In today’s On the News segment: Workers of the world are uniting in a global day of action, five men were arrested in Ohio for attempting to blow up a bridge, Democratic state lawmakers are fleeing ALEC, and more.
You need to know this. Workers of the world are uniting in a global day of action to commemorate International Workers Day. In hundreds of cities across America and around the world – in London, Barcelona, Toronto, Kuala Lampur, and Sydney – there are calls for a general strike with no working, no shopping and no banking. The Occupy Movement here in the United States is branding it as a day without the 99%. In response – Wall Street banks are coordinating with each other and with police to monitor today’s marches and rallies around New York City. While the banks haven’t disclosed exactly how they plan to deal with the protests, one security adviser compared Occupy demonstrators to “wolves.” Since the Occupy movement began last year – more than 2,100 demonstrators have been arrested in New York City and still not a single bankster has been convicted of crimes on Wall Street. That’s why today is so important – as working people around the world fight back against abuses of power and the corporate takeover of our democracy and economy.
Young workers are screwed. In today’s rallies and marches, you’ll notice a majority of those taking part in the action are young people. That’s because they’ve figured out that Reaganomic austerity policies they’re pushing back against are harming them the most. According to a new study by the International Labour Organization, trickle-down austerity measures like the ones being pushed in Europe and by Republicans here in the United States disproportionately hit young workers the hardest. In austerity-wracked Ireland – a third of young workers are unemployed. And in austerity-hit Spain – more than half of all workers under age 25 are unemployed. And here in the United States – where Republicans have forced the President’s hand on budget cuts – including cuts to Pell grant programs – half of our nation’s recent college graduates are out of work or underemployed. If young people can’t find work out of college – then a whole generation of entrepreneurs, teachers, and engineers could be lost.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Five men were arrested in Ohio this morning after they attempted to blow up a bridge near Cleveland. On Monday – the men planted what they thought were C-4 explosives on the bridge – but were actually fake devices sold to them by undercover FBI employees. Authorities say the public was never in danger. And it’s very likely that this story will disappear from the news cycle – since all five men were white guys, and not dark-skinned men or Muslims. In fact – expect the news media to not even refer to those charged as “suspected terrorists.”
ALEC members are dropping like flies. More than a dozen corporate members have dropped their membership since April – and now mostly-Democratic state lawmakers are fleeing ALEC. Since last week – 28 legislators cancelled their ALEC memberships – including four Nebraska legislators just yesterday. One Nebraska State Senator – Heath Mello – commented on ALEC saying, “They’ve become very extreme on a lot of issues. I don’t want to be used as a political pawn.” “Very extreme” is an understatement. ALEC is dismantling our democracy with Voter ID laws – poisoning our air and water with anti-EPA laws – and increasing murders around the country with Shoot First laws. Let’s keep up the pressure on the Koch brother-funded corporatocracy.
It looks like the highly-controversial internet security bill known as CISPA – which passed out of the Republican House of Representatives last week – might be another example of bought and paid-for legislation. The Center for Responsive Politics uncovered that CISPA’s chief sponsor – Republican Representative Mike Rogers from Michigan – has received $175,000 from corporations that support CISPA and have lobbied for the law. So even though CISPA is a radical attack on your online privacy – Congressman Rogers doesn’t care because he needs the money. In any other country, this would be called bribery. But in America, thanks to the Supreme Court, Republicans and corporations call it “free speech.”
Speaking of bribery – Tea Party freshmen in Congress are cozying up with the very same big banks they railed against to win their elections in 2010. Despite running on platforms of outrage about the bank bailout – the ten freshman Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee are now happily accepting campaign donations from those very same bailed out banks. Looking at campaign finance disclosure records, these Tea Partiers have taken nearly $170,000 from PACs connected to big banks like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs. And those investments look to be worthwhile, as Republicans on the Committee work to defund key Wall Street reforms and block the Volcker Rule, which would prevent banks from gambling with your deposit money. As the Republican Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee – Spencer Bachus – blurted out, “the regulators are there to serve the banks.” Right…
And finally – multi-millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan – author of one of the most radical hard-right budgets to ever pass the House of Representatives – has a little Ayn Rand problem on his hands. After catching flak from the Catholic Bishops, who said his budget is more in line with his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand than Jesus Christ, millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan has tried to distance himself from previous remarks he’s made supporting Ayn Rand. But the Ayn Rand think tank The Atlas Society is applauding the Ryan budget as being, “very much in line with the direction that we stand for and would like to see the government go.” The Atlas Society also released a 2005 speech by Paul Ryan in which Ryan brags that the one person who most inspired him to seize power over our government was Ayn Rand. Now that explains a lot.