On the News With Thom Hartmann: Karl Rove to Launch a $25 Million Ad Campaign Blitz in Ten States, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Karl Rove and his Crossroads SuperPAC are launching a $25 million ad campaign blitz in ten battleground states on Thursday, the American people are overwhelmingly in support of states passing medical marijuana laws, a new report concludes that a California nuclear plant is putting nearby residents at risk of radiation exposure, and more.

Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. Speaker of the House Jon Boehner and his band of hostage-takers are plotting their next move. This week – Boehner promised another showdown over the debt-limit – which might need to be raised again before the end of the year. Just as Republicans did last year – Boehner is calling on Congress to offset any increase in the debt-limit with deep spending cuts elsewhere – and not with tax hikes on rich people. Last year – that same strategy drove the nation dangerously close to a default – and led S&P to downgrade our credit rating. And this time around – Boehner is willing to do the same thing just to make sure the Romney super-rich don’t see their outrageous tax cuts expire as they are scheduled to at the end of the year. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is already throwing cold water on the Republicans’ latest hostage scenario – saying on Tuesday that the Treasury department can delay a necessary debt-limit hike until next year – after the new Congress is sworn in – and after the Bush tax-cuts for the rich have expired. Working people should keep a close eye on this battle – because they’re the ones that John Boehner and Republicans are targeting.

In screwed news…the oligarchs are picking up their megaphones and getting ready for the 2012 election. Multi-millionaire political operative Karl Rove and his Crossroads SuperPAC are launching a $25 million ad campaign blitz in ten battleground states on Thursday. The ads – which will air in key states like Florida, Michigan, and Ohio – hammer the President on his handling of the economy – despite the fact that President Obama has created more than 4 million private sector jobs over the course of 26 straight months – and recouped all the private sectors jobs wiped out in the first few months of his administration by the Bush Great Recession. But with an endless supply of corporate and billionaire cash – Karl Rove plans to distort the truth in his latest spending assault. And others working on behalf of Mitt Romney’s and the Koch brothers’ SuperPACs are also pledging hundreds of millions of dollars to negative and misleading ads. Thanks to Citizens United – millionaires and billionaires like Rove, the Kochs, and Romney can now speak much louder than average voters. The biggest question in the mind of many Americans as we approach this November is, quite simply, “Will American democracy survive this onslaught of corrupt corporate, foreign, and billionaire cash?”

In the best of the rest of the news…

This week – House Republican plan to vote on House Resolution 568 – which calls on the President to take our nation to war should Iran even become capable of building a nuclear weapon – without building one. The resolution also takes containment – like sanctions and diplomacy – off the table as an adequate response to a nuclear Iran – leaving military action as the only possibility. So, despite U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies determining that Iran is NOT building a nuclear weapon – Republicans in the House want to drag an already war-weary nation and stretched-thin military into another war. And the Congressional watchdog group – United Republic – has found that lobbyists working on behalf of the Israeli lobbying group AIPAC – are the ones primarily pushing this bill. So far this year – AIPAC has hired seven lobbyists and spent more than $700,000 pushing several pieces of legislation, including this one calling for war with Iran. If Bush’s two-failed wars taught us any lesson – it’s to be skeptical of those calling for more war. And why is it legal for foreigners to write our laws?

The American people are overwhelmingly in support of states passing medical marijuana laws. A new survey of likely voters by Mason-Dixon found that three-quarters of Americans believe the federal government should respect state laws when it comes to medical marijuana. Two-thirds of Republicans surveyed also agree. Currently, 16 states and the District of Columbia have approved medical marijuana laws, although President Obama’s Justice Department has ramped up crackdowns on marijuana dispensaries operating legally under the laws – despite his campaign promise not to. Richard Nixon’s “War on Drugs” is a complete failure today – draining our nation of critical resources, throwing innocent Americans in prison, and denying the sick an effective medicine. It’s time for a common sense drug policy – legalize marijuana.

Is there a nuclear crisis brewing in California? According to a new report by energy groups Fairewinds and Friends of the Earth – operators at the San Onofre nuclear plant are putting nearby residents at risk of radiation exposure. The report alleges that operators neglected federal guidelines – and did a shoddy job replacing broken steam generators, leading to a release of radiation back in January. The plant is still operating today with the insufficient repairs, and the report warns that if another steam-line accident occurs then, “an inordinate amount of radioactivity [could] be released outside of the containment system, compromising public health and safety in one of the most heavily populated areas in the United States.” More than a year after the nuclear crisis at Fukushima – we still haven’t learned just how dangerous nuclear power is here in the United States. Join the movement – NO NUKES!

And finally…environmentalists are again calling on President Obama to uphold his campaign promise to “heal the planet.” On Tuesday – over a million signatures compiled by numerous environmental groups were delivered to the White House calling on President Obama to stop Shell Oil’s plans to drill in the Arctic this summer. The groups cite the damage drilling could do to wildlife populations like polar bears, caribou, and walruses – species that are already suffering as a result of climate change. Another complication to drilling in the Arctic is the harsh weather, which could make an oil spill virtually impossible to clean up. According to the Center for Biological Diversity – more than $11 billion more tons of carbon pollution will be ejected into the atmosphere if Arctic drilling moves forward. Earlier this year – the President gave the oil barons what they wanted with the Keystone XL pipeline. Let’s pressure him to side with the planet this time around.

And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, May 16, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.