In today’s On the News segment: Calls increase for Rick Santorum to drop out of primary race, homemade explosive device detonates outside Wisconsin town’s Planned Parenthood, Occupy the Department of Education begins four days of rallies, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
You need to know this. With Mitt Romney way ahead in the polls in Wisconsin – which holds it primary on Tuesday – it’s looking more and more like the Republican primary is wrapped up. The calls for Rick Santorum to gracefully drop out of the race are growing louder – and President Obama’s re-election team is now focusing solely on Wall Street’s favorite guy, Mitt Romney. And early polls indicate that Romney will need a lot of billionaire money to defeat the President in November. Among registered voters nationwide – President Obama leads Romney 51% to 42% – and thanks to Romney’s support for the Republican war on women – President Obama now has opened up an 18-point lead among female voters. But none of these numbers account for the SuperPAC spending blitz that the Republican Party’s millionaires and billionaires are preparing for the general election. Already – the most notorious oil oligarchs on the Right – the billionaire Koch brothers – just dipped into their war chests to help fund a $3.6 million ad campaign around the nation to blame the President for rising gas prices. That’s just part of the $500 million in corporate cash that the Koch brothers and other American oligarchs pledged to commit to the 2012 election to defeat President Obama. So while Progressives may be optimistic now – the truth is – there’s a tidal wave of oil and Wall Street billionaire cash coming to destroy Obama and drown out the voices of We The People. This fall is going to be really, really ugly.
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Pay no attention to the lies already coming from the Right – corporations are paying less in taxes in America than they’ve paid in 40 years. According to the Congressional Budget Office – despite American corporations making enormous profits last year – their second best in a generation – they paid on average only 12.1% in federal taxes. That’s far below the 35% corporate tax rate that Conservatives claim is crippling business in America. At 12.1%, American corporations are paying the lowest taxes in the entire developed world. It’s also a staggering drop off since the last quarter century – between 1987 and 2008 – when corporations paid on average a 25.6% corporation tax rate. When corporations and the very, very wealthy aren’t paying their fair share in taxes, then working people have to pick up the slack. That’s exactly what’s happened in recent years – and one reason why the United States has one of the highest level of wealth inequality in the developed world – and why the middle class is disappearing right in front of our eyes.
In the best of the rest of the news…
More than a year ago – Governor Scott Walker created a firestorm in Wisconsin with his anti-union law known today as Act 10. It subsequently led to over a million signatures being turned in to have Governor Walker recalled from office. But now it turns out that Act 10 is unconstitutional. A federal judge last week ruled that Walker’s anti-union law – which limits collective bargaining rights and forces public unions to recertify once a year – violates a number of rights. In a strictly political move – Walker exempted police and firefighters from the anti-union law – giving grounds for the court last week to strike down the law because it violates the equal protection clause ofthe Constitution. The court said it also violates public workers’ First Amendment rights.
Speaking of Wisconsin – the war on women has turned hot there. A homemade explosive device was detonated at a Planned Parenthood clinic Sunday night in Grand Chute, Wisconsin. No one was at the clinic at the time – so there were no injuries, but the firebomb did cause some damage. Police are now investigating the matter – which should be considered a form of terrorism, but likely won’t get any coverage on the mainstream media since there’s no evidence of Muslims or the Black Panthers being behind the attack.
It’s time to occupy the Department of Education. Today kicks off four days of rallies outside the Department of Education – known as “Occupy the DOE.” The rally is led by the organization “United Opt Out” – which encourages parents to have their kids “opt out” of standardized testing. The rallies also hope to raise awareness of the “corporatization” of public schools in America. In states across the nation – from New Jersey to Florida to Arizona – Republican Governors have slashed public education budgets and moved public funds toward private for-profit schools. For-profit schools have been proven, in test after test, to not produce any better educational results. But they do force working families to pay for a service that should be free and a part of the commons – and they make money for Republican cronies. So show up outside the Department of Education today – or at your next local school board meeting – and help take back our nation’s public school system.
While some banksters are saying the worst might be over in Europe – working people are still suffering. According to the latest numbers coming out of the 17-nation Eurozone – the unemployment rate in Europe has now reached its highest level ever recorded at 10.8% – with more than 17 million Europeans unemployed. It’s the eighth straight month of rising unemployment numbers – and a sign that the austerity measures in places like Greece and the U.K. are really badly hurting working people. Of course – as long as the banksters can make money from the whole process – then they could care less about whether working Europeans have a job or enough money to raise their families. It’s the European version of what multi-millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan has for America.
And finally…the Massachusetts Senate race is getting tight. Republican Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren are now in a statistical tie for the state’s Senate seat. Warren has climbed back from a 9-point deficit following a SuperPac negative ad onslaught funded by Karl Rove at the end of last year. And now that both candidates have pledged to disavow SuperPACs – then maybe Massachusetts’ Senate seat won’t be sold to the highest bidder. But given that Rove is involved, I wouldn’t bet on Scott Brown keeping his promises.
And that’s the way it is today – Monday, April 02, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.