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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Goldman Sachs Thinks You’re a “Muppet,” and More



Thom Hartmann here – on the news.

You need to know this. As Rick Santorum himself said last night, “We did it again.” In two closely-watch primaries down South Tuesday – Rick Santorum pulled off a clean sweep – winning both Alabama and Mississippi. Mitt Romney outspent Santorum 5-to-1 in Alabama, and 3-to-1 in Mississippi, but only took third place in both contests. Newt Gingrich finished second in the two states that his own campaign spokesman said were “need to win states” to remain a “credible candidate,” but based on his concession speech last night – Gingrich isn’t going anywhere – telling his supporters he plans, “to go all the way to Tampa.” So, much to the Republican Party’s chagrin – the primary season continues and the establishment pick, Mitt Romney, will have to muddle along for a few more months. And just when you thought news couldn’t get any better for President Obama – a top Gingrich aide is floating the possibility of a Santorum-Gingrich Presidential ticket – uniting one guy who wants to take contraceptives away from women – with another guy who wants to take food away from impoverished children. The good thing about this Republican primary – is that the longer that it goes on – the more we get to hear the truth about the Republican pro-oligarch, anti-working-people agenda.

In screwed news…Goldman Sachs thinks you’re a “muppet.” Former Goldman Sachs Executive Director Greg Smith recently resigned from the banking giant, and today in a New York Times op-ed blew the whistle on what he called a “toxic and destructive” environment within the bank. Smith writes, “I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.” Smith went on to write that banksters at the firm “callously” rip their clients off – and routinely refer to their customers as “muppets.” Most shocking, Smith reveals that the most common question he gets from fellow banksters is, “How much money did we make off the client?” The dangerous part of this is that banksters like Goldman Sachs now make up more than a quarter of our economy when they used to make up less than a tenth. That means one-fourth of all the money in the United States comes from banksters on Wall Street preying on their customers with things like exploding mortgages and fees, jacking up oil and food prices by gambling on them, and making a profit crashing entire nations economies. This is called financialization – and if it’s not reigned in – it will destroy our nation and much of the developed world.

In the best of the rest of the news…

Speaking of Wall Street banksters – they can breathe a little easier today after their inside man on Capitol Hill won a crucial primary in Alabama. Republican Representative Spencer Bachus shelled out over a million dollars to beat back a Republican primary challenger in his home state of Alabama – keeping his grip on the Chairman’s seat in the House Financial Services Committee. Bachus has been dogged by Ethics Committee investigations for corruption and alleged insider trading – and has been working hard to stop the Wall Street reforms set to kick in on his banksters buddies this fall and next year. With a treasure chest of bankster cash, Bachus is expected to easily win a the general election in his strongly Republican district.

The war hawks in America need to take a step back and listen to a war-weary population. A new University of Maryland poll released Tuesday night shows that only 1-in-4 Americans favor an Israeli military attack against Iran. Plus, nearly 70% of Americans want to see continued negotiations with Iran – and not military strikes by the United States. That includes 58% of Republicans, 67% of Independents, and 79% of Democrats. So while it appears as though the American people have learned the lessons from a decade of two failed wars – our media and our lawmakers clearly haven’t.

The nation of India is taking on a giant transnational pharmaceutical company. In a decision that could have far-reaching effects around the planet – India is allowing a local drug company to manufacture and sell the cancer drug Nexevar – which is currently patented by German-based pharmaceutical giant, Bayer. As a result of the decision – Nexevar will be available to cancer patients in India at a little over a dollar a pill – whereas Bayer was charging nearly $50 a pill. As part of the deal, Bayer will still receive a 6% royalty from Indian sales of the drug. There are 8,800 cancer patients in India who desperately need the drug and can't afford to pay for it. And India’s decision could prompt other nations to buck transnational pharmaceutical companies, and do what’s best for their population – and not what’s best for corporate profits. Unfortunately, here in the United States – where pharmaceutical companies regularly buy off lawmakers – we can’t get that same sort of care and compassion.

Warrior against women, Rush Limbaugh, still can’t shake his slut-gate controversy. According to a new Bloomberg poll – a majority of Americans aren’t satisfied with Rush’s apology or the exodus of advertisers from this radio show – they want to see El-Rushbo canned. 53% of Americans want Rush fired – and even within the Republican Party – for which he is the mouthpiece – one-third of respondents want Rush gone. Bloomberg also discovered that a whopping 77% of the nation said the issue of contraceptives – which Republicans brought up when the economy started improving – should NOT be a part of the national debate. It looks like the politics of distraction – usually done so well by Conservatives with the help of right wing media outlets – is backfiring.

And finally…wracked by a week of bad press – Gubernatorial quitter Sarah Palin took to her Facebook page to challenge President Obama to a debate. “I’m more than happy to accept the dubious honor of being Barack Obama’s ‘enemy of the week’…[and] debate him on the issues Americans are actually concerned about,” Palin wrote. She actually might stand a chance – just as long as long as foreign policy, economics, and health care aren’t among the topics.

And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, March 14th, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.

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