On the News With Thom Hartmann: Corporations Are Bribing Foreign Government Officials, and More

In today’s On the News segment: On Tuesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it would temporarily freeze any new licenses or renewal of licenses for nuclear power plants around the country; corporations are bribing foreign government officials; Florida Gov. Rick Scott is defending the Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act; and more.

I’m Jim Javinsky – In for Thom Hartmann – on the news…

You need to know this. No nukes!…at least for a little bit. On Tuesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it would temporarily freeze any new licenses or renewal of licenses for nuclear power plants around the country. That decision by the NRC was prompted by a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling back in June that the NRC has insufficiently dealt with the problem of nuclear waste material – thus violating the National Environmental Policy Act. Currently, the NRC provides licenses under the assumption that it will find ways to dispose of nuclear waste in the future when it becomes “necessary” or that nuclear waste can be safely stored at reactors sites. As we’re seeing in Japan, there are a lot of problem with nuclear waste stored inside the reactor building – and the U.S. Court of Appeals recognized as much when they issued their ruling against the NRC. One of the main litigants in the case against the NRC – Stephen Smith, the executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said about the NRC’s decision, “We believe it is appropriate to halt nuclear licensing decisions and stop creating an inter-generational debt of nuclear waste that will burden our children and grandchildren for centuries to come.” Time to ditch nuclear power!

So what’s next on Congressional Republicans’ hit list? American cities and states. A new analysis of the Paul Ryan budget, which passed out of the House of Representative nearly unanimously earlier this year, reveals the devastating effects Republican spending cuts would have on states and cities that are already dealing with budget crunches. The Republican budget slashed $247 billion in state funding over the next ten years – directly effecting state education programs, health programs for women and children, housing assistance, and police and firefighter budgets. In other words, Republicans are calling for even more layoffs of teacher, firefighters, and cops – while at the same time screwing over the poor and the sick who rely on social safety nets to see a doctor or put enough food on the table. Already – Republicans have forced the layoff of 680,000 public sector workers around the nation with their austerity agenda. Yet, at the same time they’re proposing slashing state funding – Republicans are pushing a $3 trillion tax cut for the Romney super rich in America.

In the best of the rest of the news…

Americans should be getting used to hearing this by now, but we’re coming off the hottest month ever recorded in the history of the United States. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the month of July was the hottest ever recorded going all the back to 1895. The average temperature for that month was 77.6 degrees – more than three degrees higher than the century average. At the same time, 63% of the nation is mired in an historic drought that’s threatening not only our nation’s food supply, but the rest of the world’s too. Stay tuned, this is just the beginning of climate change-induced global “weirding.”

Corporations are bribing foreign government officials. On the heels of news earlier this year that a subsidiary of Wal Mart was caught bribing government officials in Mexico in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, another corporation has been caught doing the same thing. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for making improper payments to government officials in China, Croatia, Kazakhstan, and a series of other nations in exchange for laxer regulations and quick formulary approvals. Like Wal Mart, Pfizer is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, which is currently lobbying to weaken the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and give transnational corporations free rein to bribe foreign governments for better business deals. Of course, thanks to Citizens United, corporations can already legally bribe government officials here in the United States.

Meet Florida Governor Rick Scott – a guy who’s spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars defending laws written by corporations. Right now, Scott is defending the Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, which prohibits doctors from asking patients about gun ownership. The law was struck down by a federal judge in July – who ruled that it violated the First Amendment Rights of doctors. But since the law was created by the NRA and has ties to the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, Governor Scott is throwing sack-fulls of tax payer money to defend it. He’s doing the same thing with other ALEC-written legislation passed under his watch that have been struck down in courts including laws to require drug tests for welfare recipients, prison privatization, and voter suppression. Governor Scott is one of the most loyal servants in the American corporatocracy.

And finally…move over birthers – there’s a new whacked out conspiracy theory being lodged at President Obama. This one is coming from Obama-obsessed hack author Jerome Corsi who is alleging there’s evidence the President used to be married to another man. Corsi says that before he met Michele, Obama was married to his former Pakistani roommate. As for proof – Corsi points to pictures that supposedly show Obama in college sitting on his roommate’s lap, in addition to pictures that supposedly show Obama wearing a wedding ring before he married Michele back in 1992. As Corsi explains in a video posted to a Tea Party website, “The question is not to condemn Obama here for being bisexual or gay, if that’s in fact what he is, but to wonder why he’s gone to the extent of hiding it, especially when he now is supporting same sex marriage what’s the duplicity? What’s the hypocrisy?” Rumor has it – Donald Trump already has his crack team of investigators on the case.

And that’s the way it is today, Thursday, August 09, 2012. I’m Jim Javinsky – In for Thom Hartmann – on the news.