In today’s On the News segment: Florida Gov. Rick Scott will push ahead with rigging the November election, a Republican filibuster obstructs the Paycheck Fairness Act, evidence that cap and trade works, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. Thanks to the Supreme Court, our democracy is now in deep trouble. Fueled by tens of millions of dollars in out-of-state corporate and billionaire cash – giving him an 8-to-1 spending advantage over his Democratic opponent – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker prevailed in Tuesday night’s recall election. This is the second major election in the post-Citizens United era – and for the second straight time organized money beat organized people – just like what happened in 2010 when Tea Party Republicans swept into Congress with the help of over $300 million in outside corporate cash. In a slight consolation – Democrats may take control of the state Senate – as one Republican state Senator out of four facing a recall appears to be headed for a defeat. Despite reports of massive voter turnout around the state Tuesday afternoon – the turnout was actually closer to 2010 levels when more than 2 million Wisconsinites voted and Republicans won big – rather than 2008 levels when closer to 3 million Wisconsinites elected President Obama and Democrats. So what does all this mean? It means that things really are as bad as we think they are – and the Supreme Court really has handed over our democracy to the highest bidders – giant corporations, foreign governments, and the likes of the Koch brothers. Wisconsin gives us a glimpse into the election coming this November – and patriotic Americans have five months to figure out how to overcome these oligarchs – and undo the incredible damage the Roberts Court has done to democracy in the nation of its modern-era birth. Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders are fighting against the cancer in our democracy – Citizens United – and you can join their efforts at sherrodbrown.com and bernie.org, and movetoamend.org.
Women are screwed. Yesterday – the Paycheck Fairness Act, which demands women get the same pay for the same work as men, and gives women more protections to fight back against gender discrimination, was put to a vote in the Senate. And 52 Senators – a majority of Senators – supported it. Unfortunately – a near-unified Republican filibuster – prevented passage of the bill now that Republican obstruction in the Senate now requires a 60-vote supermajority to pass anything. Republicans say there is no such thing as a “war on women” – but Tuesday’s vote in the Senate – when nearly every single Senate Republican affirmed that women shouldn’t be paid as much as men in the workplace – just confirms it.
In the best of the rest of the news…
Senate Majority Harry Reid is now saying out loud what most Progressives have been saying for more than a year now – that Republicans are trying to crash the economy for political gain. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday about House Republicans’ blocking a highway transportation bill that will keep Americans at work building our infrastructure – Reid took aim at Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor saying, “I’m told by others that [Cantor] wants to not do a bill, to make the economy worse, because he feels that’s better for them. I hope that’s not true.” Well, Senator Reid – it IS true. And it’s been the Republican strategy to sabotage Democratic Presidents going all the way back to the Truman Administration and the “Do-Nothing” Republican Congress of 1948 – which, like today, blocked every single one of Truman’s progressive reforms. Truman called out Republicans for their obstruction and was rewarded with a second-term. So if President Obama wants a second-term – then he needs to start calling out Republicans just like Harry Reid did yesterday.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has until today to determine whether or not he will comply with the law and stop illegally purging Democratic voters from the voting rolls. And based on statements made to the Miami Herald by a spokesman with the Florida Secretary of State’s office – Governor Scott will push full-steam ahead with rigging the election in advance of November. The Herald reports that the state of Florida “disagrees with the federal government and doesn’t plan to throw in the towel.” But if Governor Scott does intend to continue with his illegal voter purge – then he has a lot of work to do to overcome a rebellion by his own local elections officials. All 67 county election supervisors in Florida have suspended Scott’s purge because of how flaky Scott’s purge lists are.
Cap and trade works! Back in 2008 – nine states in the Northeast joined together to create a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions. And after three years – the results are in – showing a resounding success. The states that took part in the “Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative” cut CO2 emission by 23% in three years – and electricity consumption also went down. Conservatives, bought out by the fossil fuel industry, warned that cap-and-trade would kill economic growth and stick consumers with high energy bills. That didn’t happen though. Instead – as the Analysis Group found – the cap and trade system spurred $1.6 billion in new value to the state economies, consumers saved $1.1 billion on energy costs, and 16,000 new jobs were created. Back in 2009 – Democrats in Congress passed a national cap-and-trade plan to reduce carbon emissions – but Republicans in the Senate filibustered it. Given the results from the Northeast today – I’d say it’s time to bring back this legislation for the sake of not just our environment – but our economy, too.
And finally…a dream come true for Democrats and a nightmare for Republicans failed to materialize in California Tuesday night. Birther Queen Orly Taitz fell short in her bid to be the Republican Party’s Senate nominee to take on incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein. Taitz has gained notoriety as the founder of the birther movement – claiming President Obama was actually born in Kenya – and she had hoped to parlay her birther fame into a Senate run. Orly lost last night – but have no fear Republicans – there’s still the birther King, Donald Trump, to rely on for outreach to racist whites.
And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, June 06, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.