On the News With Thom Hartmann: For the Past Five Years, Major Banks Have Contributed More Than $300 Billion to the Coal Industry, and More


Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. More midnight raids against the Occupy Movement. 48 hours after eviction deadlines came and went in Philadelphia and Los Angeles – police moved into both occupations – dismantled the camps – and arrested hundreds of peaceful patriots. In Los Angeles – home of the nation’s oldest and largest occupation – roughly, 1,400 police surrounded demonstrators – gave them a ten-minute warning to leave – and then moved in arresting upwards of 200 people, and trashing hundreds of tents, and supplies. According to reports – the LAPD selected a few “official” journalists to cover the raid – and blocked others. Those who were selected were banned form tweeting the live events. By 2am – the Occupy L.A. encampment was no more – but demonstrators plan to return to the park and hold a rally this afternoon. It was the same story in Philadelphia – where riot police on horseback forced out dozens of occupiers in the City of Brotherly Love and arrested around 50 people. Despite the fact that one-by-one – police have moved in to break up occupations all across America – the movement lives on. And – it’s the best thing America’s got going for us right now.

Average working Americans could get screwed. Republicans may agree to extend the payroll tax cut for middle class Americans after all…just as long millionaires and billionaires don’t have to cough up a dime. Yesterday – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans are on board with extending the payroll tax cut – but are opposed to the Democrats plan, which pays for it with a 3% surtax on people who make more than a million bucks. Instead – Republicans will offer their own plan to pay for the tax cut – likely one that takes money away from the social safety net. Essentially – Republicans are willing to let taxes go up on 113 million households to prevent 345,000 millionaires from a meager tax increase. That’s the definition of protecting the 1% at the expense of the 99%. But here’s a compromise – extend the payroll tax cut – and pay for it by eliminating the Social Security cap – so that millionaires and billionaires pay the same social security tax rate as janitors. Not only that – lifting the cap keeps Social security solvent for the next 75 years. Let’s see if Republicans go along with that idea.

In the best of the rest of the news…

There are more signs that the middle class in America is disappearing. According to the New York Times – the number of school children now depending on subsidized school lunches rose by 17% over the last two years to 21 million. Currently – a family of four that brings home less than $41,000 – or a family belonging to the “working poor” – qualifies for school lunch assistance. And thanks to the Bush Great Recession – and thirty years of Reaganomics – the ranks of the working poor are growing in America while the middle class disappears. Neo-feudalism in America may be just around the corner.

Not only is Wall Street wrecking our economy – it’s wrecking our environment. As UN climate talks commence in Durbin – a group of environmental organizations compiled a report showing just how much money Wall Street is funneling to the dirty coal industry. Turns out – over the last 5 years – major banks around the world have dished out more than $300 billion to the coal industry – one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The top three biggest lenders to the coal industry are the usual suspects: JP Morgan Chase – Citigroup – and Bank of America. Thanks to the climate-killing banks – levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have surged over the last two years – and are at their highest level now in over 650,000 years. We need to put an end to Wall Street’s occupation of planet Earth.

Massive labor strikes rocked the U.K. today – as public workers took to the streets to protest ongoing austerity measures. Schools, hospitals, airports, courts, and government buildings are all being affected by the strike – which is the largest one in over a generation in the U.K. The British economy hasn’t grown in the last year since the government adopted austerity measures – and with the Eurozone crisis still unresolved – the chance that the U.K. will slip back into a recession is fairly high. Once again we’re seeing why austerity is a bad idea – a bad idea that Republicans want to force on America.

How can we make the roads safer? Legalize marijuana! According to a new report by the Institute for the Study of Labor – states that have passed laws legalizing medicinal marijuana have seen a clear drop in their traffic fatalities. Why? Because researches found that people end up using marijuana as a replacement for the far more dangerous drug, alcohol – bring overall alcohol consumption down – and as a result lowering traffic accidents too. On average – after a state legalizes medicinal marijuana – that state sees a 9% decline in traffic deaths. For Americans under 35 – traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death. And, unlike alcohol, marijuana overdose has never killed a single person. Time to adopt a common sense drug policy that saves lives.

Crazy Alert! Cooking with the Pauls. The Ron Paul campaign announced it has a hot new item in the campaign store…a cookbook! Ron Paul’s wife – Carol Paul – just published “The Ron Paul Family Cookbook” and it’s retailing for just 8 bucks plus shipping and handling. According to the book description – there are, “28 pages of tasty recipes form the Paul family and friends.” Unclear if Herman Cain – who will likely be returning to his day job fairly soon – offered any pizza recipes for it. But for cooking enthusiasts – and Libertarians – this is one heck of a great book. Be sure to check out the recipes for the “Ayn Rand Rum Balls” – filled with enough liquor to turn you psychopathic. And the “End the Fed Funnel Cake” made with 7.7 trillion cups of sugar.

And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, November 30th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.