In today’s On the News segment: Conservatives and corporatists hope to get more states to pass Right-to-Work-for-less laws, Victims of Hurricane Sandy are the latest hostages of the Republican Party in Congress, if you’re a big Wall Street bank and you finance terrorist activities all you get is a slap on the wrist, and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news…
In screwed news…Victims of Hurricane Sandy are the latest hostages of the Republican Party in Congress. The White House is asking Congress to pass $60 billion in federal disaster relief for victims of freak Hurricane Sandy – which killed 131 Americans, destroyed thousands of homes, and left millions of people without power. The Senate has obliged and unveiled legislation to give victims much needed relief, but Republicans in the House are saying, “no way.” Instead, House Republicans are demanding steep spending cuts for any disaster relief. Representatives like Steve King, Jeff Landry, and Cynthia Lummis have all demanded offsets for the storm relief, and New Jersey’s Republican Congressman Scott Garret called disaster relief, “wasteful spending.” For the families whose homes are destroyed, Republicans say you can have some relief, but first we have to cut back on how many cops and firefighters are on the streets. Then, we have to cut back on your unemployment benefits and food stamps. Then, we have to privatize Medicare. After all that’s done, you can get some much needed assistance. This isn’t about budget deficits or “fiscal responsibility,” this is about doing what’s moral – and once again Republicans have dropped the ball.
Uncompromised, uncompromising news
Get reliable, independent news and commentary delivered to your inbox every day.
In the best of the rest of the news…
If you aid and abet terrorists – you’ll end up dead in a drone strike or indefinitely detained in Gitmo. But, if you’re a big Wall Street bank and you finance terrorist activities, then guess what? You get a slap on the wrist fine and then…well…that’s it. This week – HSBC settled to pay $1.92 billion in criminal fines, for laundering money on behalf of Mexican drug cartels, and working with banks in the Middle East that are closely affiliated with terrorist organizations. The Chairman of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Senator Carl Levin, described HSBC’s culture as “pervasively polluted for a long time.” So why aren’t any executives going to Gitmo? And why hasn’t the bank become a pile of smoldering rubble from a drone strike? Because HSBC is too big to fail, and to quote one government source close to the investigation, bringing formal charges against HSBC would be a “death sentence” for the bank and the rest of the financial system. Given Wall Street’s rap sheet of crashing the economy, defrauding investors and homeowners, stealing trillions from taxpayers, ripping off markets by manipulating interest rates, and now assisting drug cartels and terrorist organizations – I’d say a corporate death sentence is long overdue for these bankster institutions. Maybe with Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren nabbing a spot on the Senate Banking Committee, we’ll finally see some action.
Republicans in Florida will soon celebrate a grim milestone. Sometime next week the millionth concealed weapons permit will be issued in the Sunshine State. According to Florida’s Republican Agriculture Commissioner, Adam Putnam, the landmark gun license is a “milestone” for “privacy protections.” Once again the gun culture is celebrated in Florida – and in the rest of the nation. Tragically, two teenagers, Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, were gunned down in the state this year, by gun toting Floridians who chose to settle disputes by pulling the trigger, rather than talking it out. The millionth concealed weapons permit, combined with the murderous “Stand Your Ground” law, creates a deadly concoction of legitimized violence. Given there are already, on average, twenty multiple-victim shootings every year in America, a serious discussion on gun control is long over due. And, to really change these statistics in a positive way, it’s about time we start actually doing something about gun control. The rights of the unarmed in America have been ignored for far too long thanks to the deep-pocketed gun lobby.
And finally…while Republicans continue their year-round effort to suppress voters, Democrats are fighting back. In three states across the nation, Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation to expand voting rights. In Florida, Democrats are pushing a bill to repeal a law passed by Republicans last year, which made it harder for groups to register voters. In New Jersey, Democrats are trying to bring early voting to their state. Currently, New Jersey is one of eighteen states that don’t have early voting, but the Democratic proposal would establish 28 days of early voting in the Garden State. And in Virginia, Democrats are pushing one bill that will make it easier to vote by absentee ballot, and another bill that will restore the voting rights of ex-felons. Republicans don’t want more people voting, because they know their chances of winning elections go down, as the voting populous goes up. But, plain and simple, more people voting makes for a more robust democracy – which all Americans should be proud of.
And that’s the way it is today – Thursday, December 13, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news…