial crisis. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that private investment firms are once again giving out subprime mortgages to interested homeowners who normally wouldn’t qualify for a home loan. It was these exact subprime mortgages that inflated the housing bubble and crashed the economy 3 years ago. But since Congress failed to pass meaningful Wall Street reform – and Republicans are defunding Wall Street watchdogs – the banksters are back to business as usual – turning the housing market back into a high-stakes casino to gamble with America’s economic future.
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In the best of the rest of the news…
The United States is breaking more international torture laws. Yesterday – the United Nations accused the United States of breaking rules that prevent torture by denying a UN official access to Bradley Manning – the soldier accused of leaking classified information to Wikileaks. UN official Juan Mendez wanted a meeting with Manning to look into the conditions of Manning’s confinement – but was denied any sort of private conversation. In response – Mendez said, “The United States, as a world leader, is a strong supporter of the international human rights system…Therefore, its actions must seek to set the pace in good practices that enhance the role of human rights mechanisms.” George W. Bush ignored human rights for 8 years – and it’s up to President Obama to change this troubling moral failure. Unfortunately – he’s doing more of the same.
Democracy wins in Wisconsin. Yesterday – Republican efforts to muddy Democratic Primaries in the state failed – as all six “fake Democrats” were defeated at the polls. Wisconsin Republicans are desperately trying to avoid recall election defeats so they can keep power in the state to continue their radical anti-working-class agenda. Wisconsin is ground-zero in the national labor battle pitting middle-class Americans against corrupted Republican ideologues. And, as we saw yesterday – political gimmicks won’t derail the voter’s fury.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul earned a new distinction – America’s most extreme Senator. In their latest Intelligence Report – The Southern Poverty Law Center included Rand Paul on a list of America’s most extreme right-wing candidates. Also making the list – Congressman Steve King – Arizona State Senator Russell Pierce – and a slew of lesser-known white supremacists – militia leaders – and neo-Nazis. As to why Paul was put on the list – the Southern Poverty Law Center cites Paul’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act – and his belief that the UN is trying to take every Americans’ gun. In that case – there are a few more Republicans who should be on the list.
The scandals at Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp have now captured the attention of Congress. As the UK Parliament is opening up investigations into the phone-hacking scandal at the now-closed Murdoch tabloid – “News of the World” – US Senator Jay Rockefeller became the first American lawmaker to call for an investigation into Murdoch. With suspicion that phone hacking wasn’t isolated to the UK and likely took place in America as well – Senator Rockefeller asked for “appropriate agencies” to look into the matter. It’s about time some attention is given to the propaganda operation over at Fox so-called News.
With crippling unemployment – a stagnant economy – and wars across the world – Republicans in Congress finally got what they wanted – an apology from NBC. After not saying the words “Under God” in a version of the Pledge of Allegiance that aired during a patriotic montage before the U.S. Open Golf tournament – NBC was taken to task by the Congressional Prayer Caucus for hiding America’s religious heritage. In response – NBC drafted an apology letter to 107 Prayer Caucus Members of Congress citing a “serious error of judgment.” Maybe if the banksters on Wall Street committed blasphemy while they were stealing trillions from the middle-class – then maybe right-wingers in Congress would have looked into some sort of punishment?
Crazy Alert! High Nazi morale. Beyond guns and grenades – Nazi soldiers had another secret weapon – blow-up sex dolls. According to a new book entitled Mussolini’s Barber – to combat the risk of syphilis from French prostitutes – Hitler called for his Nazi soldiers to carry miniature blow-up dolls on them. As part of a 1940 top-secret “Borghild Project” – soldiers were given blonde-haired, blue-eyed inflatable dolls that could be kept in the soldiers’ backpacks to relieve their “urges”. But after 2 years – the “project” was abandoned with Nazi soldiers too embarrassed to keep the sex dolls in their bags in case they were captured. That – and the sex-doll factories were destroyed in the Dresden bombings. And we all thought it was D-Day that turned the tide in World War 2…
And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, July 13th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.